Archive for the ‘Spiritual Warfare’ Category

Weapons of War

Most of us rely on the reality that there is a devil and that he causes bad things to happen. When we see tragedies like the massacre that unfolded in San Bernardino recently, we know there must be an evil being behind it. But can we also see the subtle ways that Satan works to rob, steal, and destroy our lives (John 10:10)?

Often his primary tactic is to get us to believe lies. For example, he has many of us believing that what we do is not important. Worse yet, he tries to get us to believe we’re not important. But those are lies! God tells us repeatedly that we are precious and what we do is important (Isaiah 43:4; 1 Corinthians 15:58). Yet, because of Satan’s works deep within our hearts, we often refuse to let go of the lies and embrace the truth that we are always important to God, no matter what others think.

So what weapons has God given us to combat the attacks of the Evil One? How can we stand strong in the spiritual battle that we are all in every day? Ephesians 6 describes what the full armor of God is that he has provided us to stand strong in the spiritual war. Four of the most important are the following:

Be Alert

One of our most important weapons is alertness. Satan seeks to hide his presence and evil workings from us. We need to look beyond people and to the hidden war that God is locked in with Satan. Although God is infinitely more powerful than Satan, if we choose to believe lies, we will continue to be ensnared in Satan’s power. As we set ourselves on the new life that we have been given by God, we need to stay alert to the ways that Satan tries to sabotage this.

Practice Truth

Knowing and applying truth will set us free from Satan’s bondage. But only if it’s relied on. For example, the truth is that God loves us. But if we don’t deeply rely on this, we can fall prey to seeking approval from others and meeting man-made standards of performance to feel loved.  This often leads us astray to disobedience to God. Disobedience cuts us off from God’s power. Thus, the power to win the battles comes from practicing truth (James 1:22).

Rely on the Spirit

It’s amazing how many of us try to live the Christian life without Christ. Even though God is all powerful, he will not put to flight Satan if we don’t rely on him through his Spirit. But somehow we get fooled into thinking that if we just know God’s will, we will do it. But we can’t. Our flesh trips us up every time. It’s still true today that it’s “not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit” that we stand and move forward in the face of Satan’s blistering attacks (Zechariah 4:6, paraphrased).


A final weapon to emphasize is prayer. Prayer is probably the most important weapon, although they all need to be used. Prayer connects us to God, for the battle is his. Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). We don’t stand a chance against his schemes unless God is protecting and empowering us.  That’s why God says to us, “Pray on all occasions for all Christians for I will do much good through your prayers (Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16, paraphrased).

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Equipped for War

Last week we talked about the vicious war that we are in. It was not with ISIS. It was not a racial war. It was a spiritual war for where people live after they die.

We are all soldiers and fight for one of two sides. Many of us unknowingly fight for Satan. We conform to the ways of the world. A few of us have the privilege of fighting with God in a giant rescue operation to save people from their appointed destiny (Hebrews 9:27).

This time we will discuss what weapons we need to fight with and win this spiritual war – that people may “come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).

team of soldiers are reconnaissance

Being Equipped to Win

Our most important weapon is prayer. Prayer connects us to God. Only his power can defeat our enemy. “The effective prayer of a righteous [person] can accomplish much” (James 5:16).

Another important weapon is to be filled with the Spirit. “How do you do that?” you may ask. Ask confidently to be filled, for God commands us to be filled with the Spirit and obey him as he leads. If he convicts you of sin, ask forgiveness and keep on obeying (1 John 1:9).

Another important weapon is our new identity in Christ. “The old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We don’t need to be led astray by trying to please the wrong people, earn worth by not doing what God wants us to do, and trying to meet standards that waste our energy. Living in our new identity means resting in God’s great love, acceptance and worth he has for us. This frees us to avoid the traps that Satan lays for us.

A final weapon that we need to use to be victorious is the Bible. The truth of the Bible frees us from the lies that can dominate our lives – lies like “I am what other people think I am,” and “I will be more important if I get promoted.” These are lies and are exposed to us as we learn to live in the truth of the Bible.

The Bible is also an offensive weapon. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword… and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). As the Spirit leads, he often takes the Word that we share and supernaturally uses it to convince people that they need God.

Closing Thought

Jesus’ final command to his disciples was to equip others to be good soldiers (Matthew 28:18-20). May we not only use the weapons of war for ourselves, but also to teach others how to use them.

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A Vicious War

What Is It?

We are at war. At stake is the welfare of every man, woman, and child that’s alive today. Most of this fighting can’t be detected by the naked eye. Most of the battles can’t be heard. The injured and killed are not obvious. The enemy is invisible. But nevertheless, this war is a vicious one.

The war has been going on for a long time and trumps World War II and all other wars combined in its importance.

