When is it a Spiritual Attack?
Identifying Spiritual Attack
Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Mark 9:28-29 (KJV)
28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
I am not a guy who sees a demon under every rock but I do have a pastoral file for “Spiritual Attack.” The one thing I know for sure is that if the attack is spiritual in nature, good business practice (even when baptized) won’t address it. Spiritual problems can only be addressed by spiritual solutions. Here are a few of my filters and criteria for discerning if I have a common leadership, personality or systems problem or if we are under Spiritual Attack.
Possible Indicators of Spiritual Attack:
- Arrives after significant Holy Spirit movement
- Practical solutions fail to address simple challenges
- No flagrant sin involved
- Inability to nail down root causes to an ongoing problem
- Situation is more significant than the sum of its parts
- Energy around non-missional things
- Timing around major growth opportunities
- Neglect of Spiritual disciplines and spiritual leadership (have created footholds)
- Situation brings out the worst in everyone
- Unholy positioning
- People actively working toward destruction of others
- Situation does not lead to personal repentance
- Condemnation rather than conviction
- Common mission lost in personal agenda
If a determine something to be a Spiritual Attack, here is how I counter-attack.
The Counter Attack
- Prayer (How many hours have you spent in prayer about your situation?) Talk less. Pray more.
- Identification of strongholds (i.e. confusion, gossip, self pity, ambition, pride, lust) List them and pray against them.
- Fasting (How serious are you about this?)
- Personal repentance
- Renewed commitment to the missional good
Leading During Attack:
1. Teach Spiritual Warfare to the best of your understanding
2. Encourage people to identify and activate their Spiritual Gifts
2. Get serious and intentional about prayer and devotion
3. Resist the devil
4. Engage in fervant prayer (learn how to pray in such situations and solicit the prayers of those who already know how)
5. Learn to catch it early (early diagnosis of spiritual attack in the future can be a game changer)
I am far from an expert here and I fully realize that I am much more considered a practical leader than a hyper-spiritual leader. However, I am convinced that learning to identify what is a spiritual attack, employing a strategy for conducting spiritual warfare and leading spiritually is the most practical thing in the world.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, A Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church, is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois