Spiritual Warfare

2 Corinthians 4:4: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

1 John 2:11: But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

Colossians 1:13: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Peter 5:8: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

We just don’t talk much about Satan in the church today, it makes us very uncomfortable. After all, he is the prince of darkness and what good does it do to spend valuable Sunday school or sermon time talking about Satan.

The Bible however has a great deal to say about Satan. Jesus in John 14:30 refers to Satan as “the prince of this world.” In this passage Christ plainly states that Satan has no hold on him because Christ was without sin. Because Christ died for our sins, Satan has been defeated and we as followers of Christ must understand that, through the power of Christ’s blood that was shed on the cross, we can call upon the name of Jesus in our battle against the evil one’s attacks.

Paul in Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan, “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Satan is not simply bound to this earth but is a spirit who moves throughout the heavenly and earthly realms to entice people to focus less on God and more of the things of this world.

Satan is exceptionally good at delaying believers from carrying out God’s kingdom work. I started to write this post over two months ago and every time I tried to finish it, I would get distracted and lose my focus or concentration.  I am convinced that the evil one has been doing everything in his power to keep me from posting this blog on overcoming spiritual warfare.

I have been reading an interesting book called The Invisible War, by Chip Ingram that has been helping me to better understand what is happening with the unseen world. Ingram wants believers to know and believe that there is an unseen spiritual world and that there is a constant battle raging for the very souls of everyone on earth.

The following is from Ingram’s book, The Invisible War, in which he writes on the scripture from 1 Peter 5: 8: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

The lion is a powerful image. Lions prowl around for one reason; they are looking for something easy to kill. We usually don’t fall victim to our enemy when we’re strong. He is watching for us at the right time in the right way: when we’re alone, tired, or traveling, or when it’s late at night after everyone has gone to bed. Whenever we may be vulnerable, that’s when something pops up on our computer screen and catches us off guard, or something comes on the TV that we would never watch with someone else in the room. Our initial reaction is shock and dismay, only we don’t change the channel right away, and all of a sudden we’re hooked. Or maybe we’re hurting inside and some false belief system comes our way promising a deeper and more fulfilling experience – outside of Christ. There are too many opportunities for the lion to find us vulnerable, and he knows how to spot them in our relationships, in our work, in our faith, in our spiritual disciplines – everywhere.

Not only does he try to devour us on the front end, he comes along afterward to smother us in guilt and condemnation. “You call yourself a Christian? Real Christians don’t do what you just did. You’re a terrible person, a hypocrite, not even close to the real deal.” The initial temptation is powerful, but sometimes the shame of giving in to it is even worse. He plays us off of ourselves to put us into a downward cycle of failure and guilt.

 Christians who take Satan lightly are ignoring biblical instructions. He is a formidable foe. We need to have a healthy respect for him. Jude 9 says that Michael the archangel, in a dispute with the devil, did not pronounce a railing judgment against him but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” We are not more formidable than Satan, but God is. Our proper attitude is to understand the capabilities of this angelic being and to depend on God’s strength for victory. [i]

I am convinced that we must constantly be aware and alert to the many obstacles that Satan places in our path. We must understand that God is more powerful than anything that the evil one can send our way. We must put on the “armor of God” in order to defeat the relentless attacks of the evil one.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-13: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.



[i] The Invisible War, by Chip Ingram, Baker Books, Grand Rapids Michigan, 2006, pages 44-45.

 

 

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