The war is for the hearts and minds of people. It’s a war for people to accept the reality of Jesus and what he has done for them. At stake are their eternal destinies. Most will be casualties. Only a few will emerge victorious (Matthew 7:14).

You may say, “I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to be in a war. I just want to be left alone and enjoy life.” But like it or not, you are in a war and are either a soldier for God or Satan.

Are We At War?

If we are genuine Christians, God sees us as his soldiers fighting with him against his enemy Satan. He uses the following military terms and phrases to refer to our lives:

  • Put on the full armor
  • Stand against
  • Flaming arrows
  • Soldier
  • The enemy is trying to devour you
  • The enemy is trying to kill and destroy you
  • Life is a struggle against supernatural evil forces
  • Held captive

Some more evidence that we are at war is the following:

  • Satan declared war on all Christians (Revelations 12:17)
  • Christians are to help people escape from being held captive by Satan to do what he wants them to do (2 Timothy 2:26)
  • “No soldier (a Christian) in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).

We can try to desert. We can try to surrender. But there is much truth in the saying that “a hero dies but once, a coward dies a thousand deaths.”

soldier stands with arms together with other

Next time we will share how we can be equipped to serve our commander with distinction.

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The War Within

I began to sweat bullets again as I thought about my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. I hated the humiliation and feeling weak it would bring. I dreaded the self-condemnation that I would heap upon myself.

You see I suffer from White-Coat Syndrome. My blood pressure soars when it is taken in a doctor’s office. Lately, I have had to do a lot of fast-talking just to keep the doctors and nurses from putting me in the hospital because it is so high.

So, what is going on here? My blood pressure is normal except in a doctor’s office. What is causing my fear?

I took this question to the Lord before the doctor’s appointment. He not only gave me insight into why I have this fear but also how to cooperate with him in beating this thing.

So, why fight it? Why don’t I just take the easy path, accept defeat, and avoid the hassle of cooperating with God in changing?

The answer is because it would grieve God. It would also cheat me out of living as joyous and fulfilling a life as it could have been. “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

He longs for us to live life in intimacy with him. But if we cling to anything other than him, we distance ourselves from him.

I discovered that my White-Coat Syndrome was caused by clinging to being strong, respected by others, and meeting my standards. I was not clinging to God always accepting, valuing, and keeping me safe despite lousy blood pressure readings.

This was my war within for the week. What was yours?

We have ingrained habits and spiritual forces fighting tooth and nail to keep us conformed to the world. Why do you think we are as busy as we are? Why do you think we hate change as much as we do? These are evidences of the war within us.

Yet, this war is worth fighting. Our joy, eternal rewards and the destinies of others ride on our decision to fight the war or be lazy.

The war largely consists of leaving behind the old ways and putting on God’s ways of living life. For me, this week it was leaving behind the need to be strong and to impress and putting on my acceptance and worth I always have from God.

The Holy Spirit is in us to help us leave behind the old ways. “If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). Progress is often slow, but it does come (Proverbs 4:18).

The sad truth is that God will not force us to change. He will not force us to fight the war within. But what a waste if we choose to put up a white flag.

So, I encourage you to ask God to show you an old way that he wants to replace with his way. Ask him what he wants you to do to cooperate with him. Then, do one thing that cooperates with him.

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What War?


I have often been deceived throughout my Christian life in trying to perform my way into God’s good graces. I have often used unreliable people, my fluctuating performance, and harsh internal demands to tell me of who I was.

I have also largely missed the experience of God’s deep love for me. I have often sought people’s approval as a substitute for relying on God’s love.

I believe that Satan has been working with my flesh and the world to hold me in bondage to these sinful ways of viewing myself. Instead, I need to view myself the way God views me. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

This is how Satan has been working since Adam and Eve. He tries to get us to reject the truth of God. Eve failed to rely on the truth of God’s warning and ate the fruit (Genesis 3:4-5). I have often failed to rely on God’s love for me as a gift and tried to earn it.

Paul says, “our weapons of war are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Corinthians 10:4). What fortresses?

He goes on. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is war, friends! This is where the fiercest battles are being fought. Satan is out to control our mind and our heart.

But some of you may not be convinced. Some of you may say, “I am not in a war. I am not a soldier.”

But you are!

We all are! God has enlisted us in his army to fight the good fight (2 Timothy 4:7). Our war is for the hearts and minds of people, including ours. God wants us to rely on his truth and to use us to lead people “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

However, many of us are deceived into thinking that there is no war. We live life by human strength alone.

We show by our lack of dependence on God that we do not rely on the truth that

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

We do not live in the reality that our “adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We often do not accept the fact that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

So, how do you wake up to the war that rages around you and in you? How can you become a better soldier?

Ask God these questions. What did he say?

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