God Peruses to Protect Us
1 Samuel 17:47; Matthew 13:37-39; Mark 10:45; John 10:10; Romans 8:12-17; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; 1 Peter 5: 8-9; James 4: 7; Revelation 1:5; 5: 9; 7:14; 12: 13-17; 13:1-10
It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. Revelation 13:7-10
Being in a spiritual warfare situation is grueling, arduous; it drains the faith, causes depression, burnout and destroys family and ministry. Hence why Satan loves to do this to us, to the faithful and active in Christ, why I do not like it. But take heart, we can be on guard and we can prevail and we can even become better and grow from it. And if you are not in spiritual warfare, then your faith or ministry may not be worth the efforts of the enemy, as you are not a threat, this you may not be a kingdom impact or value as you may think.
Every great person of God I have ever read about, known or have observed deals with spiritual warfare almost constantly. If you are working for God, then the pious fraud pseudo-Christians, the haters of God and the devil and workers of evil will come gunning for you. Those weak in the faith and or have churches that do not disciple or impact will not deal with this much--something to consider. If all is well, then all is not! Go to the Lord and see what you are not doing and what Christ wants you to do?
To prevail, it all comes down to our prayer life, faith building and focus on Christ as LORD. This gives me comfort in these times of spiritual warfare, and as a missionary in places I am not supposed to be as a Christian, a pastor who seeks to disciple, I am in the thick of it, with stories too tantalizing to tell as they are unbelievable to western ears. We will see the work of the devil, but we may not see Christ's work through the smoke of our situation, but take comfort, He is there!
Keep this comfort in mind. As Satan is eagerly seeking after us, pursuing us, harassing us, partially causing us to get into troubling situations, God is also there pursuing us. As Satan seeks to molest us, God has already saved us. As Satan is being crafty and creating temptations and distractions God will use the situation for our benefit and His glory. The temptation that was supposed to bring chaos and a crises of faith can also bring us deeper in Christ with our persistent prayers and trust taking Satan's deceit to trick and deceive us people of faith to help us help others see evil's treacherous paths so we do not fall prey to them. The devil has gone down to us; the question is what are we doing about it? We have the opportunity and ability to either be influenced by Satan and evil or burn out or to turn our hearts to Christ alone. What are you going to do (2 Thess. 2:9-10; Rev. 13:1-10)?
God is showing us His grace and His hand as He cares and provides for His people. He is giving us promise followed up by His wisdom and power. In the midst of dire circumstances, we have a God who not only cares, He is involved! He tells us in his Word that we will...Be taken care of (Rev. 12: 13-17). Meaning God is makings provision to bring us up, to nourish, and to support us. This is also an expression of how Christ's work delivers us and enters us into His Kingdom as well as protects us in spiritual warfare (Rom. 8:12-17; Eph. 6:10-18). And His key weapon that is pain for us is this: The Blood of the Lamb. This contains the essential, Christian salvation message. This is an image of how Israel was redeemed out of Egypt and led into the Promised Land. It was the blood of the Passover Lamb that protected them; now, Christ is the ultimate depiction and application of this, Jesus Saves (Mark 10:45; 1 Cor. 6:20; Rev. 1:5; 5: 9; 7:14)!
However, this is not a catch, but a response; we are to keep and obey: This means that those of faith have received their faith from Christ; thus, we resound to observe, attend, and carefully take in and have care of His precepts and what He gives us. Keep in mind that there are conditions-not to our salvation other than to receive it by faith-but conditions under which to grow in our faith and service to Him. We have to have faith, we have to be saved in Christ, and we have to respond to Christ, being proactive with our faith in our situations, producing Fruit and character, not sitting and doing nothing (John 14:15-31; 17:1-12).
Satan's Fishhook Lies
A fishhook is designed to be alluring to the fish, usually with a lure or bait to it, so they bite will it and we can catch them. The hook itself is sharp and shaped to go easy in one way and stay so it will not come out. The hook is to snag and hold the fish and be hard to come out without ripping and tearing the flesh. So it is with Satan's scams to get us. If we know his plans, schemes and ways, we can better guard against his hooks and not be ripped apart.
Satan is the father of lies; his nature is dishonesty and deceitfulness and his role is to distort, distract, misinform and mislead. He will go after the faithful with full tenacity, persistence, and the resilience of evil. He will counterfeit, manipulate the weak in faith to get the off the path of Christ or connive to even worship what is wrong and evil. Because most people become amazed with and are attracted to be followers to the prideful and charismatic, they will go away from God and goodness. Satan and his minions even get people attracted to the conniving and scheming of evil rather than to the centrality of Christ. Thus, anything that comes from him or his followers is a blatant lie designed to deceive and trick you away from Christ and godliness (John 5:23; 8:44; Rev. 13:1-4; 17:8)!
