Spiritual Warfare   

 

Spiritual Warfare:  The World, the Flesh, the Devil & the Glory of God

    
Spiritual warfare for the Christian is about truth and falsehood, love and hate, good and evil, and the integrity of God's Word. These aspects are experienced in the realms of the world, the flesh, the devil and his devil spirits. Our weapons of warfare are found in the Wisdom of Christ: God's Word & Holy Spirit
Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com  
   
About Me
 
   
Tell a friend
 

 

Please refresh pages for latest updates
 
 

 

 

       

Battlefield of the Mind Part 2: The Spiritual Armor of God

 
  

Also see - Battlefield of the Mind 1

 

sift wheat

 

Luk 22:31 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired (to demand - for trial) to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:"

The Spiritual Armor of God in Spiritual Warfare

     When Christians make a commitment to trust their lives to the promises and power of God, they are still living in hostile territory that presently is under the influence and power of Satan, sin, and a fallen world. This leaves the Christian at a disadvantage, in which we are cautioned in God's Word to put on the whole spiritual armor of God, because like it or not, we are in spiritual warfare.  As Paul has revealed to us, the true nature of this battle is against supernatural evil. The purpose of the armor of God is to equip us with the power of God, in order to stand against the evil schemes and deception of the devil, who has blinded the minds of those who believe not. 

     The power of God is released, as we utilize every piece of the armor of God against evil spirits, who are labeled by Paul as principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness on high.  We are asked to prepare ourselves as soldiers in spiritual warfare, because as a forbearer of God's truth and power, Christians and God's work are targets of the devil for destruction. The intense hate of the devil, and his devil spirits against God's creation is unimaginable, but nonetheless real, he is cruel and merciless; however, he cannot defeat God, and therefore he uses trickery and deception to defeat believers, or draw them into vulnerable positions. Some of these positions are: fear, doubt, confusion, condemnation, temptation through pressure or pleasure, spiritual blindness, pride, affliction or persecution, intended to frustrate the purposes of God through His people.  He is cunning and attempts to oppress us in our weakest areas (through our thought life or other people and circumstances), in which the "unaware" are led into chains of depression and other forms of bondage. 

     The Apostle Paul tells us that we actually wrestle against these forces of evil; Many times we will find ourselves in a literal struggle from within and without, described by Paul as hand to hand combat (direct contact) in order to overcome them.  However, this wrestling is spiritual, in which the devil and his demons will take many forms in order to attack or distract us in our thought life, and disarm our faith and the power of God.  If we believe their lies, then they succeed in gaining their foothold. The devil and his evil spirits have the power to manipulate the realms of the world and the flesh, in an attempt to obstruct God's truth. God has not left us defenseless, and as we will see, He has provided us with a greater power, providing everything we need to stand. 

     Let's take a look at our Christian manual on spiritual warfare, and the Apostle Peter's conflict with the forces of darkness.

Our Christian Manual on Spiritual Warfare

     Ephesians 6:10-18 is often referred to as "the Christian’s manual for spiritual warfare," our instructions for victory.  We need the divine strength of God to overcome the supernatural power of evil.

How do Christians begin to prepare themselves for spiritual warfare?

First - Understand that our strength lies in the power of God.

Eph 6:10 "Finally be strong in the Lord and the power of his might."

     We will become the sport of the enemy if we rely on our human strength in the fight against supernatural evil. Christians, who have experienced the intensity of the spiritual conflict, between good and evil, come to realize that only the power of God will suffice, and guarantee victory over the powers of darkness. The intensity of a struggle will vary, however, if we rely on our strength, we will fall into an endless pattern of defeat, being victimized by the same snares or traps. Often, unpleasant circumstances may reoccur because the spirit forces behind a situation are left undetected, and by relying on our human wisdom and strength, we are left without a solution to our problems. We must attempt to identify the area of the enemy's infiltration, whether we are struggling with our own flesh, other people, or a direct hit into our thought life, or any combination of these three areas.  We need to keep in mind that we are never told to remove the armor of God; it is a way of life for the Christian.

Second - Understand that the battlefield is in the mind.

We fortify our minds with the knowledge of God as Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians.

2Co 10:4-5 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (dominated or occupied by the enemy); 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."

     It is necessary to study the Word of God, and align our thinking accordingly in place of our own understanding and sense knowledge. Whether our minds are being fed with fleshly thoughts, or thoughts influenced by the devil, we settle the matter with the thoughts of God. The power of God will destroy the strongholds of the enemy in the life of a believer.  In this, we take back the ground that the enemy has stolen, and weaken his influence upon ourselves and others.

 2:11 "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."

For example, Jesus healed a woman suffering from a physical infirmity, in which Jesus identifies the source of this infirmity, as the work of Satan. We read in the gospel of Luke,

Luk 13:10-13, 16 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

In this instance, it was the devil who afflicted this woman for 18 years, and although the symptoms manifested in the physical realm, it was a spiritual problem.

