Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Spiritual Warfare, Weapons and the Armor of God according to Scripture - What Does it Look Like?

An excerpt from Loren’s and my book, 

“Doctrines of Demons: Exposing Christian Witchcraft, pages 219-224. 

Spiritual Warfare According to Scripture

Because people are being misinformed and taken away from the Bible, let’s look at what spiritual warfare really is. It begins with basic, foundational doctrine, and continues with those basics.
First, it begins with a relationship with our Heavenly Father, something that is only made possible because of and through the work of Jesus Christ. The territory that being fought over, and what is gained or lost for the Kingdom of God or for the kingdom of Satan, is our hearts and minds; therefore, our purposeful fighting back against satanic forces (spiritual warfare) begins with salvation, and continues as we build a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Second, we must have a genuine love for God and for the truth. Having a love for the truth is the basis for the strength to do the things that are of God. The Holy Spirit constantly works on our heart to compel us to follow the ways of God, but we have to daily make the choice to do and say the things that are of God, and to stay away from that which is contrary to God. The things of God are life-giving. When we practice the things that are not of God, these things not only begin to bring corruption to us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, but it also creates an open door for the enemy to enter. When we start behaving like the enemy, it is the same as saying “yes” to the enemy. It is the same as coming into agreement with the enemy, giving the enemy permission to infiltrate our entire self, resulting in us being molded into the enemy’s image. This can happen slowly, causing us to be less likely to realize what is happening, or to not even care, because the enemy can also feed our ego, or other self-centered, ego-based desires that we respond to. This is how the enemy takes territory: he captures our hearts and minds. If we have not submitted to and continue to submit to the authority of God, and if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to change us into His image, we will succumb to the tactics of the enemy.
Our hearts are the territory that influences the world around us. The battle is for our hearts and to rule our hearts! If the enemy can capture our minds — our attention and our focus — he can capture our hearts — our desires, our intentions, and what drives us forward.
According to Biblical standards, spiritual warfare looks like the following:
  1. James 4:7 — “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (BSB)
Submission to God begins at salvation when we come under His authority, and it continues throughout our life. Submission involves obedience to our Heavenly Father, something that is a daily activity. (To study what the word "submit" means: http://biblehub.com/greek/5293.htm )
Resisting Satan means that we stand in a 180 degree, contrary position to what he stands for, and we refuse to back down or give up our ground on what we know to be truth. (To study what the word "resist" means: http://biblehub.com/greek/436.htm )
  1. 1 Peter 5:9 — “Resist him [the adversary], standing firm in your faith and in the knowledge that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.” (BSB)
There’s that word again — resist. Oppose what is not of God, and stand firm without wavering, refusing to compromise.
And here’s another important command: stand firm in our faith. What faith? Faith in our salvation through Jesus Christ, and because of this, in our relationship with our Heavenly Father (see: http://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm). Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and as you develop a relationship with Him that is built on submission and obedience to His will, this fruit will become evident in your life.
  1. Ephesians 4:27 — “…and do not give the devil a foothold.” (BSB)
In this verse, the word “foothold” means, “a place, region, seat; an opportunity.” It also means, metaphorically, “opportunity, power, occasion for acting.” In other words, don’t give Satan an opportunity to gain power and control over you, and don’t give him an occasion for acting through you in your life. (To study what the word "foothold" means: http://biblehub.com/greek/5117.htm )
  1. Ephesians 6:13 — “Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.” (BSB)
Many Christians know of the verses that come right after this one and this verse is often overlooked. But the importance of this verse cannot be overstated: when you have taken a position that is contrary to the enemy, hold your ground and don’t give up. It is about knowing what is right, and refusing to compromise. It’s about standing firm. 

