“When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:1-4
During the Viet Nam War, the Viet Cong guerrilla fighters would sneak up on unaware U.S. troops, attack them, and quickly dissapear. The Vietcong would also pose as citizens or farmers. Then, when least expected, they would launch a surprise attack on U.S. troops.
When you’re in a war, you must be alert. The enemy does not announce his arrival. And he often pretends to be someone he’s not.
Are you prepared to stand against your enemy, Satan? Do you know how to stand?
It is critical that you know God’s Word. Ephesians 6 says,“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (vs. 11) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist …” (vs. 14)
What is the “belt of truth”?
Jesus said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17The Belt of Truth is clearly God’s Word, the Bible. It is an essential part of the “Armor of God”.
Do you think it’s possible that Satan could be attacking someone, when they don’t even know it? The Bible says,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
That verse tells me a lot. In a battle, it is important for soldiers to be alert. If not, they may walk right into a trap. Can you imagine walking through a jungle during war and not being alert? Of course not!
There is only one place to find truth and that is in the Bible, in God’s Holy Word. We need to know what it says. If you don’t know God’s Word you will be an easy target. Why? The Bible tells us,
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3
This can be more subtle than you might think. False teaching may not be that obvious, unless of course, you know God’s Word.
Does it really matter what you believe, as long as you love Jesus?
Yes! False teachers can take Scripture verses out of context and convince people of almost anything. This is how good people are deceived. But verses are not meant to be taken out of context. Instead, we should always study the context to correctly understand every verse.
For example, Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Let’s say I told you, “ All things means all things! You can perform healings and miracles. You can be a great athlete, make a lot of money, whatever you want can be yours – if you believe. If you have faith in God’s Word!”
Well that may sound good, but that’s not what that verse is saying.
Paul wrote these words while in prison, and the full context says, ” I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul is saying, whatever your circumstances, no matter how bad they are, Christ will give you strength.
In verse 11, he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Paul is talking about being in prison. Roman prisons were known to be cold and cruel, prisoners were not provided adequate food or blankets, and they were kept in chains.
But in all this, Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
That’s a lot different than the first interpretation!
You say, “Oh, I would recognize false teaching right away.”
Really? Because it won’t be obvious. It will be hidden in truth and love. The Apostle Paul warns us about false prophets,
“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15
To masquerade means to pretend to be something else, to disguise oneself, to impersonate. Please understand, people will be easily fooled. But there is one way to stand firm.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. … With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6: 10-18
As you read and study this passage, understand the important role God’s Word plays in your life. Take this passage at face value. Know God’s Word. Read your Bible so that you can stand.
If you are praying for someone who is in bondage, you are engaged in spiritual warfare. It could be bondage to drugs, alcohol, spiritual blindness, pornography, gambling, or something else. There’s a long list of chains.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
I have been asking the Lord to teach me about spiritual warfare. I know that countless numbers of books have been written about it, but I want the Holy Spirit to teach me from the Word of God.
This morning my reading passage happened to be Joshua, chapters 3 through 7 – the fall of Jericho. I encourage you to read this and think about how their physical warfare might relate to our spiritual warfare.
The Lord instructed Joshua concerning how they would cross the Jordan and take the city of Jericho. I was struck by several things.
First of all (and most importantly), the battle was won by the Lord, not by the Israelites and their own strength. It is the mighty power of God that breaks yokes. “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands.” Joshua 6:2 NIV
Insight #1: In spiritual warfare, the battle is won by the Lord.
Secondly, they didn’t always understand why they should do certain things. Obedience was paramount. “March around the city … for six days … Have seven priests carry trumpets …” Joshua 6:3-4 NIV Many times I have been led by the Holy Spirit to do something and only saw the significance of it months later. They didn’t know why marching around the walls of Jericho was necessary, but they did it anyway.
Insight #2: If you are engaged in spiritual warfare, make sure you are being obedient to God in all things in your life. We can ask for His help to be obedient.
Thirdly, spiritual warfare is not for the immature or half-hearted believer. It’s serious business.
Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord… Keep away from the devoted things so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” Joshua 6:16-19 NIV
When I read this, I immediately thought about the tithe. There have been times in my life when I gave 20%. There have been times when I didn’t give any tithe at all. To be honest, I never thought much about it. I gave when I had plenty and didn’t give when I had little. All I can say is, this hit me so hard that I stopped dead in my tracks, calculated my tithe, and wrote the check for Sunday morning.
Why? Because when Achan kept what belonged to God it brought destruction to the people. They were routed by the enemy when they went up to fight and many were killed. They were defeated in the battle against Ai because of disobedience and greed. Joshua 7:4-5
Insight #3: If you expect to win the battle, make sure you are giving to the Lord what is His.
