6 Questions about Casting Out Demons

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Our Spiritual Soldier Series continues as we address the issue of casting out demons. Depending on where you go to get information about spiritual warfare, you will find people talking about exorcisms or casting out demons. We must know how to deal with demons and evil spirits.

We see Jesus and the apostles doing this in the New Testament. When they faced demons they cast them out as part of advancing God’s Kingdom. You have a lot of questions about casting out demons. So let’s take a look at this part of spiritual warfare.

  1. Who can cast out demons?

Jesus and the apostles in the first century regularly cast out demons. Today we hear a lot about Catholic priests who have the ability of exorcism. But only priests in the Catholic Church can do this. Some people ask if everyday Christians can cast out demons.

Yes, any Christian has the authority in Christ to cast out demons. But not every Christian is prepared to. The seven sons of Sceva discovered this firsthand (Acts 19:13-16). They went around casting out demons “By Jesus Christ whom Paul preaches.”

While it may have worked with some demons they ran into more powerful ones that called them on the carpet and drove them away naked and bleeding. The authority is not in the words. It’s in our relationship with Jesus.

Jesus has divested his authority in every Christian. Because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14) the Spirit dwells in us. No demon can stand against the presence of God. Greater is the Holy Spirit in us then the demons and evil spirits in the world (1 John 4:4).

While Satan with his demons controls the world right now (Ephesians 2:2) they don’t come close to God’s authority and power over them. Because you walk with Jesus you have His light in you (Matthew 5:14-16). Demons must flee from you.

  1. What do I need to cast out demons?

You need to exercise the authority of Christ in you. While you have Jesus’ authority already, you must be authoritative in using it. Know your identity in Christ and stand on who you are in Him. There’s no need to be timid or afraid.

You know you have the upper ground and every weapon to stand against the enemy in whatever form it comes against you. You stand on that authority in Christ and command the demon to leave in the name of Jesus. That’s all there is to it.

You need a continuous and vibrant relationship with Jesus. As I mentioned with the seven sons of Sceva the power behind commanding demons to leave comes from your relationship with Jesus.

It’s not you the demons are afraid of. It is not Jesus’ name or some formula you think will work. Just as the world sees you as Jesus with skin on, demons sense the presence of God and Jesus in you. That is why they flee.

So when you stand against demons with a connected and vibrant relationship with Him they cannot stick around. Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). This is true of our walk with Him as His disciples and in spiritual warfare.

You need to be prayed up and fully committed on the deepest levels to obedience in Christ. In one example in the Gospels the disciples were unable to cast out a demon (Matthew 17:19-21). When they ask Jesus why they could not cast it out Jesus answers that, “These only come out by prayer and fasting.”

Unfortunately, Hollywood and overly dramatic ministries have taken this out of context. They make it sound like there are certain steps that must be part of casting out demons. When Jesus states you must pray and fast He is referring to being fully prepared to walk in the power and authority He gives us.

Deep intercessory prayer and fasting are “going the extra mile” in our culture. Most Christians don’t fast at all, let alone in preparation to have spiritual power when they command and declare Jesus’ authority.

You must not be lacking in all of the duties of your relationship with Jesus. The deeper your relationship with Jesus the more power you have to do greater things for Him. In a world of uncommitted people, wishy-washy and sticking their toes in the water instead of jumping in, going “all in” in your relationship with Jesus prepares you for anything out there.

You don’t need to be a Catholic priest. You don’t need to have incantations or scriptures against demons. You don’t need certain spiritual gifts or abilities. You don’t need to watch The Exorcist.

  1. Is there a protocol for casting out demons?

Not necessarily. People watch Hollywood movies and way too much TV about exorcism with some magic words or incantations. Others think you have to have objects like a cross, a rosary, or a Bible with you.

But this is not the case at all. You must declare the name of Jesus because His name is above every other name in heaven and on earth (Philippians 2:9-10). Tell the demon to leave and it must obey the name of Jesus. As long as you have prepared yourself in the ways I have discussed in question 2 the demon must obey you.

Jesus very seldom did anything more than these few steps. Only one time did Jesus have an extended conversation with a demon. Every other time He cast them out with barely more than a word or two.

There’s no need have a conversation with a demon because it will not yield any results. Demons by nature are liars. They will attempt to deceive you. There’s no need to ask them about themselves because they will lie to you.

Asking them questions will only let them think they can overpower you or find a way out of the situation. They will attempt to make you feel like you are inadequate or not powerful enough to cast them out.

They will try to talk you out of casting them out. Or they will try to hurt the person they possess. Don’t talk to them or fight with them. You have the upper hand. Cast them out and let that be the end of it.

  1. How did Jesus cast out demons?

Throughout the Gospels when Jesus faced demons His most common approach was to simply cast them out. With a word or two he commanded them to leave. Many times He would ask about the symptoms of the demon possession, but He was talking to the people, not the demon.

You may notice Jesus commanded demons to be silent about His identity. There are two reasons for this. First, a common belief in paganism is that if you know the name of the spiritual entity you are addressing you have power over it. But they cannot gain power over Him.

The other reason is that they would reveal who He is and may have attempted to speed the completion of His mission on earth. Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus says that His hour has not yet come.

There was a divinely designated and planned time for everything Jesus accomplished to be done. The demons may have been attempting to preempt that divine timing to get rid of Jesus faster. Either way, because demons are innate liars Jesus had no reason to speak to them.

But demons would not be able to lie to Jesus. They know who He is. He has greater authority and power. This Faith Church blog post by Brian Dennert is a thorough resource on the subject of Jesus and demons in the Gospels.

At one time Jesus had an extended conversation with a demon (Mark 5:1-13). Jesus asks the demon his name and he calls himself Legion. Scholars point to a Roman legion, a group of soldiers. There were thousands of soldiers in a Roman legion. The demon says, “We are many.”

Jesus not only shows His power over such a large demonic force that demonstrates how important it is for us to be prepared to cast out demons. The demon begged Jesus not to cast him out (Mark 5:10). We must not be afraid of demons no matter how powerful they say they are. We have the power of Jesus living inside us, the Holy Spirit.

  1. Do demons still possess people today?

The New Testament does talk about what we call demon possession in a few ways. The terminology of possession may or may not be accurate according to the terms used in the Bible. It may be better for us to say something like “demonized” or talking about demonic influence or oppression.

Throughout the Bible you don’t see much demon possession in the Old Testament. One of the only occurrences is when King Saul is inhabited by an evil spirit (). They were surely part of the culture and theology of Israel.

After the book of Acts you don’t see much about demon possession and how to deal with it throughout the New Testament either. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen today. Nothing in the Bible gives us the impression that things have changed.

It is still quite possible to face off with a demon possessing a person. The Bible says we have the authority and power to cast out demons (Mark 16:17). So we must still be prepared to encounter demon possession and cast out demons.

  1. Where would I find demon possession today?

Demon possession is still around today. Nothing in the New Testament tells us that it stopped. We are told we will have the ability to cast out demons (Mark 16:17). This tells us demons are still around today and still do what they did in the Bible.

It is rare for you to see demon possessed people today. But you need to be prepared in case you come across one. Do your due diligence before going right to demon possession. Some people may have mental issues, sin in their lives, or some other reason that they seem demon possessed.

This is not to say a person is not demon possessed. But when we go right to demon possession we may not have the discernment and perception to see other issues in a person’s life.

Jesus and the apostles were often moving into new territory when they encountered demons. The sheer fact of Jesus’ power being God on earth, invading Satan’s space may be a reason we see more demonic activity in his ministry.

The apostles in the book of Acts were going into new places of the world, carrying Jesus’ light with them. When they ran into demonic activity it may have been because they were moving into new physical territory.

Today I hear more accounts of demonic activity from missionaries who are going to countries and places the gospel has never been before. They must deal with demonic activity more because they are breaking new ground for the gospel.

But if you encounter demonic activity, you are a Spiritual Soldier taking the gospel wherever you go. Be prepared for whatever spiritual situation you encounter, demonic activity included.

You will find demons lurking in spiritual darkness. If you enter one of their strongholds where they have enjoyed unchallenged power they will come out of the wood works. You may not even realize you are treading on their territory.

Your best weapons in fights against demons and evil spirits is to preach the gospel, be a prayer warrior and interceder, and have a vibrant relationship with Jesus. And the evil spirits or demons will not be able to stand against these weapons.

Wrapping Up

Demon possession is not as common today as it was in the past. But even Christians can experience demonic influence, especially if they open the doors to it through sin, temptation, and experimenting with the occult, for example.

Be prepared to encounter demons and demonic activity. Cast out demons without playing games with them or talking to them. You already know everything you need to know about them. What are some other principles you can think of if you have dealt with demonic activity before?

Up Next

Now that we have addressed casting out demons we will return to the subject of territorial spirits. Do you need to be concerned about territorial spirits? Onward in the march as Christ’s Spiritual Soldiers in His power and authority.

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5 Spiritual Forces Against You

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Jasmin Key from Pixabay

Welcome back to our Spiritual Soldier Series about spiritual warfare. We’ve been talking about all of the enemies on the battlefield. Now we will address these enemies together. Many people in our world today worship some kind of idol. Do these have any power?

As we address idols and the danger they hold we will also talk about how to handle these false gods. So let’s take a look at all of the enemies on the battlefield.

  1. Satan and His Demons

We have covered Satan and his demons in detail. You may want to refer to previous battlefield trainings to get a good handle on each of them. They used to be angels who served God. But one third of the angels fought against God’s angels and were cast down to the earth along with Satan (Revelation 12:4, 11).

Satan is called many things, among them being the father of lies, the accuser of the brethren, and the serpent, the great dragon (Revelation 12:9). His name means “Adversary.” He is the adversary of God and His people.

As we wage war against Satan and his demons we must remember Jesus has already defeated them at the Cross. They have been defeated ever since they were kicked out of heaven. Satan’s days are numbered. He will fight all the harder to take as many people down as he can before his final demise. We must be vigilant against his attacks and the attacks of demons.

  1. Unknown Gods and New Gods

Moses talks about several categories of idols in his farewell address to the second generation of Israelites before they entered the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 32:17). He states that demons are gods, a view also mentioned by Paul (1 Corinthians 10:18-21).

We can infer from these references that demons are the idols worshiped by other religions. People believe they are sacrificing to and worshiping other gods besides Yahweh God but they are mistaken. They offer themselves and their sacrifices to demons.

Paul mentions an altar to the unknown God when he visits Athens (Acts 17:22-23). It seemed the Greeks wanted to cover all the bases. They had altars to all the gods they could name. But then they made an altar to the unknown God in case they missed one.

