February 15, 2011
Do you ever feel like you’re fighting an endless battle? The Bible is clear that Christians are, in fact, in a spiritual battle! In Ephesians 6:12, Paul wrote, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The Devil knows that he's already lost us to Christ; he lost that battle. His only remaining opportunity is to engage us in a spiritual battle in order to harm our walk with the LORD. How can a believer be prepared for this battle?
Tactic #1: Choose to Resist the Devil
Praise God that Christians may know that the LORD has perfect authority over the Satan and his demons. So, it comes as no surprise that His words offer the key to winning spiritual battles: In James 4:7, the Bible says, " Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." We’re promised that, when we submit ourselves to the Lord and resist the devil, the devil feels from us!
Tactic #2: Choose to Find Strength for the Battle in the LORD
Praise God, that we don't have to fight the battle our own strength. In Ephesians 6, Pauls tells us that we may find strength for the battle in the Lord, i.e. we can know His strength, His power and His might to overcome the devil. See these verses:
Ephesians 6:10 ¶ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Tactic #3: Choose to Put on the “Whole Armour of God”
The LORD gives us His strength for the battle -- and he equips with the armor that protect us for the battle. In Ephesians 6, Paul implores us to put on the "whole armour of God" for this battle:
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Our armour includes the truth of God's word (v. 14), righteousness that we have found in Christ (v. 14), the gospel (v. 15), faith (v. 16), salvation (v. 17), and the Holy Spirit (v. 17). Also note the critical importance of the "word of God" (v. 17) and "praying always" (v. 18). When the enemy attacks, we need to get even more serious about being in the Bible and prayer. The enemy know that these are powerful weapons. So, he wants us to be discouraged from reading the Bible and from spending time in prayer. Don't allow him to discourage you! Pray and ask the LORD to help you remain faithful to Bible reading and prayer.
Tactic # 4: Choose to Separate from the Ungodly Influences of the World
The devil is a crafty adversary who conscripts the world and the people of the world to aid him in battle. That’s a practical reason why it’s so important for Christians to separate from the influence of worldly friends and other negative influences. And let's be reminded that the LORD has commanded us to do just that!
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 14 ¶ Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers... 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Consider your entertainments and your involvements. And consider your social circle. Ask the LORD to show you if you need to make changes. And draw upon His strength to make changes that will be pleasing to Him.
Tactic #5: Praise God that we’ve been made “new creatures” who don’t have to be ashamed of past sins
Perhaps none of the devil’s tactics is so effective as encouraging us to focus on memories of past sin. However, believers may also know that all of those past sins are 100% forgiven. You've been made a "new creature in Christ..." (2 Corinthians 5:17). "... old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The Bible says that when we are obedient to the LORD, we do not need to be ashamed. In Psalm 119:6, the psalmist wrote, "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." It's those unsaved people who are still living wicked lives who should be ashamed. And Psalm 31:17 says, "Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed..."
The Bible also says that you can have a "good conscience" when you're prepared to give the gospel to those "evildoers" around you."
1 Peter 3:14-17 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye:: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
So, pray and ask the LORD to use an encounter with someone from the past as an opportunity to share the gospel with that person! But also be sure to ask the LORD to protect you from any negative influence as you encounter people from the past.
Tactic #6 - Understand that the battle will end!
The prophet Zechariah reminds us that a day is coming when "all the saints" will come with the LORD (Zech. 14:5) to enjoy a time when the "the LORD shall be king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). And shortly thereafter, the Devil will be bound (Rev. 20:2). Praise God that we may look forward to such a wonderful future with Christ!
Praise God that he has given us all that we need to prevail in the Spiritual battle that He has permitted for this time. Let’s re-commit to availing ourselves of all that the LORD has provided! Let’s recommit to spending time in His word. And let’s get serious about being people of prayer. Lastly, let’s ask the LORD for strength to separate from the ungodly influences of this world – and instead, influence those lost people through the Gospel of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.