Has anyone ever said to you, ‘Do you want the good news or the bad news first?’ In that moment, you hope that the good news more than compensates for the bad news!

spiritual_battleThis is the approach Peter takes in his first New Testament letter. ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ (1 Pet 5:8) After sharing the bad news, he adds:

  • You are able to resist
  • You can stand firm in faith, and
  • You are not alone (see 1 Pet 5:9)

This good news does not just alleviate the bad news—it completely overturns it! The truth is that you are victorious through Christ. However, being alert means that you need to pay attention, so that you can identify when the enemy is at work.

There are going to be times when you are faced with opposition from people, or human institutions, or systems set up by people. And those things are applying pressure against you.

Perhaps you can relate to this now.

Paul reminds us to discern with our spiritual senses when this occurs. For although the conflict appears to be from a human source, there may be a demonic power behind it.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…’ (Eph 6:10-12a)

That word ‘schemes’ in the Greek is methodeia. It means ‘to follow craftily, frame devices, deceive’ and is also translated ‘wiles’ or ‘lie in wait.’ [1]

It is this very trickery that causes us to believe that the source of our battle is a person or human in origin, when it is not.

5 Signs you are ‘not fighting flesh and blood’

‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…’ (Eph 6:12a)

The Greek word Paul uses for ‘struggle’ can also be translated ‘wrestle’. It is defined as:

‘Wrestling (a contest between two in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck)’ [2]

This metaphor gives us some insight as to the signs and effects of a spiritual battle taking place: [3]

  1. You feel stifled; it feels as though there is a stranglehold coming against you
  2. You are being held back, or pushed back in some way
  3. You are on the ground (feeling disabled) and you don’t know how you are going to get up
  4. You are tempted to feel as though you are a victim
  5. You are feeling knocked around or beaten up

The struggle is against God’s purpose for your life, your marriage, family, work or ministry, and you may even be tempted to give up.

As soon as you become aware of the true nature of the battle, you can turn it around.

At the very moment you discern the true source of that warfare—that it is not a person, a system, or an institution—you can shift the battle into the spiritual realm.

How the Battle Turns

‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)

Kingdom EncounterInterestingly, James makes this statement in the context of human conflict (see James 4:1-6). Are you looking for a person fighting with you to change, in order for the battle to shift? According to the Bible, the turning point of spiritual warfare is not when the other person changes.

The turning point comes when you recommit personally to God, coming under the authority of the One who has ultimate authority.

Submitting is whatever the Holy Spirit shows you to do—and can involve many things including:

  • A conscious reaffirming of Jesus’ Lordship in every area of your life
  • Coming back to a position of faith and believing God’s Word
  • Repentance, so that any ‘foothold’ the enemy has had in your life is broken (Eph 4:27b)
  • Repositioning in your thinking
  • An attitude of worship
  • Recognition that the battle is a spiritual one and that your place is with Jesus, ‘seated in Heavenly places’ (Eph 2:6)

Now, you resist—and that enemy must flee. Because submitting to God and actively resisting makes you dangerous.

Finally, the best news of all:

‘The Lord is a warrior; the LORD is His Name’. (Ex 15:3, NIV)
‘The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.’ (Isaiah 42:13a NKJV)

There is a revelation of Who your God is, that you will only receive in the midst of a conflict.


[1] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3180&t=KJV See also Eph 4:14 KJV

[2] https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3823&t=KJV

[3] For more signs, see my article 12 Signs of Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare Online Course

I have just launched first new online course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ and I warmly invite you to join me!

This course includes around 30 mini lectures on video, and is full of Biblical wisdom and strategies to help you overcome in time of battle. There is also a downloadable full transcript in PDF version.

And once you’re in, there is no expiry date, so you can continue to journey with me through upgrades and increased course content in the future.

The Bible has great news. If you have discerned signs of a spiritual battle taking place, you do not have to be weighed down by spiritual oppression or put up with pressure and attack! Find out more about the course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ here.

