The painting depicts God addressing a devil, w...

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No doubt, spiritual warfare is real.  Jesus and the apostles casted out many demons and Paul spoke of our battle not being against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities.  But I wonder if sometimes we use the excuse of demons and spiritual warfare as an excuse?

If we struggle with something like alcohol or pornography, it’s easier to just blame the demons than it is to step up and make the right choices.  Jesus died that we might be free from the power of sin.  But unfortunately that’s not something that happens instantly in most cases—it takes prayer and hard work, saying no to the temptations of our flesh.  But we live in a time when we just want and expect everything instantly.  And as Paul wrote about eloquently in Romans 7, there is a constant war going on between the spiritual man who cherishes God above all, and the sinful nature that craves the desires of the flesh.

And when we are going through a difficult season—financially, physically or emotionally—is that necessarily an attack of the enemy?  Or is it discipline or pruning from God?  Scripture tells us to be joyful in our affliction.  It also says God disciplines his children because He loves us.

No doubt, spiritual warfare is real; and we face a powerful enemy in Satan who seeks to destroy us.  But let’s not give Satan more authority than he has in our lives.  Sometimes the struggles we face are because of bad decisions we make; and sometimes they are pruning or discipline from our heavenly Father.  So while we understand the power of Satan, the father of lies, let’s recognize that we have been given freedom from the bondage of sin by our Lord.  Let’s die daily to our flesh and start making the right decisions based on the Word of God.  Now, there is no guarantee that if we do that, life will become easy.  But let’s stop making excuses for ourselves, blaming Satan for our troubles.  Let’s step up and take responsibility for our own circumstances and choices, seeking God’s strength and wisdom to make the right choices every day.