Spiritual Warfare
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I. Spiritual Warfare

Christians speak of being attacked by the enemy. It is no wonder! Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, John 10:10. This is his nature. Furthermore, he hates God and hates God’s children. What better way to hurt God than to hurt God’s kids?

There is a further reason why Satan hates God’s children as well. He is afraid of their power. Here is a truth every Christian know:

Every person who has asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior has authority in Jesus’ name over Satan and over his demon hosts.

While Jesus was still one earth, He commissioned 70 disciples besides the original 12, and sent them out to heal the sick and to preach the Gospel. They returned rejoicing, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name,” Luke 10:17. Jesus responded that He had seen Satan fall like lightning from heaven, and then spoke these words which I believe are for every disciple of Christ:

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

That Christians have authority of demons is attested in other parts of the Bible as well:

Mark 16:17 (Jesus speaking) “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons….”

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…”

Psalm 149:5-9 “Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the written judgment--This honor have all His saints.”

Furthermore, we are given instructions in how to fight the enemy:

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…

Every believer, we are told, is to put on the full armor of God, to take up the sword of the Spirit, to resist Satan and to stand steadfast in the faith. This is our responsibility!

Consider also the example Jesus gave us. He addressed demons. He did this out loud:

Matthew 17:18 “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Luke 8:29 Jesus “commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.”

Furthermore, when Jesus fasted in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan, he countered every attack with the Word of God, Matthew 4:1-10. Jesus Himself took up the sword of the Spirit.

We should do likewise!

I hear pastors praying, “Oh Lord, please fight the enemy for us.” This is not Scriptural! While it is true that God is our refuge and fortress, and that He will fight for us, it is also clear that we have a responsibility to lift up the sword of the Spirit as well. God does fight for us: He fights as we fight. Like the children of Israel who were told to take the promised land, we must fight as well. It is then, like them, that we will find that the Lord God of Hosts is fighting with us!

Basic Spiritual Warfare

There are five steps in basic spiritual warfare. These are found in James 4:1-10.

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of sin in your life.
In James 4:1-6, several sins are listed: wars, fights, desire for pleasure, lust, covetousness, friendship with the world. The sin that is the root of all of these is in verse 6 where James admonishes, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The root sin was pride. Similarly, ask God to search your heart and show you any sin--and its root--which you may need to be cleansed from,

Ps. 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

2. Submit to God, James 4:7. Repent of any sin God shows you. Be assured that if you confess your sins, He cleanses you from ALL unrighteousness,

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Be aware that Satan, the accuser of the brethren, Rev. 12:10, will try to tell you that you cannot be forgiven, or that you are not completely forgiven. Rest assured that if you sincerely ask God to forgive you, then you are completely forgiven.

3. Resist the devil and he will flee from you, James 4:8. Do this out loud. Say, out loud, “In the name of Jesus, I resist you, you unclean spirit of ________and I command you to flee. Scripture says resist the devil and he will flee from you. I resist you now, and you must go!”

Speak this out loud. I don’t believe that Satan’s demons can hear the thoughts of a Christian. Remember also that our authority is always in Jesus’ name. Make sure that you are clean before you come against the enemy. If there is ongoing sin in your life, you will not have power over the demons in that area. Rather, they will have authority over you.

4. Draw near to God, James 4:8. The fastest way I've found to draw near to God is by praise and worship. Thanking God, calling out Jesus' name (Proverbs 18:10; Rom. 10:13) and crying out to Him are also effective. Reading Scripture out loud and using it as a basis for prayer and declaration also help you draw near. Remember, though, that you must be clean, James 3:11-12.

5. Practice the opposite behavior of the sin you have confessed. Compare James 4:6, where the root sin was pride to James 4:10, where James is telling the people to do the opposite: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up..” Humility is the opposite of pride. If practiced by the people, it would tear down the sin of pride. We can do this as well.

Do you have a choice?

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

There is no choice. It is naïve to believe that if you leave Satan alone, his hordes will leave you alone. Yet I've heard Christians say this!

Warning: A Christian with unconfessed sin in their life DOES NOT have authority over the powers of darkness. Instead, demons have power over them.

Consider these Scriptures:

Psalm 106:2-3 Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise? Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times.

Psalm 50:16-17 But to the wicked God says: "What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you?”

Psalm 7:10 My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart.

The privilege of declaring God’s Word and using it to combat the enemy is for those who are clean. Therefore, ask the Lord to cleanse you before you start, 1 John 1:9. Learn to hate sin because of the authority the enemy gets by it, for Satan uses legal means to attack us:

Ps. 94:20 “…the throne of iniquity (Satan)...devises evil by law…”

Confess sin as soon as you are aware of it. Walk in holiness:

1 Peter 1:15-16 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

Therefore, the most important step in spiritual warfare is to make sure your heart is clean. Ask God to search your heart, Psalm 139:23-24, to cleanse you from secret faults, Psalm 19:12-14, and to create a clean heart within you, Psalm 51:10. Here are the Scriptures:

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 19:12-14 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back you servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not rush through this step. Get rid of any unforgiveness, offense, pride, and wrong motives as well as overt sin. Set your heart to live at peace with others, so far as you are able, Romans 12:17-21. Set your mind to seek God and to serve Him with all your heart, Mark 12:30.

Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore, "If you enemy hungers, feed him; If he thirsts, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

Note on Romans 12:17-21: Those who take vengeance themselves make it impossible for God to move on their behalf. Hence, it says, "give place to wrath"--God's wrath, that is. If you want God to move on your behalf, then don't move yourself, except to bless that person! Also, "heaping coals of fire" on someone's head was a blessing. In those days, if your fire went out, you would go to a neighbor to get live coals. You would transport them in a container on your head. Someone who attacked you probably doesn't even have a fire, "fire" here can mean passion for the Lord, which sustains us! You need to help them get their fire going again by helping them!

Mark 12:30 (Jesus speaking) "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."

Diana Clancy
Copyright October 2007