When you’re on the spiritual battlefield as a Spiritual Soldier for Christ you must avoid friendly fire. But in spiritual warfare you don’t want to expose yourself to evil either. You want to be taking the fight to the enemy, not suffering from open doors for evil in your life.
This battlefield training focuses on the dangers that expose you to evil and leave weak spots for the enemy to exploit. If you leave these five doors open to the enemy you will be susceptible to defeat. Protect yourself from these danger areas. Let’s dive in!
Sin is by far the most common open door Christians leave for the devil to exploit. Many are fighting sin so regularly that’s all they concentrate on doing. But this is contrary to what the Bible teaches about Christians and sin.
Romans tells us we are dead to sin and don’t live in it any longer (Romans 6:1-2). Paul further goes on to explain that we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18). Ephesians tells us we are not only dead to sin but we are alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).
One of my professors in seminary used the image of a man who is chained to sin and does not even realize he is a captive before Christ. But after Christ he fights as a free man and opposes sin at all costs. I have used the image of a hunter poking at a dead deer. The dead deer does not respond in any way. It doesn’t blink at him, make noise, or get up and run away.
Some people may be confused about sin when they read certain passages in the Bible. For instance, some think continuous sin is okay. As long as you ask for forgiveness you can sin on and off continuously. But this contradicts biblical teaching on sin.
Take 1 John 1:5-10 for instance. John opens the section by showing that God is our example of righteousness. God is light, and there is no darkness (wickedness) in Him at all (1 John 1:5).
Next John says that we lie to ourselves if we think we have fellowship with God and are walking in sin (1 John 1:6). The word for “walk” is a continuous participle, showing that a person believes the have fellowship with God as they keep living the sinful lifestyle.
But the reverse is true. If we keep walking in the light (righteousness) as God is in the light from verse 5 we enjoy fellowship with other Christians and Jesus’ blood keeps on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7). As believers who continuously walk in righteousness (allowing for momentary sins) Jesus’ blood and fellowship with the saints continue to be available to us.
First John 1:8 often confuses Christians because John says that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Christians sin from time to time. It could be a lapse in judgment, a weak moment, or a misunderstanding of our identity in Christ.
But nobody is sinless like Jesus. That’s what this verse is saying. It is not a license to sin. It is an acknowledgment of the reality of imperfect Christians who were in the process of being perfected in Christ.
Because we do fall into a sin here and there, and as we move toward holiness and righteousness we have the privilege of Jesus’ blood covering our sins, all we must do is confess our sins and Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Jesus forgives us because we’re walking in Him.
This is the beautiful promise of Jesus’ faithfulness and kindness to us when we are in the process of confessing our momentary sins. We don’t take His grace for granted. We don’t commit premeditated sins where we know He will forgive us so we sin anyway.
John completes the section by dealing with people who may claim that they have never sinned (1 John 1:10), perhaps overstating their righteousness because Jesus has saved them. This view may be held because Jesus forgave previous sins. And then they would say that they have been made perfect in Christ.
But this makes Jesus out to be a liar because it covers sin up instead of exposing it for confession. Scripture teaches us that continuous sin is not okay. When we sin we must confess to Jesus and receive His forgiveness and cleansing once again.
Some Christians deal with and entangling sin that they just can’t shake. Over and over they keep falling into the same sin, asking forgiveness, and then falling into it again. But the writer of Hebrews tells us to lay aside such sin (Hebrews 12:1).
The Old Testament talks about hidden or unintentional sin (Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:15, 18; 22:14; Numbers 15:22, 24, 27-29; Deuteronomy 4:42; 19:4; Psalm 18:12). But the idea of it in sin and unintentional sins is to keep us from committing them, not accepting them and moving on.
Nowhere in the Bible is sin swept under the carpet or not dealt with. We need to live in the holiness and forgiveness of God and not open the door to sin. This Spiritual Soldier who opens up to sin willingly shoots themselves in the foot on the battlefield.
- Giving in to temptation
Giving in to temptation presents the same issues for the Spiritual Soldier on the battlefield. You are walking backward instead of forward if you give in to temptation and sin against God and others. The Bible teaches us that temptation in and of itself is not sin.
Every Christian experiences temptation. We do not choose to be tempted. But we do choose whether or not to give in to temptation and sin against God and others. We must not blame God if we give in to temptation (James 1:13).
