5 Truths about the Antichrist

This entry is part 24 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Chris Maguirang from Pixabay

As we fight for Jesus in spiritual warfare the Spiritual Soldier must be prepared to face the evil spiritual powers in this world. One of the more interesting members of this evil coalition is the antichrist. But Scripture talks about the antichrist in ways we don’t normally think of.

We will look at the antichrist as both a person and a spirit in the world. How does the Bible talk about the antichrist? What are his chief characteristics? Let’s dive in!

  1. He is opposed to Christ.

The antichrist is named for his opposition to Christ. “Anti” in Greek means “against.” The antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah (1 John 2:22). He will deny the Trinity and the power of God.

Hollywood has embellished the idea of antichrist. There are so many predictions of who the antichrist may be or was. Popular books like the Left Behind series make a lot of intrigue about the antichrist and his characterizations.

The Bible gives us an understanding of his basic nature but does not spend an awful lot of time on him. Why? Because he loses in the end. He may rule the earth for a time, but it is a very short time in human history.

He works within the evil world system at the end of time. In this system he opposes anything godly. This world system set up by Satan has philosophies and arguments that go against God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

  1. He is both a person and a spirit.

Scripture talks about the antichrist as a person in the end times during the Great Tribulation. As we will discuss in the next point Paul refers to him as the “man of lawlessness.” The antichrist represented by the beast of Revelation will be a person who begins the one world order.

The antichrist is spoken out by John in 1 John as a person. He is a person who denies that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:23). John says that anyone who denies Jesus is the Christ is at least a form of the antichrist.

In 2 John 7 he refers to the antichrist as a “deceiver-in-chief,” for many deceivers have come but they’re all in the mold of the antichrist. Here these deceivers have denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. He will deny Christ just as in the passage in 1 John above.

John also refers to the antichrist as “the spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). This is in this section where John talks about testing the spirits to see whether they are from God. The test is that the spirit that does not claim Jesus is from God is a spirit of antichrist.

This spirit of antichrist is both coming into the world and now in the world (1 John 4:3). There is and has always been a spirit of antichrist that opposes Jesus from the time Jesus walked the earth until now and beyond. But in the end times the spirit of antichrist is coming in the person of antichrist and his practices.

Anytime you see someone or something oppose Christ, say that He is not from God or that He did not come into the world in the flesh (in history as a human being), that person is working for the spirit of the antichrist. These could be false prophets, liars that may be “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” or those in the world who directly oppose Christ in some way.

The spirit of antichrist works with Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and his evil world systems that persecute saints and the Church. They stand against Christ even now and will become more pronounced in the person of the antichrist in the end times.

  1. He is a man of lawlessness.

Paul speaks of the antichrist with the phrase “man of lawlessness” as he explains the actions of the antichrist as he rises to power (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Paul says the man of lawlessness must come before the Day of the Lord, the final judgment day (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3).

First must come the rebellion that reveals the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This rebellion may refer to a war, perhaps a government coup, or a takeover of the government or the world governments. Paul is not specific on the rebellion.

But this rebellion reveals the man of lawlessness and Paul describes him as the son of destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3), the one who opposes every god or object of worship (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and exalts himself over all religions.

Paul likens the antichrist’s power grab in religious terms, saying he will proclaim himself to be God. He takes his seat in the temple in Jerusalem as if he is on a throne (2 Thessalonians 2:4). In other places the antichrist seizes political power. This gives him the ability to create a one world order where he controls the politics of the world, the religions of the world, and the economic power in the world.

He will not be able to seize power until the restrainer is removed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). This restrainer could be the Church, the Holy Spirit, or believers. Or it could be all three since the Church is Christians who are indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit.

  1. He is the beast of the Great Tribulation.

Another reason the Bible doesn’t talk a lot about the antichrist is that he is part of the false Trinity or counterfeit trinity along with the false prophet and Satan the dragon. The Great Tribulation according to most scholars is a seven-year period where the antichrist seizes power and rules the world.

The first beast rises out of the sea and is given power by the dragon, Satan (Revelation 13:1-2). As part of the signs and wonders the antichrist will use to show the world he is like Jesus Christ is to receive a mortal wound and recover from it (Revelation 13:3-4).

John continues to speak of this beast (antichrist) with words that lineup with Paul’s teaching about the man of lawlessness. He sees the beast blaspheming God in heaven (Revelation 13:5-6, see also 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

The second beast rises out of the ground and is identified as the false prophet, a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit because he testifies about the antichrist (Revelation 13:11-12, 14-17). And the dragon, Satan, gives both the antichrist and the false prophet his authority and power to rule the nations and deceive them. This is the counterfeit or false trinity of Revelation.

  1. He deceives the nations.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Paul describes the coming of the antichrist as part of the activity of Satan. He will be able to perform false signs and wonders to deceive the people of the earth. The false signs and wonders he does will resemble those of Jesus.

The majority of humanity that refuses to believe in Christ will gladly be deceived, the wool pulled over their eyes. They are under a strong delusion from God. They choose to believe in the antichrist and worship him. The antichrist will promote wickedness and unrighteousness, and that will be the desire of those who are deceived and living blind in darkness.

We see this borne out in the prophecy of Revelation. As I have shown above, the beast is the antichrist. He will rule the world and the world will gladly accept him rather than Jesus when He comes to rule in the millennial reign (Revelation 20:1-6). In fact, after Christ has ruled for one thousand years the people return to the beast when he is released from the pit (Revelation 20:7-10).

Wrapping Up

There is more to know about the antichrist in Scripture, but everything in this battlefield training will prepare you to understand the spirit of antichrist that is in the world right now. You will come up against people who are pawns of the enemy who oppose God.

As with any other evil spiritual power you have the upper hand. The Holy Spirit is greater in you then anything you encounter in this world (1 John 4:4). Stand firm against God’s enemies and you will see victory. What else about the antichrist do you see in the Bible that would help us fight the spirit of antichrist in the world today?

Up Next

We have talked about the spirit of antichrist and the antichrist in this battlefield training for the Spiritual Soldiering Christ. Now we will turn to look at the ways the Holy Spirit helps us in our spiritual battles.

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5 Dangers that Will Expose You to Evil

When you’re on the spiritual battlefield as a Spiritual Soldier for Christ you must avoid friendly fire. But in spiritual warfare you don’t want to expose yourself to evil either. You want to be taking the fight to the enemy, not suffering from open doors for evil in your life.

This battlefield training focuses on the dangers that expose you to evil and leave weak spots for the enemy to exploit. If you leave these five doors open to the enemy you will be susceptible to defeat. Protect yourself from these danger areas. Let’s dive in!

  1. Sin

Sin is by far the most common open door Christians leave for the devil to exploit. Many are fighting sin so regularly that’s all they concentrate on doing. But this is contrary to what the Bible teaches about Christians and sin.

Romans tells us we are dead to sin and don’t live in it any longer (Romans 6:1-2). Paul further goes on to explain that we are slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18). Ephesians tells us we are not only dead to sin but we are alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).

One of my professors in seminary used the image of a man who is chained to sin and does not even realize he is a captive before Christ. But after Christ he fights as a free man and opposes sin at all costs. I have used the image of a hunter poking at a dead deer. The dead deer does not respond in any way. It doesn’t blink at him, make noise, or get up and run away.

Some people may be confused about sin when they read certain passages in the Bible. For instance, some think continuous sin is okay. As long as you ask for forgiveness you can sin on and off continuously. But this contradicts biblical teaching on sin.

Take 1 John 1:5-10 for instance. John opens the section by showing that God is our example of righteousness. God is light, and there is no darkness (wickedness) in Him at all (1 John 1:5).

Next John says that we lie to ourselves if we think we have fellowship with God and are walking in sin (1 John 1:6). The word for “walk” is a continuous participle, showing that a person believes the have fellowship with God as they keep living the sinful lifestyle.

But the reverse is true. If we keep walking in the light (righteousness) as God is in the light from verse 5 we enjoy fellowship with other Christians and Jesus’ blood keeps on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7). As believers who continuously walk in righteousness (allowing for momentary sins) Jesus’ blood and fellowship with the saints continue to be available to us.

First John 1:8 often confuses Christians because John says that if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Christians sin from time to time. It could be a lapse in judgment, a weak moment, or a misunderstanding of our identity in Christ.

But nobody is sinless like Jesus. That’s what this verse is saying. It is not a license to sin. It is an acknowledgment of the reality of imperfect Christians who were in the process of being perfected in Christ.

Because we do fall into a sin here and there, and as we move toward holiness and righteousness we have the privilege of Jesus’ blood covering our sins, all we must do is confess our sins and Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Jesus forgives us because we’re walking in Him.

This is the beautiful promise of Jesus’ faithfulness and kindness to us when we are in the process of confessing our momentary sins. We don’t take His grace for granted. We don’t commit premeditated sins where we know He will forgive us so we sin anyway.

John completes the section by dealing with people who may claim that they have never sinned (1 John 1:10), perhaps overstating their righteousness because Jesus has saved them. This view may be held because Jesus forgave previous sins. And then they would say that they have been made perfect in Christ.

But this makes Jesus out to be a liar because it covers sin up instead of exposing it for confession. Scripture teaches us that continuous sin is not okay. When we sin we must confess to Jesus and receive His forgiveness and cleansing once again.

Some Christians deal with and entangling sin that they just can’t shake. Over and over they keep falling into the same sin, asking forgiveness, and then falling into it again. But the writer of Hebrews tells us to lay aside such sin (Hebrews 12:1).

The Old Testament talks about hidden or unintentional sin (Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:15, 18; 22:14; Numbers 15:22, 24, 27-29; Deuteronomy 4:42; 19:4; Psalm 18:12). But the idea of it in sin and unintentional sins is to keep us from committing them, not accepting them and moving on.

Nowhere in the Bible is sin swept under the carpet or not dealt with. We need to live in the holiness and forgiveness of God and not open the door to sin. This Spiritual Soldier who opens up to sin willingly shoots themselves in the foot on the battlefield.

