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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Warfare’

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Ephesians 6:12

This is a good reminder. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. If you are being oppressed, harassed, annoyed, frustrated, deceived, or hurt by someone made of flesh and blood–that is not your enemy. Your enemy is the one who seeks to usurp the position, power, and glory of God. Your enemy is the one who wishes to be worshiped as a god, but he is no god.

Rulers of this present darkness may be a person, like a king or a queen who has official power over a country or area. It might also be a crime boss, a cartel leader, or another who has power and authority over a group of people here on earth.

World forces included armies, legions and soldiers. These may be the armies of recognized countries or coalitions, but they may also be rebel armies, armies of soldiers aimed at killing people ruthlessly.

Spiritual forces of wickedness in supernatural places are found both in this realm (the natural) and the other realm (the supernatural). Supernatural refers to a manifestation or event that is attributed to a force or power beyond scientific understanding or measure. Something beyond the laws of nature, beyond the visible and observable universe. Such a force or phenomenon cannot be explained by the laws of nature.

These supernatural forces are beyond our comprehension in the our natural state. But we can understand certain truths about the supernatural realm:

  • First of all, all beings, natural and supernatural, were created. They are all lower and less powerful than their Creator.
  • Second, that there are only two categories of supernatural forces: those which are with God, fighting and battling for the Kingdom of God; and those which oppose God, and are battling against God and His heavenly armies.

Since we can only experience things that can be seen, heard, or touched, for the battle against supernatural forces, we must rely wholly upon God. He must alert us to their presence. He must educate us as to their strategies. He must provide the power to defeat them. This is why the indwelling Spirit of God is so essential in the life of the believer. The Spirit of God within us is the source of the power to stand, doing all to stand until the end of the battle.

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[S]o that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. Ephesians 6:11b

We’re told in Ephesians 6:11a to “put on the full armor of God,” and now in Ephesians 6:11b, we’re given the reason–that we might be ale to stand successfully. To understand Paul’s meaning we must consider that in this passage, Paul is speaking of the armor that a Roman soldier would wear into battle. When he tells us to stand, his meaning is that we might be still standing at the end of the battle.

What is it that would oppose us? What would cause us not to stand? Paul tells us that there are schemes, strategies and deceits of the devil all of which will threaten and undermine our ability to stay standing.

A scheme is a secret, dishonest plan or underhanded plot. The schemes of the devil involve discrediting God through discrediting the work on the cross, the transforming power of the blood and the sanctifying power of the indwelling Spirit. The devil has a scheme. We don’t know exactly what he will do next, but it will be underhanded. He will not fight fair.

A strategy is a master plan; a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. A strategy is the art of war, military tactics, a plan for a military operation and movement during a war or battle. Why would we be at risk when the battle has already been won? In the spiritual battle we are not taking ground, but rather we are holding ground–standing not advancing. The strategy of the devil is to steal, kill and destroy by taking with him as many as he can–keeping them from the abundant life here and eternal life with God.

A deceit is a trick; the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth. A deceit is the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid; an attempt or device to deceive. The devil will try to substitute the false for the truth. He will shave the truth, bend the truth, distort the truth, but he will never tell the truth. Therefore, that is how this battle must be fought–with the truth–the Word of God. Against that, the devil will never prevail.

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Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier]  Ephesians 6:11a

Sometimes passages of scripture like Ephesians 6 can become so familiar that we don’t take the time to dissect them and extract the precious promises of God.
The phrase “Put on” speaks of choice, of action, of intentionality. I must choose to follow this command. I must obey. As with much of the teaching of scripture, obedience is key to closer, more intimate relationship with God.

The “armor of God” is a way to remember the truths that already bedeck or outfit the believer. They are truths that flow from being born again and from the sanctifying work of God in the life of every believer. By “putting them on,” we are mentally assenting to their existence and operation in our lives.

The armor is His precepts–they bedazzle us. They word “precept” has at its root “to warn” or “instruct.” A precept is general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought. In other words, His instructions and warnings to us, found in the holy scriptures, are the armor. They are intended to modify our behavior and/or our thoughts in such a way as to protect us, gird us, and equip us for the spiritual battle we face every moment that we are in this world.

As you think about the battle that you have been thrust into, trust in the Word of God, which has been given to you. His precepts are intended to be like the “splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier,” awe-inspiring and sending a message to all who would advance against us, that we are not coming unprepared into the battle.

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Be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. Ephesians 6:10 (Amplified)

In the battle (spiritual warfare), we need to draw our strength from Adonai. How does that occur?
▸ through the indwelling of the Spirit of God
▸ through the study, application and mediation on the word of God

The power is never ours; rather it is His power. We are merely tapping into it. In other words, it is His strength–not our strength–that allows us to stand in the day of battle, so we must first appropriate that strength in order to be able to stand.

What is the power promised?
The nature and extent of the power available to me is boundless–it has no boundary, no end either in time or in space or outside of time and space. It is the power that only a limitless, almighty, un-created God can give.

It is the power of Elohim, the Creator God, who spoke creation into existence from nothing.

