We already know, from previous chapters, that we indeed have a real enemy that roams the earth looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) We also know that God has made armor for us to wear so we can stand against the wilds of the Devil. (Eph. 6:11) What most Christians don’t know is that there is a war raging in their minds, that they are expected to fight the enemies of God that try to deceive them, and how to identify those that seek their harm. Why fight, because we are under attack, the purpose of which is to stop the image of God from being revealed in us.
Paul tells the Ephesian believers, chapter 6:12,”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It is critical to know that our battle is not with flesh and blood. That takes into account family, friends, co-workers, folks that do not like you, those who have betrayed or hurt you, those who have slandered your name and good character and everyone else with a bad attitude. We are not in a battle with people. However, we are in a battle with unseen powers of evil that use people against us. The people are just thorns in our flesh. God’s grace should be sufficient.
The devil was behind it
I always thought that I could not assert myself against folks that were mean to me because of Ephesians 6:12. I just took the blow and tried to forgive…until I realized that the devil was behind it all, coming through certain folks to destroy my confidence, and self-respect. The Bible tells us that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. (I Timothy 4:13) He uses arrogant puffed-up people to sling accusations and attitudes against us so we will fall from our faith. In reality, we are instructed in I Peter 5:8-9 to resist the Devil steadfastly in the faith. Here’s what that means to me.
- We can and should respond to the attacker’s lies with what is true, even if that person will not listen. By standing up, we are listening to what we are saying and it will strengthen our faith to do so.
- When we resist, ”In The Faith”, we are standing on the Word of God demonstrating our resolve that; we have been forgiven; that the past sins no longer exist; that we are under the Lordship of Christ and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
- Our primary focus is to do the will of God. Other things just do not count. Jesus told one who wanted to bury his father before he could follow Him. Here’s what Jesus told the man, “Jesus said unto him, let the dead bury their dead: but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60)
We must know our enemy. We must also know the scriptures and ourselves to be victorious in spiritual warfare.
Knowing the enemy is to acknowledge that he exists and that he is here with one single purpose in mind, to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10) We have already established that his power and authority were stripped from him when Jesus died on the cross. He is a defeated foe. (Colossians 2:15). However, he is a master at deception. He must get you to agree with his lie. This gives him power over you. With it, he suggests actions that will lead you to destruction…things like; it’s ok to have sex outside of marriage, abortion is the right thing to do, homosexuality is just an alternate lifestyle and not a sin, smoking will not kill you, drugs are cool, and so on. If you fall for the lie, you end up participating in it, even if it’s just in your mind. The end result is the pollution of your soul and the destruction of your spiritual walk with God.
Knowing yourself is also half the battle because most of the lies that fall from Satan’s bag of tricks are about you…all the things you’ve done wrong and the way you were 10 or 20 years ago. He will constantly bring past sins up, even if God forgave you, until you believe that you are still the same guy or gal as back then. A reformed prostitute, who is now a wife and mother, saved by the blood of Jesus, will face her past many times. If she does not know that God has washed away her sins, she will stay in regret, guilt and depression. However, if she holds on to the “New Creature” teaching of Paul, the Apostle in Romans chapter 12, she can easily say, “that is no longer me.” I am a new creature in Christ and do not have to go back. The victory is so great that her new life is like a butterfly that came out of a transformation from a caterpillar. They are just not the same creatures anymore.
Knowing the Word of God seals your victory and is how you walk in the Spirit. Applying the truths found in the Bible causes you to walk in them. They are not only Spiritual but alive with power to raise you up from being the tail to being the head. “And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them” (Deuteronomy 28:13). It is our responsibility to know the truth and to walk in it. Colossians 2:10 says, “and you have been given fullness in Christ who is head over every power and authority.” He is the head and wants us to rule with Him in this life as well as the one to come. We must see ourselves as He sees us, redeemed, blessed, and righteous in Him.
The Lord showed me an acrostic that helped me to remember the offensive weapons available and how to use them to keep me free. Here they are.
- K-The Knowledge of God, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5) We are to cast down imaginations and we could have many from sexual to being rich and powerful to almost anything. These thoughts are to be brought captive by obeying Christ and His word.
- N–Name of Jesus. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). It is important to know that every knee, meaning everyone or thing, must yield to the Name of Jesus. In the name of Jesus, demons have to flee.
- O-Obedience of Christ, (II Cor.10:5) We must be obedient to the call and will of God. Rebellion does not sit well with the exercise of victory. Christ’s obedience was exact and fulfilled the Law of God perfectly. If we are obedient and we bring every thought in obedience to His righteousness, we destroy the evil thought before it takes hold in our minds.
- B–Blood of Christ, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:19). Jesus was God’s spotless lamb, a portrait of all the sacrifices from times past that were a foreshadow of Him. He was the ultimate sacrifice. His blood forever paid the price for our sin. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Knowing we are forgiven keeps us free from Satan’s attacks that dwell on past sins. We can boldly declare that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us.
- S–Sword of The Spirit, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”(Ephesians 6:17.) The Word of God is the Bible. There are over 3,000 promises and lots of wisdom, knowledge and help to meet all your needs. Use it.
Charles Spurgeon, a famous minister in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, said this about spiritual warfare and Christians. (Spurgeon was called the Prince of Preachers. He had the very first mega church in England)
Spurgeon said that to be a Christian is to be a warrior. “The good soldier of Jesus Christ must not expect to find ease in this world: it is a battlefield. Neither must he reckon upon the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God. His occupation is war. As he puts on piece by piece of the panoply provided for him, he may wisely say to himself, this warns me of danger; this prepares me for warfare.”
”Many try compromise; but if you are a true Christian, you can never do this business well. The language of deceit fits not a holy tongue. The adversary is the father of lies, and those that are with him understand the art of equivocation; but saints abhor it. If we discuss terms of peace, and attempt to gain something by policy, we have entered upon a course from which we shall return in disgrace.”
“We have no order from the Captain of our salvation to patch up a truce, and get as good terms as we can. We are not sent out to offer concessions. It is said that if we yield a little, perhaps the world will yield a little also, and good may come of it. If we are not too strict and narrow, perhaps sin will kindly consent to be more decent. Our association with it will prevent its being so barefaced and atrocious. If we are not narrow-minded, our broad doctrine will go down with the world, and those on the other side will not be so greedy of error as they now are. No such thing. Neither may we hope to gain by being neutral, or granting an occasional truce. We are not to cease from conflict, and try to be as agreeable as we can with our Lord’s foes, frequenting their assemblies, and tasting their dainties. No such orders are written here. You are to grasp your weapon, and go forth to fight.”
Until Next Time
Rev. John Marinelli