Spiritual Warfare; Now more than ever! Part I
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13, NKJV
As Christians, we’ve all heard one of these verses before…or maybe, the entire passage, which includes Ephesians 6:10-20—the spiritual warfare instruction manual. But have most of us really sat down and meditated on what it really means?
We live in a dynamic world full of many pleasures, wonders, Godly things, and un-Godly things. We live in a time where temptation comes before us several times a day, everyday. We live in a very self-centered time where everything is about me—self-conscious, self-respect, self-esteem, self-righteous, self-indulgent, self-confident, self-medicate, self this, and self that…is the word self-ish included in that list? I think so. The world and the cultures are always changing; unfortunately, where God (Yahweh) is concerned, it’s not good.
Do you realize that everything that happens in the physical happens in the spiritual realms first? I would ask you to take a moment to ponder what I’ve just said. Now that you’ve thought about it, you have to begin to grasp it. This is why what you speak is so important. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So we can see here that faith is substance. When we think of faith, we think of it as a thought, a feeling, or an act…and it is; but it’s also substance. How? Because, with faith you are creating an actual substance in the spiritual realms. This is hard for us to comprehend in the flesh, but the spiritual is more real than your flesh is. Oh, but you can see your flesh, so therefore it must be more real, right? No! You were a spirit before you became flesh…your spirit was breathed by God into your mother’s womb.
So when you are walking around all day complaining about your circumstances, you are giving it substance in the spiritual realms. Ever notice the bad things you fear so much inevitably happen for the most part? Because, as human beings, we tend to have more faith in the bad things than we do the good. It goes both ways, unfortunately. Faith is faith. So take that faith you have that something bad is going to happen and turn it around; you’d be able to part seas and move mountains because most people have an unfathomable amount of faith in the negative.
Make it happen in the spiritual realms first by speaking it, in the name of Jesus, of course. Speak it all day, every day. When you catch yourself saying something negative about your situation, immediately repent for unbelief, and rebuke it; following it up with the example Jesus gave us when He was in the wilderness, “For it is written…..” and quote a Bible passage that goes in accordance with what you’re praying for. Even go so far as to pay attention to your thought processes; take a moment throughout your day as much as you can to visualize what it is you are praying for in your mind as though it’s happening. If your foot has been bothering you for years off and on, picture Jesus walking up to you and touching your foot, and then imagine yourself leaping up in joy and running ten laps around your neighborhood…free, and overjoyed.
So far, we have discussed that everything happens in the spiritual realms first; we have discussed how things in the spiritual realms do have substance, just different than what we’re accustomed to; and we have discussed what we speak, and what we think.
Let’s delve a little bit deeper into our thoughts. Two questions: How does God speak to us? And, how does the enemy, Satan and his dark angels, speak to us?
When anyone speaks to you, they speak it to your spirit. Your spirit hears it as a thought from your own mind. There is no burning bush, talking mules, or nasty monstrosity that steps out from your closet in the middle of the night..it’s thoughts. For example, I’m on my way home from work. The route I normally travel is dangerous today because at the same time I will be crossing that intersection, a car is going to come flying through and it’s going to hit my car. God, in an effort to protect me because I do not know this, speaks to my spirit, but here’s how it comes across to me. “I think I’ll take the other way home today, just for the heck of it. There’s that yard I really like, and eventually, I want to make my yard look like that.” Or, “I need to stop off at the store and get that flour I need for the cookies. I’m not making them until this weekend, but I’ll just get it over with now.”
In opposite, when Satan and his demons speak to you, they do the same thing. Everything has been going wrong. Your boss has been short with you for the past few weeks, your kids are getting into trouble at school. Your spouse has been preoccupied with other things and there hasn’t really been very much closeness. The bills are piling up, and you can’t seem to pay them off. Everything that could go wrong is going wrong. You used to smoke, and you used to drink, but you gave it up several months ago. “I think I’m going to go buy a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of wine. I deserve it. One time isn’t going to hurt everything. Who cares what anyone thinks, they do what they want to do all of the time..I should be able to as well. I’m a good person ,and there’s nothing wrong at all with a couple of cigarettes and one small bottle of wine. If I don’t do it all of the time, then it’s okay.”
Now the kingdom of hell knows that if they can get you to buy that pack of cigarettes and drink that wine, you’re going to go right back and fall prisoner to it all over again. It may not be this one time, but then the next time is going to be easier, and before you know it, you’re drinking and smoking again just like you used to.
Then there is our mind, oblivious to any other presences whatsoever.
So how do we know the difference? That’s a good question. We’re constantly waging war in spiritual places, and believe it or not, your angels are always warring for you in the heavens. But when you don’t pray enough, or spend enough time in God’s word, your angel/angels can only do so much for you. When you speak doubt and unbelief, you are commanding your angels in spiritual places not to do anything to help you.
The way we can tell is first of all, by comparing it to the word of God. If your thought doesn’t flow exactly with God’s word, than you can bet it’s either from your own mind, or Satan. And Satan, by the way, has had thousands of years to practice deception; so you’d better believe he’s going to make your thought sound like it’s okay, or even sound as if it did come from God’s word. There are just certain circumstances, we’ll call them the neutral zone, meaning, they aren’t comparable to the Bible, and they aren’t evil. These are the most frustrating things because then we have no clue what to do, so we have to pray about it, and pray about it, and the just take a step of faith. Sometimes, God wants it this way because He watches us all of the time. He enjoys seeing what we’re going to do in much the same way a parent enjoys seeing their child take their first steps alone. The child may fall, but they’ll get right back up and keep trying…and sometimes, the parent has to allow the child to fall or it will never learn to walk. The mother or father has not left the child to walk alone because they are there cheering the child on; only, the parents are not holding their hand at that moment.
God is with us, and God does hold us within His loving arms, but there are times He’s just with us watching and waiting, letting us learn to walk in faith. If we don’t ever do it, we’ll never learn how to trust Him. (to be continued)