It is the power over nature, which opened up the Red Sea for a million plus Israelites to walk through and pushed back the Jordan River during the flood season, so the Israelites could march into the promised land on dry ground. The power that healed the man by the pool of Bethesda, that healed the man with the withered hand, that healed the paralytic lowered through the roof by his friends, that healed the woman with the issue of blood, that restored sight to the blind, and healed the lepers.

It is Resurrection power, the power that raised Jesus from the dead, forever releasing us from the power of death.

It is salvation power, the power to take and sinner and make her into a saint.

It is sanctifying power, the power to transform a life, to make a Paul from a Saul and sane man from a demoniac.

Once we consider the power available, it is easy to see how the battle can be won even against even the strongest and most battle-savvy enemies.

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Considering the battle that takes place in the mind, we are continuing our look at the weapons of our warfare . . . which are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”   From 2 Corinthians, we then proceeded to Ephesians 6 to review the weapons which are described by Paul there.  We pick up with the shield of faith.

  • Shield of Faithabove all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Faith is seeing what is there when it is unseen or hidden by the fog or chaos of battle. For a believer, faith will protect him or her from the lies of the enemy, aimed at undermining belief in the God who cannot be seen, but to whom all the evidence clearly points.  When negative thoughts persist, the believer needs to put the shield of faith between him and negative thoughts.  Faith will affirm that the promises of God are true and will come to pass.  For example, God will never leave us or forsake us, and God will never temp us beyond what we are able.  Believing these things is an exercise of faith.  It puts the shield of faith between us and the temptation or negative thinking.
  • The Helmet of Salvationtake the helmet of salvation.  No solider can fight in the LORD’s army without receiving the work of salvation. Jesus said, you must be born again. When we receive salvation, it is a helmet, a protective covering for our thoughts. Without the helmet, we might receive a mortal wound that would take us out of the battle.
  • The Sword of the Spiritthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   The word of God is a weapon we wield.  It can be used to answer the lies of the enemy.  Our example is Jesus, who when tempted three times in the wilderness by the devil, was able to answer each time from the word of God.  As we study, meditate on and memorize the word of God, we will be able to use the word as an offensive weapon to counter the lies of the enemy.
  • PrayerPraying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.  The tool that helps us to apply the weapons and know their effectiveness in our battles is prayer.  It is our communication with God, the Supreme Commander, and it allows us access to the wisdom of the creator.  Prayer is ongoing and never-ceasing.

When you are plagued with negative thinking, consider the weapons of your warfare.  Be reminded that they are not of this world, but of the eternal realm.  They are might of God.  Review and study and apply.  You will have victory in Christ.

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This series of posts (When Negative Thoughts Persist) looks at the scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:4 “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”   From 2 Corinthians, we then proceeded to Ephesians 6 to review the weapons which are described by Paul there.

All this that we might effectively battle persistent negative thoughts.  As followers of God, we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even after we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even recurring thoughts reminding of what the wrong, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.

 The mind is a battlefield, in this post, we will consider a few more of the weapons we have available to us:
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness –  having put on the breastplate of righteousness  The breastplate is a defensive weapon that protects our vital organs, those essential to life. The breastplate protects the warrior from attack aimed at the heart, lungs or other nearby organs.   We must allow Christ, His righteousness to protect us.  We are not righteous in ourselves, because no work of the flesh could ever save us or make us righteous; however, we are righteous as we stand in Christ, who provided the required sacrifice and who is our substitute, our righteousness by faith.
  • The Gospel of Truthhaving shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace   Know the Word of God.  Let it give you sure footing in battle allowing you to stay standing until the end.  When plagued with negative thoughts, review, recite, and/or meditate on a scripture promise or truth that counters the lie that the enemy would tell you.

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In our last post, we began our discussion of how to deal with persistent negative thoughts.  If we are obedient to the command of God, we know that we need to forgive those who wrong us.  However, even when we have forgiven someone, we may experience occasional or even reoccurring thoughts reminding of what they did to us, how it hurt, how unfair it was or the like.
The mind is a battlefield, but we have weapons which are mighty in God according to 2 Corinthians, which we discussed in the last post.
In this post, I want to take a closer look at some of the weapons to see how they can help us in the battle with recurring or persistent negative thoughts (sometimes known as Stinkin’ Thinkin’)
  • The Whole Armor of God – Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  No one weapon will protect a solider in battle from injury.  That is why Paul exhorts us to put on the whole armor of God.  Leaving one piece of the armor off can expose the soldier to great injury and render him or her ineffective in battle.   Leave no weapon behind.
  • The Belt of Truth –Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth  Let truth be like a belt to keep your movement uninhibited and allow you to move quickly and easily in battle.  The belt can seem like a frivolous accessory until you get caught with your pants down.  Living in the truth and having truth as our belt keeps us from being susceptible to the devil who hates truth and is called “the father of lies.”  It may be hard to always tell the truth.  Even some of the Fathers of the Faith, like Abraham were caught in lies, but they always paid a price for the lies.  Whenever we fail to put on the belt of truth, we make it harder for us to be successful in battle for the important things.

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