Paul then proclaimed that the Christian God is the unknown God they did not know. In the divine council (psalm 82) any celestial being God has created must present itself before the Lord on a regular basis (Job 1-2). This divine council is not full of beings God collaborates with. They are celestial beings God tells what He will do.

New gods refers to the gods Israel worshiped from the Canaanite nations around them. This was part of their apostasy against the Lord. So these are not new gods being created but ones that are introduced to Israel whom they turn to worship and sacrifice to.

These were gods that already existed among the Canaanites. When you encounter new evil spiritual deities, they are new to you. But these demons have been around for a long time. No matter what demonic forces and “gods” you face Jesus has already defeated all of them. They are created beings and hold no candle to the supremacy of God.

  1. Rulers, Authorities, Powers, and Dominions

One of the places we find a list of spiritual beings or powers is in Ephesians 1:21. We will discuss the parallel to this verse in Colossians next. Paul lists four possible powers or entities in the spiritual realm.

He uses four different Greek words to name these beings. Paul first lists rulers and authorities. These may be the entities behind evil earthly rulers. These leaders of nations who stand opposed to God and His principles may be controlled by demonic forces called rulers and authorities.

Powers and dominions may refer to spiritual forces and idols or false gods. These may be referred to by some as territorial spirits. I will talk about these in depth in the last point. The question we must answer is whether or not Paul is referring to a spiritual hierarchy or if he is piling up terms the pagans believed in the in his day to describe some kind of hierarchy.

Paul probably is referring to gods and principalities the pagans and nations in his day have made a hierarchy four. In this case, Paul is piling up all the pagan hierarchies of demons and fallen Angels to show that Jesus’ name is above all of these names.

He is making clear that Jesus’ name is above all of these possible enemies and entities. When you read the rest of Ephesians 1:21 Paul declares that Jesus’ name is above all of these other names as He sits on the throne in heaven. He makes clear that Jesus’ authority over these evil spirits and spiritual forces is absolute through time, both in this age and the age to come.

  1. Thrones, Dominions, Rulers, and Authorities

In Colossians 1:16, a parallel passage to Ephesians 1:21, Paul mentions possible deities and hierarchies in a different order than in Ephesians. This time he refers to thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities.

The same arguments can be made for whether this is a hierarchy Paul recognizes in the spiritual realm of demonic forces or if he refers to them because pagans believe in this demonic hierarchy. The context of Paul’s argument is that through Jesus all things, visible and invisible, were created.

These demonic forces were created by God. They are created beings. They may have not started as enemies of God, possibly being fallen angels who failed to win the war against God and His angels in heaven somewhere shortly after creation.

The opinion of most biblical scholars is that Paul is referring to pagan beliefs in this hierarchy of spiritual forces. He is not acknowledging that they exist but pointing out that they are created beings and therefore not nearly as powerful as God who existed before creation.

As we fight spiritual battles we know Jesus is the Conqueror and Victor over everything that is created. When He sat on His throne in heaven after His ascension He placed all of these forces under his feet (). He is supreme King over all created things. He holds authority and power over them.

  1. Territorial Spirits

Satan, his demons, and the spiritual forces described by Paul have real power while Satan rules this world (Ephesians 2:2). We must not be nonchalant about the powers in this world. I must confess I have not come to a position on territorial spirits as of yet. I need more study on the subject.

But I include them here because there are many who teach that there are territorial spirits in certain areas of the world that may control nations and regions. Some teach that they are attached to geographical areas.

While I am further studying the subject of territorial spirits I will say I may have encountered this phenomenon in my ministry already. When I was pastoring my church I experienced a heavy dark spiritual presence from time to time.

Especially during Halloween I would have nightmares about these dark forces. I don’t know if this was simply because it was Halloween or there are other factors. I didn’t experience this presence all the time. The people in general were hardhearted toward the gospel and spiritual matters.

People also talk about spirits attached to every vice in the world. They talk about the spirit of alcoholism, spirit of addiction, and every other kind of spirit. I do not see anywhere in Scripture where specific spirits of vices or sins appear. When the Bible does talk about a “spirit of…” it tends to be referring to an attitude rather than a spiritual force behind our sins and vices.

One other problem with this idea of spirits of vices and sins is that they release us from personal responsibility for our sins. If we believe a spirit is causing every type of sin or vice in us then it’s not our fault. We did not choose to sin if we’re being controlled by these spirits.

Check out my battlefield training that talks about Christians and their freedom from demons and spirits. No demon or spirit can inhabit a Christian because the Holy Spirit resides in that individual. Therefore, none of these spirits have any control over us. If we sin it is because we choose to sin.

I will probably come back to this subject and do a battlefield training on it after I have studied it more. But for now, whether you believe these territorial spirits exist or not, know that through prayer and emphasizing Jesus you can win every spiritual battle.

A Final Word

As I have emphasized throughout this battlefield training we need not be too concerned with the darkness and evil spirits that roam this world. We have victory through Jesus and His Cross. Jesus has already conquered any evil spiritual forces that exist.

We do not walk into battle fighting uphill. We have the high ground already. We can see these spirits coming. We know their tactics. We need not be afraid of them because Jesus has already conquered them. We stand on the truth of Scripture and Jesus’ victory.

Cast out demons as Jesus and the apostles did. You are children of light (Matthew 5:14-16). Everywhere you walk you penetrate the darkness with the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By the very nature you have conquered demons and evil spirits.

Fight with the strength of Christ. Defeat evil spirits and demons because of your strong relationship with Jesus. Don’t get too involved in studying evil spirits to give too much credit to them. Stand firm.

Wrapping Up

There are spiritual forces in the world today who have real spiritual power. They are dangerous to anyone who is not a child of God, a Spiritual Soldier in Christ. No matter what power they hold over people the power of Jesus breaks the chains of every spiritual force that opposes Him.

You fight from a place of strength, from the high ground of Jesus’ victory over every created being. He is the supreme King of the universe. Everything in creation bows in the name of Jesus. What have you learned in your ministry for Jesus about the spiritual forces?

Up Next

Now that we have considered all of the evil forces standing against us we turn to talking about exorcism, misconceptions about casting out demons. Stay tuned to continue preparing as a Spiritual Soldier on the battlefield of spiritual warfare.

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6 Truths about Demons

Image by Carabo Spain from Pixabay

How much do you know about demons and what the Bible says about them? As we continue our Spiritual Soldier Series on spiritual warfare we have spent a few battlefield trainings on Satan. Now we turn to talk about demons and their part in the spiritual realm.

The war that happened in heaven between Satan and Michael, one of God’s archangels, split up the angels into two groups. Angels loyal to God remained at two thirds of the whole while two thirds became fallen angels, demons loyal to Satan (Revelation 12:4, 9).

But what else does the Bible tell us about demons? Here are 6 truths about demons that will help you in your battle against evil spiritual forces in the spiritual realm. Let’s dive in!

  1. Demons masquerade as idols.

You may not realize this, but the idols people worship, the false gods of other religions, are actually demons. Paul implies that idols are demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-22). He may be taking his cue from Deuteronomy 32:17.

Scripture reveals to us that what we think are idols, the gods of the nations and other religions, are really demons or demons take the place of the ideas of these gods. Deuteronomy 32:17 clearly states as Moses reminds the second generation of Israelites about the follies of their fathers in the wilderness that they sacrificed to demons, unknown gods, and new gods.

All of these are idols. Whether they knowingly sacrificed to demons or not, there is clear in France from Moses and Paul that if the people didn’t know they were sacrificing to demons, they were. At the very least, these demons take the place of what people thought were idols.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments many gods were worshiped. These gods were worshiped for fertility, wealth and prosperity, protection from enemies, controlling nature, and whatever else people desired to do.

They looked to false and powerless gods to do what only God can do. Demons may suggest they have authority and ability to do what God does, but anything they do is by His permission. Instead of appealing to evil demons for what we need we must appeal to God Himself. Appealing to lesser beings, God’s enemies, makes us God’s enemies ourselves.

  1. Demons cannot possess Christians.

Several places in Scripture assure us of God’s protection of His saints against evil spiritual forces of all kinds. Many Christians ask questions about demon possession and whether they are safe. One place we can immediately turn to is 1 John 4:4. It states that the Holy Spirit dwelling in Christians is greater than the devil and his demons in the world.

You cannot have both the Holy Spirit and a demon dwelling in you at the same time. A person cannot bless Jesus and blessed demons at the same time (James 3:10).

Everyone who becomes a Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit as salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). We become temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Since the Holy Spirit dwells in us no other spirit of any kind can dwell in the same space.

Demons tremble at the very thought of God (James 2:29). When you resist the devil he must flee from you (James 4:7). Demons cannot be around the presence of God. They cannot stand against Him. You belong to Jesus, not to demons or the devil.

If demons were allowed to possess Christians it would place great strain on the peace we have in Christ. Demonic possession could have happened before we met Jesus. But the word used for salvation Jesus gives includes saving the soul, healing the body, and deliverance from demonic spirits (Greek sozo). For example, Mary Magdalene was delivered from seven demons and there is no indication that they returned as she served Christ.

  1. Demonic possession/oppression is real.

While demons cannot possess Christians they can possess and oppress other people. The New Testament shows throughout the Gospels and Acts that people can be possessed and oppressed by demons. One of the larger parts of Jesus’ ministry was deliverance from evil spirits.

There demons cannot hurt Christians we must not think they don’t exist or allow them to do what they want. Anytime Jesus and the apostles encountered demons they cast them out. We will talk about exorcism of demons in another battlefield training.

Be prepared to resist demons for the sake of others. You are off-limits but everyone around you who is not a Christian is in danger. It seems that demons need something to possess. After a legion of them are removed from one person they are cast into pigs and rushed on the mountainside into water to drown (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39).

Since demons cannot inhabit Christians we fight for the sake of others. The people around us are part of the darkness in this world and serve their master Satan. They want to hurt others and cause confusion. But we bring the light of Jesus’ Kingdom into this dark world.

  1. Demons have dangerous spiritual power.

Demons are real and they have real power to hurt people. You must stand on your authority and relationship with Christ. Any power a demon has is less then like you have. Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

I quote this verse often as we talk about Satan and demons because Jesus has given you authority over demons because He dwells in you. Jesus also gave His disciples authority over spiritual powers when he sent them out in ministry (Luke 10:17). We will also talk about the authority of the believer in spiritual warfare later in our trainings.

