Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Nuts and Bolts of Spiritual Warfare, Part 1

I constantly talk about spiritual warfare in my writings and in my preaching.  But the more I talk about the concept the more I realize how few people understand how to actually do it.  Any war, by nature, is an active endeavor, and spiritual warfare is no different.  Just like in a physical war it can be tiresome, the intimidation of the enemy can feel overwhelming, it can be intensely lonely, and it can summon up incredible strength that you didn’t know you had while you’re in the thick of battle.  There is nothing mystical about spiritual warfare.  It’s very real and the results are tangible.

So what are the nuts and bolts of actually engaging in it?  The prerequisites are that you have an obedient faith in the Lord Jesus, have repented and chosen to live for Him as your Savior.  That’s when Jesus gives you the authority to use His name and to fight against demonic forces who are otherwise much stronger and more cunning that we are.  You don’t have to be a mature, seasoned Christian to start fighting the devil.  In fact the sooner you learn who your enemy is, the closer you will get to God and the more His love and goodness will become real to you.  Faith in Him will take root very deeply in you if you live a life of surrender and submission to Him on one hand, and warfare against the devil on the other.  So if you just gave your life to Jesus a minute ago, you’re already in a war whether you knew it or not.

Once you know that God has granted you His authority to fight against evil, be in a spiritual mode to recognize attacks, and then attack back. 

Just as an example:  You find yourself in a convenience store with a bunch of noisy, roughhousing guys who look like they’re up to no good.  They start to harass the cashier at the counter, and you suspect they’ve just shoplifted some booze from the shelf.  They look like the kind of guys who would carry weapons.  Your natural reasoning can only see two options.  Since they’re blocking the door, you should slink to the back of the store, deal with the fear and your racing pulse, and hope and pray that the whole situation goes away and no one gets hurt.  Or, you bravely go forward and tell the thugs to leave the poor shop clerk alone, with the hope that they’ll back off and won’t punch you in the face.  Obviously neither option sounds very appealing!

The other option is to bring the power of God into the battle.  What negative energy is pumping through the veins of these thugs?  Who is the motivating power that drives them to prey on innocent people?  Demons.  What if it’s because they’re high on some drug?  It’s still demons.  What if it’s the aggressive music they’ve been listening to, or anger at the poverty and injustice they are subject to every day?  Still demons.  In other words, the spirit that is driving them is inferior to the Spirit of God who lives in you.  These guys are lost souls who are loved and created by God just like you, but are carried away by the power of the devil.  

So instead of religious prayers, tearfully pleading for help, stand back and quietly begin to rebuke those demons with the authority you have.  No one needs to hear you, but your faith is loud and clear to the demons, and to God.  Speak against every spirit of violence, of drugs, of theft, of arrogance, and bind it up in the name of Jesus.  Command those demons to get out of that place because you are a child of Jesus Christ, and they must bow and submit to His name.  It doesn’t matter how scary those guys are, they’re just pawns in the hands of the demons who control them.  Understand that the devil is trembling at that moment because you are forcing him to his knees.  Your warfare isn’t against the poor weak guys who are being used and abused by the devil, your warfare is against the spirits within them, and when you use a stubborn, fighting faith, you will always win.  

This has happened to me many times in big cities and small in our travels all over the world and I’ve allowed God to take dominion over those situations.  My wife has diffused tense situations by using the weapons that God provides.  I’m not encouraging you now to take evening strolls through the most dangerous areas of town because you’re invincible!  God wants us to use common sense in our choices, but when faced with danger, realize that you have authority over evil in very practical ways.  More nuts and bolts of warfare to come in the next posts.  

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, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete.  (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 MEV)

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