  1. Giving in to temptation

Giving in to temptation presents the same issues for the Spiritual Soldier on the battlefield. You are walking backward instead of forward if you give in to temptation and sin against God and others. The Bible teaches us that temptation in and of itself is not sin.

Every Christian experiences temptation. We do not choose to be tempted. But we do choose whether or not to give in to temptation and sin against God and others. We must not blame God if we give in to temptation (James 1:13).

Temptation happens, according to James, because of our own passions and desires from our past life before we met Christ (James 1:14-16). So to avoid temptation we must keep our flesh in check every day. We must allow Jesus to change our desire for Him instead of the things of this world.

But even if we are tempted, God always provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must take the way of escape instead of toying with temptation. Do not think you are strong enough to entertain a temptation and come out victorious. Deny your fleshly desires and turn temptation down.

  1. Dabbling in the occult

When I was pastoring my church I did a whole Wednesday night teaching series on things like secret societies and the occult. But as usually happens I learned much more by preparation for these teachings as I taught them.

From everything I learned about magic and the occult of witchcraft and paganism I realized that they are counterfeits for the congregation of the saints and God’s power. Magic requires an incantation and an object for power to happen.

Some people may suggest that magic and miracles are the same thing. But this is not true. There is no incantation for a miracle. We can pray and ask God to do a miracle but it is up to Him to do it. And we don’t control God in our asking. Sometimes there is an object involved but the object is not a vessel for the miracle. Magic and miracles are nothing alike.

Witches do magic, incantations, and work with objects. They worship the goddess of nature. It is clear idolatry. They use curses, potions, and other devices to perform the rituals and magic. Pagan religions tap into this same false power.

Séances and Ouija boards attempt to contact the dead and speak to dead spirits. This is an open door for demons to impersonate such dead spirits and deceive those who want to speak to deceased relatives. Stay away from these dangerous doors to the underworld.

King Saul used a witch to call up the deceased spirit of the prophet Samuel to get counsel on how to handle a battle because God’s Spirit had departed from him (1 Samuel 28). God was so incensed that Saul went against Israelite law that he died in that battle.

While the Bible does not deny the possibility that Satan and demons have real spiritual power or that you can contact dead spirits from the underworld it condemns such practices. You must not become involved with any of these things.

  1. Idolatry

Israel was under constant threat of idolatry. It eventually led to the demise of both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom of Judah. Evil kings who introduced and continued the practices of idolatry throughout Israel and Judah were one of the main causes of their downfall.

The prophets addressed idolatry over and over. Isaiah and Jeremiah provided some of the strongest defenses of why idolatry so grieved the Lord. The first through third of the Ten Commandments deal with establishing the Lord as the one true God of Israel and prohibit idolatry and carved images.

Traditional idolatry with carved images, statues, and other forms of idols still exist throughout the world today. Other religions make these the centerpiece of their worship. But these are not the only forms of idolatry. We deceive ourselves if we think an object is the only form of idolatry endangering us.

We have physical pieces of idolatry in American culture too. Televisions and money are just two examples. Materialism through shoplifting and wanting to have stuff is another form. But more often and perhaps more dangerous is thinking that an idol has to be a physical object for it to be idolatry.

We have worldly concepts, principles, and values in our culture that easily pull our hearts away from Jesus. We may even adopt these worldly values in the Church. But we must be aware of any form of idolatry, expose it, and eradicate it from our lives.

  1. Worldliness (Philosophies, Perspectives, values of the world)

As with idols, worldliness is the rejection of friendship with God (James 4:1-6). Any time we accept worldly values, philosophies, and perspectives we become a friend of the world and an enemy of God.

James gives the solution to worldliness by reminding us to submit to God and resist the devil, a twofold process (James 4:7-8). When we submit to God we surrender any worldly practice, thought, or value. We draw near to Him. We cleanse ourselves from sinful habits and actions and purify our inner person, our hearts.

Worldliness is trying to ride the fence between two worlds, dividing our attention from complete surrender and service to God. There must be no middle ground, no compromise with the world because it is controlled by the devil. We give ground to the enemy through worldliness.

This is why the second part of James’ solution to worldliness is to resist the devil. He must flee when we resist him (James 4:7). We must follow our commitment to God with an absolute, no holds barred, resistance of the devil and his world systems. Our allegiance must be to God alone.

Wrapping Up

These five dangers present a real and slippery slope for the Spiritual Soldier on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. We give up our authority in Christ and give the enemy open doors to attack us. When we stand against the enemy, we must not leave the back door open or a way of retreat from the battle.

Don’t entertain any of these dangers. They give the devil room in your life to attack you and accuse you. Stand firm against the enemy and do not expose yourself to evil. Jesus has made you an overcomer and conqueror in His power. Stand firm. What other dangers expose us to evil on the spiritual battlefield?

Up Next

Now that we have been warned about the spiritual dangers and pitfalls the enemy puts in our path to distract us and endanger our lives we now turn to the spiritual battlefield training on the antichrist.

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4 Spiritual Gifts Helpful in Spiritual Warfare

This entry is part 23 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Harry Strauss from Pixabay

Believe it or not many people don’t think about our spiritual gifts being helpful as Spiritual Soldiers on the battlefield of spiritual warfare. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t give us spiritual gifts to sit on the sidelines.

As we continue our Spiritual Soldier Series we have talked about how our minds are involved in spiritual warfare and the authority Jesus gives us to wage warfare. One could argue that all spiritual gifts can be useful in warfare with the enemy. But I want to highlight four of them that have direct correlations in spiritual warfare.

  1. Distinguishing of Spirits

The gift of distinguishing of spirits is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10. It is the ability to distinguish between evil and good spirits. Of course, this means that there are various spirits in the spiritual realm that fight on the side of good and evil.

We often have a one-size-fits-all understanding of spirit beings. The Holy Spirit is God and good. Angels serve God and are good spirits. Satan and his demons are bad. And that’s usually where we draw the line. But the pages of Scripture have several other spirits that challenge the imagination.

Just to name a few, there are territorial spirits, like those found in Daniel 10, princes of nations that are clearly much more than a human prince. Paul mentions rule, authority, dominion, powers, and thrones (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16). Whether these are individual spiritual beings, a hierarchy, or a reference to what pagans believe about the heavenlies they are a possibility.

Even more curious is God’s divine council alluded to and mentioned in Psalm 82 referring to the gods that exist there. Job 1-2 talk about Satan having to come and present himself with the other sons of God (most likely angels).

And some scholars suggest that when God speaks of His image being placed in humanity the famous “us” may refer to Him telling the divine council what He is about to do (Genesis 1:26). God shares His plans with His divine council so they can worship him. He is not asking for suggestions.

A “lying spirit” volunteers to go and lie to the Israelite king through a prophet (1 Kings 22:22). And John counsels us to “test the spirits” to see if they are from God or not (1 John 4:1ff). If all of these things did not appear in Scripture we could have a monolithic view of spirit beings. But these passages suggest there is more to the spiritual realm than just good and bad spirits.

We must know what we’re dealing with when we fight spiritual battles. We don’t have to know everything about each spirit. And I don’t believe it’s a biblical practice to name the spirits. Jesus only deals extensively with a demon in one place (Mark 5:1-13). In most encounters He simply casts them out without allowing them to speak.

Distinguishing of spirits gives us that ability. It’s like collecting intel on the spirits around you so we know what you’re walking into. This doesn’t mean we need to be afraid of any encounter with spirit beings. It just helps to know “Who’s in the room.”

As with all spiritual gifts that every Christian has this gift. Not every Christian is able to distinguish between spirits in the spiritual realm. But when you have this gift or are ministering with someone who has this gift it helps you in spiritual battles.

  1. Gift of Faith

The gift of faith is mentioned in the list of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:9. This is the ability to have extraordinary faith beyond what most Christians exhibit. A person with this gift tends to be the catalyst to see miracles, healings, and incredible feats for God’s people in the spiritual realm.

Every Christian has faith in God. After all, our faith in Jesus coupled with His grace brings us to salvation (Ephesians 2:8). And we all demonstrate a level of faith to believe God for everything we find in Scripture.

Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed has the power to move mountains (Matthew 17:20). But those with the gift of faith believe God for over-the-top, hilariously outrageous miracles and actions many of us are too conservative to believe for.

It’s Christians with the gift of faith who believe for spiritual strongholds to be broken, ground to be taken back from the enemy, and Jesus’ salvation and deliverance to overpower the enemy in extreme situations. The more Christians with the gift of faith you have with you in spiritual battles the better.

When you are standing against the enemy you must have the faith to cast out demons in the name of Jesus. You must have the faith that the Holy Spirit dwelling in you is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). But it helps to have the heavy hitters of faith in the battle. Taking the fight to the enemy is that much easier.

  1. Gift of Leadership

The gift of leadership can also be helpful in spiritual battles (Romans 12:8). We often think of this gift for church administration, for pastors and teachers, for evangelists and prophets. People teach and speak of it in this realm of church leadership.

It is certainly that. But it is much more. It is the ability to lead God’s people into spiritual matters. It’s not really about administration of the church. It’s about spiritual leadership, knowing what the souls and spirits of people need and providing the guidance and resources to fulfill those needs.

But in the spiritual warfare context the gift of spiritual leadership can help in the spiritual fight. People with this gift can lead and direct others and how to use their giftings to fight the enemy in a sustained offensive maneuver.

They have God’s wisdom to guide everyone involved in organization and power. They have the ability to see the gifts and contributions of others and put them to the most effective and efficient use. God can use those with the gift of spiritual leadership in powerful ways.

  1. Word of Knowledgemove mouse a very fast and Word of Wisdom

I could have numbered these gifts four and five that I have seen them work together more often than not. The word of knowledge and the word of wisdom can work separately. Sometimes a word of knowledge is all that is needed for a person to move forward with the wisdom God has already provided.

