When we are first saved, every christian enters a battle ground, and until we reach heaven, it is warfare against the powers of darkness. Before we got saved we belonged to Satan but were ignorant of it, our eyes are blinded. For the unbeliever reading this, most of it will go unheeded., But for the person reading this who has finally come to the end of themselves- will find the truth in it that I found, and take the steps they need to, to come into the freedom God desires for them, and walk in it.
As we grow, and study the scriptures we can get out of balance, coming against demons, rebuking them in everything, and come away discouraged, and even lose faith because we don't see a change in the situation.
There are times when demons need to be addressed. But, many times it is the transforming power of the scriptures applied to our everyday life, and our conduct that gains the victory over Satan in our lives.
The enemies we combat are;
The world: James 4:1-4- "(read text) Our hearts are exposed by the things we chase after, and think are so important. The desire to consume, to be important, to be rich, is the fuel the devil uses to drive us to envy, jealousy, and an evil heart. If we refuse to repent, and allow God to help us change, it leads to greater sin such as murder, and war. 1John 2:15-17 clearly tells us "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides forever."
Flesh: 1Peter 4:1-4, Col. 3:5-11"-(Read text) Those of us who have been saved from addictions, such as drugs and alcohol see the truth of these scriptures. It is in these addictions, that all other evil is fed and grows to the point that we do not have control of ourselves. It takes the transforming power of the Lord to get us back on the right track. If we are serious about wanting to change, he will reach out to us, and has the power to set us free. I can testify to that.
The Devil: 1Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
Principalities and Powers of darkness: Eph. 6:12"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." The demonic forces that come against us in this life are very serious, and have one main objective; to destroy you, and ultimately have you join them in hell when your life here is over. They will do whatever it takes to try to steer you away from Christ, and back into darkness. It takes discernment to see the difference between sins of the flesh, and when someone is also bound by demonic activity, both originate from the devil. However, there is a difference between someone who is being sorely tempted, and one who has allowed demons to oppress them consistently and allowed them to attach themselves to the persons soul. This is an area where a lot of Christians get out of balance. But, if you sincerely go to the Lord in prayer, and study His Word, the Holy Spirit will give clear direction.
The Conduct of the Soldier of Christ
We are given clear guidance on how to wage this war; our victory hinges on our obedience to the Word of God. Walking out our faith in obedience to the scriptures is the greatest weapon against anything we face. Our warfare is directly the opposite of the devil's, we are now promoting peace, light, and righteousness in a dark world, where once we were partaker's of that darkness. It is necessary to line up our conduct with what we are saying with our mouths. Confessing the word of God is useless if we aren't walking the talk. Prov. 20:11 tells us "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right".
Scripture teaches us to:
Avoid worldly entanglements, and endure suffering, avoid arguments: 2Tim. 2:3-14 In this text we are given clear instruction on what to avoid to live at peace with other's as much as possible. No one likes to be misunderstood, but there are times when it is best to just stay silent rather than try to force someone to agree with us, or prove we are right. There are some people we should avoid, the ones who we ran with when we lived in sin, sometimes even our relatives.
Be sober, watchful, 1Cor. 16:13"Watch ye, and stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."1Thess. 5:5-8"Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, or of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation."
Put on our armor, and pray: Eph. ch.6:10-18(read text) This is a study in itself, but we only have time to touch on it now. I highly recommend you take the time to study this chapter, and do some cross referencing. If you do, the Lord will open to you the power of these scriptures, and strengthen your spirit.
How Do We Gain the Victory
God doesn't expect us to do this warfare alone, and in our own power. We are given an arsenal to equip us and win the battles in life. We need to know what our weapons are, and how to use them:
11Cor. 10:3-5 tells us," For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
God's Word-Heb. 4:12"For the word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." If we allow it, the word of God will expose what is in our hearts to us, and will work with us to purify, and bring us out of darkness.
Faith-1John 5:4-5 "For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? " Heb. 11:6"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Christ's promise-John 16:33"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." This passage tells us much more than it seems at first glance. Let's break this down; Jesus was fully man, he experienced and suffered all the tribulation and temptations we do, and overcame them. He did this by the help and power of the Holy Spirit. He showed by example that we can be victorious if we keep our eyes on Him. When he was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit, and tempted by Satan, here we are shown how to win our battles also. Jesus answer to the devil was "It is written." The word of God, rightly used will put the devil to silence. As James 4:7 tells us"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Every time we win a battle of temptation, our spirits become stronger, and more able to stand against the next one that comes at us.
Spiritual Authority- Authority is delegated power; In Luke 10:19 Jesus tells us "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."
The value of the authority rests on the power behind our authority. The devil and his forces are obliged to recognize our authority. The believer who thoroughly understands that the power of God is backing him can exercise his authority and face the enemy fearlessly.
Example: A policeman who directs traffic during the rush hour just raises his hand and the car stops. The man doesn't have the physical power to stop the vehicle if the driver chooses not to stop. But, they don't use their own strength to stop traffic; they use the authority invested in them by the government they serve. The devil's recognize the power and authority behind the name of Jesus Christ, it is His authority that they submit to, that has been delegated to us as believer's.
In Matt. 28:18 Jesus said to the disciples "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. This is the same as authority. When Christ ascended, he transferred His authority to the Church. Christ's authority has to be perpetuated through His Body, which is on earth. Christ is seated on the right hand of the Father, the place of authority, and we are seated with him. To sit on the right hand of a king or pope means authority. When we received Christ as savior, we died with Him, and are raised with Him.
