With this post I am going to start a new series on Spiritual Warfare. This is the first of seven articles and we’re going to look at the issue of Christians and Spiritual Warfare, explaining all about spiritual warfare.
The objective of this series is to address the subtle and practical ways, that Satan engages his attacks on Christians. This first message of the series however, is foundational, laying down the basic truths of spiritual warfare, and our enemy.
In addressing spiritual warfare, the first thing that we must address is the fact, that there is a battle, a war going on—a very serious war indeed.
When we first left our mother womb and entered into the world, we were born with a sinful nature. David addressed this when he wrote in Ps 51:5 reading NIV: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
After the transgression of Adam and Eve, from that time on, sin fell on every subsequent member of their seed. Sin breeds sin. As job wrote in Job 14:4: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” This placed man in a terrible state.
But because of God’s grace and mercy, He sent His son Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice for our resulting sins. Romans 6:23] But because of man’s corrupted seed, He had to born of a virgin in order to be the perfect sacrifice. Jesus said during His ministry here on earth: “you [must] be born again.” [John 3:7]
Now let’s take a closer look at this new birth. Let’s take a look at John 3: verse 3
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Let’s now go down to verses 5-8
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
So what we see in this passage is that this rebirth is spiritual.
Now the Apostle Paul went into much more detail as to describe the nuts and bolts, if you will, of our spiritual rebirth. Let’s look at Ephesians 2:1-2
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
Now this goes back to what I said earlier, at our natural birth, we were automatically put on the worldly course. What Jesus called: the broad road to destruction. [Matt. 7:13] We had nothing to say about it. Once we stepped out of mother’s womb, we were put on this broad road. Let’s read on:
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
…according to the “prince of the power of the air.” Now that’s Satan—the one and only. Notice what else this verse says about him: “the spirit that now
worketh.” Satan is a spirit: the adversarial spirit to God, that is now working: in the children of disobedience. Now the picture is starting to form.
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh [and of the mind;]and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
“by nature the children of wrath.” Now here’s that point again. All of us by nature, were “children of wrath.” In our complete naturalness, we were walking in the flesh—fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind. [2 Cor. 11:3] We’re going to get back to the mind (next article/post). So what we have, are folks who were once dead in sins and trespasses, being spiritually
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
So now the picture is compete. What we have here are people who were once under the control and power of Satan, (who by the way is a spirit); who become born again spiritually, reconciled to God, who is also a spirit, [John 4: 24] through Christ. So people who’s spirits were under Satan’s control, were and still are today, being literally snatched—spiritually
from him by God. Do you think that Satan is going to sit back and let this happen, without a fight? Absolutely not!. What does this mean? W A R! Spiritual War! The moment we accept Christ as Lord and Savior and are born again, war is declared against us with a target on our backs.
So, what we have is [Spiritual] Warfare. Now I emphasize the word spiritual because it’s very important for us to know what kind of war this really is. It is not in the flesh, but it is spiritual. This is what Paul is addressing in Ephesians 6:12. Let’s take a look:
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
Now this is clear. It’s not against our parents, it’s not against our siblings, or aunts and uncles, cousins and friends but against principalities… The word “principalities” refers to principal rulers, or group leaders.
…against powers, that being those who had power, or to whom the name of “powers” was given, that being, Satan and his demons.
…against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
These are the rulers that preside over the regions of ignorance, and sin with which the earth abounds.
… against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Now this refers to the spiritual things of wickedness; evil spirits, in celestial or heavenly places, and to their influences on earth. So now we’ve covered the breakdown, or the make up, of the adversarial kingdom, which is headed by Satan.
Now let us not be deceived. Because this war is spiritual and not in the flesh, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take it seriously. Because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It actually makes it more dangerous. When we can’t see the enemy and we don’t know who he is, we can’t defend ourselves. But with our sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, we can see him for what he is and defend ourselves.
Now, moving on, it is important for Christians to realize that the battle is going on, and that there is going to be opposition in our lives. Let’s look at John 15:18-19
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own…
The point: anyone who’s part of the enemies camp, doesn’t have to be concerned about being attacked by the enemy. AMEN?
…but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Jesus told His disciples here, that because they are not of the world, the world would hate them. But just like He chose them, He has chosen us—making us disciples as well. [John 12:32] The bottom line is that every Christian, whether we like it or not— is engaged in war. And we have to realize that: if we walk in the ways of God, Satan is going to oppose our: lifestyle, our conversation, our character, and our conduct. He will do everything to frustrate, bring anxiety and confusion, to steal from us the Word of God. He will do everything to keep us from serving God by creating confusion and disharmony—working morning noon and night—24/7. Therefore, we must be ready for battle. There’s no ifs, and, or buts about it. This is a daily war—around the clock. We must pray for protection while we sleep because, he can even torment and temp us while we’re sleeping. This war is perpetual throughout our lives here on earth as a Born Again Christian.
