Manage episode 288961155 series 2884712
What is Spiritual Warfare?
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Spiritual Warfare is understanding that there is conflict in the spiritual realm all around us that has influence in our physical world. The already defeated enemy and his minions seek to destroy all that is good and render the children of God weak and defeated though they are already victorious through Christ.
Jesus wants to give you abundant life and the enemy wants to steal it from you.
Jesus says it like this in the book of John speaking of believers as sheep with Jesus himself being their shepherd. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
How does the enemy attack us?
You (pharisees) belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
The enemy primarily deals in deception (temptation). There is an element of deception/falsehood in every ploy he uses. He is subtle and smart. He can speak lies into your mind, but he cannot know your mind. These lies nearly always have a seed of truth that is distorted, misdiagnosed and covered in layers of deception resulting in delusion and sin.
You will know the lies by their fruit. Resentment, envy, jealousy, anger, entitlement, accusation, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling, slander, malice, sexual impurity, etc.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world….
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (1 John 4:1-6)
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:25-30)
The enemy always wants to place a wedge between people. Divorce, parents and children, racial prejudice, class divisions, church divisions, etc. He will always oppose reconciliation.
Discouragement by definition is the lack of courage. It is giving up or losing the will to continue. Much of the time this comes through accusation. The lie is: you're not good enough, you screw everything up, you're not smart enough, you're too broken, you're a hopeless failure, no one likes you, no one cares what happens to you…The lies go deeper and deeper leading to depression and sometimes destruction.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning… (John 8:44)
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Ultimately, the enemy wants you dead. He wants to take you out. If Jesus is trying to give you life, the ultimate goal of the enemy is to take away your life. If deception, divisiveness, discouragement have their way, the outcome is destruction. You can come in the form of self-harm. And I can come in the form of murderousness.
For the believer, if the enemy can't ultimately destroy you, he will seek to make you useless, selfish and numb. (Screwtape letters)
How are we to respond as Christ Followers?
You're not meant to do this alone. The enemy would like you to isolate. And we all get in trouble and isolation. You need biblical community to surround you, pray for you, encourage you, and reinforce the truth of God's love for you in overcoming the enemy.
You may also need help from someone equipped to deal with more complex issues. At one time or another we all need to seek out counseling. Find a great Christian counselor who will point you to your healing in Christ as well as therapeutic strategies for your growth.
The enemy seeks to accuse and condemn you. Possibly the most powerful thing you can do is declare the truth of who you are in Christ.
I am accepted and grateful…
John 1:12 - I am God’s child.
John 15:15 - As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 - I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 - I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 - I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 - I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 - I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 - I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 - I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
I am secure…
Romans 8:1-2 - I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 - I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 - I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 - I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 - I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 - I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 - I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 - I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 - I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I am significant…
John 15:5 - I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 - I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 - I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 - I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 - I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 - I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 - I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
The apostle Paul tells us exactly what posture to take to face the enemy’s deceptions and schemes.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Repentance and Renewal
Repentance means to turn 180° from godlessness to God; dark to light; sin to holiness; your goodness to Jesus’ goodness. It is renouncing the old in the world and announcing the new in Christ.
Throughout Scripture we are encouraged to repent of sin. Jesus said, “repent for the kingdom of God is near.” We are turning away from the kingdom of this world towards the kingdom of God. Replacing the old values and ways of doing things with the new fruit of the spirit and imitation of Christ.
Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Be careful of what you invite into your world - ouiji boards, astrology, tarot cards, palm-reading, fortune-telling, spirit guides…fascination with witchcraft, death….musical influences, movies dealing with paranormal, etc.
Replace the lies and destructive thoughts –
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)
Worship and Prayer
There may be no better way to put on the armor of God then through worship. In worship you declare your faith, the gospel, and the truth through faith in the goodness of God. It transforms your mind and your heart as you replace the old toxic thoughts with the beauty of God's truth. In adoration you push out the ugliness of the world for the majesty of your creator!
For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is. And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:17-20)
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)
All of these things are done in the context of prayer. That is, your divine connection with the creator by the Holy Spirit who is alive within you. It is the transcendent miracle of “Christ in you the hope of glory” that gives us power to live in victory and rise above the lies of the enemy. Jesus is our deliverer and our strength.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)
Jesus said, “Pray then like this” (Matthew 6:9-13):
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
The Non-Prophets Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Todd Hampson
Victory Over the Darkness and The Bondage Breaker – Neil T Anderson
YouTube channel – Freedom in Christ (Neil T Anderson Ministry)