Related Post:

© 2016 Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

47 thoughts on “5 Signs You are in a Spiritual Battle (and how to overcome)”

  1. hi Helen, good to know you! I am from Hong Kong and I’ve read your blog for 2 months. I am so thankful and blessed by your teaching, not only do I understand more about the spiritual gifts in biblical basis, but also in a strong sense of God’s love and kindness which strengthens me a lot on Father’s heart and intimate relationship.
    Recently when you have a new post, I would have a knowing inside just before I start to visit your blog, it’s so amazing! The Lord speaks to me through your teaching and I always felt it timely, touching and encouraging! I bless the new change of your ministry and I long for the online course! May the Lord Jesus Christ blows fresh wind of Spirit upon Enliven Ministry bringing newness and wonder to you!

    1. Thank you so much, Bonnie! Your encouragement means a lot to me.
      It’s been many years since my husband and I visited Hong Kong – a very special place and dear to God’s heart. May you receive a fresh visitation of the Spirit upon your life and all of those around you!

  2. Merry Christmas Helen~many blessings to you and yours this holiday season! How DO you DO this?? Spiritual Warfare INDEED! In fact, I feel as if you wrote this entire post for ME!!( HI willie I see I’m not alone_God Bless you Willie and I hope we both get some peace!) I am so undone by everything in my life and just today I read the last words of King David in 1 Chronicles and realized that I truly was not humble enough, hadn’t fully surrendered, wasn’t ready to let the Holy Spirit take over completely and mad as hell at God. I’m suffering from depression due to a car accident 3 years ago, my resulting head injury, the fact that I’m still out of work and have three kids at home. I did read this post when it first came out but things got really crazy around here and I couldn’t respond to it then. I take hope and direction from everything you send and your posts have been a true lighthouse in the perfect sand storm of my adult life! I just wanted to let you know that you are a real gem and I thank the Heavenly Father for the words, grace and perseverance of YOUR work coz I for one need the life raft you provide! Much love and well wishes in the new year~Stacie

    1. Hi Stacie, Merry Christmas!
      Before I get into my busy prep for Christmas Eve family dinner mode… I’m glad you are finding the blog encouraging and that makes me smile too. I pray you experience a release of healing, and that 2017 brings a breath of fresh air for you, of new possibilities ahead. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me too. <3

      1. Hi Helen. Thanks for this piece. I am currently facing a marital battle. The devil really does not want me married and anyone that I bring seems not to have the consent of my parents, who are deeply into fetish things. I know, without doubt that it’s a battle as result of their involvements with the occult. The current relationship that I know started on God’s consent now gives indications in dreams and through a friend that has a prophetic gift that a break up seems to be the next thing. We actually decided to do so , considering all indications but I need this man in my life. Do you think God’s mercy can still intervene in this, despite all the recent spiritual signals we have had? How can we go about it?

        1. Hello O.A, thank you for leaving the comment.
          I do not have any knowledge of the cultural or legal issues involved. But I do encourage you to pray and use your God-given spiritual authority – I also encourage you to be in consultation with wise Christian leadership, your own church and pastors is a good place to start.

  3. Hi there,
    Needing prayer warriors. Last year I had revelation that children in my village were being taught witchcraft. To my horror I found that the nursery I had enrolled my son in was teaching Halloween and witches spells for an entire term. This had an uncontrollable effect on him. I was about to complain when I was hit with a 24 hour psychosis accompanied by taste affliction. It was children in need day. I was sectioned and a rainbow shone over the hospital every day for four days. I was released in 7 and immediately took my son out of nursery and placed him in another school. I felt compelled to complain to ofsted about his former nursery. When I did, in the January, I was struck with another psychosis. I was trapped in the mental hospital for 7 weeks where I learnt by what nurses said and did that nursing staff were pagan and there were several Christians being severly mistreated and held in this appalling system. On release I complained about their mistreatment to the hospital. In sept and oct I faced more spiritual attacks on my home and family. My husband has opposed my faith to the point of throwing away childs bible, turning Christian tv or radio off that I listen to, deleting things ive recorded. In December he asked for a divorce and had me sectioned when I was well! Praying God will appear to him for a saul to Damascus conversion.

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