Third - Understand that the whole armor of God is required in our daily spiritual warfare.

 Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

     Paul instructs us to put on the whole armor of God,  in order to "stand" or continue to hold up against the "wiles" (trickery or cunning schemes), in which the devil lies in wait to deceive us.  We have an unseen, spiritual enemy, but once the enemy is detected, he is stripped of his greatest weapon of power, "deception."

     In addition, the devil often operates by using surprise attacks, as does the "roar of a lion." He seeks to intimidate his prey by paralyzing them with fear. These attacks can leave one with a sense of defeat if left unguarded; it takes the full armour of God to have the advantage in every circumstance.

     For example, out of fear, the Apostle Peter denied the Lord on more than one occasion; this threw him into a spiritual battle of fierce conflict, in which the Lord already warned him, "Satan hath desired to have you ... to sift you as wheat." Peter, who was the first disciple to acknowledge the Messiahship of Christ, and boldly confess his willingness to die for the Lord, was overcome by the power of fear in those excruciating moments of denying the Lord. Our human frailties are often the target of the enemy. In this situation, the devil used fear against Peter in order to enslave him in condemnation and failure.

Fourth - Know that our spiritual warfare involves entities that are extremely powerful.

 Eph 6:12 "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." (See post #2 on "Principalities, etc." for a thorough explanation of this verse).

Principalities-Powers-Rulers of Darkness-Wickedness

Fifth - Understand that God has provided everything we need to stand, and when we put on the armor of God, we have done all to stand.

 Eph 6:13 "Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand."

     This is the second time we are told to take hold of the whole armor of God in order to resist and oppose evil; wherein, the importance of wearing full armor is established.

Sixth - Identify each piece of spiritual armor and put them on.

Our spiritual armor of God for spiritual warfare consists of the following:

Truth (belt), righteousness (breastplate), the gospel of peace (shoes), faith (shield), salvation (helmet), Word of God (sword of the spirit) and prayer (intercession for all saints).

I. Truth:

Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

     To gird our loins is to fasten the belt of truth around our waist. The word fasten indicates the typical use of a belt to support clothing, or to store tools and weapons. Our lives are supported by the truth of God as it was given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ; whereby, we acknowledge, believe and live by this truth.

Joh 1:17 For the law was given through Moses: grace and truth came to be through Jesus Christ.

     With all that encompasses God's truth in His Word, honesty with ourselves is pertinent toward protecting ourselves from Satan's deceptions. We examine our thoughts and motives honestly, and lexamine them in the ight of God's truth.

                       God's light is a liberating light:

Joh 3:21 "But the one doing the truth comes towards the Light, so that his works shall be revealed, that they have been done in God."

     We can deceive ourselves into thinking we are more than what we really are, in which the devil relies on our self-deception. The truth or light of God reveals to us those things that need to be changed in our lives.  By acting on the illumination of the Holy Spirit and God's Word, we experience spiritual growth and liberty. We become less vulnerable to the infirmities of the flesh and the powers of darkness. This is part of the Christian victory; however, if this process is viewed negatively, then the temptation to repress the truth for fear of condemnation or a fragile self image, will keep us in bondage.

Knowing our strengths and weaknesses are essential components of spiritual warfare:

     The Apostle Peter, in a sense, was not in touch with himself; he boldly declared he would die for Christ; however, quite the opposite occurred.  Satan sought to sift him as wheat for his human failings.  Later, Peter was restored to his faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoke the good news with all boldness. Our human frailties vary individually; however, honesty is the best policy, and understanding and dealing with our own human nature realistically, gives us a healthy advantage, and allows us to strengthen those areas in the grace and power of Christ.  

Joh 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

      As we grow in the knowledge of God and His Word, and exercise that knowledge, we learn to discern truth from error.  Scripture states, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).  We will be alert  to the many distortions in the interpretation of God's Word, yesterday and today, intentional or unintentional. 

    I strongly encourage reading the book "THE SUBTLE POWER OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church," by David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen. (1991, Bethany House Publishers).

An excerpt,

     "Spiritual abuse is a real phenomenon that actually happens in the body of Christ. It is a subtle trap in which the ones who perpetrate spiritual abuse on others are just as trapped in their unhealthy beliefs and actions as those whom they, knowingly and unknowingly, abuse."

II. Righteousness:

      Righteousness is our breastplate of armor against the enemy. We no longer identify with our fallen nature but with the image of Christ.  We no longer call ourselves sinners, but we call ourselves saints.  Paul addressed the Christians in his letters as "saints" of God, not as sinners (see 1 and 2 Cor., Eph 1).  We never read "to the miserable and worthless sinners of Christ."  We have two natures: the old sinful nature, and the new nature (called the new man in the Bible) given to us by the Holy Spirit.  We don't need to fix the old man (he is dead), but we need to put on the "new man."