Sometimes people have the knowledge that they need the wisdom to put all of that knowledge together and move forward in a successful outcome that glorifies God. But many times I have seen a person receive both supernatural knowledge of a situation, person, event, or thing and supernatural wisdom to put these things together wisely to produce a God pleasing result.

The supernatural word of knowledge gives a person insight they have been lacking to be able to move forward in a situation, relationship, confrontation, or any number of issues paralyzing them before they act.

The supernatural word of wisdom takes either the word of knowledge given or knowledge already obtained and shows that person how God wants them to move forward and use that knowledge to glorify Him in that situation.

They are called a “word” of knowledge or wisdom because a person with this gift speaks this knowledge or wisdom into a person’s life. Like me when I was younger you probably wonder if God violates your privacy by giving this knowledge to people with this gift.

But they don’t usually work that way. God is not out to embarrass His children. Perhaps if He cannot get your attention any other way He may use the word of knowledge this way. But I have never had it happen to me or seen it happen at any other time.

Either way, I have seen these gifts used more on a personal basis rather than a public one. I have seen people with a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom about an entire church congregation use them publicly, but they were focused on the whole congregation rather than individuals.

If God can give you a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom on how to proceed in your personal life imagine how He could use these two gifts on the spiritual battlefield. God could give you a word of knowledge that a person who may have walked into your church demon possessed.

God can provide real-time intelligence on how to handle a demonic spirit or tell you what He wants you to do when you come against the fiery darts of the enemy. God can give you wisdom as he did Jesus and the apostles when they were faced with opposition from religious leaders masquerading as godly teachers who were attacking them spiritually.

He can give you words of knowledge and wisdom about a spiritual attack you did not realize was a spiritual attack. The possibilities for these gifts being used on the spiritual battlefield are endless. But we must be open to seeing spiritual gifts used on the spiritual battlefield.

Wrapping Up

We must sometimes think outside of the box to see how God wants to use spiritual gifts in us to further His Kingdom and agenda in the spiritual realm. Whether we have these gifts or know people who do that can be helpful to us in spiritual warfare we must be open to the possibilities of spiritual gifts.

Sometimes we limit our understanding of spiritual gifts, or don’t believe in spiritual gifts even though they are mentioned in the Bible. But we need to avail ourselves of every weapon, tactic, and strategy God gives to win spiritual battles against evil forces. What are some ways you can see spiritual gifts being used in spiritual warfare?

Up Next

Now that we have discussed spiritual gifts on the spiritual battlefield in this training, we want to turn to speak to dangers that will expose you to evil even as a Christian. Let’s see what to avoid so we are not in danger on the spiritual battlefield.

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6 Warfare Authorities of Christians

This entry is part 22 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Our Spiritual Soldier series continues. We just talked about the battlefield practices of the mind and how important the mind is to spiritual warfare. As we continue to talk about the tactics and strategies that make us effective in spiritual battles we turn to the authority of the believer.

Spiritual power comes through authority, and we must understand the authorities we have and the authorities we don’t have. Two of these authorities will be what we don’t have, and learning to live under authority before we use our authority. Let’s dive in!

  1. What authority is not

Those who claim believers have great authority in the spiritual realm sometimes use unbiblical means to claim such authority. Claiming we have the authorities get rich, stay healthy, or speak in new reality into existence are not founded anywhere in Scripture.

We do not have ultimate authority to do whatever we please. Our authority comes from Jesus. It comes from our relationship with Him. But it does not mean we can do anything. Some people claim that because Jesus had authority (Matthew 28:18) that we have Jesus’ authority. I don’t see this in Scripture.

For instance, Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father and the Father gave Jesus authority over all of creation, the Church, and the evil spiritual powers (Ephesians 1:21). Some Bible teachers claim that because we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) just one chapter later that we also have the same authority Jesus does.

Being processes select that we with Jesus in heavenly places is not about authority. It is about our privileged place in Christ because He has saved us by His grace. Our salvation does not give us the same authority Christ has. Rather, we operate out of our relational authority given to us by Jesus.

This nuance is important for us to observe and practice. Jesus has ultimate authority over all things. He gives us authority out of His authority. We do not hold the same place Jesus does. He is King of the universe. We are saved by His grace and enjoy a privileged place in Him including the authority He gives to us.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have great authority in the spiritual realm. We will look at the authorities Jesus has given us in spiritual warfare to tear down strongholds and destroy the evil forces that come against us in this world.

  1. Live under authority

Another important principle and practice we must observe is that we are first under certain authorities before we have authority to use in Christ. To properly understand authority we must understand how to live under it before we have the permission to use it.

As a pastor I am accountable to others before I ask anyone to follow my lead and be accountable to me. There’s a chain of command of accountability and authority. First and foremost we are under God’s authority.

Jesus is Lord over us and His Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). We do not have authority over the Church as believers. We are the Church. We are not above Jesus in authority. To claim so is to do no different than Satan tried to do at the beginning of creation.

We fully submit to Jesus (James 4:7). We are glad that He is our Leader, our Commander in Chief. We follow His lead in all things. We do not share His authority. But we do enjoy some authorities He has given to us.

Second, the Bible tells us that we are under the authority of the governments and governmental leaders God has ordained and placed in this world (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13). The only circumstance this rule changes is if they are violating God’s law with ungodly commands.

You may say as I sometimes feel in my spirit that these ungodly rulers put into place must be opposed or that we are not subject to them because they are ungodly. While this is true we must remember that the apostles who laid down this rule by God’s command or under the tyrannical reign of ungodly Roman emperors too terribly persecuted Jesus’ church, rulers like Nero and Domitian in their time.

If they were able to obey this rule given by Jesus to obey the authorities because God has put them in place all the more we are required to live under the same rule. God will avenge every injustice done to His people. We must leave it in God’s hands.

Third, we are under the authority of church leaders. God has put in place righteous and Spirit-led leaders who love us and are responsible to care for us (). Because they stand before God and give account of everything they have done we must honor them and not make their lives miserable.

As we live under the authority of others it teaches us not only to be followers first but to understand what it is like to have authority. Many of these leaders give us insight into the difficulties of having authority ourselves. Yet as we speak of the authority we have we are not talking about our authority over other people but over evil spiritual powers.

  1. Authority through faith

We obtain authority because of our relationship with Jesus. But we also obtain authority through our faith in Christ and what He has apportioned to us. We have authority through the name of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus’ name is above every other name (Philippians 2:9-11).

When we speak in the authority of Christ and in His name we have the most powerful names in all of creation. We must represent Jesus well as we use His name. We are His ambassadors on the earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). People watch to see if we do what Jesus taught and commanded.

Beyond this, our authority works directly through His name. When we cast out demons, call from God’s healing for the sick, and speak for Jesus, we use His name. We must not think of Jesus’ name as an incantation or formula for getting the results we wish. When we speak in Jesus’ name we must do it in accordance with God’s will and Jesus’ reputation.

We will flesh out other authorities Jesus has given us as believers in Him throughout the rest of this battlefield training. But before we do, since I will give Scriptures to show these authorities, I must clarify our stance on the Scriptures.

Some Christians argue we do not have the authorities I will speak of below because these authorities were either given in specific situations to certain people or they are part of passages of the Bible considered not part of the original manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.

In Matthew 10:1, and 7-8 Jesus gives authorities to His disciples and the twelve disciples are named as He continues to teach. But at no time does Jesus rescind this authority from the disciples. Just because the twelve are mentioned doesn’t mean that Jesus does not give this authority to all of His disciples. There is no set time for disciples to have this authority.

Another passage in Mark 16:17-18 speaks of the authority of the disciples of Jesus. Many scholars, Bible teachers, and pastors will claim that this passage is not included in the original manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. Therefore, they say, these are not authoritative versus and the authorities they speak of were only meant for the early church and not for Christians today.

I have three rebuttals. First, if the Lord did not want these verses included in the Bibles we have today would He have not stopped them from being placed within His Word to us? God has the power to make only what He desires for us to read and apply to our walk with Him to be in the Bible.

How can we trust the Scriptures if we could question versus we do not agree with or that seem outlandish to us? Indeed, naturalism and scientism have already tried to take the miracles of Jesus away because they don’t believe they are repeatable or believable.

But that’s the point of miracles. They are points in time where God does the extraordinary and things that happen against nature. They prove His divine power over nature. If we stopped believing in miracles we have given up our faith in Jesus to do the impossible as is His prerogative and power to do.

Third, everything written in Mark 16:9-20 that is blocked off in most modern Bible versions because of the belief that it is not in the original manuscripts is attested throughout the rest of the New Testament. I could provide a detailed analysis of where each of these shows up in the rest of the New Testament but rest assured I would not make a claim if I could not back it up academically.

If you wish for a detailed analysis, please let me know. Now let us move on to discussing the authorities given to all believers to fight spiritual battles.

  1. Authority over Satan and demons

Throughout the New Testament we see the apostles and Christians regularly taking authority over Satan and his demons. Especially in the Gospels and the book of Acts demons hold no ground against them.

Jesus is our example in taking authority over demons. He says about Satan that He saw him fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18). Jesus takes authority over demons and casts them out regularly throughout His ministry. He does this so much that He is accused of casting them out by the prince of demons (Matthew 9:34; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15).

Jesus gives authority to the twelve disciples (Matthew 10:1, 7-8; Luke 9:1-2) and to the seventy-two disciples (Luke 10:1, 9, 17-20) when He sends them out in ministry. Included in these authorities is the power and authority to cast out demons.

We see Paul casting out demons in Acts (Acts 16:18) and he was not one of the disciples mentioned in the Gospels. This shows that the authority to cast out demons is for every disciple of Jesus. You have authority to cast out demons in Jesus’ name (Matthew 10:1, 8; Mark 16:17; Luke 10:19-20).

But your authority to cast out demons is not because of your own power. Your ability and authority to cast out demons comes from your relationship with Jesus and the authority He has placed in you. Casting out demons is about Jesus’ power over the dark forces of this world.