Let's look at some of the devil's prime lies to disorient us away from the cross:
· God's Word does not matter! Satan is in direct opposition to God's Word. This is the nature of Satan and evil; his chief goal is to seduce us away from God's true Truths by any means, such as tricking or tempting us with what we want or with relativism that it does not matter so he can distract us away from Christ. Thus, he will do all he can to discredit God precepts, plan and goodness. He distorts God's Word to cause us to miss its meaning and impact. He discourages Christians from engaging the Bible and tricks churches with faulty trends to get them away from teaching the Bible. Thus, he wants us to refocus or cause us to doubt and forsake our confidence and trust in Christ in order to get us to annihilate our obedience, Fruit and Character (Matt. 4:6; Gen. 3:1-5).
· It is all about you! Satan is all about pride and encourages us to have pride too. He wants us Christians to focus on being prideful, condescending and selfish, so life is all about us and my needs, my entitlement, my emotions so we forsake God, His plan and the opportunities He has for us. When we are so full of ourselves we are not full of Him, when we focus on our feelings and wants, we forget Christ, His call, His will and our impact in the Kingdom. We can get easily deluded and forget there is only One God and we are not Him (Prov. 11:28; 1 Tim. 3:6).
· Faith and trust do not matter! Satan seeks to attack Christians of faith to hinder those who are faithfully working with and for Christ. He does not want God's Truth to impact people. The devil wants us to think the ways of the world are OK so we are not in the Word. He wants us to make fun of Christian workers, those who strive to be work for and be better for the Lord to make fun of them and elevate our selfishness and rationalize apathy and conceit as OK. Thus he wants you frustrated and frustrating others, he wants you angry, distrusting in order for you to hinder any mission or goodness (Acts 13:8-9; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3; Eph. 4:27; 1 Thess. 2:18; 3:5).
· You cannot do it! Satan plays upon our fears and arrogance. He wants us to chase anything that takes you away from Truth and real Christian living. He wants you to give up and give in, so you do not do anything of significance and then wants you to discourage others too. Thus we become enslaved to falsehoods, misguided fun, desires, bad substances so God's work does not flow in and through us (Jer. 17:7-8; Heb. 2:15; 1 John 3:12)
· Your problems are too big and they need your attrition, not attention! Satan wants you focused on your situation and circumstances and not see any way out of it, so no hope or change is made visible. He wants you hurt so you hurt others. He wants you irritated so you dishearten others. Thus, he wants us to fall to sin, pride and anything that can take us away from God and His plan (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
· If you want it, you deserve it! Satan seeks to blind those God elects so they do not see Him or the better plan He has for them. He wants you to grasp being entitled, so you just seek the next thing to make you happy while you ignore the greatest contentment to be in Christ. He gets us to not understand the love and plan of Christ so we get angry, addicted to the wrong things, have a bad attitude or stuck in our bad cycles of dysfunction (Matt. 13:19; 2 Cor. 4:4).
· It is all about the show! Satan wants you deceived. He will fake a work of God so you focus on the fluff and not the substance, chase a trend and not Him, cause us to fight other Christians over non-essential topics and doctrines to cause division and disillusions. His goal is for our faith to be misplaced and go unused (Mark 13:22; Rom. 16:17-20; 2 Thess. 2:9).
· Life is to hard, give it up! Satan can even cause us to doubt our faith, get us sick or bring sufferings and persecutions so our focus is on our losses and hurts and not in our growth in Christ (Job 1:11; 2:5; Luke 13:16; 22:31; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 2:9)
· It is OK, it does not matter! Satan's' biggest threat to lie to us so we think a sexual liaison or bad magazine or bad novel is just fun and won't matter. His desire is to cause God's leaders and potential leaders to be allured away from godly percepts and character by being tempted with sexual activities. (1 Cor. 7:5; Col. 1:16; 1 Tim. 5:15)
What is your value system of lies based on? Is it the world's and work's? Do you think you can do no wrong? If so, you have bought into the lies of Satan's; hook, weight and sinker! Read, there is always the possibility that Satan will go after you, so, what do you need to do (Isaiah 54:17; Ephesians 6:10-18)?
Our Response to Satan's Lies
Take heart! The battle has been won, Satan score is zero; for God, the score is countless. The devil may have his anger and his bag of tricks, but He can't have those who are in Christ. We are given the Blood of the Lamb; we have the backing and His authority to win over Satan's ways and ideas. We can rejoice and live our Christian life fear-free because the devil can't get what we do not give him. So, don't give him anything--not your thoughts, plans, or agendas; let all of you be impressed in Christ and immersed in His Way.
