For quite a few years now, doing “spiritual warfare” has been a trendy topic. Personally, I have begun to question a lot of . . . well, the antics that we sometimes engage in that make a lot of noise, but do not change anything in reality. A handful of believers in Ephesus overturned a city, and as far as we know, they did no “prophetic warfare” against the “spirit of Diana of the Ephesians!” They did not do spiritual mapping. They did not do “prophetic intercessory” warfare. They simply lived an empowered Christian life in an apostolic dimension of the kingdom.
There has to be more to spiritual warfare than making “prophetic decrees” and “doing war in the invisible heavenlies,” that result in absolutely no visible change on earth over years and years of time
Misunderstanding the difference between demons and principalities and the ekklesia’s engagement with each is part of the reason why real change in time and space is often not realized. This is not the place to do a full unfolding of the important distinction and implications—this is not a treatise on demonology.
Simply put: demons are cast out of individuals. An ascendant church displaces principalities.
Paul said: WE wrestle not with flesh blood, but with principalities, etc. He did not say “I” wrestle with principalities and make prophetic declarations against them. Spiritual warfare against principalities is a CORPORATE endeavor through DISPLACEMENT, not an individual endeavor by deliverance. Individual deliverance and heavenly displacement are not the same.
Singing loud and peppy songs (which I enjoy!) and making “prophetic decrees” is trying to do spiritual warfare on the cheap. Spiritual warfare is realized through lives lived incarnationally, lives laid down sacrificially, and the transformative power of His resurrected life manifest in a BODY in a geography.
What is displacement?
Displacement is accomplished when a corporate expression of the ekklesia literally possesses a dimension of life and authority in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The “ascended” corporate church fills the heavenlies in the place formerly occupied by the principality. The church’s subjective ascendency, the measure of the stature possessed, not positional spiritual authority, unseats the principality.
Not withstanding issues of what is the true ekklesia, or what is an accurate representation of the ekklesia, there will be and is, a spiritual entity, the Bride in a geography, as small as a local assembly or as large as a city or nation, that can ascend in Christ in a dimension that unseats a prevailing power.
I do not believe this is done through prayer, intercession, and spiritual warfare in the sense we have understood those things. I believe the warfare is the warfare associated with the manifestation of the life of Christ—in, through, and by His cross in the power of His resurrection, in human vessels. That is, I do not pray the victory in. I live it. Every reference to our “victory” in Christ in the New Testament is in the past tense. We do not create a condition of victory by our spiritual calisthenics in a highly emotively charged worship service. We ARE the victory of Christ, incarnationally . . . in human vessels, in time and space.
For example, if there is a principality of poverty over an area, it is not displaced by prophetic decrees and spiritual exercises of various sorts against a “spirit of poverty.” It is displaced by the church in dominion over finances—by individual believers, and collectively the ekklesia, having their finances in order. By being honorable, trustworthy, not cheating, etc. in their interactions with others, this virtue spreads the gospel incarnationally and practically in a geography by the lifestyle of converted of souls. Those souls do not cheat anymore, thereby removing the seat of authority of the principality in them individually, and in the geography “spiritually.” Prosperity replaces poverty. The principality is gone.
Continuing the example, a church in debt and operating out of Babylonian economic values, hoarding money, self-centered in giving (spending over 95% of multi-million dollar budgets on themselves), can do “spiritual warfare prayer and intercession” all day long, make “prophetic decrees and sing warfare praises” until the cows come home, trying to cast down a principality of poverty, but there will be no spiritual authority. Just clanging bells and cymbals—trying to accomplish on the cheap, what only personal and corporate transformation can accomplish.
Here’s another example, you will never remove the influence of a “Jezebelian” (a trendy topic) spirit of control when the leadership in an ekklesia is itself in love with control, money, power, politics, influence, privilege, position, and rank. Everyone I have ever heard railing against a “Jezebelian spirit” has himself, had a problem in that very area. There will be no spiritual authority in whatever city-wide spiritual warfare conferences, and unity conferences we might engage in when the leaders on the platforms of these events, are the biggest perpetrators of the very thing they are supposedly trying to do warfare against!
If you wanted to clean up a rat-infested alley in a city, the first thing you would do is clean up the garbage. Remove what the rats feed on and they will leave. We think getting rid of the rats rids us of the problem. It doesn’t. The only reason there is a principality in the first place is because of church in declension, abdication, default, weakness, and compromise. When the pillar and ground of all truth defaults, other powers move in. All nature abhors a vacuum. That’s true in the spirit realm also. So, dominion in the heavenlies is about removing the garbage, not the principality. It is so much easier removing the rats (or thinking we are) than getting down to the wrestling involved with the garbage that gives the rats their seat in the first place.
The most significant act of spiritual warfare is a conversion of a soul. That’s because that soul has been, and will continue to be (God help us) . . . transformed. A life has been removed from a spiritual domain of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Dear Son. When many transformed individuals come together and live a transformed life, there will be no place for any spiritual principality to have dominion: family, ekklesia, city, state, or nation. We will have wrestled and . . . won.
___________________Copyright 2013, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who partner with us and believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.