In Romans 15:4, it says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us…” What I have written in my blog today is only one small insight into spiritual warfare, but I believe it is what the Holy Spirit is teaching me now.
Please share the personal insights into spiritual warfare the Holy Spirit has given you. Your thoughts are welcome.
Anxiety is sneaky. It can disguise itself as something else. For me, anxiety was masquerading as indecision, ruffled nerves, anger, sadness, fear, negative thoughts, loneliness – yet a desire to be alone.
How can we feel lonely and desire isolation at the same time? I felt like I couldn’t put on my happy face and I didn’t want to. It would be easier to hide until I felt normal again. I didn’t want to have to talk to anyone. This was all boiling below the surface and I was afraid it would pop out at any moment. My foremost thought was, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
The odd thing was, I didn’t feel anxious about a particular problem. It was more like a cloud hanging over me. Anxiety is not necessarily the same as worrying. I can recognize worry right away and make a decision not to do it.
I felt like whatever it was I was going through was too strong for me to fight alone. So I got angry because I thought, “Nobody prays for me. Poor me! How can I have a ministry and nobody prays for me?” (And other ridiculous thoughts I’ll keep to myself.)
But once I realized that this dark cloud was anxiety, I was on my way to breaking free. (Probably because somebody was praying for me.) Identifying the problem robs it of power.
The rainbow in this storm is that I’ve learned to recognize this kind of spiritual attack and I know I am better equipped to face it in the future if it rears its ugly head.
If you think your enemy is too strong for you, hold on to this:
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19 NIV
We need to memorize this one! I know I will. And remember – we extinguish the flaming arrows of the devil (the attack he launches against our mind) by believing God’s Word.
This is My Journey Unscripted.
More Scripture references on anxiety and spiritual warfare:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:7-8 NIV
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
It really hurt my feelings. It was like stopping by your best friend’s house only to discover she was having a big party and you hadn’t been invited! I felt so left out and hurt. I felt like crying.
That morning, I had walked in to the Women’s Bible Study and there were all my friends having a pot luck that no one had told me about! Maybe I was being overly sensitive, and maybe this was an area of vulnerability for me, but I was very offended.
The Bible study teacher recognized that I was upset, and the next time I saw her she gave me an index card with some Scripture references on it. She probably had no idea that it was going to change my life. As I opened my heart to God’s Word, something wonderful happened! The Truth set me free! These are the Scriptures:
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to OVERLOOK AN OFFENSE.” Proverbs 19:11
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9
“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 12:16
This happened to me over 30 years ago, but the devil has used the same tactics since the beginning of time to battle against God’s people. He has used it on me. He will use it on you. He used it in the past.
Read about David in I Samuel, chapters 16 and 17. Count the number of times David overlooked an offense before he slew the giant. Satan tried to stop God’s plan for David, but he couldn’t do it because David overlooked the offense.
Over the years, God has continued to reveal to me how powerful it is to walk in love, and that means overlooking offenses.
“(Love) is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.” I Corinthians 13:5 AMP
The devil will send offenses our way, but when we choose God’s way and walk in love, Satan’s attack will not prevail.
“Be of sober mind, be watchful. Your adversary who is a slanderer, namely the devil, as a lion roaring in fierce hunger, is constantly walking about, always seeking someone to be devouring.” 1 Peter 5:8 (Wuest)
Has anyone ever offended you? Insulted you? Put you down? If so, consider this: Love is strong spiritual warfare!
You may be thinking, “How is this spiritual warfare?”
Consider the evil attack on Jesus when he was crucified.
“… Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:21-23
It is following Him and walking in his steps that empowers us for spiritual battle.
The Bible says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
It is only as we recognize that anger, resentment, self-pity, and unforgiveness are nothing but the attack launched against us by the devil, that we can refuse to be offended. This is spiritual warfare: Love vs. Evil. We can not allow our emotions to govern our life or we will be like a city without walls (defenseless).
The Apostle Paul said, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ … Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…” Ephesians 3:18-20
This is My Journey Unscripted.
Do you know Jesus?
If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can do it now. He loves you more than you can comprehend, and it will change your life forever.
“IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH, ‘JESUS IS LORD,’ AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED. FOR IT IS WITH YOUR HEART THAT YOU BELIEVE AND ARE JUSTIFIED, AND IT IS WITH YOUR MOUTH THAT YOU CONFESS AND ARE SAVED. AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, ANYONE WHO TRUSTS IN HIM WILL NEVER BE PUT TO SHAME.” ROMANS 10:9-11