We read,

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Eph 4:24 and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Col 3:10 and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him:

     We are righteous in God's eyes through His Son; therefore, we walk by faith in the righteousness that He has freely given to us, and are transformed into His image. When we fail, we acknowledge and forsake that sin, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  Putting on the breastplate of righteousness means staying in fellowship with God.  God's righteousness protects the vital organ of our hearts, and as we walk in His righteousness, our hearts are assured before God. We read in first John,

1Jo 3:21 "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God."

III. The Gospel of Peace:
 
  Eph 6:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

     The shoes are the preparation of the Gospel of peace, and are indicative of  preparedness to stand on, and deliver God's message of reconciliation to humanity, through the work of Jesus Christ.  Peace means "to join" in a harmonious relationship to God. Military sandals were made of strong leather, and thickly studded soles with hobnails for a sure footing, in order to stand firmly against the enemy (Manners and Customs of the Bible, Freeman).  

IV. Faith:

 Eph 6:16 withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.

     The shield is the barrier between the body of the soldier and the weapon of his foe. The shield protects us from the enemy's attempt to seriously or fatally wound us, as indicated by the "fiery darts (missile. spear or arrow)." Our faith allows the power of God to extinguish that weapon or attack directed against us. Trust in God and faith are exact opposites to both doubt and fear. Both are powerful beliefs, in which the appropriate outcomes are experienced. Regarding the Lord's message to Peter mentioned above, He further adds,

Luk 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Jesus taught about the power of faith. When His disciples failed to expel a demon from a person he explained,

Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

V. Salvation:

Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

     Since the greatest point of vulnerability for a soldier in combat is his head, he protects his head from injury by wearing a helmet. Salvation is the helmet for the saint in spiritual warfare, and our preservation from destruction. We are not only assured of our complete salvation at the 2nd Coming of Christ, but we wear or put on that salvation.  We have already been delivered and liberated from the power, and destruction of the enemy, in the name of Jesus Christ. We seek our victory based on this mindset.

Psalms 140:7

  O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.

VI. The Word of God

     Our sword is to "speak the Word of God in faith," and a very real weapon in the destruction against the onslaughts of supernatural evil in spiritual warfare. We speak the promises of God and His truth in faith as it applies to the situation. God magnified His Word above all His name, and Jesus Christ is the Word of God in the flesh (Ps. 138:2). Our sword of the Spirit includes both the power of the Word and the "name of Jesus Christ."

     Note: To those who believe that Scripture is not the inspired Word of God, you have already laid down your sword, your offensive weapon in spiritual warfare. It is important not to confuse man's interpretation of Scripture with the inspired Word of God as originally penned through the vessels of God. For more information click this link to read a short but informative post on Why Christians Believe in the Bible -  Why Do Christians Believe in the Bible?.

Jesus spoke the Word of God as His weapon against Satan in response to three temptations recorded in the gospel of Matthew. (Matthew 4: 1-11)

Mat 4:3-11 "And when the tempter [Satan] came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."

VII. Power of Prayer:

 Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

We remain in God's peace and strength through the power of prayer.

Phi 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

To be "careful" for nothing is to be "anxious" for nothing. We are protected from worry and anxiety through prayer, in which we cast our care upon God who cares for us.

1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

In addition, we offer supplication for all the saints, and again we see the example of Jesus in His prayer for Peter, He said, "But, I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not . . .."

The Lord loved Peter, and in observing his need, He intercedes to God on his behalf, He prayed for Peter's victory.

The saints prayed for Peter when he was in prison:

Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

The results of their intercession for Peter,

Act 12:7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

A note on the shield of faith:

Key Words - Above all  (take the shield of faith) and all (the fiery darts of the devil).

     Faith is in operation for all of our defensive and offensive weapons of spiritual warfare. Truth, righteousness, reconciliation of the gospel of peace, salvation, the Word of God and prayer are all effectually operated in faith. In addition, it is by faith that we quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one.

     As soldiers for Christ, we need to continually grow in the power of God, and fortify our walk with the complete armor of God. We never underestimate the power of the enemy, nor his attempts at destruction; he remains a formidable foe!

Original post - 2005   Last update - slightly revised

If you would like to know more about Salvation click below:

What is Salvation and How Do We Know if We Are Saved?

If you would like to read more on spiritual warfare just click on the titles below for Posts 1, 2 & 3.

Why the World, the Flesh, and the Devil in Spiritual Warfare

Principalities, Powers, World Rulers of Darkness, and Spiritual Wickedness in High Places

The Battlefield of the Mind Part I - Prepare Your Heart for War

The Dragon and the Sword of Praise in Spiritual Warfare (Especially for those presently under spiritual affliction or attack)

***Click below for an example of the roar of the lion

A Response to "I abhor the devil and don't understand why I still dance with demons"

*Bible Refs. KJV - ASV

Post a Comment

 
 

 

 

 

   
 
     
      

Pulling down strongholds with the truth of God's Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the operation of faith in our spiritual warfare with the world, flesh and devil!

1Jn 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.


  By Magdalene:

http://battleinchrist.com


Copyright 2013 - 2014
Revised 2010

web stats