We have already know the defeat of Satan and the victory of Christ! This can be applied to sin, disease, pride, spiritualism, or as it evidently means, spiritual warfare--a template on how Satan and evil seek to operate, a plan of the enemy. But, the bottom line is this; Christ is the Victor! His win has continual outcomes of triumph for the Christian, and judgment and consequences for Satan and those who follow him.
So our key defense is to keep in mind that the battle has been waged and has been won by our Lord. The veracity of the Book of Revelation is about the epic battle of God and evil and our duty to be loyal. The language imagery especially with spiritual warfare is both an marathon violent conflict and a judicial ruling. In Jewish thinking, all of humanity was divided up between those who follow the "Prince of Light" or those who follow the "Angel of Darkness." The ultimate battle is portrayed that of classic good versus evil-God versus Satan. Although popular lore says these are equal powers, the Bible clearly shows us that only God is sovereign and Satan's thinking he can take on God shows his depravity, stupidity, and desperateness. We have the Work of Christ on the Cross is finished; He came to do the work He did, it is done and completed, and He is the victor. He is the One who delvers and rescues us, versus Satan who does the opposite (John 19:30; Rom. 8:33-34; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15).
What else do we have? We have atonement by Christ's blood for our sins, so Satan cannot use our sins against us although he still tries to by creating self-doubt and other tools of manipulation to deceive and seduce us. A wise Christian can stand against Satan's accusations by faith and knowledge and by knowing and trusting in who and what Christ has done; Satan's accusations have no power or merit and thus are no reason for us to be anxious about (Rom. 8:31-39).
So, we have to remember Satan wants his arrogance and pride to be contagious and be fuel for us, and for future Christians. When we seek what we want and forget God, or think we have a chance to do it better or on our own, he wins. There is nothing Satan desires more than for us Christians to run our lives our way, which are really his ways. He wants your church to be run by the will of people, governed by the trends of the day, and swayed by public opinion, where God's Word is kept out of reach or in the dark by overt or just neglected ways.
If the devil cannot deceive you, then he wants people terrorized into submission. In contrast, Christ offers grace and forgiveness motivated by His love-two, directly contrary approaches of attracting people, one of hideousness and one of love. Ironically, even though we may see Satan as extremely repulsive and scheming, as the beast in Revelation, people desire it and its ways rather than goodness or contentment. Why do people worship what is evil, ugly and terrifying? Perhaps, it is the attraction of power and the removal of conviction. Sin, in its hideousness, is more alluring to some than being convicted.
How Do I Overcome Spiritual Warfare?
Yes, you can overcome Satan by the Word, quoting and meditating on Scripture. You can cast him off by claiming Christ as Lord. This means by verbally praying in the Name of Christ, and in His authority, by His Blood and Work, and tell Satan to go away and not come back! Tell Satan that you trust in the Lord, that you know he is lying, and that you no longer have to listen to him because you belong to God. It is really that easy, and we have to keep doing it without worry and with our full trust in the Lord. Finally, you can overcome Satan by completely committing your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, you give Him total control of your life, total control over your will!
The saints in Revelation gave up their lives to serve Jesus because they knew Christ had conquered sin and Satan. There is no turning back in the Christian life. Either we live completely for Christ by surrendering our will to Him, or we fall into the traps Satan has planned in order to defeat us. Because we have kept some of our desires, Satan moved in on them! Believe in Christ and His Word, and you will continue to grow in His character, in Christlikeness.
No matter what we face and what we go through, we have a reason and a purpose. Tragedies and jubilations can mold and shape us, but that shape is only good when it is in His image and plan. No matter how powerful or ominous our foes seem or are, they will be judged and they will fall! You can overcome and even prevail in Spiritual Warfare!
There is no neutrality in the Kingdom of God. If you try to waffle, you will be asking for Satan's influence upon you! All too often, we Christians forget about the Reverence, Holiness and Judgment of God. We may quote Proverbs 3:5, and say we follow His wisdom and fear Him, but, it does not seem to affect us as it should. To fear God means to fear Him in bowed down, surrendered obedience, devotion, reverence, and awe, that should overwhelm and encompass us, so we are totally focused upon our Lord and not upon ourselves. If you are not sure, consider Jesus' teachings. A lot of them are in the context of Judgment. Yes, love and grace are still there, but never forget how He has saved you from Judgment! Push your reset button, so you are tuned off, and He is turned on as your whole being becomes poured out to Him (1 Peter 4:17)!
Are you Resisting or inviting Spiritual Warfare?