Our power over demons comes from Jesus. We must have a vibrant relationship with Him or we can do nothing (John 15:5). The seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-16) found this out firsthand. They went around casting out demons, “In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

But since they didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and referred to Paul, the demons responded that they know Jesus and Paul but they don’t know these seven people. The demons sent them out naked and bleeding.

Don’t overestimate the power of demons. You have authority over them. But don’t underestimate their power either. Grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus every day and be prepared to face demons for God’s Kingdom.

  1. Demons can affect the physical world.

When Jesus came against demons in the Gospels He often encountered physical phenomena the demons were causing in people. This didn’t happen as Jesus cast them out. It was something that demons were causing in those who were captive to them before they met Jesus.

Demons threw people in fires, caused blindness, deafness and muteness, and other infirmities. Not every infirmity is caused by a demon. The Bible clearly points out that demon possession was behind these infirmities. We should not suspect that every infirmity has a demon behind it.

Every time a demon causes physical effects they are to hold captive and abuse people. There are no nice demons that are possessing a person kindly. My experience has been that everyone I have seen demon possessed was not happy to have demon dwelling in them. They wanted Jesus’ deliverance and freedom.

Do not be surprised when you encounter physical phenomena in demon possession. Don’t give it too much attention. Demons love to see you paying attention to the strange things they are doing to people.

Just be aware that it’s possible there is physical phenomena attached to demon possession. You may be performing healing as much as deliverance because Jesus’ power is absolute. He doesn’t just take care of one part of the whole person. He saves, heals, and delivers.

  1. You must stand against demons with authority.

Demons cannot stand against Jesus. The Holy Spirit sets people free from demonic influence of any kind. When the Holy Spirit dwells in a person no demon can share that same person’s space.

Exorcism is a powerful tool against demons. You carry God’s presence with you and need not be concerned about demon possession. Spiritual warfare gives you the ability to take that route from the enemy in other people.

But remember that Jesus taught that a person who is freed from evil spirits cannot just go free without being open to more spirits coming in (Luke 11:24-26). Exorcising demons is only the first step. Evangelism must follow so that a person remains free from demonic influence.

We advance the Kingdom of God by remaining vigilant against demons. I have mentioned before The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis because I believe it is a powerful example of how demons can influence unbelievers.

While demons cannot possess Christians they still attempt to affect their lives. A Christian can be open to the voices of demons. Your strongest defense against demonic influence is to only listen to God’s voice and stand on your authority in Christ.

Wrapping Up

We have looked at some truths about demons so you are prepared to face them on the spiritual battlefield. You now know these truths and they cannot lie to you. They cannot stand against you because you are a child of God and a soldier for Christ.

Don’t let the enemy, demons included, have any ground. You don’t have to be defensive about demons. Go on the offense and take the fight to the demons. What are some other truths you find in the Bible about demons that help to fight them in this world?

Up Next

Next in our battlefield training as Spiritual Soldiers for Jesus we will talk about the evil spiritual forces that are against you. The Bible mentions them and so they are part of the conversation we need to have to be prepared to do spiritual warfare.

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5 Lies Satan Tells Christians

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We’ve been going through these battlefield trainings for the Spiritual Soldier Series as we prepare for spiritual warfare. We have talked a lot about Satan, understanding who he is and strategies he uses against us.

Before we move on to talk about demons I want to show you 5 lies Satan tells Christians. His lies are not limited to these five, for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Throughout the millennia of the Church’s existence Satan has been lying to Christians.

We must not listen to his lies. He is a defeated foe who does his best to gain ground where he is given the opportunity. Our passive resistance is not enough. Do not allow the devil to gain any ground with any of his lies.

  1. You’re really not saved.

Satan tries to convince some Christians that they are not saved and therefore don’t need to fight spiritual battles. This is one way he tries to make your witness invalid and take you off the battlefield.

On its face, salvation seems so simple and that may be why he challenges it. Upon hearing the gospel a person must accept it by faith and rely on God’s grace for it to be true. Then there is turning to follow Christ in the path of obedience and holiness.

That’s all there is to salvation. We believe Jesus has forgiven us and walk in His ways. But Satan tries to sow the seeds of doubt in our minds. Is that really all there is? Did you do it right? Will you stay with Christ when the going gets tough?

There are several disciples in the New Testament who went through some of these experiences. Peter denied Jesus three times and was reinstated by Jesus at the end of the book of John. None of the disciples are anywhere near the cross except John.

In the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested all of the disciples fled in the night. I don’t know too many Christians who don’t doubt something about their faith at some point. But you must rise above any doubt you have. Find resources and people who can help you increase your faith in Christ.

When we cover the Armor of God we will pay special attention to the helmet of salvation. Constantly engaged in renewing your mind so you are not wondering about your salvation. And do not let the devil play mind games with you about God’s grace and power in your life.

Tell your testimony to everyone you meet who will listen. It will reinforce the story of God’s grace in your life. As crazy as it sounds, God loves us so much that he forgives and pours his grace out on us when we don’t deserve it.

  1. You’re not making a difference.

Every Christian has strengths and weaknesses. You may be strong in studying the Bible but weak in defending the faith. You could be a great worshiper of Jesus but not know how to help other Christians with their problems, or unbelievers understand why they should know Jesus.

Whatever the case may be, Satan with love for you to take a backseat in spiritual warfare because you don’t feel like you can contribute. He may tell you that you can do more but you’re lazy. Maybe he’ll tell you that you can’t figure out how to share your faith anyway.

One of the worst lies is that someone else is doing it, and doing it better than you. You should just let them do it and find something else in the background to do. But what if that person can’t do what you think they can do better than you?

The fact is we think we can personally gauge our ability to be effective for Christ. But most Christians are too hard on themselves. And others don’t take certain factors into account as they evaluate their ability to serve Christ.

There are things we will never know this side of heaven. I will never know how many people I reach because not every single person tells me. You may have impact on people you don’t even realize you’ve touched.

With just these factors unavailable to you how can you evaluate your effectiveness for Christ? Could you do more to serve Him? That is a question you should ask the Holy Spirit. Only He knows if there is a way to serve Jesus more.

But none of us should expect that another Christian can pick up our slack. Just because other Christians are doing something doesn’t mean you can’t get involved, learn from them or other resources available to you, or find other ways to serve Jesus.

We are all Spiritual Soldiers on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. None of us gets a pass on knowing what we believe, having our story of salvation ready, growing in our faith, or worshiping Jesus. Don’t let Satan lie to you and tell you that you are dead weight and not making a difference.

  1. You sin more than you obey God.

Satan wants you to think that any sin you do keeps you from God’s grace and Kingdom. I remember when I was a child and could not find any of my family members in the house. My first thought was, “Oh no! You’ve missed the Rapture!”

Satan is banking on your fear that any sin you commit, or multiple sins, will keep you from experiencing God’s power in your life. He wants to cut you off from the rest of the Christians around you, make you feel all alone and helpless, and take you down.

Many Christians balk at biblical counsel to confess our sins, even to one another. We leave them in the closets of our hearts so we are not criticized, or even worse, our sins become public somehow. We think people will just gossip about us.

After all, can’t we just confess our sins to God and let it be? We can confess to Jesus and he is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). But exposing our sins takes away their power over us. Satan wants us to stay bound instead of be free from them.

We must obey the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us about sin. We must take sin more seriously than we do. God’s grace is amazing that we must not abuse it. We must change our thinking and have the discipline to obey the Holy Spirit. Don’t return to your sin.

  1. You can give in to temptation every once in a while.

Satan may go the other way. Instead of challenging your salvation or you sin too much, he may tell you that you can sin a little more. Maybe you’ve been trying very hard to obey the Holy Spirit and Satan doesn’t like that either.

Hinging on God’s grace, Satan may point out that God is gracious and you can take part in the grace more. He is famous for misinterpreting Scripture for his purposes. When Jesus was finished with His fast in the wilderness Satan came to Him a second time and quoted Scripture with nefarious purposes (Matthew 4:5-7).

He will twist everything you know about God if he can gain ground. Giving in to temptation is not a privilege of Christians because of God’s grace. Listen to temptation is stepping to the right and to the left of God’s desire for you.

We are dead to sin and alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10). So listen to temptation goes against what God has told us we are in Christ. Temptation leads to sin. God’s grace is greater than our sin but Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to only sin every once in a while.

Let us live free from sin, alive to Jesus, and fighting the spiritual warfare fight. You don’t need to give in to temptation at any time. It’s not a privilege after having listened to the Spirit so many times. We cannot look at what Jesus has done for us this way.

  1. God is too busy to listen to you.

Satan may pray on Christians’ questions about “unanswered prayer.” St. John of the Cross Road about the “Dark Night of the Soul,” the feeling that God has left us to our own devices for a time. When it feels like “the heavens are brass” in our prayer time we wonder if God is still listening.

I have often heard even Christians suggest that God is busy with other people’s prayers to listen to ours. This is not true at all. God can hear every prayer and nothing hinders him from doing so. To think such a thought is to not understand God’s ability and Person.

He wants to hear from us. But there are times throughout our Christian lives when we will experience this feeling of God’s silence. The reason for this feeling can be on our end. If we spend our entire time in prayer talking to God and not listening, it’s very little different from the human conversation where we monopolize the time.

There are times of waiting on the Lord in our lives. It’s not that He’s not listening to us. He has His reasons for why we wait on Him. It’s been said that God has three possible answers to our prayers. The first one we like the most, a “Yes.” But he might also tell us, “No.” The third possibility is that God tells you, “Not yet.”

We may have to wait on the answer to our prayer. Daniel waited four days for the answer to his prayer, even though God had already given it when he prayed. It was actually a matter of spiritual warfare that he did not receive the answer from an angel sooner (Daniel ?).

So there are several reasons you may feel that God has not answered your prayer. The Bible assures us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). You are never whether you feel God’s presence or not. He is always with you.

Wrapping Up

Satan only comes after you with these lies because he knows he is defeated now and in eternity. Don’t listen to his voice. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Continue to fight these spiritual battles. It’s often darkest before the dawn. Don’t give up before your victory.

We need to fight against these lies of the devil. Every lie he has ever told has ignored God’s truth on every matter. Listen to the devil gives up precious ground to the enemy in your life. God wants to speak to you. Don’t listen to the devil. Listen to God instead. What other lies do you think Satan wants to tell?

Up Next

Now that we have looked at the enemy in chief of our spiritual fight we will turn to looking at Satan’s little helpers, demons. We study and prepare for the spiritual battles we face in our next battlefield training talking about the truth about demons.

