I’ll never forget preaching on a Sunday night and hearing bizarre sounds coming from the back of the auditorium. Soon there were more than strange sounds. A man was walking down the aisle as he shouted and screamed. At first I continued to speak, hoping the ushers would be able to handle the situation. But as he walked toward me, our eyes met. I saw a wildness that I can’t quite describe. He not only disrupted the service and my message, but he made a scene that only those who witnessed it could believe. What shocked me was how unsurprised the people in the church were.
Apparently this had happened before. Three or four ushers got to this man before he got to me, and I was informed later in a debriefing session that this individual, as far as they could tell, was demonized. Blasphemies against God, the church, and my message spewed from his mouth that night, and it took three or four men to restrain him and usher him out of the auditorium. If I didn’t believe in spiritual warfare before, I certainly did now. I got an introduction I would never forget.
That’s just one example among many of the reality of the invisible war. You’ll read a lot of examples in this book that come from my time in Santa Cruz, simply because the invisible war is so much more visible there. But it’s raging everywhere else on this planet too. It may be behind the scenes—in fact, it probably is—but in your house, your church, and your community there is a violent conflict between kingdoms. We’re on the winning side, but we have to be aware of the fight. We have to understand spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 6:10–20 is the central teaching in the entire New Testament on spiritual warfare, and it begins with two commands: “Be strong in the Lord,” and, “Put on the full armor of God.”
Chip Ingram, The Invisible War: What Every Believer Needs to Know about Satan, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006), 25–26.