How to Win Phase 1 in Spiritual Warfare

Mark Furlong
5 min readJan 31, 2024

You really can win these battles

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Every day, Christians have the incredible benefit of connecting with God, receiving His life and love, and moving forward in the plans and purposes He has for our lives.

Every day, Christians also face some form of struggle, temptation, or spiritual attack.

Spiritual Warfare is Real and Winnable

Ephesians 6:10–11, ESV tells us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

The only way to live the Christian life and win the temptation/spiritual attack struggle is through God’s strength. If we put on the whole armor of God THEN, we will be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Especially in our day, it is vitally important to realize there really is a devil, and he develops schemes, strategies, tactics to bring us down. Spiritual warfare is not something uneducated, simplistic people believe in.

The word of God clearly teaches it is real. When you study Jesus’ ministry, a lot of it dealt not only with teaching, training, and healing, but also with releasing people from the torment of demonic forces.

Recognizing the Enemy’s Tactics

This passage and several others teach that we have a very real, thinking, strategizing enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10a, ESV)

Satan is a fallen angel. He is not all-knowing or all-powerful. He also works in a fairly consistent pattern in trying to tempt us away from following God.

We see it in Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say ’You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”

There are several levels to Phase 1 of his temptation strategy, but in this article I want to focus on just one.


Since the devil is not all-knowing, his first step is to assess what Eve knows.

Shortly, he is going to get to his primary goal of challenging the truthfulness of God’s word, God’s character, and His will for them, but he starts here.

“How much of God’s word does she know, and does she understand it?”

He intentionally distorts what God had said to see if she would catch it.

He knows God didn’t say they couldn’t eat from any tree in the garden, just one. But he wanted to find out if Eve knew that.

Eve knew that much of God’s word, so he then takes step 2. But this is where he starts.

To Win We Must Know

She had a fighting chance because she knew what God had said. She and Adam fell for his deception in round 2, but they would have immediately fallen if they didn’t know God’s word.

Here’s the deal: if we want to defeat Phase 1 of the enemy’s temptations and attacks, we need to have a good understanding of God’s word.

The first piece of God’s armor is the belt of truth, the truth of Scripture.(Ephesians 6:14 ESV). Every other piece of God’s armor listed in Ephesians 6 is also a biblical truth we apply to our lives.

To strike back against the temptations and lies of the evil one, Ephesians 6:17b, ESV says to use, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

When Jesus was first tempted by the devil after his 40-day fast, He didn’t say, “I’m the Son of God, so get out of here, devil.” He didn’t say, “I created this world with my words, so leave Me alone.”

Jesus used Scripture. In the three different temptations, He quoted three different Old Testament passages from the book of Deuteronomy. He used Scripture as a shield and a sword to defeat every type of temptation the devil could throw at Him.

If We Want to Win…

If we want to win the battle against sin and Satan, knowing the Bible well is super important.

I know, it takes effort. It takes study to know the Bible. But if we want to win these really important battles, now, more than ever, each of us needs to be a serious student of God’s word.

In our information age, the deceptions of the enemy are increasing in scale and intensity. Some Christians are being blown around by every false wind of “doctrine” or teaching. (Ephesians 4:15–16, ESV).

Colossians 3:16, NASB says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.”

Jesus said to the devil, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, NASB)

Jesus said, God’s word is truth. (John 17:17, ESV)

The way to defeat lies is with truth, especially God’s truth.

There are many great ways to get God’s living words inside you; the main thing is to take steps to do it.

If the devil sees a person doesn’t know God’s word at all, then he can guide them wherever he wants. He is an expert in manipulation and deception.

If he sees a person knows a little of what God says, he will use another strategy.

But when he sees a person who knows Scripture well and is committed to living it, then he has to put in a lot of effort to deceive us.

If we keep God’s word central in our minds and are committed to living it out in the power of the Spirit and God’s grace, we can win these battles.

It doesn’t matter what type of attack, what schemes or tactics he tries, “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, NASB).

Knowing God’s Word and applying it well will empower us to win these spiritual battles. It is an absolute essential for winning Phase 1.

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Mark Furlong

Author, Coach Helping busy, active people know and live ALL of God’s purposes for their life: the COMPLETE life.,