Of all the passages in scripture that address the issue of spiritual warfare, these are two of the most well known:
II Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
I Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Whom ye resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
The issues touched on in these passages are paramount. Satan utilizes a lack of understanding and discernment to his advantage. Like a particular public figure who once stated “let no crisis go to waste,” Satan utilizes opportunities that would not exist in the life of one who was knowledgeable in how he functions. Once a beachhead has been established, he launches out in all directions; working to neutralize, and eventually destroy the one who unwittingly opened a door. Sometimes the assault will result in endless turmoil and drama. Other times, it may be a lulling to sleep of the victim by keeping the agents of chaos away from them. Each case is catered to the primary leanings of the individuals old nature, but the endgame is the same. It carries the person away from the Lord Jesus by causing them to focus their attention toward things that do not carry over into the realm of the everlasting.
The list of ways that people open themselves up to such assaults from the enemy includes, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Focusing on carnal issues: prophetic – There seems to be a lot of saints who are consumed by things coming upon the earth, to the point that the eternal perspective becomes…….almost an afterthought. This camp consists of patriots, survivalists, news junkies, those looking for a political solution, and the like. (survival skills are a good asset to have and being informed is important, however, they should not be allowed to eclipse eternal matters.) The trend of their dialogue, the links that they share on social media, and what have you, all focus on earthly events. And while many of these reports are prophetically significant, neglecting to place them into a proper perspective, can cause folks to become overwhelmed. When people are overwhelmed, they make bad decisions…….and this plays into the hands of an enemy who knows how to make the most of everything that we give him. (Matthew 14:30 comes to mind…..look to Jesus)
2. Focusing on carnal issues: worldly – The list stretches beyond the horizon. Careers, sports, endless remodeling projects, material acquisition, continual studying things which have neither eternal significance or practical application, endless pursuit of the next big thrill, runaway foolishness (note to self) slothfulness-just “hanging out” while ones moment of departure draws increasingly closer, diverse idolatries……Satan literally has “something for everyone” as he skillfully employs the three lusts to keep his captives from considering eternal matters…..and what their current situation truly is. Those who know not the Lord Jesus are consumed by these things, just as we all were, prior to having a supernatural encounter with Jesus. But when a professing Christian is overcome by these, it is a shipwreck in the making. (Matthew 13:22 comes to mind. When a person is in a patch of thorns, they become paralyzed. All of their energy is consumed by trying to navigate through the contrary vegetation.
3. Not recognizing the perimeters of the battle – A few days ago, I became aware of a cult that calls itself a christian church, however, the leaders are subjecting those beneath them to classic mind control methods to keep them in line. This group is headed up by three guys who refer to themselves as “elders” and have control over every aspect of life within the sect. The more that I learned, the more maddening it became…..until once again, the Lord had to remind me of where the real battle lies. These elders are not the enemy, but the enemy was using them to gain bonus miles….by getting into my spiritual backfield and drawing my attention away from where it should be. Without a doubt, they are engaging in wickedness, however, the real enemy is Satan, who is seeking to destroy all who are in this group. The focus must be on the souls who are in peril.
Lord willing, there may be more about the aforementioned group in an upcoming post. They provide a textbook example of a cult that can appeal to “the elect.” Many of their members are younger adults who came out of bible believing families.
4. Compromising truth in exchange for anything that one would think themselves to be accomplishing by doing so – This takes on a myriad of forms, from the faulty notion of “being like the world in order to win the world” to condoning an ever-widening circle of unscriptural beliefs that are being embraced in order to “just get along.” Compromising the primary doctrines of biblical Christianity is the primary identifier of the great falling away. Whenever a person embraces a redefinition of truth that’s contrary to scripture, they are embracing a lie that was birthed in hell. Embracing a lie always leads to promoting a lie, and such a one will seek to draw others into agreement with the lie. Embracing error, will carry a person away from God on a rail. If not identified and repented of, it will eventually compel a person to disregard the authority of scripture, as they work frantically to support the lie. Most of the souls who become partakers of the great falling away, began down that direction with the noblest of intentions.