  1. Authority over sickness

Jesus also gives you authority over sickness (Matthew 10:1, 8; Mark 16:18; Luke 9:1-2; James 5:13-16). Several words are used for healing the sick but Jesus gives us the authority. Through the prayer of faith we anoint people, lay our hands on them, and see them made whale by Jesus’ power.

Have you seen stories of people being raised from the dead today? Jesus gave the disciples, and us, authority to raise the dead (Matthew 10:8). This power like all the other powers must not be abused. All credit must be given to Jesus.

The power exhibited through our authority to heal the sick breaks the disease of darkness over the minds of the unsaved. They see Jesus’ power exhibited through healing the sick. They cannot deny what their eyes show them.

Authority over sickness is a useful tool in evangelism to convince the unsaved at Jesus’ power is greater than the power of Satan and other evil spiritual powers. They may counterfeit gods miracles and use false power to deceive the nations but no one can deny Jesus’ power over every sickness.

  1. Authority to proclaim the gospel

Finally, Jesus gave the apostles, and us, the authority to proclaim His gospel to everyone we meet throughout the world (Matthew 10:7; Luke 9:2). As we spread His good news to those we meet we introduce them to Jesus and give them the opportunity to become Jesus’ disciples.

Other authorities of the believer are mentioned within the pages of the New Testament, such as speaking in new tongues (Mark 16:17). We see this happen in Acts 2:1-13 and throughout the rest of Acts. The epistles lay out principles for using this gift.

One of the most unusual authorities of the believers are to pick up serpents and drink deadly poison that will not hurt them (Mark 16:18), and treading over serpents and scorpions (Luke 10:19). I don’t suggest testing this out.

The reason for these final authorities is to show that when we are doing the work of Jesus’ Kingdom nothing in this world can hurt us. We see an example of this in the book of Acts (Acts 28:3-6). We should not try to do these things, but if they happen as we minister for Jesus we will not be hurt by these threats to the spread of the gospel.

Wrapping Up

We have seen that we have great authority in the spiritual realm because Jesus has given it to us to show His power over the dark spiritual forces in this world. We do not seek to demonstrate such authority to impress the world.

But when we encounter evil spirits and the evil spiritual forces in this world we show the power of Christ in His authority. How do you show the power and authority of Jesus in your ministry?

Up Next

We have observed the authorities Jesus gives us to fight the evil spiritual powers of this world. Now we will look at the battlefield training concerning spiritual gifts and their effectiveness in spiritual warfare.

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5 Battlefield Practices for the Mind

This entry is part 21 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As we are moving from looking at all the players on the battlefield to the tactical and strategic advantages we have as Spiritual Soldiers for Christ we will focus on the mind and its importance in the battle.

This battlefield training provides just a few practices for our minds. Some of these will prepare us for battle and others will help us to take the battle to the enemy. We must be mentally prepared for the battles we face and understand the minds of those who don’t know Christ. Let’s dive in!

  1. Know your mind’s place.

Our minds can be a great asset to us on the spiritual battlefield. Clear thinking and being sober minded are some of the hallmarks of the Christian. As we face the lies of the enemy we must know the truth and walk in it.

The Christian mind is a powerful weapon against the flaming arrows of the evil one. From our conscience to our heart, we are guarded by the mind. Paul talks about the power of the Spirit that reveals God’s wisdom to us through a redeemed mind (1 Corinthians 2:10-13).

The Holy Spirit understands our hearts because our thoughts are open to Him. It’s a mystery how the Spirit has the ability and power to minister in and through us. Our heart and mind are linked together in the Bible.

The spiritual wisdom and truth the Spirit illuminates to us through our minds can’t be understood by the natural person (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). The Spirit is deeply connected with our mind and thoughts. His revelations to us are not understood by minds not surrendered to God.

  1. Renew your mind regularly.

One practice to protect ourselves against the lies of the enemy and the foolishness of the world system is through renewing our mind. What we think about ourselves can leave the door open to Satan in spiritual warfare if we do not know who we are and how God sees us.

As we live throughout the weeks and months in the world we are exposed to every lie, argument, and philosophy of the enemy. If we do not keep focusing on Jesus and what He says about us, following Him and hearing His voice we will fall prey to the enemy.

The Bible calls us to renew our minds regularly (Romans 12:2). Being renewed transforms our minds so we are not susceptible to the thinking of this world. Our patterns of thinking as we live behind enemy lines can be influenced by the world in ways that do not please Christ.

We must discern God’s will in spiritual warfare. Our goal is to know what is good, perfect, and pleasing to God and to practice those things as part of our lifestyle. Knowing God’s will transforms our lives and thinking.

So how do we renew our minds? Much of the renewing of our minds happens by God’s hand rather than our own. This passive verse shows us that when we spend time in prayer, God’s Word, and His presence He can do a work in our minds.

Praying to the Lord keeps us in tune with God’s perspectives and power. We don’t get caught up in worldly values and get picked off by the enemy one by one. Staying connected to Jesus through reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing God’s Word keep Jesus before us.

Many times we read the Bible quickly to check off a list of passages for each day. But we must learn to read the Bible for comprehension and spiritual power instead of anything we are told we must do. We cannot get the power of God from Scripture if we don’t give the Spirit the attention and focus to change our hearts and minds as we read.

When you read Scripture, focus on quality rather than quantity. Don’t worry about getting through so many chapters a day. Try to take a book at a time, or a passage. Read the passage wants to get an idea of the discussion. Read it a second time more slowly and focus on the connections between ideas. Read it a third time to focus on the words and their meaning.

Memorizing Scripture puts arrows in our quiver to shoot at the enemy. Just as Jesus knew Scripture when He was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11) we must face the enemy with the power of God’s Word. He cannot defeat or destroy God’s Word.

But memorizing only helps when we know how to use what we have memorized. We must study the Bible so we know the context and how to use the Scriptures in the most powerful ways during spiritual warfare.

When I begin studying the Bible I start with prayer. I ask the Spirit to guide me in my reading and understanding first. Do as much of your own study and understanding as you can next.

Then use Bible helps from Bible handbooks, study guides, commentaries, and books by Christian authors to help you learn the Bible’s big picture and guide you through the passages and verses of the Bible. Join a Bible believing church and Bible studies.

Meditation helps you to ruminate over Scripture, hovering over the words and concepts, so you can easily remember it in the midst of battle. As we will see when we talk about the sword of the Spirit in the armor of God the Word of God is powerful to break down strongholds.

Christian meditation is different from Eastern meditation. In Eastern meditation people empty their minds and listen to themselves. But we want to hear God’s voice instead of our own. Christian meditation fills our minds and hearts with God’s Word. His words to you become the foundation of your thoughts and actions.

Take two or three verses at a time and repeat them to yourself in your own voice. Think about each word as you speak it. What does it mean in that moment to you and your situation? What is the Spirit speaking to you through these verses? Go over the verses until you can almost quote them. Return to them in your mind throughout the day. Go through them again without the text in front of you.

We also renew our minds by thinking on good and godly things (Philippians 4:8). Paul presents eight different things we can think about that honor God with our thinking instead of focusing it on worldly thoughts. Allow God to change the way you see yourself and the world as you use these tactics to renew your mind and prepare you for spiritual war.

  1. Put on the helmet of salvation.

The helmet of salvation is one of the pieces of armor you put on every day. We will be talking about the armor of God in later battlefield trainings. But I wanted to mention the helmet of salvation because of its power to protect our thinking.

The enemy will challenge Jesus’ transformative work in us through His salvation. He will tells that we’re not really saved. He will accuse us of all our sins. He will attempt to change our thinking through worldly philosophies and principles.

But the helmet of salvation keeps our minds focused on Christ. We can defend our thought processes against the evil one. I will go into more detail about the helmet of salvation in a later battlefield training. But just remember to put your helmet of salvation on every day to protect your mind from the onslaught of the enemy. Don’t become an easy mark.

  1. Demolish strongholds against God.

While the first three battlefield practices and tactics keep our minds sharp and protected from the enemy and his fiery darts these last two are weapons for offense. If your mind is not protected by the first three practices you won’t be as effective in these practices.

Paul talks about the spiritual weapons of our warfare that are powerful for destroying the strongholds in this world (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Twice Paul teaches that we do not wage war by the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:12). Our battle is with Satan and his allies.

We don’t attack people. We use the weapons of our mind to attack the arguments and philosophies of this age and world. We must first discern that we are fighting a spiritual battle, not a physical one. Then we must use mental weapons for spiritual success and victory.

These spiritual weapons of the mind break down every argument, opinion, and philosophy that stands opposed to our God and His ways. Because Satan is the prince of the power of the air for now (Ephesians 2:2) he has had the time to set up ungodly systems and philosophies in this world.

We stand against him and his worldly systems by proclaiming the truth of God and demonstrating it with our lifestyles. Everywhere we go we expose the darkness with the light of the gospel. When people suppress the truth we share the knowledge of God.

Defensively, we can patrol our own thoughts and take them captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). As we evaluate our thoughts we make sure that they are godly thoughts instead of worldly ones. And we surrender them at the foot of the throne of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us discern God’s truth from the lies of the enemy and his world systems.

  1. Bring Jesus’ light to darkened minds.

The Bible describes the minds and hearts of the people in this world as foolish and darkened. By suppressing the truth about God (Romans 1:18) people whose minds are blinded by the enemy have darkened thoughts and futile thought processes (Romans 1:22).

This kind of thinking does not lead to wisdom or godly success. Instead it creates foolishness, and futile thinking produces futile action. They are treading water, pedaling an exercise bike that goes nowhere. They wonder why their hard work produces nothing, why hard earned money goes to waste, and why they aren’t getting ahead in life. It’s because their stinking thinking gets them nowhere.

God gives them over to the futility of their thinking. Everything they do is for themselves and never lasts beyond their lifetime. Their legacies are empty. Humanity under Satan’s control never moves forward.

