Spiritual Warfare: Human Perception & Persecution || Do you know what the devil's greatest trick is? Join me as I reveal what it is and how human perception, persecution, and punishment play into spiritual...

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The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” says actor Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects.

Perception is everything to us. But do you think the devil doesn’t exist because you don’t perceive him?

The devil wants us to believe that he and his fallen angels aren’t real. He wants us to believe there is no such thing as spiritual warfare.

perception: blindfolded woman

And he most certainly doesn’t want us to know about spiritual perception. God brought all of this to my attention as I studied Scripture this week.

So what is spiritual perception? It is the only way we are to effectively and righteously judge others.

Oh yes, God allows us to judge others. So why does it say otherwise in Scripture?

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

Limiting Perception

As humans, we are limited by what we perceive. And because we are limited by our own perceptions, we are unable to righteously and fairly judge as God does.

In fact, God provided instruction in the Old Testament on a suitable means of judging others because of our limitations. We are to have witnesses.

“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. (Deuteronomy 19:15)

perception: two witnesses

Your friend might make a comment that is offensive, but it wasn’t offensive to anyone else in the conversation. In this case, there would only be one witness to the offense… and that’s you.

But if two people testified to the offense, then there would be two witnesses. God wants there to be two or more witnesses to protect all of us from one another.

Judging Falsely

He wants to protect us from selfish desires and sin against each other. Because even one witness’s perception can persuade another to falsely testify.

Ever have family members form an alliance against you based on one side of the story? This is occurring in my own family right now.

My father and mother divorced seven years ago, but there is still a lot of vicious words, judgements, and opinions made based on my father’s testimony. These family members have unrighteously risen up against my mother with only one witness as proof.

perception: one witness

Maybe it’s not a family member that is falsely accusing you or someone you know. Maybe it’s a friend or a coworker that has persuaded others to go against you.

As Christians, we are called to a higher standard. We are called to know of the devil’s existence, of the spiritual warfare we face, and the temptation to judge on limited insight.

And he will delight in the fear of the Lord, and he will not judge by what his eyes see, nor make a decision by what his ears hear. (Isaiah 11:3)

Seeking His Truth

Humans are subjected to emotions, feelings, thoughts, and senses. This is where spiritual warfare exists… with our perceptions.

Which means we all have limited understanding, regardless of how many witnesses there are. It leads me to ask if there is a better, more complete way of judging others despite our limitedness?

And the answer is yes! Jesus, in fact, introduces us to the concept of spiritual perception.

perception: God's understanding

But even if I do judge, My judgement is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent me. (John 8:16)

Jesus claimed to have God the Father as His second witness. This means that we also have God as our second witness to unrighteousness.

And so, we are able to judge based on God’s understanding, knowledge, and truth. We have a witness that is not limited in any way.

Dispensing Justice

We have God to help us fight against human perceptions by leaning on His true testimony. But let me be clear about one thing: even if we are justified through God’s testimony, we are not justified to punish with evil!

Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. (Zechariah 7:8-9)

perception: kindness and compassion

Even if God has given us the authority to dispense justice, we are to do so with kindness and compassion. Justice can only be true when there is the absence of evil.

So when someone is punishing you with hateful words and actions, they are not of God. They are under the influence of the one who has pulled the greatest trick in all of the world.

Therefore, do not form conclusions based on what you see or hear. And more importantly, don’t judge and administer justice without first consulting God.

Leaning On Him

If you find yourself under persecution, He is there for you. If you feel tempted to take offense and retaliate, He is waiting for you to seek His righteous perception and guidance.

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So ask Him for it. Ask to receive His wisdom on the trial you are currently facing.

Lean on Him and trust in His understanding. He will reveal His wisdom to you if you truly desire it.

Dealing With Persecution

And while you undergo persecution, here are 3 ways to help you resist temptation:

1. Pray

Cast all your frustrations, worries, and hurts on God (1 Peter 5:7), pray for and bless those who falsely accuse you (Matthew 5:44), and ask God to overwhelm you with His peace in order to see you through this persecution (John 14:27).

2. Praise

Meditate on good things instead of the problem (Philippians 4:8), delight in God and the work He has done in your life (Psalm 37:4), and praise Him for never forsaking you as you trust in Him (Psalm 9:10).

3. Put On

Soldiers for Christ are expected to don the full armor of God and use the one weapon He has issued to us: the sword of the Spirit [Scripture] (Ephesians 6:10-18). Along with this, we should not take matters into our own hands because God is sovereign over all matters (Psalm 127:2).