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5 Strategies of Satan and Demons

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series

Our Spiritual Soldier Series, battlefield trainings for spiritual warfare, continues to cover our enemies and their strategies. Because Jesus has already won for us we don’t need to belabor our study of our enemies. We need to be aware of them and be prepared for their attacks.

We had taken a closer look at Satan and who he is, we want to talk about five strategies Satan and his demons employee against us and those around us. Satan is not always the enemy after us. His demons can stand in his place and just as much damage if we do not see their strategies.

So we will look at these strategies and see them coming. I think the book The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis can be helpful in helping us to understand possible ways demons think and how they can attack Christians. But rest assured, these evil forces are not only against you as a Christian. They are also after unbelievers.

  1. Lies and Deception

When we looked at Satan and who he is, we saw that Jesus called him the father of lies (John 8:44). One of his chief tactics against us and unbelievers is to lie to us and deceive us. In Job 1-2 Satan tries to make it look like God is the one attacking Job.

One of his servants comes to him and says the “fire of God” burned up his sheep and servants (Job 1:26). As far as Job knows only God dwells in heaven. He would’ve also understood the great wind that blew down the house of his children to be from God (Job 1:28-29). It wouldn’t be far-fetched for him to understand God giving his disease to him in Job 2.

Job is unaware of the heavenly conversation between God and Satan, and doesn’t appear to know that God has any opposition. So he believes that God is the one deciding whether he is blessed or cursed.

In this training we are not discussing how much God’s sovereignty affects many of our situations but I bring this up to explain that we don’t always know how much God permits in our lives. Needless to say, if you hear lies or someone deceives you, it is definitely not God.

God does not lie (Numbers 23:19). And He doesn’t use deception. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17). Satan and his demons will try to deceive you. They will tell you lies about your progress in being conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

They will tell you that no one has ever been in the situations you find yourself involved in. They will use every tried and tested trick they have learned over the centuries. We must watch what voices we listen to in this world.

Satan and his demons may use your inner voice against you. When you hear yourself condemning your actions you know this is not from God’s Spirit. He speaks life, builds you up, and encourages you. Even in his conviction there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). You can’t listen to the voices in this world because he is behind them.

How do you defend against these lies and deceptions? You know the Spirit of truth. You walk in the light and truth of God’s Word. Always trust what God has said about you and this world above any other voice.

God also gives Christians discernment as we walk behind enemy lines. To sum he gives the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10). Discernment and wisdom light our path as we rely on the Holy Spirit to show us the truth behind the lies and deceptions.

  1. Darkness and Depression

We walk in a cold, dark world. Satan masquerades as an angel of light, but he is the master of darkness (2 Corinthians 11:14). Pitch black darkness is one thing but we live in a spiritually dark world. Satan doesn’t allow God’s light to shine through easily.

The darkness is not only in Satan’s world (Colossians 1:13) but in the hearts and minds of the unsaved around us. They are used to the darkness and even love it (John 3:19). Darkness in Scripture is often an image for evil and wickedness.

Paul talks about the dark deeds of unbelievers and how Christians must not partner with them (Ephesians 5:7-8). He calls Christians to take no part in the darkness but instead expose them with the light of the gospel (Ephesians 5:11-14).

You are not part of the darkness in this world. Jesus has made you a light in the world (Matthew 5: 14-16). You walk as a child of light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). You are full of the joy of the Lord instead of the depression darkness can bring (Nehemiah 8:10).

You must bring the light of God’s revelation to this world and the people captive to the enemies of their souls. Darkness cannot overcome the Light (John 1:5). As we expose the darkness and evil deeds of people under Satan’s influence God’s light of revelation floods through us.

Your testimony is a powerful offensive weapon against the darkness of this world. Do not fear the darkness because your are Jesus’ light wherever you go. You also have the Spirit who is greater in you than in this world (1 John 4:4). Nothing can harm you because God is on your side.

  1. Suppressing the Truth

The truth about God is plain and easy to find (Romans 1:19-20). From creation to reasonable arguments we can make a great case for God’s existence and how He created the world to operate. Satan and his demons have suppressed the truth about God (Romans 1:18).

Satan has blinded people to the truth about God. Without knowing who God is people choose other ways to fill the void in their hearts. Suppression happens because people know that God exists (Romans 1:21). Even atheists speak about him as if he exists.

But they do not want to acknowledge or honor God for who He is. They refuse to worship Him as He deserves. They’ve allowed their minds to degrade into futile thinking. They become foolish in their thinking. When the Bible talks about this type of foolishness it is not referring to stupid choices but to ignoring the fact of who God is and His existence (Psalm 14:1).

The Bible distinguishes between worldly wisdom and godly wisdom (Romans 1:23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25). But those around you who don’t know Christ have chosen to suppress the truth of who He is and have exchanged His glory for mere idols (Romans 1:23).

But you know Jesus. You know the truth about Him and you walk in truth. You are not deceived by the lies of this world. You are an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Like Paul, you must never be ashamed of the gospel because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16-17). And this is your mission behind enemy lines. Introduce people to the Way, Truth, and Life (John 14:6).

  1. Persecution and Tribulation

Satan and his demons have no intention of making your mission easy. Even today throughout this world Christians are beginning persecuted and going through strong trials because of their faith in Christ.

He will put the pressure on you however he can. In America, we usually endure the kind of persecution that involves our speech and our testimony. We have not resisted to the point of martyrdom. But don’t get too comfortable.

Jesus said that we would endure persecution (Matthew 5:10-12; 24:9-14). Tribulations will be part of the end times as they come upon us. Jesus also said we will have tribulation in this world (John 16:33).

How can you prepare yourself for this strategy of the enemies around you? In the same verse Jesus said we would have tribulation he also said that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Jesus is with you in every trial you face.

James prepared us to face trials throughout his letter. But he especially gives us great counsel in James 1:2-4. We can even walk through our trials with joy because we know Jesus is working His perfect and holy character in us. Satan cannot keep that from happening.

Paul says that all the sufferings we face are light and momentary compared to the weight of glory beyond all comparison we will have in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17). Jesus gives you the strength and grace to face persecution and tribulation. Stand in His grace and your vibrant relationship with Him.

  1. Ruling the World

Satan rules the world right now (Ephesians 2:2). He has put every world system against you. If everything in the world seems backwards, contrary to God’s principles and commands, it is by design. There will be times you must stand for Christ against what you’re being told to do.

Satan must think he has the high ground because he rules the world in which you live. But you spread God’s Kingdom right under his nose one person at a time. Your witness and lifestyle are powerful evidence for God’s work in your life.

Satan’s rule will only last for a limited time. And Jesus will come for you through the catching up, the rapture before Satan will bring the Great Tribulation through his antichrist (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

You must work for the Lord in the world without being influenced by the world. You must be the influencer. He has left you here for this time of grace to win the world for Him. By fulfilling your mission for Jesus you are also winning victories in the spiritual realm for Him.

Wrapping Up

Satan has many strategies to disrupt you in this world. But you stand for Christ, the Conqueror of all of the evil things in this world from evil spiritual powers like Satan and his demons to reversing the curse and corruption of this world.

Trust in the Lord as you advance His good news and stand against the wickedness of this world for Him. Use the information you have about the enemy to strike a blow to the gates of Hell for the Kingdom of God. What other tactics and strategies do you see the devil employing until Jesus returns?

Up Next

We have discussed how Satan and his demons use the strategy of lying and deception. Next we will turn to some of the specific lies he tells Christians to keep you off your game. So join me next time as we continue to gear up for battle with our battlefield trainings.

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7 Truths about Satan

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by ParallelVision from Pixabay

Our series, Spiritual Soldier, continues as we study spiritual warfare and practice it in our fight with evil spiritual forces. These battlefield trainings prepare you to win the battles you face as a soldier for Christ.

In this battlefield training we focus on the enemy of our souls, Satan, or the devil. But we will not spend much time talking about him because he doesn’t deserve the attention. You will find he is not as formidable as you think. But that doesn’t mean you do not have to be aware of him.

By taking a quick look at Satan you will know who he is and how he operates. When you see his attacks you will recognize them and be able to stave off every fiery dart he fires at you. Let’s dive in!

  1. Satan is a created being.

The first, and most important, proof about the devil you must know is that he is a created being (Ezekiel 28:13). He did not exist along with the Trinity at the beginning of creation. Therefore, he is not nearly as powerful as God.

He must present himself as all the other angels must present themselves to God on a regular basis. In Job 1-2 we are given divine insight into several truths about Satan. First, his name means, “Adversary.” He is the adversary to God and His people.

In Job 1:6-12 Satan must come and present himself with the other created beings. The “Sons of God” refers to angels, celestial beings. Therefore, Satan is an angel of sorts. I will explain in the next truth how we can classify him now.

Next, he is limited in his power. He can only do what God allows him or permits him to do. God gives Satan permission first to harm everything Job has (Job 1:12). But he is not permitted to harm Job himself.

The second time he appears before the Lord for presentation (Job 2:1-6) God permits him to harm Job’s health, but he is not allowed to take his life (Job 2:6). Satan’s power is limited by God.

Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent as God is. He does not have all power to do as he wills. He cannot be everywhere present as God is. And he does not know everything about you as God does.

Realizing this empowers you in spiritual warfare. Satan does not know all of your weaknesses. He does not know everything about you. He must learn by trial and error how to attack you. He is not all-powerful and cannot harm you more than God allows. He cannot do anything to you other than what God permits.

And he is not everywhere present. This means he is limited and can only be in one place at one time, just like you. Therefore, he is most likely not personally attacking you. However, he has many demons to aid in tormenting people, including the children of God.

This is where the battle of spiritual nature resides. As I said in my principles of spiritual warfare you cannot be possessed by demons or the devil. But they can attempt to win you over to their side or attack you personally.

This is why you must stand with all the weapons in your arsenal against them. They cannot win the battle because you have all the weapons of spiritual warfare to defeat them. But you must know and use these principles and weapons.

Because the devil is so limited he is most likely attempting to harm those who are heavy hitters in the Christian faith, higher targets who are hurting the gates of Hell in more public and defeating ways. I’m not saying you are not a heavy hitter, but he has most likely sent some demons after you. Be prepared for anything no matter who brings the battle to your door.

  1. Satan tries to usurp God’s place.

From the very beginning of his existence, at least at some point early on, Satan tried to take God’s throne from Him. Several prophetic Scriptures, the very words of Jesus, and a revelation from the apostle John show us more about Satan.

The prophetic passages begin by speaking oracles against human kings and princes. But as much prophecy does, they begin to speak of a celestial being instead of just humans.

