True Spiritual Warfare | Mark 3:11–12

11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

Popular cinema and other forms of media have portrayed spiritual warfare as a mystical extension of human conflict.  Humans fight with swords and fists in the mud, while angels might do so in aerial displays of grace and power.  Christians are taught to involve themselves by speaking words binding evil spirits until supernatural authorities can cart away the tempters.  When compared to such rhetoric, true spiritual warfare may not seem as spectacular, but it is far more effective.

It’s the presence of Jesus that brings demons to their knees.  True spiritual warfare is fought by Christ and His Word.  That is why we are commanded to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph 6:10).  We can stand only in the armor He provides us (vv. 11–13).  Our only weapon is the sword of His Word (v. 17), and we must always be in prayer to Him (v. 18). 

Demons know Who Jesus is.  However, here we see that Jesus isn’t going to allow the demon to reveal too much about Him too soon.  Jesus knows many Jews have the wrong idea about what it is to be the Son of God and the Messiah.  If He does not control the flow of information, He might be prematurely crucified, or He could inadvertently spark rebellion against Rome.  As such, this is Christ exercising divine control over the spiritual realm.  He has a great deal of teaching remaining, and He ensures everything proceeds according to the definite plan of God (Acts 2:23; 4:28).

It isn’t our ability that wins spiritual battles—our standing and fighting, our testimony, our declaring or binding.  As the Sons of Sceva learned, it isn’t even saying the name “Jesus” that’s enough to drive out demons (Acts 19:11–17).  Instead, the Lord with and residing in His children causes demons to fall (cf. 1 Jn 4:4).  Those indwelt with the Holy Spirit have the Spirit of Christ (cf. 1 Pt 1:11)—and Christians must prayerfully rest in His strength and Word to win the spiritual victories of the day.

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