Spiritual Warfare We have an adversary who opposes those of us who have made a commitment to Jesus Christ to follow him. This enemy, the devil, focuses on trying to stop us from being effective in our own lives as well as trying to stop us from impacting others for Christ. This enemy is very real and lives in a realm, the spiritual realm, that we cannot see, touch, feel, taste, smell, hear, etc. This realm can only be detected spiritually which is why people who do not know Jesus a lot of times will not believe that such a realm exists, yet it does. It is every bit as real as anything you can see in this world. The Bible tells us that there are rulers, kingdoms, dominions, powers that exist in the spiritual realm that impact our daily lives and the lives of everyone in the whole world. I do not tell you this to make you afraid of them, but only to enlighten you to their presence and to prepare you for the battles that you will have with them. The kingdom of darkness, ruled by Satan himself, is becoming very active in these last days, we must be watchful and ever vigilant that we do not become deceived by them or worse yet, seduced into joining them. Who is the devil? The devil is an angel, created by God, who served in God's own court. Apparently this angel was very beautiful and skilled in music and other forms of worship to the Lord. According to Isaiah 14:12-15, this angel became filled with pride and selfish ambition and even plotted to overthrow God himself. He was cast out of Heaven along with the angels who chose to follow him. About a third of the angels in heaven chose to follow Satan and were cast out with him. The number of these "fallen angels" is not known to us, but the number possibly exceeds one million. These fallen angels, headed by Satan, have formed what we know as the kingdom of darkness. There is no redemption for these angels, they served in the presence of God and chose to rebel against him and are now reserved for the Judgment of God at the end of this current age. How does the devil and his kingdom affect me? To understand this question, we have to look back to Genesis and see what existed then. Adam and Eve were in a perfect garden, the Garden of Eden, made by God as a home for his prized creation, mankind. There was no such thing as death, disease, starvation, war, famine, pests, weeds or anything else that would cause harm in the garden. Adam and Eve were created to have an intimate relationship with God, daily walking with him in the garden. This relationship was intended to continue for eternity. Death was not even a question; all in the garden would live forever, then came the devil. In Genesis 3, Satan is introduced to us as "the serpent". This serpent came to Eve and asked her a question, "did God really say?" If Eve would have taken the question to Adam and Adam would have taken the question to God, then the fall of man would never have occurred in the first place. We would all be living in a garden prepared by God for all of us. There would be no death, pain, sickness disease, war, etc. Unfortunately, that is not the way the event played out. Eve listened to the serpent and ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God had told them to eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden EXCEPT for this one. This tree and it's fruit were placed off limits by God as a test of our loyalty to him. When Eve took of the fruit and ate it and then gave it to Adam who also ate of it, death was pronounced upon all of us by God himself. We were at that time, Satan's property, we rebelled and joined Satan's kingdom of darkness. You see, Adam and Eve committed the same sin that the devil did, they wanted to be like God and even become gods themselves. This placed us in a different "timeline" of events from what God had planned for us in the beginning. Instead of living forever, death was pronounced upon the entire creation, mankind, animals, plants, the earth itself and even the heavens above. It will all pass away in the end and must be recreated by God without rebellion ever tarnishing His creation. So as you can see, the devil has already affected our entire lives and even our eternal destination even before we were born! Today, when we are born, we are born in sin, that is the sin nature is present in us and we are by nature the enemies of God. (Romans 3:9-20) All we have to do to stay allied with the devil and end up in the place that God has prepared for the devil and his angels, is nothing. That's right, nothing. We are born destined for hell, we need Jesus to change our eternal destination. God did not choose this for us, but rather, we chose it for ourselves back in the garden. God was gracious enough to provide a plan of salvation for us to redeem us back to himself, but we must act to receive his redemption. So what can I do to defend against satanic attacks? In order to defend against the attacks of the devil we first need to take a look at how our Lord handled his encounter with the devil and his temptation. In Matthew 4, Jesus is led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil himself. Jesus was hungry, having fasted for forty days, so the devil starts with "if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." It is important to note how Jesus answered the devil during this temptation. He answered the devil with the Word of God. Jesus quoted scripture to the devil, he answered, "It is written, man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." So taking the example of our Lord, answer the devil with the scriptures when he comes to tempt you. If he is trying to get you to commit adultery, answer him with Exodus 20.14 "You shall not commit adultery." Stand on God's word and God will make you to stand through any storm that the devil can throw your way. Another essential truth in defending against the devil's attacks is taken from James 4:7, this is key to our victory over darkness. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Submit to whom? God. This is extremely important that we learn this lesson early. If we are walking through life according to our own desires, we will not have victory over the devil and he will take us captive at his will. If we obey the scriptures and "submit to God", then we will walk in victory over the darkness. When the devil is pressing us, we first submit ourselves to God, then we simply resist the devil and he will have to flee from us. A word of warning here: do not under any circumstances disrespect the devil. Jude 1:8-10 says this: "Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves." This is a trap of the devil, don't let him get you into it. When even the archangel, who knows the devil and his demons personally, does not speak evil of them or rudely to them, then it behooves us humans who have never seen them, to speak with respect to our enemies. Just answer them with the word of God, or a solid NO! and stop speaking to them. Let the Lord handle the judgment of them! I have heard Christians take off on some five minute tirade rebuking the devil and saying disrespectful things and I noticed something; the devil always seems to be hanging around these people. How do I walk in victory over darkness? First, submit yourself to God and do what His Word says to do and do not do the things that his word instructs you not to do. This is the most important part of being a Christian. We must read the bible and not only read the word, but DO the Word of God. If we don't do what the word says, then we will not be helped by it. Secondly, pray that God will deliver you from temptation and give you strength to overcome it. Finally, praise and worship the Lord continually. These things will help us to walk in victory over the kingdom of darkness if we will just DO what God expects us to do. This message is an introduction to spiritual warfare. There are many books written on the subject as it is a very big subject. I will be writing more advanced messages on this subject in the future. For a new believer, this message will get you started walking in victory, read your bible daily and grow in the grace or our Lord Jesus Christ.
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