Engaging In Spiritual Warfare

I. The Enemy is real.

"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" (John 10:10).
1. To steal = to take away what rightfully belongs to the Believer through Jesus Christ.

2. To kill = to take away life.

3. To destroy = to undo what God has done or desires to do in the life of the Believer.

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil"  (Ephesians 6:11).
II. Some of the enemy's names according to Scripture are:
A. Accuser of the brethren  = "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night"  (Revelation 12:10).

B. Antichrist = (the one against Christ) "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world"  (I John 4:3).

C. Devil = (false accuser, devil, slanderer) "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil"  (Matthew 4:1).

D. God (god) of this world = "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"  (II Corinthians 4:4)

E. Prince of the power of the air = "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"  (Ephesians 2:2).

F. Satan = (Hebrew = adversary, Greek = accuser) "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel"  (I Chronicles 21:1).

III. How does the enemy enter into our lives?
A. The enemy may come into one's life and set up a stronghold through INVITATION.
This means that we actually invite him into our lives to set up a stronghold. Whenever, we seek knowledge or power from the supernatural other than through God, we are giving the enemy an invitation to come into our souls and set up a stronghold.  This usually happens when we rebel against God or authorities over us.   "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (I Samuel 15:23).
B. A common method of the enemy is through TEMPTATION.
This method is like dangling a carrot before the donkey.  The enemy dangles the pleasure of sin before us.  This quite often comes through the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes.   "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed" (James 1:14).
C. One of the most unrecognized methods of the enemy is through INTRUSION.
He invades our minds through our thoughts, visions, or dreams.  We may have dreams that come though our assimilation the experiences of the day.  We may also have dreams from God, but sometimes we may have dreams that come from the enemy.  Furthermore, we have all had thoughts that we assumed came from self that were condemning thoughts.  Most likely they originated with the devil. "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand" (I Samuel 18:10)
D. Another method which the enemy may use is our unbridled IMAGINATION.
I have had people tell me that I don't have an open mind to their ungodly ideas.   There are some places to which that we should not allow our mind wonder.  "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" (Romans 1:21).  "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"  (II Corinthians 10:5).
E. The enemy often enters the soul of the individual through an EMPTY MIND.
Jesus warns us about an empty mind. "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation" (Matthew 12:43-45).
F. The enemy may also lure us into his trap through INFATUATION.
This may begin through what may seem like a miracle or magic.  People are often lured into the trap through the study of parapsychology or the world of the supernatural.   "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect" (Mark 13:22).  We must remember that the deceiver can do signs.   "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live" (Revelation 13:13-14).  Infatuation, often leads to an obsession which also is a type of bondage in and of itself.
G. Quite often, we people unknowingly open the door to the enemy through UNFORGIVENESS.
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15). "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:15).  When we fail to forgive the offenses of others, we open the door to the tormentors (evil spirits). "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matthew 18:35). When we fail to forgive, we don't receive forgiveness. The enemy has "legal rights" to enter and remain there.  There is also a need to forgive self as well as others.
G.. Many people allow the enemy come in through FEAR, WORRY, or ANXIETY.
We see this clearly in the life of Job.  "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came" (Job 3:25-26). Basically, he was saying that he did what was right, but knew it wouldn't do any good anyway. In contrast, Peter states, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:7-8).  We have the option either to cast all our cares upon the Lord or face the roaring lion and he will devour our lives as he roars.  He is not toothless as some well meaning preachers have advocated.
H.. Some people allow the enemy to come in through STUBBORNNESS.
Stubbornness is doing things your own way in spite of repeated warnings.  Asa got sick and died because of his stubbornness. "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.  And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign" (II Chronicles 16:12-13). A Bible term for stubbornness is "stiffnecked".   "Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you" (II Chronicles 30:8).
I. The enemy may enter through our focusing upon NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.
Some people seem always to look at the glass as being half empty. Ten of the twelve spies that searched out the promised land came back with an evil report because they looked at the negative.  "And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight" (Numbers 13:32-33).   "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).
J. The enemy often enters through the door of  our ANGER.
And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.  And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him" (Genesis 4:3-7).  Cain was "wroth" very angry.  This opened the door for sin into his life.  It was like a wild animal crouched at the door ready to spring through the opening.  "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:   Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:6-27). We are permitted to be angry one day, but not two.  If we remain angry longer than one day, we leave the door to our soul open for the enemy to come into our soul and set up a stronghold.
K. The enemy may enter through GENERATIONAL CURSES.
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" (Exodus 20:5). "Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities" (Lamentations 5:7). We can be born with a bent toward sin without acting upon it.  "I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity" (Psalms 18:23). However, once we act upon it, it become a stronghold of the enemy (a sin habit, an addiction).  However, Jesus came to set us free from generational curses.  "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:13-14).
L. The enemy may enter through WORD CURSES.
There are two sides to word curses.  First, when we place negative judgments over others, we are subject to God's judgment ourselves. "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matthew 7:1-2).  Second,  word curses occur when there is negative communication by words, expressions, or actions by those in authority or those whom you have considered to be in authority over you, including my own words or thoughts.  "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).

