(Eph 6:12) For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
(Eph 6:13) Therefore, take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, every day we engage in a battle and fight an enemy who would separate us from our spiritual walk with our Father God. There are thousands of books, videos and bible studies which speak about “spiritual warfare” and the application of the armor of God in that warfare.
The body of Christ has been inundated with misinformation about this topic to such a point that many are not only losing the battles they are loosing the war. I see more and more Christian brothers and sisters being taken captive and held in bondage by anxiety, depression and fear every day. This is not what God has willed for His children. It is my hope and prayer that what is written here, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, will lead you to victory, through the word of truth, over our common enemy. Amen!
The First Biblical Principal of Spiritual Warfare
The Best Offense is a Strong Defense
(Hos 4:6) My people have been silent, because they had no knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee, that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to me: and thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children.
The primary reason that believers often find themselves loosing their battles in life is because they follow the doctrines of men rather than the word of truth. Subsequently, for all intent and purposes, they have no knowledge because they rejected knowledge. This is especially true in terms of the spiritual battles we fight in our everyday lives.
All of, so called, “spiritual warfare” is based on the biblical precept of putting on the armor of God. The first and perhaps most telling tenet of this doctrine is that “armor” is intended for defensive purposes. The mistake that people make is that they take an offensive posture rather than a biblical defensive position and oft times find themselves suffering defeat because of it.
Notice that the word of God directs us to put on the armor of God so that we “may be able to “stand” against the deceits of the devil and that we “may be able to “resist” in the evil day and to “stand” in all things perfect”. The armor is intended to help us stand and resist! This is clearly a defense posture and not an offensive one.
(Eph 6:14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of justice:
Again we see the apostle Paul telling us to “stand”, (histēmi – ingressive aorist, Take your stand therefore) not advance, not retreat and not attack, but to defend. Further more this verse teaches us literally to stand with our loins (osphus – procreated power) girted about (perizōnnumi – to fasten to ones belt) with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness. That power is the word of truth.
What does the breastplate protect? Our Hearts!
Why must we defend out hearts?
(Joh 14:1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Our lord is telling us not to worry about what we perceive rather that we believe in the Father and in Him. We protect our hearts by believing in the words or God’s truth and in the words of our Lord Jesus. We fasten these truths to our belts so they are available to us to encourage us in the Lord.
Now before something can trouble our hearts it must first enter into our minds. Our mind is the gateway to our heart. That is why it is written:
(Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(2Co 10:3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(2Co 10:4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
(2Co 10:5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The transformation of our minds is for the expressed purpose of proving the will of God. That is to say to put what God has said to the test. This warfare that we do is not attacking from the inside out rather defending from the inside out.
Paul teaches us that the pulling down of strong holds is not done through carnal warfare and is accomplished by “casting down imaginations”(logismos – reasoning) or our own understanding derived from attempting to reason something out rather than to stand on the word of truth.
Paul continues to direct us towards “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. This means that we are to hold onto the thoughts which line up with the word of truth. Conversely we are to reject those thoughts which are not from God!
(Mat 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Mat 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
(Mat 11:30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(Rom 7:22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
(Rom 7:23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Although Paul is speaking specifically about delighting ourselves in the law of God (which is written in the fleshy tables of our hearts – the inward man)(2 Cor 3:3) and the law of his members (the flesh, more specifically his physical eyes, ears and understanding (reasoning)”warring against the law of his mind” it is also a clear representation of the idea of our being brought into captivity by receiving thoughts into our mind’s which are not of God.
(Eph 6:15) And your feet shod (hupodeō - to bind under ones feet) with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
(Eph 6:16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
(Eph 6:17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
When you take all of the symbolism out of the study of the armor of God we are left with one thing. The word of God! All of the weapons of the armor of God are designed to protect and defend, even the sword of the Spirit.
Biblical Spiritual Warfare
The quintessential example of what many call “spiritual warfare” can be seen in Jesus encounter with Satan as recorded in Matthew chapter 4:
(Mat 4:1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
This example begins with the word “then”. The question is, what preceded this event?
(Mat 3:16) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
(Mat 3:17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Jesus was water baptized by John, received the Holy Spirit and declared by God the Father Himself to be His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.
Now Jesus was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil”. He did not go up because it was His own will to do so, He followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God. Secondly He was not lead into the wilderness to attack Satan He was led up to “be tempted of the devil”.
Why was Jesus led into the wilderness to be tempted?
The reason is two fold. The first being that He had to experience temptation as we do to be accounted worthy of His offices of High Priest and Advocate and to help us when we are tempted!
(Heb 2:17) Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
(Heb 2:18) For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour (provide help) them that are tempted.
Notice that Satan waited 40 days and 40 nights during Jesus fasting before He came to tempt Him.
(Mat 4:2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
(Mat 4:3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Satan had apparently been watching Jesus and knew that He was hungered in His flesh.
Notice what the first part of the attack was. Satan said; “if thou be the Son of God”.
What did God say to Jesus when he was baptized?
“This is my beloved Son”.
You see Satan’s tactic has not changed from the beginning in the garden that was in Eden. In Genesis God said not to eat of the fruit. Satan comes into the garden and questions what God had said.
So the first trick that Satan tries on Jesus is to get Him to question who He is. This is the same thing that He does when he attacks us. He tries to steal our identity from us!