The Bible further describes unbelievers around us as ignorant in their understanding, futile in their minds, darkened in their understanding, hard-hearted, and callous (Ephesians 4:17-19). This kind of thinking leads to actions that hurt others and don’t glorify God.

In spite of the darkness in the minds and hearts of people around us who don’t know Christ we shine the light of the gospel and expose all of these things to them. We show them that Jesus has a better way for them. And we make Jesus appealing to people. This is a huge part of God’s power through us to break down these dark spiritual thoughts in the minds of unbelievers.

Wrapping Up

These five battlefield practices for the mind protect us from the lies and attacks of the enemy. But they also give us weapons to take the fight to the enemy. Satan clouds the judgment and understanding of those captured under his rule.

Jesus gives us the ability to expose the truth of who He is and His transformative power to rescue them from the darkness all around. We shine the light of God’s truth on darkened thinking and show the way to freedom. What are some ways you fight darkened thinking of this world?

Up Next

We have seen how Jesus gives us weapons for mental warfare in the spiritual realm to change the thinking of this world to godly perspectives. Next we will look at the authority of the believer in spiritual warfare. What kind of authority has Jesus given us to fight evil spiritual forces we encounter?

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7 Weapons for Spiritual Warfare

This entry is part 19 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by rihaij from Pixabay

In our Spiritual Soldier Series we have been discussing all the entities for and against us as we fight spiritual warfare battles. We will now transition to the tactics and strategies of spiritual warfare that bring victory.

Some of the weapons I will mention we have already discussed but many of these have not been discussed in depth. Some are foundational and others are complementary to the fight. All of these weapons are necessary to win spiritual battles. Let’s dive in.

  1. Relationship with Jesus

The most foundational weapon of spiritual warfare is your relationship with Jesus. This must be solid, ongoing, and vibrant. Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Your relationship with Jesus is vital not only to victory but survival.

We must have Jesus at the center of our lives. As our Commander in Chief on the battlefield we must be able to hear His voice (John 10:27-28). Our connection with Him helps us to know the strategies of the enemy in that moment.

The authority of every believer against demons and evil spiritual powers comes from Jesus. They are not afraid of you as an individual. But they are afraid of Jesus and you know Him. The seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-16) learned this firsthand.

They were relying on the reputation of Paul and the name of Jesus almost as a magical incantation because they saw Paul’s power in casting out demons. But you will not be victorious in casting out demons if you rely on the authority and reputation of another Christian.

If you have a close and vibrant relationship with Jesus demons will flee because you speak in the name and power of Jesus. I will talk about the authority of the believer in spiritual warfare in another battlefield training.

Jesus’ name is above all other names (Philippians 2:9-11). Demons flee when they hear His name from those who know Him. Your relationship with Jesus is the personal covering that protects you from the enemy. Everything else I will discuss in this battlefield training works with this relationship.

Tend first to your relationship with Jesus. Don’t let anything steal the intimate time you share with Jesus. Regularly connect with Him for personal growth and time in His presence. It will prepare you for anything you face in your day.

  1. The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a Person, the third member of the Trinity. We cannot think of Him as a weapon per se. But your ability to listen to the Spirit and obey Him is just as important as your relationship with Jesus.

As I discussed in the battlefield training on the Holy Spirit and His involvement in spiritual warfare, the Spirit guides you in many ways. He helps you with living a holy life to combat temptation and fleshly desires. He has greater power than anything you encounter in this world (1 John 4:4).

The Holy Spirit uses your knowledge of the Scriptures from meditation to memorization to study as you fight the evil spirits of this world. He explains Scripture to you and then uses the ammunition you have built up through your study and meditation of the Bible against the enemy.

Jesus won His spiritual battle against the devil with a proper understanding of Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). Don’t just memorize Scriptures because the devil knows the Bible as well as you do. But he doesn’t apply it properly. Study as much as you memorize.

Listen to the Holy Spirit and obey every word. He is with you, dwelling in you, and gives you the strategy and power to defeat the enemy at every turn. Know His voice and pray for the spiritual gift of distinguishing of spirits. This is an invaluable gift for spiritual warfare.

  1. Prayer

We will discuss prayer and its power in spiritual warfare in another battlefield training in depth. But prayer has great power for turning down strongholds in the spiritual realm. It is direct communication with Jesus.

Throughout the history of warfare communication has become faster and greatly affected the speed and intelligence of wars. Through prayer you have a direct connection with Jesus and there is no need to wait on His answers.

This is a strategic advantage over the enemy. We are not held in limbo waiting for the next instructions from the Lord. We hear from Him directly and can continue to fight the enemy. Some people believe our communications with Jesus through prayer are invisible to the enemy.

They believe he cannot decipher what we say to the Lord. This would truly be a strategic advantage in the midst of spiritual warfare. We’ll take a closer look at this idea and prayer in another battlefield training.

  1. Evangelism

One of the most powerful weapons you have in your fight with the enemy is the word of your testimony (Revelation 12:11). Satan cannot defeat the story of how Jesus has changed you completely from the person you used to be before you met Him.

Your testimony points out the power of Jesus over the darkness and bondage of sin you used to endure. Jesus has brought freedom and made you a light for His Kingdom. Satan can accuse you of many things but he cannot come close to your testimony.

Through sharing your testimony the light within you invades the darkness. You overcome the darkness just by being present and sharing your testimony. As you tell the story of how Jesus has brought freedom to you others are exposed to His power to change their lives.

Every time you show your faith you reveal the better way of Jesus to those in bondage with darkened hearts and futile thinking. As you live your life before people they are watching you. They want to know why you are so different from them.

Telling them about Jesus shares with them how He can also change them by His power. With your testimony Jesus is taking captives from the enemy and bringing them into the Kingdom of light. Sharing your testimony is an offensive weapon of power.

  1. Armor of God

Most people think of the armor of God first when they consider the weapons of spiritual warfare. The armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) contains defensive and offensive weapons. Paul speaks directly about spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6.

These seven pieces of armor begin with defensive pieces like the breastplate of righteousness to protect you as you advance Jesus’ Kingdom. Offensive weapons like the sword of the Spirit give you a way to penetrate the darkness.

Many people realize that though Paul does not mention a piece of armor with prayer at the end of this section it is one of the most powerful spiritual warfare weapons in the armor of God. We will study each piece of armor in depth in later battlefield trainings.

  1. Spiritual Weapons against Arguments

We will discuss the spiritual weapons of warfare against the mind and mental blockages. The world is full of arguments against God and philosophies that oppose Him. But Paul talks about spiritual weapons of warfare to destroy these arguments and mental strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Because Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), has had so long to establish the world system we fight against he has set it up to oppose God and us at every turn. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to defeat arguments and philosophies against God.

These philosophies and arguments can combat the godly mindset in the Christian mind if we do not renew our mind (Romans 12:2) and oppose the thoughts of this world regularly. Our minds must become a fortress of salvation and glory to the Lord.

As we continue in our battlefield trainings for the Spiritual Soldier we will discuss the mind and the effects of spiritual warfare upon it. The helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17) and renewing our minds in Christ (Romans 12:2) keep our minds spiritually sharp for the battle.

  1. Casting Out Demons

In a previous battlefield training we have discussed casting out demons in depth. Some myths and out-of-control practices have kept many Christians from realizing the power of the Spirit in them and the name of Jesus they carry as weapons to cast out demons like Jesus did.

Exorcism has become shrouded in mystery and frightening accounts of long, drawn out battles with Satan and demons. In most cases all you need is your relationship with Jesus and to declare His name and tell the demon to flee.

There are some demons that only come out with greater effort, like those who take prayer and fasting to be expelled (Mark 9:29). But there’s no need to have a long, drawn out conversation with demons or to be afraid of casting them out.

Every believer in Jesus has the authority to cast out demons. You don’t have to have special credentials or be a priest. You don’t need long preparation in school to handle demons. Speak from your relationship and authority in Christ and they cannot stand up against you.

Wrapping Up

These are the majority of the weapons for spiritual warfare we have available to us. You can see the power, the weapons, added onto our relationship with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

We have seen the lay of the battlefield, all the entities involved from Satan and his allies to Jesus and His allies. Now we know the weapons of our warfare. It is time to find out how to use them in the battles we face. What other spiritual warfare weapons do you know of?

Up Next

We have studied all the entities involved on the spiritual battlefield. We have also looked at the weapons of our spiritual warfare. Now it is time to look at the battlefield of the mind and how it affects spiritual warfare.

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5 Ways to Address Christian Disagreements

This entry is part 20 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Our Spiritual Soldier Series continues as we have just discussed some enemies of the Church. The alliances we form with others here on earth give us ways to fight spiritual battles together.

There’s a brotherhood and sisterhood within the Church. We have the same experiences, the same Lord, the same faith, and can combine our resources to fight the enemy and win people to Jesus through our testimonies.

But you may have found yourself fighting battles within the Church and with other Christians instead of with the enemy. Friendly fire is a real possibility when Christians do not get along.

So part of spiritual warfare becomes finding ways to not throw rocks at one another inside the Church. What are some ways Christians deal with disagreements amongst one another? Let’s dive in!

  1. Part ways for a time.

No Christian should want to stop having fellowship with another Christian. We have too much in common to give up on one another if we have disagreements. If we listen to the Holy Spirit and obey Jesus’ teachings we should be able to reconcile our differences.

Disagreements come from a number of areas. Personality conflicts happen more often than we care to admit. We cannot come together if we do not swallow our pride and humbly commit to finding ways to work together for the sake of Jesus’ Kingdom.

This is never an easy endeavor. Two people have wildly different approaches to solving a problem or ministering to a group of people. Some people seek attention while others attempt to gain ground by being passive aggressive. I have seen both in my ministry.

With strong personalities pride becomes the heart of the issue. Sometimes it is out of a genuine desire to see the best outcome. But each of us must face the possibility that our way is not the best way.

We need wisdom as well as humility. Wisdom is the ability to choose the God pleasing approach through prayer and the counsel of many. My goal as a pastor is to hear several godly voices on a matter and allow the Holy Spirit to give us discernment on which is the best course, or a combination of ideas.