    The simple RESOLUTION is that Jesus came to set the captives free and heal the broken hearted. The broken hearted is one with a bruised identity.  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).  Jesus Is Our Substitute.  The part that often seems difficult is discovering how then enemy entered, forgive any offenders, seek personal forgiveness, repent, and kick the enemy out, and then receive healing by faith.
IV. What is our armor?
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  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.  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.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking theshield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"  (Ephesians 6:10-18).

A. Truth = The TRUTH found in Jesus is to be the belt that holds everything up.

B. The breastplate of righteousness = This is the righteousness that we have in Jesus.

C. The gospel of peace = It is the peace that Jesus brings.

D. The shield of faith = This is the faith that we have in the work of Jesus.

E. The helmet of salvation =  This is the salvation that Jesus gives us. It protects our minds.

F. The sword of the Spirit = This is the Word of God, but Jesus is the living Word.

G. Praying in the Spirit = This is praying in tongues according to the will of God.

V. What are our weapons?
II Corinthians  10:3-5  "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)   Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

A. The Word of God.

Jesus used it against the devil.  "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).    "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God"  (Matthew 4:7 ).   "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10).   "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Revelation 12:11)..
B. Meditation upon God.
 "Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me" (Psalms 119:98).  We become wiser than the powers of darkness as we meditation on the Word.  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3).  The mind is where the battle takes place.
C. Revelation knowledge.
"And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits"  (Daniel 11:32 )    "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children"  (Hosea 4:6).
D. The prayer of faith.
 "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him"  (James 5:15). We can take back ground the enemy has taken through sin by praying in faith.   "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.   Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:20-21).
E.  Praise.
"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;  To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;  To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalms 149:6-9).  Praise is described as an offensive weapon used against the powers of darkness (compare with Ephesians 6:10ff).
F. In Name of Jesus.
We can pray in the name of Jesus and command the enemy to leave in the name of Jesus. "And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:18).  "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark  16:17-18).
G. The Blood of Jesus.
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."  The Saints overcame the accuser of the brethren through the blood" (Revelation 12:11).  When we do warfare for others, we can use the blood of Jesus, declaring that they are under the blood.  One can also be free from the guilt from the accuser through applying the blood.    "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).
H.  Submitted life.
In any battle, we must know what the will of God is.  However, we must submit our will to His to receive His will.   "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (II Timothy 2:4). Our attention must be upon Him.   "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
I. Obedience.
When we are obedient God promises:  "The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways" (Deuteronomy  28:7).    "And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them" (Deuteronomy 28:13).
J. A pure conscience.
"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." (Acts 24:16).   "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck" (I Timothy 1:18).
K. Unity.
"How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?" (Deuteronomy 32:30).  Note that there is an increase in power when two fight together.  "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven"  (Matthew 18:19).
L. The Fulness of the Spirit.
"And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians" (Exodus 14:24). We find the cloud as a type of the Holy Spirit.  God came against the enemy out of the cloud.   "Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).

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