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Spiritual Battles

It’s clear that right now, there is a battle happening on the earth. There’s a battle for our children in school systems; a battle in defining what makes a woman a woman, or a man a man; a battle for the innocent lives of unborn children, fair voting, secure borders, you name it. But what if I told you that you, right now, are about to embark in a battle even as you read this article? 

What battle is this? 

The spiritual battle in the mind is ongoing, whether we notice it or not. We can better understand it by, first, going back to the beginning. In Genesis, the war began at the fall of man.

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed;” said the Lord.

(Genesis 3:15)

When man fell, a war between seeds began, or as Jesus revealed, a war of words began (Luke 8:11). In Hebrew thought there is a positive and negative to everything. There is a word that comes from the enemy, which is used to deceive, confuse, kill and destroy; but there is a light that contracts the darkness. It is the living WORD, which is used to renew, reveal, bring life, and restore. 

What word are you letting in you? 

Again, in Hebrew thought, the Spirit of God is masculine, and the soul is femine. This means that there is a constant battle happening between the Spirit of the Lord and the soulish nature. The real war begins the moment the WORD enters our soul. We are currently in a fallen state: when man fell and received the body of flesh, there was a veil of ignorance placed over our minds (Genesis 3:21). We were born into sin (ignorance of truth) and made from the dust of the earth (Psalm 51:5, Genesis 2:7). The real tribulation of temptation only happens through the Word of God, because, after hearing the truth,  our soul is held accountable to what we know (Romans 3:20).

“For we can be sure of this: before the WORD of God is heard. . . there is no tribulation of temptation, because unless the trumpet sounds the war does not begin. But when the trumpet gives the signal for war, then comes affliction and all the battles of temptations. It was when Moses and Aaron began to talk to Pharoah that the people of God were afflicted (cf. Exod 5:23). When the WORD of God comes into your soul, the battle of virtue against vice is necessarily joined within you. . . . and a ruthless war begins.” [1] 

Origen Spirit & Fire 212 (531)

In scripture, trumpets are used symbolically to describe the voice of God as released through the prophets (ref Isaiah 58:1, Jeremiah 51:27, Revelation 1:10). To be a prophet means that you can see symbolically what the Lord is saying. When the scriptures are being revealed to you the war begins, meaning the real war happens in your mind. If we look up the definition of the word “war” in Ancient Hebrew, we’ll see that it speaks of “fighting with the bread when kneading.” What is bread? According to Christ it is His body or the word of God (ref Jeremiah 15:16, Matthew 4:4, John 6:31-35).

Our carnal mind is at war with God (Romans 8:7). The word of God ignites this battle; it brings the pressure to change in our lives. That poses the question: what is this battle for, what is it exactly that we are fighting for? The answer: it is a fight for virtue. We battle with the vices of our soul in exchange for the Spirit of God. Virtue is the character of God being manifested through you. Having gone through transformation, you have now gotten rid of self, in exchange for the impartation of God’s divine nature.

“Then Celsus says that we shrink from raising up alters, images and temples. . . . Not seeing that for us the spirit of every good person is an altar from which arises a truly and spiritually sweet smelling “incense,” the “prayers” of a pure conscience (cf. Rev 5:8; Ps 141:2). But the statutes and gifts which are for offerings to God, not made by ordinary artisans but traced and shaped in us by the WORD of God, are the virtues: our imitation of the firstborn “of all creation” (Col 1:15), who is the model of justice, prudence, courage, wisdom, piety and the other virtues. Thus, in all those who, according to the divine Word, build up in themselves prudence and justice, wisdom and piety and the structures of the other virtues, there are images in which we believe it is fitting to honor the prototype of all images, “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15)” [2] 

Origen Spirit & Fire pg 211 528

We receive virtue (God’s divine character) by becoming what has been revealed to us. The understanding of justice, prudence, courage, wisdom, piety, etc, has to move from head knowledge to experiential; where the heart is transformed and being walked out in someone’s life. This only comes through Christ and knowing His word. Every time we walk out the word, and there’s a transformation in our walk, we birth the nature of God out into the world. 

Although, with every transformation there must be a testing that comes, and it comes through the Word. Consider the account of Job, God loved him yet, intentionally let Satan strip lands, animals, family, and his health from him. Again, when Peter was sifted, God allowed Satan to also do as he wished (ref Job 1:6-12, Luke 22:31-33). Why is this? Because after the test is passed there is an impartation of God, or transformation that follows. That is why Paul said that he gloried in his tribulation, because from glory to glory we are being transformed again into His image (ref Romans 5:3-4, 2 Corinthians 2:18). Tribulation comes because of the word of God (Mark 4:7); this internal persecution is to test what we’ve learned, so that true healing can come to what has previously plagued the soul.