The passage of James 4: 7-10 asks us the crucial question: are we resisting God or resisting the devil? How we respond to life and other people will be rooted in how we respond to God. Do we fight Him or do we glorify Him? How do we know? The answer is in how we are with our attitudes and mindsets; are we humble or proud? If we are proud, we are serving the devil, even though we may think we are serving ourselves. If we are humble, then we are serving our Lord. This strikes at the root of our mindset and motivation in life.
Let's look at some key words in four to show us what is what:
· Submit simply means to obey! It is our surrender to God in His Will. We are urgently called to accept the absolute authority of God. We are under His authority whether or not we acknowledge Him, so we might as well acquiesce. It does no good to fight God, as Jacob discovered. In this context, it also refers to fights and quarrels so they do not build and take us over. Jacob's dispute with his brother had to be resolved (Gen 32:22-32; 33; James 4:1-6).
· Resist the devil means to flee his influence and kingdom, to shy away from his values, and forsake his faulty wisdom and instead embrace God's kingdom, values and wisdom. The devil does not have equal authority or power as the popular "Ying/Yang" philosophy states; rather, he only has the power we give to Him, while God has absolute power. The devil is not invincible; he is easily thwarted when we don God's armor so we can disregard his temptations and flee from him. We evade the lusts of our heart and world by running from it, not toward it (Eph. 6:11-18; James. 3:15, 17; 4:4; 1 Pet. 5:8-9)!
· Draw near to God means purification, developing your personal relationship with God through the disciplines of the faith. We are responsible for our spiritual growth. God provides the plan, Christ is the way, and the Spirit is the guidance; however, we provide the will of our hearts from our humbleness, and further exhibit it with our hands and feet. The focus is on trust and obedience (Ex. 30:19; Matt. 6:33; 7:7; Rev. 3:20).
The knowledge of who we are in Christ will be the driving force of how we are with others. We are best able to function in ministry by concentrating our efforts of growing in our relationship with Christ into a daily love endeavor (Gal. 2:20-21; 6: 3-5; Phil. 3:10; Heb. 10:19-25; 11:1-3)!
How do I resist the devil so I am pleasing Christ and seeking His purpose? The answer lies in the direction in which we are heading. When we draw near to God, we undertake His precepts and apply them to life. God is consistent; when we seek Him, we find that He has already sought us and will continue to reveal Himself and the depths of His love and will all our days on earth as well as throughout eternity. The key to this is our willingness to confess our sin and move toward Him and away from false and deceitful ways.
So, what can I do? Do not laugh at sin or belittle the devil; guard against it. Do not accept the worldliness of the world; rather, model maturity and character because you are being empowered by the Lord. We are to flee the world's influence while being the influencers of it. We are to flee the devil while being on guard of his tricks and trade. You may be thinking that only the weak and cowardly would surrender themselves-even to God. But, the fact is, only a coward will refuse to allow ultimate greatness in himself that is only achieved by yielding totally to Christ. He is greater than those who are His (John 3:30)!
What about binding, loosing and casting?
Regardless of what some misguided Bible teachers proclaim, we cannot cast Satan away or tell him to go to hell. This is not a good idea, because it is only by Christ's Blood that demons are cast out; we respond in His authority by our obedience, loyalty obedience, prayer, His Word, and His Spirit. There is a spiritual mapping, identifying strongholds and hangouts for the demons. This can be a colossal waste of time. Yes, be aware of them, obviously where there is sin, there is Satan. But, the maps are not the point, our prayers are. Spend your time in prayer and building faith, and not in silly busy work that accomplishes nothing. The biblical fact is, we are no match for Satan--even the Archangel Michael did not confront and fight him directly (2 Cor. 10:3-6; Eph. 6:10-18; 1 Tim. 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 2:15; Jude 9)!
The Word of God gives us the weapons,
the Holy Spirit gives us the protection, and Christ is the victor. We have to submit to Christ before we can
resist the devil! If you are not
dedicated to the modeling of Christ's character in your life and surrendered to
His will, you will face defeat at the hands of Satan. If we stand firm in the faith, we will get
quite a beating from Satan! But, in
Christ, we will persevere and be victorious! If we are careless and indifferent, Satan will
leave us alone, he will like you very much; however, we will not be in God's
will. We will face judgment and see all
the opportunities God gave us, and all the gifts God gave us, all going unused
and unfulfilled. What a shame and
disappointment we would be! Let us not
be Christians who go through life not ever living out the faith, but only going
to church and playing the part. God wants us to get down and dirty; to obey is
to respond and react and to do (James 4:7)!
Spiritual Warfare Part I
Do you know what Spiritual Warfare is all about?
Have you ever been hammered by Satan and/or temptations?
© 2012 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org