You must be careful not to get so many voices that you cannot come to a consensus. But as long as you are listening to the Holy Spirit first, He will give you guidance to find the God pleasing course of action for the most spiritual success. It is good on the spiritual battlefield to find godly Christian counsel to help us in our battles.

Besides personality conflicts there are different philosophies, roads to arrive at our desired destination. Many of these come from different cultural approaches within the body of Christ. I have found some of these cultural differences to be beneficial to finding a better way to accomplish our goals.

But sometimes cultural differences are so strongly felt that we cannot get past them. We need to be open to listening to one another and seeking God’s wisdom and the leading of the Spirit. And once again, humility is always the best engine for our success.

When we have these strong disagreements amongst ourselves and cannot find a solution to the conflict, the Bible gives us a solution. A disagreement broke out between Paul and Barnabas concerning John Mark and they decided to part ways for a time (Acts 15:36-41).

Although Barnabas took John Mark and Paul took Silas on their next missionary journeys this did not mean they were not fulfilling God’s plan or not able to ever speak to one another again. Paul later talks about how invaluable to him John Mark had become (2 Timothy 4:11).

A short time of parting company may produce a greater harvest for God’s Kingdoms until we come together once again. But we must not part forever. Whatever issue separates us must not be one that permanently separates us.

  1. Confront them one-on-one.

Parting ways may not be advantageous to the situation. Throughout the body of Christ issues of doctrine, practice, and approach to evangelism and church governance have separated the body over time.

Major Christian doctrines should never separate anyone in the body of Christ. Belief in Jesus as the Son of God, the Trinity, the inerrancy of Scripture, and other major doctrines are shared by all Christians. But we have a tendency to split hairs on the minor doctrines.

Each denomination in the Christian faith has its own church governance and approach to carrying out the ministry. This is not necessarily bad. As long as we are not changing the message the methods may be beneficial to the spread of the gospel.

When it comes to personality conflicts, sin between brothers and sisters, or other conflicts it is appropriate to go through the disciplinary procedure Jesus set up (Matthew 18:15-20).

Jesus commanded that two people with a disagreement must first address it one-on-one with one another. If that does not work taking one or two mediators with you to address the issue is the next step. If wisdom does not prevail then the matter must be addressed by the whole church. This is how Jesus commands us to deal with disagreements amongst ourselves.

Christians do not always want to follow these procedures. They may want to gossip to others around them about that person and their situation. Perhaps they go directly to one of the leaders of the church. And sometimes the church finds out about the situation before it is properly addressed through these first channels. This should never be. We must follow our Lord’s lead.

  1. Speak to church leadership.

One of the ways we can reconcile Christian disagreements especially when we need wisdom or need to know the proper procedure to handle an issue is to go to church leadership. Talking to the pastor or the elders will help us to assess the situation.

Of course, as I just described, we should be going to the person one-on-one first. Sometimes we need to know if we are in the wrong. In such cases we can gain wisdom and insight into our situation by asking church leadership for input.

If the church leadership properly addresses our situation they will tell us to handle the matter one-on-one whether we are in the wrong or not. If we are in the wrong confession to the offended party is necessary on our part. If we are not in the wrong and we wish to address the issue we must go through a one-on-one meeting first.

God put these leaders in our lives and our churches to bring His wisdom to every situation in the Church. Spirit-led church leaders are a blessing from the Lord and a gift to the body of Christ. They do not speak on their own accord but listen to the Spirit to help guide us.

That combined with their experience and knowledge help them to help us. We must never be afraid to go to church leadership to help us with any problem we have. Loving and wise counsel gives us knowledge and wisdom to guide us to the proper conclusion.

  1. Love them and pray for them.

Jesus gives us the best approach when we come into conflict with one another. Our first instinct before we met Jesus was to be angry, destroy their reputation, and excommunicate them from our lives. But Jesus has shown us a better way.

He calls us to love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). Hopefully this brother or sister in Christ has not become your enemy. But Jesus’ teaching on the subject of enemies bears a great solution for any disagreement we find ourselves involved in.

Whether you are in disagreement with an unbeliever or a believer I have found it is impossible to pray for that person with anger and malice in your heart. Praying God’s blessing, wisdom, understanding, and a godly reconciliation to your disagreement with them cannot be done with a hateful heart.

Aside from that Christians are called to love one another unconditionally as Jesus has loved each of us (1 John 4:7-8). As always, Jesus’ teaching calls us to do the things we don’t want to do. We don’t want to love our enemies. We don’t want to pray for the brother or sister who has offended us.

But we must not be so easily offended. Often times we read our own understanding into a situation when that may not be true. Our first inclination is not to examine ourselves but to accuse those who have offended us and take the “victim” approach. None of this can be found in Jesus’ teachings.

Instead, we seek reconciliation of any disagreements because Jesus reconciled us to God when we didn’t deserve it (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). He is our model in everything. We want to resume godly fellowship with one another. That should be our heart.

Loving other people means that we put our issues aside. Address the situation and pray that the Holy Spirit provides a way to reconcile. Put the other person above yourself and seek his or her good (1 Corinthians 10:24).

  1. Forgive them and live at peace with them.

If there is sin involved be the first to forgive them. Remind yourself that you are not perfect and you also make mistakes. Put yourself in their shoes. If you are the one who is in sin ask for forgiveness from the other brother or sister.

This entire process requires humility on our part. Whether we are the offender or the offended we must humbly approach the situation with spiritual maturity. Our greatest goal is not only resuming fellowship with one another but living at peace.

Sometimes that requires we do not continue to have constant contact with that person. The Bible only requires that we are peacemakers to the best of our ability. God’s Word commands us to live at peace with others if it is possible for us (Romans 12:18).

Confession, forgiveness, and peace are the ways of the disciple of Christ. Even when we want our own way or to let these disagreements fester we must bring peace wherever we can. I always try to leave the ball in the other person’s court, so to speak.

You don’t want disagreements to get out of control, to turn into angry discord and dissension. Division is unacceptable within the body of Christ. The hardest part for us is to come humbly to every situation and allow give and take until we come to peace.

Wrapping Up

Peace and unity must be the way of Jesus’ body. We must remember that we have more in common within the things that separate us. Maintaining unity in the body allows us to take the fight to the enemy instead of friendly fire.

Let us not give the devil an open door or opportunity to destroy our relationships with one another. May the peace and wisdom of God reign in our hearts and churches. What are some other ways we can reconcile our differences?

Up Next

Now that we have talked about all of the relationships involved on the spiritual battlefield we turn to the weapons of our spiritual warfare and the tactics and strategies that bring victory and glory to Christ.

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6 Enemies of the Church

This entry is part 18 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

As we continue to look at battlefield trainings on spiritual warfare we have been looking at the “good guys” in our spiritual battles. We’ve just finished talking about how angels are part of spiritual battles.

Now we turn to looking at some of our final allies in spiritual warfare. What are some ways the enemy wants to interfere with the Church? We’re going to look at some of the enemies of the Church that tried to thwart God’s agency on earth. Let’s dive in!

  1. Disunity and discord

One of the top enemies of the Church is disunity. Paul addresses the divisions in the Corinthian church and tells them to stop (1 Corinthians 3:1-23). Some of the people in the church were claiming they were disciples of Paul or Apollos or Jesus.

They were dividing themselves based on the superiority of their teacher. But that’s not the point of gathering together. We gather together to seek the unity of the Holy Spirit. We want to grow together into Christ.

When Paul speaks to the Ephesian church he describes the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:12-16). The Church is the body of Christ. And as a body we work together, not apart. Unity is the powerful tool of the Spirit.

Through our unity the Holy Spirit can build us up, teach us about Jesus, bring maturity to us, avoid the crafty schemes of Satan and others, and bind us to one another. Through unity we can work together to achieve the goals of God’s Kingdom.

Satan wants to divide and conquer the Church. He wants to destroy all of the things that make us work seamlessly together and grow with one another. We can’t experience life together and help one another if we’re constantly being divided.

Unity helps us to mature in Christ and be built up and encouraged. On the spiritual warfare front an army that is divided cannot win the battle. We can’t even take the field. But if we are unified together, we fight as one person, everyone equal to the task and prepared.

We can’t help one another fight spiritual battles if we are not unified. In our American military, if one soldier thought the soldier behind him didn’t have his back he would be vulnerable to the attack from the enemy. They must remain together and fight together to experience victory.

  1. Following a person instead of Jesus

Part of the problem Paul addressed in Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:1-23) was that people were following a person instead of following Jesus. Their disunity came from one person thinking he was better than the others. They were all trying to follow different people instead of focusing on Jesus.

When the church is divided between strong personalities and people trying to take control we forget that the church is Jesus’ idea and He is the Founder of the Church. It is not your church or my church. The Church belongs to Jesus.

The Bible says that Jesus is in charge of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 2:19). Strong personalities have no place in the church. As a pastor I have many times had to deal with strong personalities. Instead of trying to navigate between these strong personalities we must remind them of this truth about Jesus and His Church.

It’s not about you and it’s not about me. The Church is about Jesus being glorified through our united efforts to glorify Him. Jesus sets the agenda and mission of the Church and we follow His lead. The only Person we follow in the Church is Jesus.

So many churches are controlled by a dominant person perhaps on the board or in the congregation. Others look to TV evangelists and parachurch ministries. They don’t like the way their church operates. Or maybe they think their church is too small.

Jesus will not allow His Church to fail. Every church no matter what size can advance the Kingdom of God. It’s up to you to follow Jesus into spiritual battle and take back this world for Christ. If you don’t like some aspect of your church, change starts with you.

  1. Consumer Christians

One of the biggest enemies of the church today is consumerism. We Americans like the fact that we can pick and choose the products we buy and the businesses we work with. There’s nothing wrong with that in the business world.

But people are doing this with church as well. Don’t like your church? Just leave and try another one in your city. Try different churches until you find the one you like, the one that makes you happy. If the apostles saw how we switch from church to church today they would be appalled.

