An interesting & very informative excerpt from "He That is Spiritual" by T. Austin-Sparks Chapter 2 - Spiritual Warfare
"Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might... For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:10,12).
Satan Always Works Through the Soul
All Satanic activities are soul-wise. That is a key which will unlock a vast realm of things, if only you get it into your hands spiritually. Satan's activities are all soul-wise. He assailed the soul of man in the beginning.
You know what the soul is - mind, heart, will: reason, emotion and volition. Satan came arguing and reached man's mind; he came appealing and seduced his heart; he came driving and forced his will. So he got that creation soul-wise into his hands, and ever since then all his activities have been soul-wise. He is a spirit, an evil spirit, but he works soul-wise.
This whole world is run by Satan on the psychological basis; it is all psychology. We have had perhaps the greatest exhibition ever given to this world of that fact during the recent years. More than anything else, it has been a psychological warfare. But we have seen through the psychology so much that is absolutely Satanic. You may call it a "war of nerves." What is that but a psychological war? But so it is apart from wars; this world is run on the psychological basis.
Everything commercial is psychological; so are all the secrets of good business. You will never have any success in business if you do not know the psychological moment and the psychological method, and all that. All the secrets of good teaching lie there - in your psychological acumen to know the psychology of the child. This world is all on that level.
But let us come to this. Have you not recognised that the activities of the Devil are always like this - in some way to stir up the soul? When there is some interest of the Lord in view - a conference is coming, or something which has spiritual values wrapped up in it - have you not found again and again that, in advance of it, there is a drive made on your soul to provoke you, to get you bad-tempered, to do anything to get your soul stirred up? You know when that has happened you are out of position, you have to get quiet with the Lord and get the seething inside calmed down.
It is extraordinary how it happens; it comes from nowhere; very often there is no explanation. You take on provocations that do not exist, interpret looks and words in a manner never intended; there are phantoms about all the time stirring up your soul. So often it is not coming from anything at all that you can trace - it is not anybody, it is nothing said - but somehow your soul is getting worked up and you are being put out of spiritual position; the seething of your soul like a ferment overflows your spirit and destroys its poise and strength and grip. Sometimes the method used is to depress. You feel terribly depressed. You cannot explain it, but something has happened in the atmosphere and registered upon you, depressing your spirit.
Yes, all the Lord's people have known that. David knew a lot about it. "Why, art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise him" (Psa. 42:5). Sometimes you have to talk to your soul like that. You know the depression of the soul to take your strength away, to sap and drain your spiritual vitality. Sometimes the method is to bring the soul into darkness. What onslaughts the Devil made on Martin Luther along that line, to bring into the darkness of accusation and condemnation, where his assurance of justification and salvation was undermined and weakened! Many of the Lord's people know a lot about that, the darkness, the overclouding, when it seems that the soul is in a dark dungeon.
Sometimes the means is to inflate the soul, and, oh, what a lot of success the Devil has gained along that line. Nebuchadnezzar was the very embodiment of this whole principle of soul life. "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built?" (Daniel 4:30). That is the spirit of Antichrist inflating the soul. The word of the Lord is, "If a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing" (he really is, from God's standpoint, nothing) "he deceiveth himself" (Gal. 6:3). How many people there are deceived along that line of self-importance! You know what this world is like in this matter. But the tragedy is that the very realm of the things of God, the work of God, has become the playground for that sort of thing, people exhibiting their own self-importance, and bringing themselves into prominence - all the _expression of an inflated soul life. You find absolutely nothing of that in the Lord Jesus when He was here, but the exact opposite. "I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29). "He poured out his soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12).
Well, there are many other ways in which the enemy works soul-wise. Sometimes he seeks to affright. How often he has tried to get us frightened, as he did in the days of Nehemiah - and in the days of Hezekiah, when Sennacherib came and started his demonstration around Jerusalem.
The Answer to Satan Through the Spirit
On the other hand, all Christ's activities are spirit-wise, and there you open up another whole realm of Scriptures; e.g., "born of the Spirit" (John 3:8) "renewed in the spirit..." (Eph. 5:23); "strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man" (Eph. 3:16); and - touching spiritual understanding - "the eyes of your heart enlightened" (Eph. 1:18). So you bring in the Scriptures, all bearing upon this spirit-wise activity of Christ. And this quickened, renewed, energised, indwelt spirit, is up against this soul of ours, and this soul world.
When we speak of spiritual warfare, let us not think in terms of the abstract. "They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb." What do you take that to mean? - that they were a people of a phraseology about the blood and they started hurling their phraseology at the Devil? Well, phraseology, even about the Blood, has no effect on him. "They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb." Whom did they overcome? - the Accuser of the brethren, who accused them day and night.
How do you overcome an accuser? Only by having a better case than he has. You have to have a good case, and the Blood of the Lamb represents that in a mighty way. Our legal standing because of the Blood of the Lamb puts the enemy out of court if only faith will hold to it. And we must not think in geographical terms of Satan being cast down from somewhere high up and coming crashing to the earth. This is spiritual warfare. We have to get this spiritual sense and idea of things.
Our soulical mentality is always drawing pictures of places, positions, spaces, but we have to understand that this is a spiritual matter - that Satan can, in effect, be cast from the highest heights to the lowest depths without any geographical factor coming in at all. You may have a person against you who lays a charge at your door, and thinks he has a very strong case. But you happen to have a case which undercuts that and tears it to pieces, and he goes down before you in utter collapse; he comes from a tremendous soul height to a very great depth. That is not a geographical thing but a spiritual. This is spiritual warfare, not geographical. "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood" (Eph. 6:12), it is not in the realm of the physical and geographical at all. It is spiritual - you can call it moral if you like - and the Blood represents a legal case, and Satan can be cast down from heaven countless times in one day. You cannot do that literally: it can only be understood spiritually.
A million people all over this earth may cast him down in one day at different moments of the day. As they stand by faith on the case that the Blood provides, they have a mighty and triumphant answer. That is how spirituality works out in warfare. Christ works spirit-wise. Soul cannot cast out soul, and the soul cannot cast out the Devil because the Devil has already got it in his hand. Satan has obtained ground in our souls, but in our renewed, born-again spirits he has no place.
The evil spirit behind everything can only be overcome by a spirit strengthened with might by the Spirit of God, and that means by a subduing of the soul to the spirit.