Isaiah 14:12-15 is an example of this heightened speech against the enemy of Israel, and then Satan. Isaiah begins by speaking against the king of Babylon. But then the language seems elevated as he tells us about Satan.

He prophesies about Satan’s fall from heaven, calling him Day Star (Isaiah 14:12). In Latin, this translates to Lucifer, one of Satan’s names. Satan is prideful, and we see that in his desire to ascend to the heavens and set his throne on high (Isaiah 14:13). He wanted to make himself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). Instead, he is cast down into the pit of Sheol (Isaiah 14:15).

Ezekiel speaks of the king of Tyre and adds to the portrait of our enemy that he was beautiful and wise in the beginning (Ezekiel 28:12). He was in the garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13). Later, John reveals an Revelation that one of his names is the serpent of old. So either Satan and inhabited the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve or was the serpent.

He started out as a righteous angel, a guardian, and many scholars believe he was the worship leader among the angels (Ezekiel 28:14-15). The rest of his prophecy lines up with Isaiah’s, describing Satan’s demise.

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the time He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18). And Revelation 12:7-17 recounts either Satan’s fall when Jesus and the prophets are speaking of it or a later fall again.

Though Satan tries to steal God’s throne and make his place there, Jesus sits on the throne and rains in righteousness today (Mark 16:19; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 1:9). Jesus is clearly in charge of everything in creation.

  1. Satan is the prince of the power of the air.

The Bible also talks about Satan as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Right now, Satan has limited authority over the earth while the Church is still here. You live as an enemy combatant behind enemy lines. Satan seeks to persecute Jesus’ Church. Every Christian can be persecuted and endures trials and tribulations. Spiritual warfare helps you gain victory.

Some teachers and preachers talk about Satan owning the deed to the earth. They cite the seven seals of Revelation which seal this deed to the earth (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1-5). Whether this is accurate or not, Satan has been given authority over the earth for a time.

In the book of Job Satan tells the Lord twice when he presents himself before Him that he has been roaming about the earth (Job 1:7; 2:2). We may deduct that this is after Satan’s fall and he is relegated to the earth, only visiting heaven when he must present himself before the Lord.

Satan is limited to the earth but his rule is not absolute. God’s Kingdom is still in operation. It grows one person at a time as Jesus changes the hearts of individuals coming out of darkness into His light. You spread God’s Kingdom light through your testimony and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Christians are in the world but not of the world. We work for Jesus in this world but we do not share its values. You must not get comfortable in this world. Your home is heaven. While Satan controls the world systems you have power to take his kingdoms by force through spreading the gospel of God’s Kingdom.

  1. Satan seeks to devour you.

Peter tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). He is the enemy of your soul and those around you. He wants to destroy you. But we have a remedy.

In the surrounding verses Peter calls Christians to be sober minded and watchful. We need to pay attention to the spiritual battles around us. Ask God to give you discernment to see them in the spiritual realm.

Christians who are unaware of the battlefield cannot recognize what Satan is doing against them. They find themselves vulnerable to his attacks. They do not see spiritual battles, mistaking them for physical ones. And they believe they are helpless.

Peter tells us to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:9). His tactics are the same for other Christians around the world who are being persecuted and suffering for their faith. The way you resist him is by standing firm in your strong faith.

Know the truths of God’s Word and stand on His promises. Don’t give the devil a foothold. Some Christians believe his lie that no one has ever experienced what they’re going through. But Satan attacks in the same ways. Bind yourself to other Christians to build one another up in faith.

  1. Satan is the father of lies.

Jesus proclaims to Jewish religious leaders that the one whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). They claim they are free even though they are nationally under Roman rule. They are so deceived. They claim Abraham is their father, but Jesus tells them they are of their father the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44).

The remedy to combat Satan’s lies are through truth. Paul talks about the belt of truth as one of the pieces of God’s armor for fighting spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:14). We will expound on the armor of God piece by piece later in our study.

Some people argue for subjective truth, the idea that my truth is not your truth. They make truth an individual concept rather than universal. Others fight for objective truth, the concept that truth is universal and understood by everyone.

But the Bible presents truth not as individualistic or universal but in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6; John 16:13). Jesus is the Truth who places His Spirit in us who believe in Him. At his trial before Pilate, the Roman governor asks Jesus, “What is truth?” but walks out before Jesus answers his question (John 18:38). The Truth was standing in front of him.

We must stand on the truth of Scripture and the Person of Jesus Christ to win the battle against the father of lies. The truth unravels the lies and exposes their deceptions. We must allow the light of the gospel of Jesus to break the darkness and deception of the enemy.

  1. Satan is the accuser of the brethren.

In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. He seeks to point out every fault you have. Even as you obey the Holy Spirit and your character and deeds are transformed into the character of Christ he accuses you.

Only listen to Jesus’ voice. Satan will use your inner voice to criticize you. The Holy Spirit speaks life into you. Even when He addresses character flaws He does it in a redemptive way that builds you up. If you hear voices of any kind that put you down, it is the accuser of your soul, not the Lord.

Stand against Satan’s accusations. He speaks from deception and lies. He is not here to make you better or help you. He wants to destroy you. And he will use any unethical approach he can to defeat you.

Ignore the voice of the devil. Jesus tells us how to defeat the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:11). Believers overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Jesus has already defeated Satan and covered you with His blood. Stand and the power of the blood of the Lamb.

Second, speak your testimony and tell your story of faith to others. When you declare it you destroy Satan’s lies. You remind yourself God’s grace toward you. You declare Jesus’ power to change you from a child of darkness to a child of God. Stand on the word of your testimony.

  1. Satan is a defeated foe.

This principle of Satan’s defeat has been mentioned and shown throughout this battlefield training. Several scriptures have talked about Satan’s defeat. We have already mentioned that he was thrown down out of heaven after trying to usurp God’s throne (Revelation 12:7-17).

The God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet (Romans 16:20). You fight spiritual battles from a position of strength, already having the high ground. You can see every attack.

You can see the enemy’s tactics and strategies. Jesus has already won your salvation and freedom at the Cross. So you fight from strength and don’t allow the enemy a foothold. Don’t give him an inch.

I mentioned at the beginning of our training that Satan is not as formidable as you think. Nobody talks about the defeated enemy. History is written by the victors. Satan only gets the attention and ground that you give him.

But when you understand your place in Christ and the weapons you have at your disposal, there is no need to give any ground to the enemy at all. Stand in the strength of your faith in Jesus and what he has already done. You will never suffer defeat with these weapons in your arsenal.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know these truths about Satan you are prepared for his attacks. You know what to expect because you know his character. With such a detailed dossier on the enemy of your soul you can fight every spiritual battle with God’s strength.

You can stand against every scheme and fiery dart of the enemy. He uses the same playbook. He thinks his old, time-tested tricks will work on you every time. But you know better and you know the One who brings victory. What else do you think we should know about Satan?

Up Next

Now that we have talked about the character and person of Satan we will turn to his strategies and tactics against us. We will look at what he does to try to make you lose your head in the heat of battle. Join me for our next battlefield training.

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7 Weapons of Your Identity in Christ

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Mark Frost from Pixabay

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far in our Spiritual Soldier Series, training in spiritual warfare. Many Christians don’t realize the significance of their identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Jesus makes a world of difference in spiritual battle.

We will talk about the battlefield of the mind later in our series, but the mind is crucial not only to your survival but to thriving in spiritual battles. When you know who you are in Christ you fight from the high ground of victory instead of being tricked by the devil concerning your power in Christ.

  1. You are a new creature in Christ.

First, Paul tells us we are completely different people after we meet Jesus, becoming a new creation by His design (2 Corinthians 5:17). When you realize everything that happens to make you a new creature in Christ you fight from a place of strength.

Many Christians can quote this verse but they don’t understand the significance of what must happen for Jesus to do this for us. We are no longer subject to the flesh, our former desires. Some Christians still live like they are, but it is a choice rather than your nature.

We don’t have to do what we used to do. We don’t have to listen to temptation because it preys on our former desires. When we see things happening in the world around us that used to draw us in, our desires have completely changed. We now seek to please God and glorify Jesus.

When you look at the context of 2 Corinthians 5:17 there are several things Jesus has done for us. We are not only changed from our former perspective and desires (2 Corinthians 5:16) but Paul talks about the ministry of reconciliation.

Because you are no longer subject to your former desires you have experienced reconciliation and peace with God. You are no longer His enemy. God does not turn His wrath toward you. You are at peace with Him and serve Him now.

Jesus reconciled you to God through his death on the Cross. He paid a high price for you to know Him. Anytime you are tempted by your former desires you must remember the cost to make you a new creature.

God chose to not count your trespasses against you (2 Corinthians 5:19). This goes the whole way back to the Fall. We were living under the result of the Fall, living by sin instead of in righteousness. But Jesus changed all of that.

Part of your spiritual battle is to remember what He has done for you and not pay attention to your evil desires and the temptations that follow. You become a warrior for Christ against sin in the world and your own desires. And with the power He has given you and the understanding of your mind you can be victorious as a new creature in Christ.

  1. You are an ambassador for Christ.

Your second weapon against evil spiritual forces is to actively work for Jesus as one of his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). This follows on the heels of being a new creature in Christ. You carry the gospel of Jesus to those around you.

You are behind enemy lines. Do not underestimate the power of the gospel to change lives. You are a light in the darkness proclaiming the most powerful weapon of good news to the hopeless. Ask any missionary or evangelist if there is not a spiritual battle waged every time the gospel is preached.

When Jesus came into the world as the Light of the world the darkness tried to Overcome Him but failed (John 1:5). Just as Jesus stood up for you and reconciled you to God, so God sends you to proclaim the same message of hope to others.

Ambassadors are sometimes in the most dangerous places. Several times throughout American history we have seen the dangers ambassadors face, especially in places they are not welcome. As I write this, most recently in Afghanistan we have closed our embassy after pulling our diplomats and ambassadors out of the country first.

In Saigon during the Vietnam War we have images of helicopters rescuing our ambassador at the close of that war. These images are disturbing to most Americans because of how dangerously mismanaged the politicians made these situations for the military. I can remember similar dangers in Libya.

Because you are behind enemy lines it is not always easy to bring the light of the gospel to those in darkness. You must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the light to the darkness. Jesus was willing to bring His Light to this dark world and die on the cross, becoming sin for us. We also penetrate the darkness with the light of God’s good news for those who are perishing.

  1. You are in the world but not of the world.

Christians have made this a catchphrase that is helpful to understand our position in this world according to your identity in Christ (John 17:11, 14-18). As Jesus prepared His disciples (and us) for His departure He wanted you to understand how to live in this world for Him.