(Joh 10:10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
Then Satan appeals to Jesus flesh, which is hungered and tempts Him to turn stones into bread. The enemy attempted to break Jesus fast, which was the will of His Father (Jesus only did what His Father told Him to do) by tempting Him with bread.
What was Jesus response?
(Mat 4:4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Jesus was saying that it was not His time to partake of food because the Father had not yet told Him that it was time to do so. He was also saying that bread is a mere detail in life and that it’s man’s dependance on God that is important. God will provide! (Deu 8:3) Also interesting here is that Jesus did not even entertain Satan’s question of His identity. He does not even address it. He took that thought captive, discarded it and believed what the Father had said!
This is exactly what we as Christians, even more so as Children of the most high God must also do. When we fall into temptation we must seek out our Father in prayer. We must stand on the word of truth, as revealed by the Holy Spirit, and not on our own understanding or feelings about a situation.
Now Jesus response was obviously not enough to discourage Satan so he continues in his temptation of Jesus.
(Mat 4:5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
(Mat 4:6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
(Mat 4:7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Satan again begins by questioning Jesus identity and again Jesus dismisses it.
Jesus used scriptures to repel Satan’s first attack. Now Satan tries to use Jesus words against Him. Jesus rebuked Satan by proclaiming His dependance on His Father. Satan now says: cast yourself down because it is written that He shall give His angels charge over Him (Psa 91:11). So again Satan uses the same tactic that he used in the garden. He quotes the Word of God, misinterprets it, omits a clause, and tries to trip the Son of God by the Word of God. Jesus rebukes Satan by quoting Deu 6:16)
Again, this is a tactic he uses against us. In fact it is his primary weapon. We must respond in the like and kind as Jesus did.
(Mat 4:8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
(Mat 4:9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
(Mat 4:10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Interestingly here we see Satan beginning to weaken. He no longer uses the tactic of trying to get Jesus to question His identity. But he does return to appealing to the lust of the flesh by offering the kingdoms, as well as authority over them, which were his possessions to give. Satan is the god of this world.
(2Co 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
And again Jesus uses scripture (Deu 6:13) to repel the attack of Satan for the third time.
So what we see here is Satan attacking the mind of Jesus and Jesus defending by repelling that which was not of God and quoting scriptures. We know that Satan is a liar. We know that he is the master of distortion and omission. Therefore we take those ungodly thoughts (lies) captive, cast them out and replace them with the word of God (truth).
That is the biblical way of doing battle with the enemy!
Notice the results of doing biblical battle:
(Mat 4:11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
(Jas 4:7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Biblical battle is about standing, defending and resisting.
It is not in any way offensive. We do not go out looking for trouble. We do not walk into temptation and we certainly do not charge into it.
This is a battle within us. It’s not about the attacker it’s about how we respond to the attack. Jesus was not really dealing with Satan He was dealing about the things within Him.
If someone questions your identity the true battle is within you to hold on to the truth.
The enemy is a liar and a thief. A thief comes to steal. In order for someone to steal something from you, you must first possess it. If the enemy comes to steal your identity as a child of God then you must be a child of God to begin with. If he comes to steal a blessing and whispers in your ear that a prayer has not been answered then you know that it has been answered. If he tells you that you have lost your salvation or that you never even had it then you know that you do indeed have it and are saved.
All we need to do brothers and sisters is to “stand” against the enemy. He attacks with lies and we resist him with the word of truth. When we do so he flees from us just as he did when he tempted Jesus. We don’t have to defeat him, that is to say destroy Him, because that has already been accomplished at the cross.
Remember what the apostle Peter wrote?
(1Pe 5:8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
(1Pe 5:9) Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Our adversary walks about seeking whom he may devour. He is not an roaring lion however. He is “as a roaring lion”! In short he is a blow hard and can do us no real harm if we “resist steadfast in the faith”. When we do as Jesus did, capture ungodly thoughts, discard them and replace them with God’s word, we effectively remove Satan’s claws and teeth.
(Luk 10:18) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
(Luk 10:19) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
(Luk 10:20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
The spirits are subject unto us. We have been given power over ALL of the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt us.
(Joh 14:10) Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
(Joh 14:11) Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
(Joh 14:12) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
(Joh 14:13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
(Joh 14:14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
So you see brothers and sisters, the battle is fought within our selves. The battle field is the mind. It doesn’t matter what our eyes, ears and understanding tell us. It doesn’t matter what anyone says or does unto us. When we wear the armor of God;
(Isa 54:17) No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Yes these weapons will be “formed against” us but the word of truth says that they will not prosper. We are, through the blood of our lord, made the righteousness of God. We are His servants and He has provided us with protection from those weapons.
We need not seek to do any other thing than stand against the enemy and resist him becuse our Father has promised us through the apostle Paul;
(Rom 12:19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
We don’t have to fight against something that we have already been given authority over. When we do try to fight, that is to say take an offensive posture, the enemy, in effect, steals our power and authority over the situation. The victory that we have already received through Christ. So to fight offensively is to lose the battle before it has even begun!
Once you have won a battle you don’t fight it over again. Jesus has won the battle for us. Satan is defeated. We simply “stand” upon the ground which our Lord has secured for us and “resist” any who would try to take it from us.
Amen & Amen!
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