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Understanding Spiritual Warfare

If you do believe the devil exists, then it’s imperative that you acknowledge spiritual warfare. And we must understand that God has not left us to fend for ourselves.

He given us His armor, His weapon, and His instructions all detailed in Scripture. Our job is to utilize everything He has given us and to constantly rely on His spiritual perception to help us discern His will versus the devil’s will.

For more on spiritual warfare and how the devil uses our thought-life and emotions to tempt us, I highly recommend Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind:

It has opened my eyes to the real war we face! And it’s a great resource of compiled information from Scripture on how to fight in this war.

And don’t forget to lean on God for truth and understanding. He is our greatest judge and our greatest vindicator!

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Post Question: Are you undergoing persecution because of someone’s false perception? Comment below!


Singer, B. (Director). (1995). The usual suspects [Motion picture].

14 COMMENTS

  1. Disguised as the “Angel of Light”, we don’t always think to see opposition as spiritual warfare! Having the perspective that Satan and his demons influence people and situations does help keep a broader perspective on things!

    • I never really paid much attention to the devil and his demons being angels until I started reading Scripture more. It also puts things into perspective knowing that 1/3 of the angels in heaven fell with the devil. We definitely are in spiritual warfare; it’s all around us!

  2. I was raised Catholic until my parents got divorced when I was 13. In the Catholic church the devil and spiritual warfare were never discussed. It wasn’t until my church in college did I ever truly hear these concepts. Once evil is acknowledge it is hard to not see and experience it all around. Unfortunately our society currently is the devil’s playground as so many people are living their life based upon what feels good. Thank you for the post!

    • I was raised Catholic, too, and I agree that spiritual warfare and satan were never talked about. There’s so much to be gained from a Bible-based church or study program, which is how I became aware of it all. I’m so glad that eventually you were exposed to the concept of spiritual warfare; it is very eye-opening! Thanks for sharing!

  3. “Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother”… it’s a result of having a renwed mind .. a new way of thinking. When our thinking / perception is influenced by the Word of God.. our emotions, feeling and words aren’t fickle anymore for they are submitted to the rulership of Jesus.

  4. I think the battle of the mind is one of the hardest to overcome. We need to seek God out and ask for His strength. Once we defeat one battle another one is in the wings.
    Great post!

    • Thank you, Julie! You are so right! And it’s amazing when we take that step toward Christ and carry our own cross that the effort doesn’t seem as great as when we first started out!

  5. I can’t help but think if people don’t believe in spiritual warfare how they justify so many evil things which are happening in the world. In Ephesians 6:12 it tells us we fight against the principalities of the dark. For the believer, this is the importance of putting on our armor every day. For the non-believer, the enemy already has them trapped. This is why as believers it is important to be the light in this world to free them from the demonic presence of the darkness and evil in this world. Even when we are walking closely with God, we are in the enemy’s sight, and he would love nothing more than to destroy us. Have you noticed how dark, demonic and gory television programs and movies have become? This isn’t by chance. The enemy knows his days are numbered. He can get a ton of people thinking about evilness in one swoop and infiltrate their mind with evil thoughts. People keep asking what could possess a man to gun down people at a concert; there is only one thing that could make a man do such a horrendous thing, a depraved mind. There is a reason God tells us to think on these things which are honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, praiseworthy because when you fill your mind with good things…good things happen. When you fill your mind with evil…evil things happen. I don’t believe there has ever been more of a prominent time than now to “Guard our Hearts.” I believe every believer is under persecution and it is time for “turtle formation.” How do we fight back? The Word of God! Memorizing scripture and as soon as thoughts come in taking them captive and slamming it with the power of His Word! This was a great post! I loved every word! I guess you can tell I’m a little passionate about this subject. Blessings!!!

    • So much truth and wisdom, Sheila! I love how you said the enemy knows his days are numbered because there does appear to be a heightened amount of violence and sexual immorality on television and in the world. It’s like there is an urgency to get as many people as he can before Jesus returns. And I love the visual of taking terrible thoughts captive and slamming them with His Word; it’s spiritual counterterrorism! Thank you for being so passionate about this subject- it inspires us to be full of spit and vinegar when it comes to our faith!

  6. Oh how the devil likes to twist everything…everything! We have to be on guard constantly. Guarding our heart is the best way to combat him working in our lives, so even when we face persecution we can have the forethought to do what you recommend.

    • Yes, Kristi! Being on guard is even more crucial than fighting against it. If we can avoid getting entangled in the drama and remain at peace, then we are doing exactly what God wants us to!

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