Hmm. Noblest of intentions……like Perry “Noble?”…….I’m sorry……I should delete this……and yet, he is attempting to redefine scripture……he has a huge following of people with itching ears…….so I’ll leave it.
Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
5. Lack of a love for the truth. This is the gateway to the problems outlined in number 4. When a person begins to slip and waver in their faith; whether it be the result of other priorities taking the lead position in their lives, a falling for the clever words of one who believes a lie and makes it look desirable, or simply vintage laziness, when one begins to no longer hold truth in high esteem, they are embarking on a slippery slope toward the pit. It should be noted, that, once a person reaches the point of fully embracing a lie, they may become twofold more the child of hell than the one who led them into the lie. The pride associated with this “new revelation that few are privy to” oftentimes solidifies the deal as such a one can no longer discern between truth and error, or make serious independent inquiry as to whether or not these things are true.
Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you scribes and Pharissees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
I Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
6. Peer pressure – not wanting to go against the flow – This has been, and will be in the future, the downfall of multitudes. It begins with a quiet neglect to speak truth when the current company is condoning a lie. It concludes when those embracing a lie will not longer be content with one simply sitting out the conversation, but will demand an embracing of their evil. We see this in the purest form of Islam, where a non-muslim must either embrace their religion or die. We see it in the sodomite community where, it’s not enough for us to “let them be.” They must parade their evil in public, demand that the church embrace it, and seek to have laws enacted that prohibit any action or speech that supports the biblical view on the issue. Like all such groups, they preach tolerance and “just getting along,” however, they are the most intolerant of people when someone disagrees with their situation.
I recently saw a quote that read “speak the truth; even if your voice shakes.” In other words, make sure that every syllable coming out of our mouth is truth…..even if our speech is not eloquent…..even if we struggle…..even if our discomfort in doing so is obvious. Speak truth. The enemy will attempt to chip away at our resolve; not with big things, but with little diversions from truth. Diversions that we may even be lured into believing are necessary in order to make progress. (such as “being like the world in order to win the world”…… it’s blatantly erroneous!)
7. Opening doors to the occult – A loss of a love for truth may eventually cause a person to engage in activity which is strictly forbidden in scripture. King Saul is a textbook example of this. He started out well and even prophesied among the prophets. God made him king over Israel, but trouble soon developed. He began doing things his way instead of following the exact instructions from the LORD. Self-will (rebellion as the sin of witchcraft) envy of David, and other associated problems of the heart, carried Saul far away from “what could have been.” He ended up consulting with the witch of Endor for direction, who, after fulfilling Saul’s request prepared his final meal. She provided comfort for Saul and his company, before they headed into the night.
When a person gives space to seducing spirits, their actions will become increasingly contrary to scripture; even to the point that they begin practicing what is strictly forbidden in scripture. There are churches today….huge churches…..that engage in occultic practices unaware. Emptying ones mind, channeling, seeking experience without trying the spirits, engaging in pagan practices such as yoga; many today have opened themselves up to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The fruit will always be carnal. I came across the testimony of a man who had been present at the “Toronto blessing” event. He talked about how wonderful it was and the warm fuzzy feelings that came with soaking prayer. After a few weeks, however, he began to notice something. The attitude of everyone around him was…….very carnal – very fleshy and unspiritual. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit; no matter how many lofty speeches, upbeat songs, and strobe lights one tosses into the mixture.
I wanted to get into the more direct elements of spiritual warfare, but it will have to be in a later post down the road. Nonetheless, each of us have a bible, and a person who is born again has the Holy Spirit abiding within. Scott Johnson recently passed along a question that he was asked when he was new in the faith and was being drawn to an erroneous teaching. A pastor asked him words to the effect of “If you were alone, and had nothing but a bible, would you have reached this conclusion?” Scott told how this question caused him to really begin investigating issues based on scripture and not based on somebody’s book…..or a particular groups doctrine. And likewise must we do…….search the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth.
Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Blessings in Jesus name.