What is Spiritual Opposition

What is Spiritual Opposition?

Whether you realize it or not, we’re living in the middle of a spiritual war. We live in a physical world, and many people deny the reality of a spiritual realm. 

The Bible makes it clear that the spiritual world is just as real as the physical world we see and experience. In fact, the spiritual world is influencing the physical world we live in. 

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”

C.S. Lewis

In the spiritual world, there are two kingdoms at war with each other—the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. There’s no middle ground. You can’t opt-out of the fight.

Jesus explains in John 10:10 that He came to give us life, while the devil came to steal, kill, and destroy that life.

In short, spiritual opposition and oppression is what we experience when Satan and his army come to steal, kill, and destroy.

In this article, I’ll share what the Bible says about this topic, and how you can overcome spiritual opposition. 

The spiritual battle we fight

Humans are unique because we have access to the physical and spiritual world. When God created humans, He formed us from the earth, but filled us with the breath of life. Animals are only physical beings, and angels are only spiritual beings. 

Paul explains that we’re not engaged in a physical battle, but a spiritual one.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV

We can see a glimpse of this battle in Daniel when he is praying. Daniel prays for 21 days, and then an angel shows up and tells Daniel about the battle happening in the spiritual realm. An evil spiritual force was opposing Daniel’s prayers.

“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.”
Daniel 10:12-13 NLT

We can’t see the devil walking around with red horns and a pitchfork, but that doesn’t make our fight against evil spiritual forces any less real. Paul explains the army that we’re fighting against

There are rulers, authorities, strongholds, and spiritual forces of wickedness. 

When you read through the gospels and look at Jesus’ ministry, you’ll see him casting out demons. These evil spirits were oppressing people, and possessing people. That oppression didn’t stop when Jesus returned to Heaven.

Jesus explained that freeing people from oppression was part of His ministry, and it’s our responsibility as believers to continue freeing people from spiritual oppression.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 NIV

Spiritual oppression vs possession 

Many Christians don’t understand the difference between being oppressed by an evil spirit and being possessed by one. The Bible makes it very clear that everyone (including Christians) can be oppressed by evil. That is different from being possessed. 

When someone is possessed by evil, they have no control over their own body. They’re completely out of their mind. We typically call these people schizophrenic and try to fix the issue with physical solutions that don’t fix the spiritual issue.

We see an example of a spiritually possessed man in Mark 5 (Also in Luke 8 and Matt. 8)

“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” 
Mark 5:1-5 NKJV

Spiritual oppression is not this extreme. People who are spiritually oppressed live a mostly normal life, but they’re dealing with the negative influences of evil spirits. Spiritual oppression comes in many forms. It can be a physical sickness or ailment, depression, anger and rage, bipolar, compulsive lying, and more. 

You can live a mostly normal life, unlike the man who was living in the tombs who couldn’t be contained by anything.

We see one example of this in Mark 1.

“Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.” 
Mark 1:23-26 NKJV

This man is much different compared to the man in Mark 5. This man is living a fairly normal life. He’s attending a church service, not chained up in a graveyard. He’s not possessed by evil, but there’s an unclean spirit that’s oppressing him.

Can Christians be oppressed?

The short answer is yes, Christians can be oppressed by the devil and evil spirits. It’s dangerous theology to think that evil spirits can’t oppress a Christian. That wrong thinking has forced believers to live with oppression instead of seeking freedom. 

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:27, “don’t give the devil a foothold.” 

He’s writing to a church in Ephesus, not to unbelievers. Even when you’re a Christian, you can give the devil a foothold or opportunity to steal, kill, and destroy. The difference between believers and unbelievers being oppressed is that the devil can’t barge in. Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit. But, we can open the door ourselves. We can willingly give the devil an opportunity to oppress us.

When we choose to sin, we give the devil a foothold. That doesn’t mean every time you sin you will be oppressed by an evil spirit. When we choose to live in sin, we’re giving the devil and evil spirits a legal foothold in our life. 

In Matthew 15, an unbeliever comes to Jesus and asks Him to set her demon-possessed daughter free. Jesus tells her that deliverance is meant for the children of Israel, not unbelievers. Jesus made the case that believers should be seeking freedom and deliverance more than unbelievers, not less. 

2 Peter 2 talks about false teachers. These people knew Jesus, but they became entangled in sin and corruption. Peter says they’re worse off now than when they were unbelievers. 

We need to be aware and actively resist the devil. 

God has called us to live victoriously and fully free from oppression. Jesus has given us authority over the devil, and disarmed the evil spirits (Colossians 2:15). 

We no longer live in the kingdom of darkness, but we can allow it to oppress us. It’s our job to enforce the victory Jesus paid for.

We can triumph over spiritual oppression, but only when we recognize that it’s real. If we ignore the fight or believe that we can’t be oppressed, we will lose. 

If you want to overcome spiritual oppression and cancel the devil’s plans, start declaring these Bible verses over your life. When we speak God’s Word He starts working! God backs His own Word. 

Know the truth and the truth will set you free:

“It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.” 
Psalm 18:32
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 
1 John 5:4
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” 
2 Corinthians 2:14
“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” 
Psalm 18:28
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,” 
Psalm 107:2

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” 
Colossians 1:13
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 
1 John 3:8
“In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.” 
Isaiah 54:14
“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” 
Psalm 18:3

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