The source of our authority is found in the resurrection and exalting of the Lord Jesus Christ
Eph. 1:18-23"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."
Eph. 2:5"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ(by grace you are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
We need to realize that the authority that belongs to Christ belongs to individual members of the Body of Christ and is available to us.
The elevation of Christ's people with Him into the heavenlies clearly points to the fact we are to sit with him. sharing not only his throne, but also his authority.
Romans 5:17 tells us"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
We are not just to reign with Christ in heaven, we are to reign in life by Jesus Christ now. Throughout history, whatever the king said was law; he was the last authority. In the same way, we partake of the authority that Christ's throne represents.
Why do we not see this authority used as it should be in the Church?
Lack of knowledge: Hosea 4:6 says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." This verse says "my people", not unbeliever's. The authority vested to us is almost never taught today in the churches. But, if any person is hungry to learn the truth, Jesus is ready and willing to teach you, in John 8:32 he tells us"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
Authority is abused: The misuse of this authority results in defeat. God is not obliged to honor us if we try to use this authority to promote ourselves. Authority over the devil is successful when we know how to use it, the same as well trained policeman, who knows who his boss is, and works with integrity.
Lack of Faith: In order for this to work, you have to know who you believe, and what is yours without reservation. The devil knows if we really believe what we are doing or not.
When circumstances don't change immediately, some people become discouraged and slip back into the natural; They talk unbelief and defeat themselves. They give the devil dominion over them.
We aren't guaranteed a life without problems, trials and adversity in this life. Paul suffered many persecutions, beatings and spent his last years in prison, he paid the ultimate price for his faith- beheading. 2Co 11:23-28
The trials and persecutions Christians face-is not an indicator of a lack of faith. John the Baptist is another example of someone with great faith, who paid with his life. We need to discern the proper use of spiritual authority, and when it can be applied. The story of Paul confronting Simon the sorcerer in the book of Acts is a good example. Acts 8:9-25
The important point in these examples is, if we are walking and abiding in Christ, Satan cannot take our life until it's God's time for us to leave this earth. We may suffer, we may go through great trials, but we will see great victories throughout our walk with the Lord, if we stand firm in our faith, and learn how to pray down strongholds. Some things the Lord has given me to believe him for, took years to come to pass, with fasting; but I learned the power of prayer and fasting each time I saw the doors open, and the answers that came. Every time I saw the answers come-it increased my faith. This is the fuel that feeds your spirit, and moves you on-even in the darkest times, and worst attacks from the devil. You also learn his tactics with each battle you've taken up-and won.
Watchman Nee wrote an excellent book on this subject, Spiritual Authority-I highly recommend it.
Smith Wigglesworth often said, "I'm not moved by what I see. I'm not moved by what I feel. I'm moved only by what I believe." We have to stand our ground. The authority is ours whether we feel like it or not. Authority has nothing to do with feelings, but we must exercise it in order for it to work.
Pastor's and Leaders fear those who would get out of balance: Unfortunately, I've seen many Christians get very out of balance, and not able to discern when to use the authority over the devil, or when to take the matter to prayer, and faith. It takes careful observation to know when something is a problem of the flesh, or a spirit behind the problem. We need to learn the difference, and the many ways God has to deliver us or other's from bondage. God is patient with us as we learn.
For example: the spirit of a rebellious person is only set free by honest repentance. All the rebuking and casting out in the world is not going to work, until the person is truly sorry for their sin, and makes up their mind they want to change, no matter what they have to do. God can and will help this person, and reach out to them in power to help them come out of darkness, into the light. I am a testimony of this.
Nothing ever really changed for me until I became honest with myself and with God. The power of God to deliver me was there, but He would not force himself on me. I had to open my heart to Him, and take hold of him and his promises to set me free. When my heart changed, he revealed to me several demonic spirits that needed to be dealt with, and showed me how to cast them out. This did not take a long time, and I knew when they left. The compulsive desires I had were gone, and I knew the difference. I knew I as free.
We are not to pray the devil out; but speak to him and tell him what to do: It is a waste of time to pray to the Lord to deliver us or someone else. Jesus has done all He is going to do about the devil. He has won the victory when he rose from the dead. The authority has been delegated to us, and we are to speak to him, and take dominion over his attacks on us.
We have authority over the devil over our own lives and household, but not over someone else's. A believer can break the power of the devil anywhere in their own life, or their immediate family, they have authority there, but not in someone else's. Spiritual authority is like natural authority. For example: I don't have authority over someone else's money unless they give me permission to use it. I don't have authority over someone else's children.
You can make the devil desist in some of his maneuvers in somebody else's life, but you can't always cast him out, because you don't have authority in that household. Only through intercession can you exercise spiritual authority in another person, or somebody else's family."
"Important point"-When you get out beyond the written word of God, you've gone too far. Stay with what the Word says about the matter, don't add anything to it.
Unwilling to change and grow: When a person first gets saved, they rely much on the pastor or Christians over them, and this is ok. But we who are older must teach people so they can grow and use their own authority. As we grow older in Christ, we should be stronger in faith, not weaker, but many times older Christians become callous and set in unbelief because they've gotten off in the ditch in their walk, and not prayed themselves out. Some never learn to use their authority because of bad teaching. Some just become unwilling to accept what the word teaches and stay in the babyhood stage of christian development. I pray that we may press on and allow the Holy Spirit to mold us, and grow us up in Christ, and become victorious in our walk in this life.
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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.
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth
that Jesus is the
Son of God?
But they that wait
upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
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 Whole Armor
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all,
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
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