You work in the world for Jesus as you live here, but this world is not your home. You have an eternal destiny with Jesus forever. This keeps you from getting comfortable with this world. We are so used to this world that we get comfortable. But Jesus shows us that we have a different and better destination.

You’re not here by accident. Jesus has put you in this world to serve His Kingdom. He has a purposeful design and mission for You. But while you are in this world to serve Jesus you must not share the values, principles, and culture of this world.

People think you are strange because you don’t want to do what they do. You share the gospel with everyone you meet. You fight for the souls of your loved ones.

The different lifestyle you bring to this world shows them what living for Jesus is all about. You’re not perfect yet but they see your godly values and worldview. They see the fruit of your labor for Him.

Knowing your identity in Christ, that you are in the world but not of the world, keeps you fixed on Jesus and Heaven. The phrase, “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good” does not fit you. I believe those who are heavenly minded are even more earthly good. They want Heaven for everyone around them.

As you live for Jesus in this world you steal dead spirits from the clutches of the enemy with the light and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your bold witness and lifestyle show them the way to Jesus and you rescue them as an agent of God’s Kingdom.

  1. You are a child of God.

God has made you His child through supernatural means (John 1:12-13). As a son or daughter of the King you receive an inheritance far better than anything you have on earth (Galatians 3:26). Satan will attack your salvation and place in God. But he fails because you know who you are in Christ.

You are also a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You automatically have dual citizenship, here on earth and there in heaven. You are no longer God’s enemy (Ephesians 2:19). As you wait on Jesus to return for you, you know He’s coming because he is transforming your character here on earth.

Satan and his demons will accuse you and challenge you. They will tell you you are not really becoming holy like Jesus. But you can’t trust these liars. The Holy Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16).

You are sure of your salvation in God. Your place in his family is secure. If the devil tries to challenge your salvation you know where you stand with God. So you don’t give up any battlefield ground to the enemy when he challenges who you are in Christ.

  1. You are salt and light in the world.

You make a difference in the world with every opportunity you take to be different (Matthew 5:13-16). Jesus used these images of your identity in Him to show how you live in this world.

Salt is a preservative for food. They put it with meat to preserve the meat longer when they did not have refrigerators and freezers. As Jesus’ salt in this world you preserve righteousness and the witness of the gospel for people to hear this good news.

Salt also flavors food. This is probably what you think of when you think of salt. You season your conversations and ideas with godly wisdom (Colossians 4:6). When people ask you questions about Jesus you answer them with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

You are Jesus’ light in this world. You shine for the gospel through your words and actions. People see Jesus in you. You cannot hide from your faith. You take back the darkness with the light of the gospel.

We also use lights to reveal what the darkness hides. You expose the evil deeds of darkness (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:11). You are a child of light (Ephesians 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:5). You do not do works of darkness and wickedness. You bring righteousness into the world.

  1. You are blessed beyond measure. (The Beatitudes)

In the Beatitudes Jesus outlines the kind of Kingdom character He brings to his disciples (Matthew 5:3-12). When you understand your blessed place in Christ you know how to deal with everything the enemy and this world system throw at you.

You are poor in spirit, knowing that you are spiritually bankrupt without Jesus. Because you seek to abide in Him (John 15:1-11) your relationship with Jesus is strong and vibrant. From this strength Jesus gives you power to fight spiritual battles You bear fruit for Jesus that lasts and you remain in Him.

You mourn for the lost and understand the wickedness of this world. Your humble strength is a witness of Christ in you to the world. Jesus satisfies your hunger and thirst for righteousness in a wicked world controlled by Satan and his demons.

You are merciful to those who don’t deserve it as you maintain purity for Christ. You don’t mix worldly and godly principles. Your allegiance is to Jesus alone. You seek to bring peace to a chaotic and warring world.

Most of all, you endure persecution of all types. You thwart every spiritual attack against you because of Jesus’ power in you and the power of the gospel. Your citizenship and inheritance are in heaven. As you suffer for Jesus you show the world the power of Christ in you.

Despite the darkness and dangers of this world you are blessed beyond measure because Jesus is working His Kingdom character in you. He’s teaching you how to live counterculturally in this world.

  1. You are holy like the Lord.

Finally, Jesus calls you to be holy in a wicked world (1 Peter 1:14-16). You imitate Jesus in his holy and righteous character. He is making you more like Him every day. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of you and conforms you to Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29).

You live opposite of this world and its systems. And they can’t stand it. They want you to reject Christ and they will persecute you. But you have come out from among them (2 Corinthians 6:17). You are separate from the world and its wickedness.

Holiness also conveys the image of purity. You are unlike the world, not mixing your allegiance with Christ with the world. You keep yourself from mixing the world system’s perspectives and values with godly perspective.

You live for eternity rather than for today. You worship one God instead of many gods. You refuse to compromise your integrity and godly standards. The Holy Spirit is working God’s high standards into your character and life.

You worship and serve the living God in a world full of dead idols. Holiness also keeps you from worldliness. You are a friend of God (James 4:4). Submitting yourself to God, at the same time you resist the devil and he flees from you (James 4:7-8).

Your holiness protects you on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. As a Spiritual Soldier for Jesus, your holy living demonstrates Kingdom values to the world. The Holy Spirit dwells in you and He is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Wrapping Up

These seven portraits of your identity in Christ aid you on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. They tell you who you are and keep the enemy from trying to lie to you about your salvation and God’s love for you.

Trust in Jesus and your identity in Him. Your connection to Jesus reminds you of your place in God. You walk with Jesus behind enemy lines and win spiritual battles because you know the promises Jesus has given about you.

Up Next

In our next battlefield training we focus in on the enemy of our souls. Satan doesn’t like that you are taking back spiritual territory for Jesus. We will look at 7 truths about Satan that show you who he is and what his goals are. Join me for the next Spiritual Soldier battlefield training.

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12 Ways to Fight the Flesh, Temptation, and Sin

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by 139904 from Pixabay

We are continuing in our spiritual warfare series, Spiritual Soldier. I have designed each of these training posts to help you grow in your faith, understand the battlefield and the strategies of the players, and give you tactics to become successful in spiritual warfare.

Today I want to introduce 12 ways to fight the flesh, temptation, and sin. Some people do not consider these spiritual battles but if you have ever tried to conquer these three foes with your own willpower you realize quickly that they are spiritual battles. We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to be victorious in these continuing battles.

Strategies against the Flesh

By “Flesh” I’m not referring to your skin but to the former desires you had before you met Jesus. It would be great if they just went away, but they stick around. We must choose to be dead to them and here are some strategies on how to accomplish that goal.

Before I give you these strategies out of God’s Word realize that these battles with the flesh will continue to surface. But just because you will face these battles does not mean you cannot experience victory over them by the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ.

The only way you lose battles to the flesh is by giving in to them and giving up. Old friends will call up and want you to go out and do what you did before you met Jesus. You will encounter things from your past and former desires will raise their ugly heads. So what do you do?

First, crucify the flesh with its desires (Galatians 5:24). While talking about walking by the Spirit he speaks of the war between the flesh and the Spirit. They are contrary to one another.

So we choose with each action whether to follow the Spirit or the flesh. Paul introduces 16 works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19). These are the dark things we did before we met Jesus and he cleansed us from our unrighteousness. We must not return to these things again.

To return to the works of the flesh in any form challenges the Spirit’s work in our hearts. The devil and his demons want us to return to the vomit of our former lives. He wants to prove that Jesus’ power is not strong enough to overcome what we used to be.

Instead, the spiritual battle comes through allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate his fruit in us. He challenges us to build godly character that glorifies Jesus. The works of the flesh bring death. But the fruit of the Spirit brings life in us. Paul introduces nine characteristics of the Spirit’s resulting work in our hearts and lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

Those who practice the fruit of the Spirit have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Spiritual warfare against the flesh continues to remind you that Paul speaks in the past tense. You “have crucified” your flesh once and for all.

Things you have killed stay dead. So the spiritual battle has already been won. But you must constantly remind your spirit and heart that these desires are gone in you. That is the battle every time they want to knock on your door. Jesus raises the dead. But our desires stay dead.

Next, take up your cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23-27). If we want to call ourselves disciples, we must deny ourselves, our former desires, and follow Jesus. To follow Jesus is to do what he teaches instead of what we want to do.

Jesus’ teachings and commands go against human nature. He calls us to be what He wants us to be rather than what we used to be. Our spiritual battle is to deny ourselves, our desires, and our own agendas for His.

Jesus changes our desires to be for Him and to do what advances His Kingdom. We seek the Lord instead of our desires. Jesus stresses that this is a daily decision. With our actions and words we show whether we follow Him or have returned to our desires.

When we turn to our resources instead of to Jesus in prayer or are too ashamed of Jesus to share with others we are falling back on our old ways. It is a daily spiritual battle to abide in Jesus and follow Him.

We must be disciplined in Jesus (Hebrews 12:3-13). The writer of Hebrews encourages us that discipline hurts at the time but helps us in the long run (Hebrews 12:11). So discipline is not easy but it is one of the best weapons against the flesh. Let us strive to be disciplined in the Lord. The Holy Spirit will help us with discipline.

A final battle tactic to fight the flesh is to live out your identity in Christ. I will talk about identity in Christ in more detail in my next training. But when we understand with our minds what it means to be identified with Jesus our fight with our flesh becomes easier.

Jesus has changed us completely so that our fleshly desires from the past are no longer our focus. He gives us new desires that focus on Him instead of the world. We can’t just understand who we are in Christ. We have to live as the people He has made us to be.

When we live out our identity in Christ we storm the gates of Hell and take back territory from the enemy. We experience spiritual victory because we become the people Jesus is making us to be. We glorify God as we serve Jesus with excellence.

Strategies against Temptation

Temptation is one of the biggest problems for many Christians. We have such a hard time warring against temptations that seem to pop up everywhere. We must face two types of temptation.

The first type of temptation is something we can plan for. It doesn’t happen every day and when we are tempted we know it is one of our weak spots. It comes directly from our former passions. We see the game Satan plays with us.

The other type of temptation surprises us. It seems to pop up out of nowhere and we didn’t have a plan going in. It grabs our attention and demands we deal with it on the spot. We have a few tactics to use against surprise temptation.

When we are tempted by former passions we are not surprised. The things that tripped us up before we met Jesus will continue to bother us. So how do we deal with these types of temptation? We must have a battle plan before they happen.

