Week of Ash Wednesday

What Is Spiritual Warfare?

"Spiritual warfare" is not a phrase that will be immediately attractive to everyone. After all, war is hell. But that's actually the point. As disciples of Jesus Christ, the forces of hell are out to get us. This isn't paranoia—it's a fact. Consider Ephesians 6:10-17:

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

St. Paul, like Christ himself, assumes that we will face spiritual battles. He calls upon us to rely on God's strength rather than our own to repel the attacks of the enemy. St. Paul also points out that our enemies are not other human beings. Jesus does not call us to literal violence. Our enemies are Satan and his demons who want to draw us away from God and into sin. We must fight against them if we are to remain faithful to Christ.

(By the way, this emphasis on spiritual warfare has continued in the Catholic Church right up to the present day. Pope Francis has recently been preaching a catechetical series on the vices and virtues, in which he described the Christian life as a "continuous combat.")

St. Paul lists truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, and other qualities as the offensive and defensive weapons we should use in spiritual warfare. This Lent, we'll dive into this in more detail, learning how to use the weapons of spiritual combat so we can resist temptation and more fully participate in Christ's victory—because the goal of spiritual warfare is spiritual peace.

Ready to train yourself and your family for spiritual warfare? Enroll in LANE's 2024 Lenten program for free weekly resources during this holy season.