I’m not saying there aren’t problem churches that are hurting their congregations more than helping them. I’m not saying that every pastor is feeding the flock well. I’m talking about people deciding where they go to church based on aesthetics alone.

No Christian should be a consumer alone. We are fed first, but to be a true disciple of Jesus you are not only taking in but giving out. Every disciple of Jesus needs to not only consume but produce. We don’t look for churches where we can consume. We look for churches who need producers.

The mentality of the consumer is to get the best bang for their buck. But a producer looks to and hence the church through his or her ministry. You don’t go to a church to be a pew sitter. You go to a church to get involved and advance Jesus’ Kingdom.

We need to get out of the consumer business. Church isn’t a business in the first place. It’s a place to grow, and part of growing is both consuming and producing. How would the local church look today if Christians were looking for churches to be producers instead of consumers?

This brings up the even harder question. Why don’t we have more Christians who are maturing in their faith enough to be producers? I know that one hurts to hear. But each of us needs to ask ourselves if we are more of a consumer than a producer and why.

If you want to blame your local church for not teaching you or helping you become a producer we live in a world with so many resources for Christians. It’s not completely the fault of the local church if it is weak on producing disciples who are growing not only through consumption but through production.

  1. Lacking discipline

Along with the idea of consumer Christians getting to choose their church comes the problem of church discipline. When a Christian needs to be disciplined or comes under discipline in one church it’s so easy to flee to another one.

This may be one of the reasons we have Christians who are not maturing in their faith properly. Never receiving discipline when you need it produces Christians stuck in entangling sins and producing more problems for every church they attend.

Nobody likes to be disciplined but God through discipline shows His love for us (Hebrews 12:7-11). Jesus put in place a system of discipline for those who need it (Matthew 18:15-20). He required that those who have a grievance against another brother first go one-on-one, then come with a mediator, and finally allow the church to address it.

One problem we have today is that Christians do not follow this process. They would rather gossip about their issues with another brother or sister in Christ with someone else. Or they want to skip the one on one step and immediately go to leadership.

There will be disagreements in the Church and I will deal with those in the next battlefield training. But when the individual members of the body do not do what they should, the way Scripture directs us to act, how can the body be healthy?

We must follow the proper disciplinary measures when we have problems in the church between brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus put these systems in place by His wisdom and grace. Discipline gives us an avenue of growth even though it hurts for a time. When we don’t follow these paths we don’t grow as Christians.

  1. Following the world

Another enemy facing the church is thinking and living like the world. I can’t tell you is a pastor how many times I hear a strategy for numerical church growth that is straight out of the business world. The Church needs to look toward the Scriptures to discover how to grow.

Management principles from the world often creep into the Church. I’m not saying these principles can’t be useful but they often do not take into account a biblical worldview or how Jesus led.

Many times they place the onus on the congregation instead of the pastor. Sometimes the pastor is the problem. Sometime somebody in the congregation is the problem. In my denomination the leadership and people in the church are developing ways to diagnose what is keeping the local church from growing.

Why do we look to the world to help us figure out problems in the Church? Their solutions may make things worse in the Church. They focus on the bottom line and corralling problems rather than solving them for good.

As I said, some of the management and company principles may work in the Church setting. But they must be evaluated to make sure they are biblical first. The ends do not justify the means. We must act like Jesus and the apostles. We must solve problems biblically rather than in a worldly fashion.

Observe and evaluate the management and leadership principles your church adopts. God’s army must win spiritual battles by His principles. If we are using the principles of the world while we fight the world we will not win in ways that please Jesus.

  1. Sin in the Church

Please do not be shocked by me suggesting that sin is in the Church. I know you’ve seen it. You may be the culprit. I may be the culprit. But we must have the humility and desire to confess and be reconciled to God and fellow Christians.

Just as much as sin may be an issue in the Church pride follows shortly after. We are good at pointing the finger at someone else. We need to have the attitude of Christ to look at ourselves first. We must evaluate our lives before we point the finger at others.

Even if there is not sin in the camp personalities, disagreements among us, and other factors make it hard for us to be unified against the enemy instead of one another. The Church cannot succeed if its members are accusing one another or sinning themselves. Remember, Satan is the accuser of the brethren,, not you (Revelation 12:10).

Jesus doesn’t browbeat you if you come to him with sin in your life. When you confess your sin Jesus is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from it (1 John 1:9). There should be no shame amongst us for those who come clean with sin. We should rejoice that they are being obedient to Scripture.

Besides, none of us has any room to condemn others. Each one of us has been given Jesus’ grace through His forgiveness of our sins. None of us is better than the other. We are all walking the path with Jesus toward holiness and wholeness.

But when sin remains in the Church the Church is ineffective against the devil and the gates of Hell. If we want to see Jesus’ victory in our lives we must make sure we are not tendering that victory through sin or any of the other enemies of the Church we have talked about.

Regularly evaluate yourself to make sure you are not part of the problem in your church. Help others who confess their sins or realize they are a problem and want to fix it. Compassion ministry is not just about helping unbelievers. It is about how we treat one another.

Wrapping Up

These six enemies of the Church can easily creep in to any local church. Each one of us cannot be effective Soldiers for Christ if we are part of these problems or not helping others to see themselves as problems. We do not want to be numbered among the enemies of the Church.

Let the solutions to stop hindering the Church begin with us. May we regularly evaluate our own lives before we point the fingers at others. What other enemies of the Church do you see?

Up Next

We have discussed the enemies of the Church as we look at our allies in our world. Now we will look at disagreements among Christians and how we can address the battles between fellow Soldiers in Christ to avoid friendly fire.

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4 Powerful Facts about God’s Angels

This entry is part 17 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

We are continuing our Spiritual Soldier Series about spiritual warfare. We have discussed how the Holy Spirit is involved in spiritual warfare. As we talk about the “good guys” on the spiritual battlefield this training talks about angels.

Many people are curious about angels and what they do. Some people believe in them and others don’t. If your idea of an angel is those cute little children with wings on them you may be surprised at how I will describe angels. They are something you may not have realized. Let’s dive in!

  1. Angels serve God and Christians.

Since it’s hard for us to wrap our minds around these celestial beings God has created let me start by saying that angels serve God and Christians (Hebrews 1:14). They are “ministering spirits” sent to serve those who inherit salvation. That’s Christians.

The writer of Hebrews has opened his letter by showing that Jesus is superior to angels. He finishes that chapter by telling us this about angels. Angels are spirits but they can take physical form. We see this throughout the Bible.

But what does it mean that they are “ministering spirits who serve Christians”? Some people believe in guardian angels who protect individuals. There may be biblical precedents for this. In the book of Revelation angels play a vital role.

In the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2-3) each church has an angel over it. Some scholars try to make these sound like human messengers, referring to the pastors of the churches. But something about Revelation and their involvement in much of God’s plans, carrying out many of them, tells me that the angels of the churches might be what we are thinking of, celestial beings. If that’s true then churches have “guardian angels.”

Throughout the Bible angels are God’s messengers who deliver messages especially important to His salvation plan. Angels delivered messages to Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and Joseph (Matthew 1:20-25) to tell them about Jesus. An angel also appears to Zechariah (Luke 1:11-17), John the Baptist’s father.

But angels do more than relay God’s messages to His people. We will explore the Scriptures more to discover what angels do specifically in regards to spiritual warfare. Their ability to transfer messages from God to us is only the beginning of their spiritual warfare assignments.

  1. Angels fight spiritual battles.

Beginning with Daniel 10 as I will further describe on territorial spirits angels fight spiritual battles. We can also see this throughout the book of Revelation. Angels are sent by God to deal with demons and demonic spirits.

We have such a small view of angels and what they do for God and us. We cannot limit ourselves just to the idea of guardian angels. Every time they appear to human beings in Scripture they start with the common greeting, “Do not be afraid.”

This is for two reasons. First, people may think that because they are God’s messengers they bring God’s judgment. But second, it’s because they are pretty impressive beings. These are warriors and sometimes they show up looking like warriors.

In Daniel 10 the way Daniel describes the angel of the Lord coming to see him would scare anyone (Daniel 10:5-6). The angel is wearing a linen garment with a golden belt. Not too weird. But then read the next verse. His body looked like a glowing precious stone, face looked like lightning, flaming torches for eyes, arms and legs like burnished bronze, and a voice that sounded like a multitude of voices.

That’s a good reason to be fearful of this being coming toward you. There are other descriptions of angels throughout the Bible. Not too many of them seem like normal human beings. They are celestial and spiritual beings momentarily maintaining a form humans can see.

Michael is one of two angels mentioned in the Bible. Other books written around biblical times suggest there are more and give names to Angels not listed in the Bible, such as the apocryphal book of Enoch. But in the pages of inspired Scripture only two are listed, Michael and Gabriel.

Michael is known as an archangel (Jude 9). Without becoming too fanciful we might understand there is a hierarchy within the angels of heaven and Michael is a leader of some kind. He is probably a warrior or general. He fights battles as is attested in the Bible.

We see him in Daniel 10 fighting off the prince (demon or spiritual power) of Persia to make way for this angel to come to Daniel (Daniel 10:13). We also see that he contends for Moses’ body with Satan (Jude 9). But he cannot be the only warrior angel in heaven.

One of the names for God is the Lord of Hosts. The hosts referred to are the angels in heaven who fight by His side. All of these are good reasons to suspect that at least some of the angels are worriers who fight spiritual battles.

Because the writer of Hebrews tells us that they serve the saints we can infer that the spiritual battles are either on our behalf or ones that we are not required to fight. Know that as you are on spiritual battlefields fighting these battles that you are not alone. There is a mighty army fighting with you.

  1. Angels fight territorial spirits.

Angels work for God on the spiritual battlefield. I mentioned in the battlefield training on territorial spirits that I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where Christians fight spiritual battles against territorial spirits.