(To study "withstand" and "stand": 
http://biblehub.com/greek/436.htm  and http://biblehub.com/greek/2476.htm )
  1. Ephesians 6:14-18 — “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.” (BSB)
These verses are very often used to foster a warrior mentality within many charismatics who are being used by the demonic, and the weapons mentioned in these verses are also often spoken of as having been “imparted and activated,” usually by another individual who has a supposed “power or authority” to do this. The weapons used by such people also need or require occasional “upgrades,” but since these upgrades are said to come about as they get a “spiritual promotion,” they don’t see the fact that their weapons need occasional upgrades to mean that they are, in fact, inferior and weak. (See also, Spiritual Results of Realm Expansion and Spiritual Promotion.)
However, let’s just look at these verses in a very simple way, getting to the heart of what is being said here.
First, we are told to “stand firm.” There’s that word again — stand. Don’t compromise.
Second, our weapons are not a belt around the waist of our spirit man, a bright and shiny breastplate protecting his or her chest, and some heavy-duty army boots. Our spirit man doesn’t have a shield or a sword, and he or she doesn’t strap a helmet on every morning. Paul was simply using very powerful imagery to help his audience understand how each of these elements protect us from the enemy.
Our weapons are: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God. These are our weapons!
But wait! There’s more! Let’s not neglect to continue reading. We are also admonished to be in constant prayer and petition to our Father, and to stay alert, persevering in prayer for one another. These also are weapons.
  1. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 — “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation.” (BSB)
This verse speaks to faith and salvation as being our weapons, and it also brings in love as being a weapon! This is not “love” that allows us to beat people up with the Word of God (or anything else) because we claim to “love them so much.” If you are confused about what love is, go to 1 Corinthians 13:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a ringing gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and exult in the surrender of my body, but have not love, I gain nothing.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.” (BSB)
And for even more study, you can read the entire book of 1 John. It speaks of love all throughout — what it is and what it isn’t.

So according to these few verses we just studied, the spiritual weapons that protect us from the attacks of the enemy are:
  1. Salvation — this is found through faith, and is by the grace of God that is made possible only through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
  2. Submission to the Father — this involves coming under His authority and being obedient to His Word.
  3. Opposing what is of Satan — refusing to be moved from our position of opposition against Satan; not compromising.
  4. Not allowing Satan to have opportunity to gain power or control over us. You could think of this as keeping the “gateways” to your spiritual space closed, in other words.
  5. Truth — truth is found in the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth that will lead us into all truth. (John 16:13)
  6. Righteousness — not our righteousness, but the righteousness that comes from God, by faith, through Jesus Christ.
  7. The gospel of peace — this is the peace and assurance we have because of our salvation through Jesus Christ, and our ability to remain at peace no matter the circumstances surrounding us. This can also mean “wholeness,” which, it must be pointed out here, is in direct opposition to the brokenness that surrounds the “Spirit Man” theology. (To study what the "gospel of peace" means: http://biblehub.com/greek/2098.htm and http://biblehub.com/greek/1515.htm )
  8. Faith.
  9. Love.
  10. The Word of God.
  11. Prayer and petition to God.
  12. Persevering in prayer for one another.

These are our weapons, and while there may be a need for the weapons that come from Satan to have upgrades, there is no need for the spiritual weapons that come from God to have upgrades. In fact, 2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (BSB)

Divine power.” Does this sound weak to you? Our spiritual weapons that come from our Heavenly Father and are given to us by His Spirit are not weak. They don’t need occasional upgrades, and if you think they do, you have been deceived by Satan, and have traded in the weapons of God for the weapons of Satan.

Therefore, let us wage spiritual warfare the way Scripture teaches us, not the way the enemy would have us. The spiritual warfare that many are waging today is ego-driven, fear based, retaliatory against people, and is coming from a spirit of witchcraft.
A Biblical viewpoint on spiritual warfare begins with the state of our heart, and manifests as a firm, unwavering opposition to the things of Satan, and a refusal to allow him to influence our minds and control our hearts. True Biblical warfare puts the focus on our relationship with our Heavenly Father, dependence and faith on Him to protect and defend us, and the peace and assurance that no matter what happens, our salvation is secure in Him.

Related Reading: “How to Pray” and “Finding Freedom.”

Loren's and my book, "Doctrines of Demons: Exposing Christian Witchcraft" is available free to download or read on line at this link: https://askcarolynandloren.com/book/