“But the most painful kind of persecution is that which is internal. This persecution comes from each person’s own soul, as the soul is plagued by irrelevant lusts, diverse pleasures, earthly hopes, and destructive dreams. It’s always grasping for more. Maddened by savage loves, it is inflamed by the passions that attack it like stinging insects. In the end, it leads a person to give up hope for eternal life, and to have a contempt for God. Internal persecution is more painful because it is always with a person. The persecuted one cannot escape it, because he carries the enemy everywhere inside of himself. The persecution that comes from the outside may be easily ended, but the internal war in our souls continues until the day we die.” [3] 

Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg 120-121

The enemy that we carry around is the carnal mind which differs from the character of God. As long as we still have this flesh, we will always be fighting this internal war. The Greek word for flesh is the word sarx, which is the same word for carnality. According to the Thayer Bible dictionary, the word flesh “denotes mere human nature”; it’s “the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God.” The flesh also speaks of a veil (Hebrews 10:20). The veil over the word of God, can blind our minds from seeing the spiritual understanding of scripture (2 Co 3:14, 2 Co 3:6). 

This means that it was not all done at the cross. Jesus was a blueprint – a living testament of how to return into God’s image. Christ came to teach the spiritual understanding of scripture, which is why we are called to live the same way that Christ lived. There is still work to be done. The war is not over, even right now, there is war to remove the veil over our minds to truly see what Christ is saying. 

“For man is at enmity with God, and is in an unreasonable and impious state of mind and wicked disposition towards Him, especially when he thinks that he knows something, and is in ignorance.” [4] 

Ante- Nicene Fathers, Volume 8 | Pseudo-Clemente – Recognition Book 5

Sin is not lying, stealing, or cheating. Sin is ignorance of truth, because if you had the truth, you wouldn’t lie, steal, or cheat. There needs to be a removal of the veil that is over our minds, in order to see the mysteries of scripture. This process of removing the veil is the Greek word apocalypto, or the English word revelation. The mysteries of God are all over scripture; they are the knowledge of God that can only be accessed through this process of revelation (Ephesians 3:3-4). Paul describes these things as being hidden in God, which Christ came to reveal, accomplishing His eternal purpose (Ephesisans 3:1-13).

Even the veil that lies over the scriptures, God allows. Just as He tested Job and Peter’s faith, we also must be tested. The enemy is allowed to attack the faithful for our purification. Do you remember what happened to Job once the tribulation period was over? Job’s losses were restored and he received twice as much as he had before (ref Job 42:10-15).

“The evil powers attack the faithful with every weapon they have, locking arms in bloody combat. But eventually the evil powers have to give up the battle. They retreat with admiration for the victorious Christian.” [5] 

Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg15

The tribulation we endure allows perseverance and the character of God to become manifest in us (Romans 5:3-4). Before oil is made, olives must be pressed. Before wine is made, grapes must be pressed. Before diamonds are made, they must go through pressure. The parallels are endless: pressure builds up the virtues within us. Notice how “they retreat with admiration for the victorious Christian.” To call yourself a Christian means you are Christ like, or someone who embodies the character of Christ. Each time we walk out something in His character, our DNA changes from the animal nature, back into the nature of God. Our fleshly desires are like imprints in our soul that need healing. 

“However, now we recognize that our fleshly desires are really imprints on our soul — imprints left by the wicked spirit forces with whom we struggle.”  [6] 

“Each false allurement leaves its imprint on the spirit by constantly pressing against it. By our falling for the bait, our soul unwittingly carries about the imprint of our fleshly desires.” [7] 

Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg15
Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg15

We are being imprinted with the character of God through the revelation of the word, which removes the imprint (DNA) of the enemy. This is the real battle that has been taking place since the beginning. Are you willing to fight to pursue virtue?

It is important to have the right understanding of tribulation, because through tribulation, which happens because of the Word, we receive the character of God. When we fall seven times, we will continue to rise, because real tribulation is the process of healing, and this we must also go through (Proverbs 24:16). 


  1. Origen Spirit & Fire 212 (531)
  2. Origen Spirit & Fire pg 211 528
  3. Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg 120-121
  4. Ante- Nicene Fathers, Volume 8 | Pseudo-Clemente – Recognition Book 5
  5. Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg15
  6. Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg15
  7. Clement | Spiritual Battles | Intimacy with God | pg15

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