2019-09-10 Spiritual Warfare

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil
prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Last night, a friend of mine and I discussed at length the whole concept of spiritual warfare and the biblical steps we can take to protect ourselves from Satan and his henchmen. Keep in mind that sin starts in our own hearts, but direct temptation is not the only way the Thief will attack us. I’m going to outline today several verses that I use myself. I hope they prove useful to you, too.

1. Be Aware of the Schemes of the Devil. Satan doesn’t know everything. He isn’t everywhere at the same time. He isn’t all powerful. Even so, he’s far more formidable than any human alone. Yes, he is a defeated foe, but he is not yet in the lake of fire. In the meantime, he has clear motives. Deception and temptation are key tools to achieve his ends. It’s extremely important to know exactly what he is trying to accomplish. At the same time, it is even more important to know what Jesus is doing.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

If you sense any hint of evil, know that the ONLY reason it is around is to STEAL, KILL, and DESTROY. There is no motive less than this. Don’t kid yourself for one moment; you do not want Satan or his henchmen around. On the other hand, Jesus offers all that is good. One would be a fool to push him off. Right?

2. Change the Way You Think. To repel the demonic, one must change the way s/he thinks. Peter tells us to be sober-minded. There’s much more to this concept than abstaining from alcohol. No, this is serious business. Treat it as such.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

We are not of this world. It’s easy to forget this.

3. Resist the Devil and Run to God. It’s quite incredible the simplicity of the instructions we have to deal with Satan.

James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Notice the two-sides of this command and the similarities it has with John 10:10. There are two motives and two tactics. We are instructed to draw to the Lord, who in turn will come to us. At the same time, we are to resist the devil. What happens then? He flees. Flees. Have you ever fled from something? You run when you flee. Get that imagery in your mind and keep it there: Satan flees when you resist him. Now, that doesn’t mean he is gone for good. Nor does it mean that he will flee very far. He knows humans well and knows that we will soon wander away from God. He’ll come again. So, the closer and longer we hold on to Jesus, the farther Satan will go and the longer he will stay away. If James 4:7 is true, then you can count on it. Finally, there is a warning. We cannot draw near to God if we are enmeshed in sin. Our own sin is the number one thing that keeps us from drawing near to God. If sin keeps us from our protection, we’re fair game. In reality, if we get harmed when wandering, we should consider it a self-inflicted wound.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

This whole section, Ephesians 6:10-20 is a powerful set of instructions. Stand in front of a mirror and put this stuff on. I’m serious. Talk to yourself out loud what each piece signifies and thank God for providing them to you. This is more important than you realize. Yes, you will feel silly at first. Do it anyway. Know also our instructions once armored: to stand firm. What? Yes, to stand firm. We don’t fight Satan, God does. We are no match for Satan. Let’s not kid ourselves about that. Yes, we are in God’s army, but don’t engage in hand-to-hand combat. Instead we stand firm. Yes, we pray and worship. We also stand and watch as God wins the battles for us.

4. Pray for Protection. Let it be known that Satan was only allowed to harm Job as God permitted. Make no mistake, Satan asked. It was God’s prerogative to grant or deny the request. Might this be something we should pay attention to? Satan is not allowed to harm us unless God allows it. Might God be inclined to allow him to attack us more if we are so foolish to neglect God? If we rely more and more on our own strength, might God allow Satan to “correct” us? On the other hand, might God deny Satan from time to time, maybe even often, if we stand firm and request God to protect us?

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Evil in this verse can also be translated as “the evil one.” Satan is a tool of God’s. Make no mistake of that. No more, no less, but a tool. And, let’s not kid ourselves, God granted Satan’s demand to sift Peter like wheat. Peter failed that test. God may allow the same to happen to you or I. Maybe he already has. Maybe he will again. Take comfort in the fact that Jesus prayed for Peter in his trial. He will do the same for us. Trials are never easy, and we may even deny Jesus in a big one, but we are not helpless in all this. We have our tools and weapons. Ultimately, we can rest knowing that nothing, not even Satan or our denial of Jesus, will be able to snatch us out of our Father’s hand. Nothing.

Finally, I encourage you to study Psalm 91 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. In these, you will find powerful promises and tools for spiritual warfare. Make this a regular part of your morning routine.

Psalm 18:31-36 For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? – the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and my feet did not slip.

Father, we thank you. You have not left us as sheep unattended but have given us divine weapons to destroy strongholds. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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