Find scriptures that deal with that desire and temptation. Memorize them so you will have ammunition when these temptations happen. Paul tells us God provides a way of escape from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). So when we know the Scriptures to speak to the temptation as Jesus did against Satan (Matthew 4:1-11) and have a plan on how to avoid it or address it we can be victorious.

Another approach to these temptations from former passions is to ask a fellow Christian to become our accountability partner. When these desires are exposed to the light they lose their power over us. You cannot fight these temptations with willpower or by keeping them hidden. If you think you are controlling it, it is controlling you.

To find great qualities in an accountability partner, choose a Christian of the same gender who cares about you and wants to see you destroyed temptations in your life. Find a Christian who is further along in Christian maturity than you. Meet regularly, perhaps once a week, and be honest with your answers to the questions. Pray together for your success against temptation.

For the second kind of temptation, the ones that surprise you without warning, my mentor gave excellent advice to me when I was a teenager. God gave us two weapons against surprise temptations. The first is your neck and the second is your eyelids. Close your eyes and turn your head away from the surprise temptation.

Second, realize your temptations stem from your former desires. Before you met Jesus you enjoyed doing sinful things, or things that led to sin. But you know that sin leads to death. Refer to the first part of this training to deal with former desires.

Third, don’t blame God. James provides excellent counsel for dealing with temptation (James 1:13-18). He tells us not to blame God for our temptations because they come from us, from the evil desires we used to have.

He tells us that God is not tempted by evil. It cannot manipulate Him in any way. Also, God does not challenge us with temptation. The Holy Spirit does not send temptations our way. Those come from our desires, the world, and evil spiritual forces. God is always on our side.

Finally, a fourth tactic is to thank God for all of his good gifts. James continues to tell us that God does not send temptation, rather He brings good gifts our way from heaven (James 1:17-18).

All good gifts come from God. Chief among his good gifts is salvation through hearing His Word. And that’s just the beginning of the good gifts He sends our way. Trust that God is sending you good gifts as you fight the spiritual battles surrounding temptation.

Strategies against Sin

Many Christians continue to fight battles against sin. One of my friends in Bible College asked me if I loved Jesus as much as I hated sin. Sometimes we forget that the best way to deal with sin is to focus more on Jesus.

The battle against sin is a spiritual battle. But it was won by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. Because He is sinless, He didn’t have to die. Only sin can kill you. Jesus gives eternal life because He never sinned. Understanding that sin leads to death is a tactic that helps you to trust in Jesus and stop sinning.

Practice being dead to sin and alive in Christ (Romans 6:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-4). This second tactic against sin is part of being who you are in Christ. My favorite image of being dead to sin is a hunter who shoots a deer and pokes it. The deer doesn’t move.

In the same way, we are dead to sin as Christians. Jesus has taken away our sin and forgiven us. When sin knocks on your door you are not home. When temptation comes looking for you it finds no response to its wares.

Third, practice the tactic of acting against the world system. God’s high standards are your aim. You don’t mix God’s standards with worldly standards. If the world tells you to do something contrary to God’s commands you must obey God (Acts 5:20; Galatians 1:10).

A final effective battlefield tactic against sin is evaluating yourself regularly. Look at what you have done this week. Look at your thoughts and words. Have you honored Christ? Does the Holy Spirit convict you of anything? If so, confess your sins because Jesus is faithful and just (1 John 1:9). He forgives and you continue walking with Him. You can conquer sin with these tactics.

Wrapping Up

There’s a lot here in these 12 tactics against the flesh, temptation, and sin. You can win the war against all of these enemies of your soul. Walk with Jesus and these will never be able to touch you. Walk in victory!

Don’t give any quarter to any of these foes. Don’t think that you are beating them on your own. Don’t let them master you. Can you think of any other tactics against these three enemies that bring victory to believers? Comment and let me know how you wage war against them.

Up Next

In our next battlefield training we focus on how understanding and practicing our identity in Christ brings victory in the spiritual realm. Join me to find out what our identity in Christ says about us and how it brings spiritual victory.

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7 Spiritual Warfare Principles You Must Know

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Defence-Imagery from Pixabay

We’ve really begun to gain momentum in understanding the principles of spiritual warfare in the spiritual realm. There’s so much to cover and we’re still just getting started. But every principle we learn helps us to understand how to wage war in the spiritual realm.

In our last spiritual warfare training we talked about 3 Levels of Spiritual Warfare. We are continuing to talk about principles as I introduce 7 principles we must know to be victorious on the battlefield as Spiritual Soldiers in Christ. Let’s dive in!

  1. Our spiritual power comes from our relationship with Jesus.

This may be the most important principle you will ever learn and apply in your spiritual battles. We can talk about weapon gear, armor, things to know, tactics, and all kinds of other helpful tips for fighting spiritual warfare.

But if you don’t understand that all the power you have, every authority you take, must arise from a vibrant and continual relationship with Jesus you will still find yourself losing the battles. Your connection to Jesus must be cultivated above everything else you learn about spiritual warfare.

This principle is not limited to spiritual warfare. If you do not have a vibrant relationship and connection with Jesus you can do nothing (John 15:4-5). We must be able to work in Jesus, and to do that we must abide in him continually. Your success comes directly from your relationship with Jesus. He gives it to you as a gift.

The seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:14-16) learned this the hard way. They were casting out demons, “By the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.” They were relying on Paul’s reputation instead of knowing Jesus.

But these demons were too powerful for them. They ended up running away naked and bleeding. Please don’t do anything without the power of Jesus that comes from your relationship with Him. The demons aren’t afraid of you. They are afraid of Jesus in you.

  1. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual powers (Eph 6:12).

Perhaps the most commonly heard and understood principle of spiritual warfare comes from Ephesians 6:12, the preamble to the armor of God. Paul tells us we don’t wrestle against people but against evil spiritual powers using those people.

See people the way God sees them. They are being taken advantage of by the enemy. This doesn’t mean they don’t learn evil and become evil people. But in general the devil uses them as ponds in his schemes against us.

So your boss made you angry today. He told you your work wasn’t good enough and you might get fired. You came home and your spouse started a fight with you. See these as spiritual battles rather than people trying to be evil or annoying.

Jesus wants to save every single person on this planet. He wants to Impart His Spirit into their lives, sealing them for glory in eternity. He sees every single person as hurting. Jesus only condemned religious officials who should’ve known better. He always reached out and compassion first.

People aren’t out to get you. Reserve your fight for the enemy of their souls. Pray for your human enemies. Ask the Holy Spirit for ways to reach out and minister to them. Minister out of Jesus’ healing rather than hurt they try to give you.

There are many evil spiritual forces who would love to bring you down through people who don’t even know they’re being used by spiritual forces. Don’t give them the opportunity to find a weakness in you.

Throughout our history the Church has not always listened to Paul’s counsel about how to deal with people. The Church has sought political power, wealth, and other means to spread the gospel of Christ in this world instead of ministering out of Christ’s strength.

Reach out to people with Jesus’ love and compassion. Seek God on how to minister to them in the most effective ways. And fight evil spiritual forces by taking the battle to them with all of the weapons of mass spiritual destruction you have in your arsenal.

  1. Christians have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and demons cannot possess them.

I am asked from time to time whether a Christian can be demon possessed or not. If a Christian could be demon possessed it would create fear on the battlefield like none other. The devil would love for you to believe this lie.

But it is simply not true. I will get into this more in detail later in our Spiritual Soldier Series. But because the Holy Spirit dwells in you, you cannot have a contrary spirit in you. The Bible declares that, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Christian, you belong to Jesus and no one else. Demons flee in God’s presence. James tells us that when we resist the devil he must flee from us (James 4:7). I will be reiterating more truths about why it is impossible for a demon to possess a Christian. So stay tuned to hear the full discussion on that spiritual battlefield truth.

  1. Putting on the full armor of God provides defensive and offensive weapons.

Perhaps the best way to approach spiritual warfare is by daily putting on the full armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20. In this battlefield manual we will be expounding every piece of the armor of God Paul talks about.

You will have a thorough understanding of what each piece means, how to put it on, and how to be prepared to use it. These are offensive and defensive weapons in the battle. Some of them are offensive and provide you a way to strike at the gates of Hell. Others are defensive and prevent you from suffering blows from the enemy.

Your take away from the armor of God must be that you are not left defenseless on the spiritual battlefield. Jesus provides you with the weapons that make great impact in the spiritual realm. You must have confidence and peace as you fight these battles and take back land from the enemy.

As you face the enemy know that you have the power of Christ to defeat his advances. But don’t only stop at the defensive place you have gained. If you are not moving forward or standing still, you’re falling behind. Be prepared to fight and advance against the enemy.

  1. The name of Jesus is above every name and power you will face.

If anything has a name, it must bow to the name of Jesus. When Jesus died He defeated sin once and for all. When He rose from the grave He proved that He gives us the power to be resurrected in Him. And when He sat down on His throne God put everything in creation under Jesus’ feet.

That authority and power no one else has. Everything in creation refers to Satan, his demons, evil spiritual forces, and anything in creation that opposes Jesus’ willful rule over His creation. Yes, that includes sickness, demon possession, and every other fight the devil brings to you.

Calling on the name of Jesus is not the simple end to a prayer. It is a powerful understanding of the awesome and magnificent authority behind the name of Jesus. Nothing can stand against it. It has real spiritual power to change the battlefield.

It’s in Jesus’ name that He does everything you ask. It is not only a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare prayer but a cherished name for every Christian. When we call on Jesus it is not to have the Commander in Chief save us as we drown like Peter when we are in over our heads. It is the sweet name we call our precious Lord and Friend.

As I mentioned earlier in the first principle, that relationship with Jesus is the bedrock with which Jesus moves on our behalf. It is through our faith in His name that we see Jesus work on our behalf. It is from that mighty and strong relationship that demons flee for their lives.

Do not neglect the power behind the name of Jesus. But don’t abuse it either. When you call on Jesus’ name in faith supported by your ongoing relationship with Jesus, He Moves heaven and earth and reminds demons why they cannot stand in His presence.

  1. Giving in to temptation and sin will expose us to attacks of the enemy.

One of the worst moves you can make in spiritual warfare is to commit unforced errors upon yourself. Don’t give into temptation. Don’t be living in sin while you are trying to win spiritual battles. It’s not gonna happen.

Only from a position of holiness and purity can you see any advancement in the spiritual realm. If you are fighting off temptation and sin you cannot expect to have the spiritual power and faith to see mountains move and demons flee.

You are fighting with a closed front door to your fortress but the back door is open to all kinds of evil. Close all the doors. That’s how you begin to see spiritual victory. You’re making it way too easy for the devil and his demons to stab you in the back as you fight in the front.