Temptation happens, according to James, because of our own passions and desires from our past life before we met Christ (James 1:14-16). So to avoid temptation we must keep our flesh in check every day. We must allow Jesus to change our desire for Him instead of the things of this world.
But even if we are tempted, God always provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must take the way of escape instead of toying with temptation. Do not think you are strong enough to entertain a temptation and come out victorious. Deny your fleshly desires and turn temptation down.
- Dabbling in the occult
When I was pastoring my church I did a whole Wednesday night teaching series on things like secret societies and the occult. But as usually happens I learned much more by preparation for these teachings as I taught them.
From everything I learned about magic and the occult of witchcraft and paganism I realized that they are counterfeits for the congregation of the saints and God’s power. Magic requires an incantation and an object for power to happen.
Some people may suggest that magic and miracles are the same thing. But this is not true. There is no incantation for a miracle. We can pray and ask God to do a miracle but it is up to Him to do it. And we don’t control God in our asking. Sometimes there is an object involved but the object is not a vessel for the miracle. Magic and miracles are nothing alike.
Witches do magic, incantations, and work with objects. They worship the goddess of nature. It is clear idolatry. They use curses, potions, and other devices to perform the rituals and magic. Pagan religions tap into this same false power.
Séances and Ouija boards attempt to contact the dead and speak to dead spirits. This is an open door for demons to impersonate such dead spirits and deceive those who want to speak to deceased relatives. Stay away from these dangerous doors to the underworld.
King Saul used a witch to call up the deceased spirit of the prophet Samuel to get counsel on how to handle a battle because God’s Spirit had departed from him (1 Samuel 28). God was so incensed that Saul went against Israelite law that he died in that battle.
While the Bible does not deny the possibility that Satan and demons have real spiritual power or that you can contact dead spirits from the underworld it condemns such practices. You must not become involved with any of these things.
Israel was under constant threat of idolatry. It eventually led to the demise of both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom of Judah. Evil kings who introduced and continued the practices of idolatry throughout Israel and Judah were one of the main causes of their downfall.
The prophets addressed idolatry over and over. Isaiah and Jeremiah provided some of the strongest defenses of why idolatry so grieved the Lord. The first through third of the Ten Commandments deal with establishing the Lord as the one true God of Israel and prohibit idolatry and carved images.
Traditional idolatry with carved images, statues, and other forms of idols still exist throughout the world today. Other religions make these the centerpiece of their worship. But these are not the only forms of idolatry. We deceive ourselves if we think an object is the only form of idolatry endangering us.
We have physical pieces of idolatry in American culture too. Televisions and money are just two examples. Materialism through shoplifting and wanting to have stuff is another form. But more often and perhaps more dangerous is thinking that an idol has to be a physical object for it to be idolatry.
We have worldly concepts, principles, and values in our culture that easily pull our hearts away from Jesus. We may even adopt these worldly values in the Church. But we must be aware of any form of idolatry, expose it, and eradicate it from our lives.
- Worldliness (Philosophies, Perspectives, values of the world)
As with idols, worldliness is the rejection of friendship with God (James 4:1-6). Any time we accept worldly values, philosophies, and perspectives we become a friend of the world and an enemy of God.
James gives the solution to worldliness by reminding us to submit to God and resist the devil, a twofold process (James 4:7-8). When we submit to God we surrender any worldly practice, thought, or value. We draw near to Him. We cleanse ourselves from sinful habits and actions and purify our inner person, our hearts.
Worldliness is trying to ride the fence between two worlds, dividing our attention from complete surrender and service to God. There must be no middle ground, no compromise with the world because it is controlled by the devil. We give ground to the enemy through worldliness.
This is why the second part of James’ solution to worldliness is to resist the devil. He must flee when we resist him (James 4:7). We must follow our commitment to God with an absolute, no holds barred, resistance of the devil and his world systems. Our allegiance must be to God alone.
These five dangers present a real and slippery slope for the Spiritual Soldier on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. We give up our authority in Christ and give the enemy open doors to attack us. When we stand against the enemy, we must not leave the back door open or a way of retreat from the battle.
Don’t entertain any of these dangers. They give the devil room in your life to attack you and accuse you. Stand firm against the enemy and do not expose yourself to evil. Jesus has made you an overcomer and conqueror in His power. Stand firm. What other dangers expose us to evil on the spiritual battlefield?
Now that we have been warned about the spiritual dangers and pitfalls the enemy puts in our path to distract us and endanger our lives we now turn to the spiritual battlefield training on the antichrist.