Let’s now look at the head of this adversarial organization. He is called by several names in the bible. He is also called by several names in the flesh, of which I won’t repeat. The most popular ones being: Satan, and the devil. Now the word devil means accuser. So Satan is his name, and devil is his game. Devil is what he is—the accuser or deceiver. This is the main title for this fallen angelic being, who is the supreme—the highest enemy of God and man. The term comes from a Greek word that means “a false witness” or “malicious accuser.”
So who is this Satan? Well as I mentioned earlier, he’s a fallen angel. First of all, Satan was created by Christ along with other beings, principalities, and powers in heaven and in earth. Let’s look at this in a passage of scripture: Colossians 1:15-17, now this is concerning Christ.
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Christ created all things, including Satan, whose name was originally Lucifer , which means—morning star. A morning star or star of the morning is a bright star. For a star to shine in the brightness of morning, it has to be very bright. Lucifer was a high and bright angel in heaven. He was beautiful, and had a kingdom on earth, long before the creation account in Genesis. [He was the leader of praise and worship] But Lucifer became full of pride, and rebelled against God, and led an invasion in heaven, to which he lost. Now let’s look at this in scripture. Isaiah 14:12-15
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer , son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Now this is actually a prophesy of Babylon’s downfall—this is judgment against the king of the Babylonians. But it is allegorical (symbolic) of Lucifer’s downfall, because the king of Babylon became a king that was driven by the spirit of Lucifer or Satan, and exhaled himself against God.
Let’s look at another one: Ezekiel 28: Now here we have a lamentation [expression of grief] for the king of Tyre, when he has consequently fallen, though his own iniquity. But again it is allegorical (symbolic) to Satan and his fall. Verses 12 –17 The Lord said to Ezekiel:
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD;
thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, [kar’-bun-k’-l] and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
The original creation was like the Garden Of Eden. In that it was a paradise of splendor and glamour. As the scripture reads: “every precious stone:” was present.
Now tabrets are drums, and pipes represent music. This goes back to what I wrote earlier, about Satan’s involvement of praise and worship in heaven.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Now this goes back to what I mentioned about him being at one time, very high in the kingdom of God. God said: “and I have set thee so.” He was appointed or anointed as a guardian angel (cherub) and had access to the “holy mountain of God:” meaning that he had direct contact with God. He was God’s prince—so much that he walked amongst ‘Stones of fire” i.e., bright and shining. Decked with bright jewels, this prince walked among jewels in gorgeous splendor. This again refers to the original earth, which was full of splendor and beauty.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
He was perfect: after all, he was created by God. But here’s where the party ended—he fell off the wagon. He was perfect until: iniquity was found in him
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
“by the multitude of thy merchandise.” His greatness—his wealth filled him with internal turmoil, and he sinned and there was a war in heaven.
So now we see that this highly exalted, and perfect prince, created by God, was cast down from his high place. From the “midst of the stones of fire”
that was earth, which was voided out as a result of the prince’s iniquity. Verse 17 describes this iniquity:
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
“thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Now this is in a word: pride—plain and simple. This high angelic being became puffed up, arrogant, conceited. Why? Because of his beauty. Somebody, told him that he look good—one time too many; that he was all that, and a bag of chips, and he believed it. So much so that he rebelled against God. As a result, the scripture says: “I will cast thee to the ground.” Now we all know that once you raise yourself up against the boss to the point that you want to take over, your time is up: and you’ve got to go. Remember what Scripture says about pride in Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. NIV
So the kings of Tyre and Babylon were cast out of their high places, Just as Satan was. What happened to these kings was a result of the spirit that was in them. So what do we see from these passages? Anything that is driven by Lucifer’s spirit goes the same route as he did.
Let’s look at this in 1 Timothy 3: Now here in this chapter, Paul is describing to Timothy the qualifications of an elder. And it reads that he should be among other things:
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
The NIV reads: “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” So again, anything or anybody who is driven by Satan’s spirit will be judged as he was. Paul also warned the Corinthians when he told them: that they should cast down arguments, and [every high thing], that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
2 Cor. 10:5.
So Satan full of rebellion and pride, which God hates, was judged. [Prov. 6:16] Now because of this, all on earth was destroyed by the first flood. [Gen. 1:2] So Genesis begins a recreation of earth. But Satan regained rulership over the earth in Adam’s time, seizing man’s dominion: by causing his fall.
