USA (MNN) — As we established yesterday, spiritual warfare isn’t an oft-studied topic. Speakers Karl Payne and Marcus Warner want believers to find answers and biblical truth at Set Free Ministries‘ upcoming spiritual warfare conference.
“Do we have to teach people how to have a Bible study?” asks Payne. “Yes. How to …. share the Gospel? Yes… How about when they’re involved in demonic attacks, or attacks from the world, or the flesh? Yes. It just becomes one more arrow [in your quiver]. When you need it, you pull it out.
“But, to deny that [a] battle goes on means that, when a person finds themselves in the middle of that battle, they don’t have an arrow to pull out. That’s just irresponsible.”
Christians often acknowledge the “war within,” he continues, but hesitate to recognize spiritual realities.
“When the Bible says — like in James 4:7 and 8 — we’re to resist the devil and he’ll flee from us… all of a sudden we want to go, ‘Yeah, that’s metaphorical, I guess,’” says Payne.
“Why? Why would we say one of them is literal and the other is metaphorical?”
Payne will answer this question and more as he teaches about spiritual warfare with fellow speaker, Marcus Warner. Get tickets and more information here.
Flesh vs. spirit – where’s the line?
If the spiritual realm is to be acknowledged, how do you differentiate between battles of “the flesh” and battles of a spiritual nature? Payne says it’s not always an easy distinction to make.
“It’s not a ‘one size thought’ fits everything,” he notes. “If we don’t take enough time to… read our Bible to see how the playbook works, then we get beat up.
“You’ve got to learn to recognize, ‘where’s the hit coming from?’ so you know how to respond.”
Warner agrees, recalling a woman he knew who suffered from a severe, unrelenting headache.
“In Western culture, you treat the symptoms…. take Tylenol, go to doctor, go to Mayo clinic and all the specialty clinics, etc.,” says Warner. “She did all of that. Went to all those places and for 12 years she had a pounding headache.”
Then, the woman met with a missionary who discovered that she had gone on a mission trip to Machu Pichu. A ritual knife she purchased as a souvenir had been dedicated to demons.
“They renounced the claims on that and destroyed the knife, and instantly her headaches went away and never returned,” Warner recalls.
“You can say it’s all psychological, but in reality, it’s a warfare issue that wasn’t resolved until you dealt with it in a warfare way.”
Payne and Warner both have plenty of experience engaging in spiritual warfare, but they came to the “frontlines” on completely different paths.
Different experiences, same war
Payne says his experience mirrors that of many U.S. pastors. “I did not come into this willingly,” he explains. “I did not come into this understanding anything about it.
“In fact, [my thoughts about spiritual warfare] would’ve been more negative. [I thought] this was just ‘silliness’ that is usually on at 3 o’clock in the morning, with people that are fleecing people for money.”
Then, Payne graduated from seminar and started pastoring churches. He realized the materials and concepts he learned weren’t making a practical different in real-life situations.
“Natural resolutions to supernatural problems just won’t work,” he concludes.
Spiritual warfare was an everyday reality for Warner, whose parents were missionaries in Sierra Leone.
“I grew up around this most of my life,” explains Warner, “and have seen all kinds of people get set free from things that they would never have gotten help for any other way.
“Unfortunately, too many people [try] to deal with warfare problems by means that don’t take the spiritual world seriously. As a result of that, they’re not getting the breakthrough that they’re looking for.”
Today, Warner leads Deeper Waters International, a training and resource ministry that addresses emotional healing with a special focus on spiritual warfare.
Header image courtesy Scripture Confident Living.