However, there’s a great possibility that angels fight these battles for us. Daniel prays for Israel and intercedes for his people. But he receives no answer, apparently unusual to Daniel. He wonders what is happening.

Three weeks later an angel appears to him and explains what had happened. His prayer was answered the moment he prayed. But he didn’t receive confirmation until this angel appeared to him (Daniel 10:12-14).

The angel proceeds to tell Daniel he was held up by a spiritual battle with the “prince of the kingdom of Persia.” It’s clear as he describes other “princes” that these are not human beings. They are other spiritual entities.

This is one of the base texts for the understanding of territorial spirits. It seems that each of these “princes” or spirits had a region or a nation. The princes of Persia and Greece are mentioned by the angel. He also refers to the Archangel Michael as a chief prince.

So angels are not only messengers from God but warriors in the spiritual realm. They may fight territorial spirits and demonic forces in the heavenly realms. If this is so, they minister to Christians on a whole different level than we ever thought before.

  1. Angels deliver messages between God and Christians.

Staying with the example of Daniel 10 this angel had a message for Daniel. Angels work with God to deliver messages to Christians. These can be battle messages that explain why our prayers have not seemingly been answered, to tell us we are part of God’s larger plan, to explain what is happening in the spiritual realm, and any other message God wants to get through to us.

It may be that as Michael the Archangel is a warrior angel for the Lord there may be angels that have the distinct job of delivering messages, probably like Gabriel. When Gabriel shows up in Scripture he is delivering messages to people.

Some angelic messages come as encouragement, like the messages given to Gideon (Judges 6:11ff). Some prepare people for extraordinary roles in God’s plan of salvation for humanity, like Mary the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).

Others tell people that they are special, like Samuel’s and John the Baptist’s parents receiving a word that they would be different and have extraordinary ministries for Him. God sent an angel to Peter in prison to set him free and lead him back to the Church meeting and praying for him (Acts 12:6-11).

As we have discussed, Daniel received information about why his prayers were hindered or held up because of spiritual warfare. If you receive an angelic message it could be for any number of these reasons.

While angels are interesting to us we must not fixate on them just as we don’t fixate on the evil spiritual powers we face in spiritual warfare. They are not the main part of spiritual warfare. What we can learn about them is minor in the Bible because they play a minor role.

But we must be aware of their existence and that they are on our side. It’s helpful to know the rules they play as they serve God. So be aware of their place in spiritual warfare but don’t over glorify them or try to figure out their hierarchies. None of this is necessary to be a Spiritual Soldier for Christ fighting the battles put before you.

Wrapping Up

Angels are interesting celestial beings that fight spiritual battles. They are on our side and serve God as worriers and messengers. They fight spiritual battles we are not called to fight. But they play on the same team that we do. What other uses for angels do you see God having in Scripture?

Up Next

Now that we have discussed in our spiritual battlefield trainings all of the persons involved on the side of godliness and goodness in spiritual warfare we will address the enemies of the Church and Christian disagreements before moving on to the more applicable parts of our battlefield manuals.

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4 Truths about the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Warfare

This entry is part 15 of 24 in the series Spiritual Soldier Series
Image by jplenio from Pixabay

Welcome to the Spiritual Soldier Series where we go through battlefield training to prepare you to fight the spiritual battles that come our way. We have been talking about Jesus and His blood. Now we will talk about the third member of the Trinity.

As we jump into this battle filled training on the Holy Spirit and how He is involved in our spiritual warfare we want to look at the Person of the Holy Spirit. So many people don’t know the Spirit in a personal way. But hopefully this training will get you excited about your relationship with the Spirit and how He ministers to and through you. Let’s dive in!

  1. The Spirit is greater in you than the world.

A powerful Scripture concerning the Holy Spirit and spiritual warfare tells you that the Holy Spirit dwells in you (John 14:17). And because He dwells within you He is greater in you than anything we encounter in this world (1 John 4:4).

We often mistake the Holy Spirit for some spiritual force. But He is a Person with power. Like Jesus, the Spirit fights for you. He does amazing things within you that prepare you for the spiritual battles you face. But as we walk in this dark world as lights for Jesus the Holy Spirit’s presence within you gives you power you may not have known you have.

No matter what spiritual force you go up against, whether Satan, demons, or other evil spiritual forces the Holy Spirit’s power is greater than theirs. John places this truth about the Holy Spirit in a passage dealing with the antichrist and testing the spirits.

As we distinguish between spirits, testing them against the truth, the Holy Spirit speaks to you. We stand against the evil ones in this world. The antichrist is not just a person. The antichrist will be a person in the end times. But there is a spirit of antichrist, everything that opposes God.

Our fight is with evil spirits that darken the understanding and hearts of people. We fight against the spirit of antichrist, and we find them in the world because this world at this moment is in the control of Satan and his demons.

No matter where you know what spirit you deal with the Holy Spirit living in you is greater than any spirit you come against. You don’t need to be afraid because the Spirit dwells in you. You have the light of Jesus’ gospel and no demon or evil spirit can stand in God’s presence.

  1. The Spirit gives you insight into the battle.

There are many spirits that are not from God. We must distinguish between godly and evil spirits. The Holy Spirit gives you the ability to distinguish between spirits. This is actually a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:10).

But every Christian has the ability to distinguish between the thoughts and arguments that oppose God and the things that are godly (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The Holy Spirit gives you the weapons of spiritual warfare to defeat these ideas and philosophies.

The Holy Spirit reveals mysteries to you (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). He knows your deepest thoughts and He knows God’s thoughts. The Holy Spirit has wisdom for you that you can’t get anywhere else. And He gives you that wisdom to win spiritual battles and be victorious behind enemy lines in this world.

This hidden godly wisdom the Spirit makes readily available to you. The Spirit comes alongside you (). He comforts you in your times of weakness. He builds you up so you are ready to withstand the onslaught of the enemy.

The Spirit shows you God’s plans and reveals God’s strategies for defeating the enemy. You stand victorious against evil spirits, temptation, sin, and anything else the enemy can bring against you. The Holy Spirit encourages you.

The Holy Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16-17). He confirms that your name is written in heaven. He reminds you of your identity in Christ and your strong status in God’s army and family. If the devil tries to trick you or challenge your identity in Christ, the Holy Spirit reminds you who you are in Christ.

  1. The Spirit guides you into holiness.

As we have discussed in previous battlefield trainings, the Holy Spirit helps you defend yourself against temptation and your former fleshly desires. The Bible declares you are free from sin and temptation (Romans 6:1-4). But the Holy Spirit helps you to remain dead to sin (Ephesians 2:1-5).

One of my seminary professors described it this way. Before you were freed by Jesus from temptation and sin you would like a person bound in chains you could not tear off. But when Jesus saved you He took your chains off. Now you do not struggle against the chains of temptation and sin. You fight as a free person.

The Holy Spirit gives you the power to live a holy life and be victorious over temptation and sin. Just as the hunter pokes the dead deer and it does not respond, so you’re dead to sin. When temptation comes knocking, your door is closed and locked. Temptation finds you unresponsive.

Holiness is the greatest weapon against temptation. God gives you a way of escape from temptation, but you must take that escape (1 Corinthians 10:31). The Holy Spirit helps you to see that we of escape and gives you the courage to take it.

Satan and his demons would like nothing more than to distract you from your battles and victory in Christ with temptations. He wants to renew those former desires you had before you met Christ. His greatest victory is a nominal Christian, a Christian unaware of the spiritual battles around them.

If you are an ineffective and distractive Christian Satan has won. When you are fighting temptation and sin instead of focusing the power of the Spirit on the battles with evil spirits and demons that are torturing the people around you Satan has won.

The Spirit keeps you aware of the spiritual battles around you. He keeps the battlefield before you and exposes the tactics of the enemy. He helps you remain holy, walking the path of righteousness with Jesus. Satan can’t distract you. He can’t stop you.

  1. The Spirit is our “secret weapon.”

The Holy Spirit does all the heavy lifting in spiritual warfare. Your weapons of warfare are to pray and share your testimony of Jesus. But you cannot change the hearts of the people you share the gospel with and pray for.

You cannot save a single individual. No matter how much you love that person and want to wish them into heaven it’s not your job to save them and bring them into the light. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). The Spirit has already condemned Satan, the ruler of this world (John 16:11). In Jesus’ temporary absence the Holy Spirit comes to your advantage, ministering to you as He dwells in you (John 16:7).

The Holy Spirit is your secret weapon because He is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 4:6). He will always tell you the truth about your walk with Jesus, keep you from listening to the lies of the enemy, and show you the difference between truth and error.

One of Satan’s chief weapons is to lie to you (John 8:44) and accuse you of your sins (Revelation 12:10). Do not be deceived about him. He is a roaring lion seeking to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). If you are nonchalant about Satan and his demons you will be consumed by him before you even know what’s happening.

You may be deceived about him but he knows exactly how to handle you. You need the power of the Holy Spirit to combat the wiles and fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).

The Holy Spirit is your secret weapon because the world has no idea about Him (John 14:16-17). The world cannot see the Holy Spirit working in and through you. Unlike those around you, you can see the lies of the enemy. The world doesn’t know the Spirit.

People in the world, Satan, and his demons cannot understand the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). The Spirit gives you the mind of Christ. You understand spiritual matters. You see how to fight the enemy in victory. The Holy Spirit reveals to you things no one in the world understands.

Wrapping Up

The Holy Spirit is your partner in spiritual warfare. He guides you into all truth so you will not be deceived by the enemy. He leads you into holiness to abstain from temptations and the former desires of your flesh.

Praise God for the Holy Spirit! He is greater in you than any evil spiritual force you will come against. You have victory because the Holy Spirit dwells in you and reveals every part of the spiritual battlefield to you. How has the Holy Spirit helped you in your spiritual battles?

Up Next

We have talked about the Holy Spirit and His power and presence with you on the spiritual battlefield. Now we turn to discuss how God’s angels are involved in spiritual warfare. Tune in next time to see how these mighty warriors break down strongholds alongside you.

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