It’s time to clean house. Any kind of sin separates you from Jesus and destroys your relationship with Him. And as we saw in the first principle you cannot do anything without Jesus. Confess your sin, as we’ll discuss in our next training. Restore your relationship with Jesus and you will find spiritual victories.

  1. Weaknesses in your armor or understanding of your identity in Christ will leave you open to the influence or oppression of the enemy.

Christians cannot believe that they can have weaknesses in the spiritual realm of any kind and succeed. I know this kind of runs with the last principle, but it is slightly different. These are not necessarily temptation and sin beckoning you to join them.

This is any kind of weakness in your Christian character, hidden and entangling sins you allowed to stick around or think you’re handling. This is when you’re not living in truth, righteousness, advancing the gospel of peace, and so forth.

You must understand your identity in Christ, for it is your foundation and standing in Jesus that keeps you from the schemes of the enemy. When you know who you are in Jesus you do not fear the attacks and lies of the enemy. His propaganda falls on deaf ears.

We will be talking about your identity in Christ and how it bolsters your position on the battlefield. When you are not suited up in your full armor or understanding who you are in Christ you are open to the influence of the devil. You will take advantage of every weakness you show.

Satan doesn’t play fair on the spiritual battlefield. He doesn’t follow any of the rules or practices you do. You must not give him any open areas to poke and prod, we can you as you try to advance God’s Kingdom. Shore up the weaknesses to continue taking the battle to the enemy.

Wrapping Up

You can see the spiritual power behind these 7 principles that bring you spiritual success on the battlefield. When you know these 7 principles you have a leg up against the enemy. He cannot come after you because your house is in order. You don’t fall for all his little tricks.

I pray these are helpful in your battles with evil spiritual forces. When he comes for you chase him into the darkness with the light of the gospel of Christ. He has no hold on you. How do you handle battles with evil forces? Are you prepared with these spiritual principles and truths? Are there any others you can think of that bring powerful advancement to your spiritual toolkit?

Up Next

In our next spiritual battlefield training for the Spiritual Soldier Series we will look at 12 Ways to Fight the Flesh, Temptation, and Sin. This will shore up any weaknesses or open areas the devil and his demons can get through your defenses.

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3 Levels of Spiritual Warfare

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series

We have been talking about spiritual warfare and how we as Spiritual Soldiers fight the wars that come to us. Some of this blog series concerns understanding spiritual warfare and its principles. But I also want it to be a battle manual to help you be victorious in war.

We have talked about reasons to study and practice spiritual warfare and the lay of the land on the battlefield. Now we will discuss three levels of spiritual warfare every Christian faces. Let’s dive in!

  1. Fighting the Flesh

The first level of spiritual warfare every Christian must fight is the war with the flesh. By flesh I referred to our desires from before we met Christ. For some it is a daily battle they feel they can never win.

But as with all of these levels of spiritual warfare we must learn to fight with the right tools and the power of the Holy Spirit. Some people do not believe fighting the flesh is a spiritual battle. But when we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to win this battle, it is a spiritual battle.

As we live in this world we are under constant threats from temptations within and without. But our former desires are the enemy violating our conscience and character with temptation. When we see things in the world we begin to think about them, dwell on them in our minds.

Then our former passions remind us of what life was like before Christ. We begin to think about the pleasures we enjoyed without needing to be disciplined. James pinpoints our desires as the beginning of our fight with the flesh (James 1:14-15).

Using a combination of images from hunting to birthing James begins with a hunting metaphor as we are lured and enticed by our own desires. Then he switches to a birthing metaphor as our desires conceive and develop, giving birth to sin. But sin leads to death when it is fully grown.

We must not blame God for temptation because he doesn’t use temptation (James 1:13). We deceive ourselves if we believe God is involved in our temptation (James 1:16). Instead we need to believe that God is a good God who brings us good gifts from heaven (James 1:17). The devil lies to us and makes us believe God is at fault when he and his demons attack us with temptations in this world.

As you can see even our temptations and our evil desires come from the spiritual realm. This is why fighting the flesh is a spiritual battle. It may be engaged by the physical realm but every part of the battle is spiritual in nature.

We cannot fight the spiritual battle with the flesh by mere willpower. It will never be enough, and we will always fall back into the same desires, temptations, and sins. We need the power of the Spirit to rescue us and make true to us the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.

Long ago on the Cross Jesus waged the war against sin and death for us. He made eternal life available to us. Once we understand that Jesus has already won the war we have the power through the Spirit to be victorious in the battle with the flesh.

Rest assured, the flesh will always rise up, and our desires will tempt us again. We must be connected to Jesus (James 15:1-11). Without a continuous and vibrant relationship with Jesus we will fall prey to the flesh again.

So let us continue to contend with the flesh, crucifying it (Galatians 5:24), denying it and taking up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). When we look at Jesus, we can’t look at the world or its temptations, our flesh, and its desires. Your eyes can only see one thing at once. So focus them on Jesus.

Ask other believers to become accountability partners with you. They are fellow brothers and sisters in arms with you against the flesh. Do not fight the flesh on your own. Expose its evil thoughts and desires to others, and the light of Christ through them will help you to vanquish the darkness within.

Exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) robs them of their power against you. It will also keep your pride from rising up and thinking you can handle such evil foes on your own.

  1. Fighting the World

The apostle John uses “the world” in three different ways throughout his writings. When we fight the world we are not fighting the physical planet we live on. We are not fighting the people in the world. These are the first to definitions of how John uses “world.”

Instead, as he refers to the “evil world system,” this is what we fight against. This world is run by the devil, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). It is always opposed to God and stands against Him, opposing His will and desire for the people of this world.

The world began as good, completely prepared by God for our benefit. And God had desires for us to love and serve him. But sin destroyed God’s desired plan for humans. It brought death into this world as the consequence for rebelling against God.

Sin affected every part of this world, even creation itself. Death and decay became the natural order of things. For humans, sin affects every part of our society from the whole to the individuals. To be sure there are individuals opposed to God and working for the devil directly. But most people have no idea how affected they are by the world system.

From politics to economics we are bombarded with sinful ideas that seek to divide and destroy us. We could blame people for this, but it is the work of one Satan who seeks to divide everyone so he can conquer us.

He wants to separate Christians from the rest of the world. As far as he is concerned you as a Christian are an enemy combatant and he wants to take you out of an effective role as one of Jesus’ lights (Matthew 5:14-16).

Just as Jesus came to defy and overcome the darkness of this world (John 1:5), we as lights of the world are Jesus’ strategic soldiers to bring His revelation to the world of sin and its dastardly effects. We expose the deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) and fight every thought and argument that opposes God and raises itself up against Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Jesus left us in the world, but we are not of the world (John 17:11, 14-18). We work for Jesus in this world, but it is not our home. We have a greater destiny to be with Jesus forever. But while we are here, we are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We show others the glory of Christ. We are the aroma of death to some and the aroma of Christ and life to others (2 Corinthians 2:15-17).

So as we fight behind enemy lines for the truth of the gospel and the sake of Christ, we present Him to everyone we meet and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work of drawing them to Jesus (John 12:32; 14:26; 16:14).

I will quickly address the idea of getting involved in politics or activism. Some Christians get involved in these levels of government and social life. Are they wrong? That’s up to them and Jesus. But spiritual warfare concerns spiritual matters.

We’re not talking about warring with the world physically. We’re not talking about warring with our flesh with physical means. These are spiritual battles we take on for the sake of Jesus and the lost people around us you need to know Him because they are being manipulated by the devil.

There is nothing we can do through activism and politics that solve the spiritual problem. Only Jesus can change the hearts of the individuals around us. Only He can change your family members, your friends, your coworkers, and the strangers on the street. Only He can change the heart of your enemy.

Tools of God’s Kingdom include missions and missions work. Rest assured, any missionary will tell you about the spiritual battles they face on the mission field. It is through evangelistic efforts that the Kingdom of God makes headway we cannot have with any other worldly approach. We will address the powerful spiritual weapon of evangelism later in our series.

  1. Fighting the Devil

The final level of spiritual warfare is fighting the devil. By the devil I refer to the real person of Satan, his demons that serve him, and the spiritual entities of idols and other principalities. We will be going into depth on each of these entities, but they are enemies in our spiritual warfare.

I call the devil the enemy of your souls because that is how Jesus speaks about him and the rest of the Bible talks about him. Satan even shows up in the Old Testament, from where we give him his name. Contrary to popular belief, he is a real entity.

We will talk about his origin, his mission and goals, how he interferes with you in your mission, and his tactics. But we do not spend that much time on the devil. We do not want to give him any glory. He is a defeated foe and we treat him as such in spiritual warfare.

Next, his demons, whom I like to call Satan’s minions, are those fallen angels who masquerade as false gods and do whatever they can to distract you from your Christian mission. They can be very dangerous, just as dangerous as the devil.

We will talk about them in more depth. There are some truths and some false statements about them made by Christian teachers. I will go more into depth about these types of things when I get to demons. But talk of them will span into the realm of the third kind of devil out there.

Paul enumerates four different types of evil spiritual forces. We will also spend time talking about these. Some believe Paul lists a hierarchy of these creatures and entities. Others believe he is listing one type of evil spiritual force and giving it four different names.

But we will get into discussions about rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Based on your translation you may have different terms for these. But we will go more in depth on them as well.

Suffice it to say, no one should play around with evil spiritual forces. Just because we cannot see them does not mean they are not real or hold real power. We will also be talking about that, whether they hold real power or not.

Sadly, much of what we discussed in spiritual warfare is not considered even by some Christians to be a real danger and possibility. But that is the first lie of the devil and his friends. If they can get you to believe they don’t really exist then they already have you defeated.

Wrapping Up

These are surely not the only three levels of spiritual warfare, but they are some of the most dangerous ones. We must be aware of them. We must be able to distinguish between them. And we must be able to know when we are dealing with a spiritual battle or another type of battle.

I am looking forward to continuing to dive deep into the issues of spiritual warfare. As we continue our Spiritual Soldier Series I want to prepare you for what is out there, what you will come into contact with, and what you must be able to defeat in the name of Jesus.

How do you deal with battles on these three levels? Do you see temptation as a physical or spiritual battle? Do you notice things in the physical realm that have a spiritual source and therefore a spiritual battle that must be one before you see a difference in the physical?

Up Next

We have spent a lot of time laying the groundwork in these beginning posts. We must understand the principles of spiritual warfare to be effective. In our next battlefield training we will focus on 7 Principles of Spiritual Warfare You Must Know.

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