Let’s now take a look at Satan’s objectives. It really only takes one word to label his objective: Destruction. His aim is to destroy our bodies, minds and spirits. As a believer, he can’t touch our spirits, but he harasses us until he wrecks and ruins our testimony for Christ, rendering us of no use, or value to God.
Now as a result, we are living in a world that’s asleep. We are living with our minds clouded in darkness where we accept wrong for right. We accept this immoral age as a moral age. We are now living Romans 1—right now, today. Let’s take a look at this: Romans 1 Verses 18-31 describes God’s wrath on unrighteousness. Verse 21 describes the problem it reads:
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”
Now what do we have here? Again: pride! Verses 24-31 explains the result
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: Let’s skip down to verse 28.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Now if this isn’t today, I don’t know what is. We have become so acclimated with the darkness, that even the “very elect” are deceived by Satanic devices. Jesus stated this would happen in Matthew 24:24.
Moving on, we must know that, as powerful as Satan is, he is not omnipotent. He isn’t all powerful. But he can possess unbelievers with his demons, but they can only harass believers. No believer can be possessed, but greatly harassed, and oppressed by demonic powers.
Now, what is his method of operation? This can also be summed up in one word: tion. His main tool is deception. If he can deceive a believer, they become one of his most effective tools. Remember what Paul said in Gal 5:9:
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Any time two or more believers get together, Satan’s work begins. Whether it’s a marriage, a friendship, an association, or a church group, he’ll do all he can to divide and separate that union. Once he gets saints fighting amongst themselves, he just sits back and watches; laughing all the way to the bank (sort of speaking). It’s just another feather in his cap.
Satan and his servants (demons) disguise themselves as believers which requires discernment on our parts. Let’s look at this in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
We must be ever so sober and vigilant, because Satan methods of deception can be difficult to recognize. Let’s look at one passage regarding this:
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Now here Paul is addressing the issue of forgiving another. One of Satan’s devices or designs is to cheat the believer out of true forgiveness. Unforgiveness enslaves an individual, and can divide the church. Satan will try to divide the church in any way he can; and we must not be ignorant of devices his. Now this is only one of them
Satan works on us in three areas:
First, he operates in our minds, by injecting his thoughts into us. It’s up to us however, to accept or reject these thoughts. Satan uses the mind as his playground. He takes our natural curiosity and carries it beyond God’s intentions until we cross His line of disobedience. Now again I want to mention that, we’ll address the issue concerning the mind in the next article/post.
Now, One of Satan’s tactics, is to get people to not believe that he exists—he blinds them in order to enslave them (the unbelievers). Let’s look at this in
2 Corinthians 4:4:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Now this is how Satan keep his kingdom thriving: by keeping the unbelievers, unbelieving. In addition, he keeps believers enslaved in their flesh, by attacking and harassing them so subtly, that they don’t even realize that there’s a war going on. He is the prince of this world,[Eph. 2:2] having dominion of all the world’s forces under his control; and he uses these forces to harass us, to tempt us, and enslave us, and can eventually deem us useless to God.
Satan’s ultimate and only objective is to destroy. There never has been, nor ever will be, any good objective in the mind of Satan. Moving into the next area that he works on:
He also works in our consciences. For example: when we feel guilty because we don’t do what is wrong; that is a Satanic attack on our conscious–our thoughts. Which is why Satan is called “an accuser of our bretheren;” in Rev 12:10 “a liar, and the father of it;” [John 8:44] a deceiver; [Gen 3:13 NKJV] and, a destroyer; [Job 15:21, I Cor. 10:10] and Jesus said that he seeks to accuse and wipe out—destroy. As Jesus stated in John 10:8 regarding the works of Satan: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He is, in no uncertain terms: a thief. Moving into the final area:
The third area that he works on is our bodies. Now all sickness is not from Satan, but a lot of it is. For example: If we violate a law of health, we’re going to get sick. It doesn’t have anything to do with Satan: at least not directly.
Bottom Line: Satan is a deceitful, scheming, cunning, liar and his ultimate and only objective is to destroy and maim: testimonies, families, finances, friendships, churches, and business; and will use anybody that’s willing to be used to do it.
It’s time for Christians to stop sleeping—to wake up, and see things as they are. To smell the stench of Satan our enemy, and the ongoing battle that must be fought. We can’t fight this battle: sleeping, and keeping our heads stuck in the sand. You know when the ostrich sticks his hand in the sand, his tail is still out—leaving himself open to be rear ended and blind sided.
It behooves every Christian to take heed to the word of God which says in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
For part 2: Spiritual Warfare: The Mind is the Battlefield, click here.
Please leave any question, comment or concern regarding spiritual warfare below.