<<resisting evil by spiritual means>>
The battle is within and without
the world we live in. The enemy’s strategy is to use fear, temptation, ignorance, deception and bondage to “steal, kill and destroy” but we are to be fully aware of his evil plans and subtle stratergies (Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 2:11). Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him, and Jesus delegated that authority to us (through using His name), to accomplish God’s purposes of enforcing that victory and reclaiming humanity back from their bondage to Satan (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:17,18; Lk 10:19; Act 10:38; 1 Jn 5:19).
The earthly mission of Jesus climaxed on the cross of Calvary where He gave His life as our substitute, paying the price for our sin and so destroying the devil’s hold over us (Col 2:15; 1 Jn 3:8). Although Satan was convincingly defeated he is still actively harassing and attacking humanity, both Christians and non-Christians (1 Pet 5:8,9). While “[God] is able to keep you from falling” we must apply ourselves to walking in the Spirit with a clean conscience, making right choices and guarding vulnerable areas whereby the enemy can gain the advantage, as we contend (in the spirit realm) for the lost to come to Christ and the saved coming into increased wholeness (2 Cor 2:11; Gal 5:16,25; Jud 1:24).
Spiritual warfare must be taken seriously as the opposition and attacks, which are inspired and directed by the rulers, authorities and powers of evil in the spirit realm, must be counterattacked using spiritual weapons that have divine power to demolish their strongholds (1 Sam 17:45; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Eph 6:10-18). Paul uses the analogy of a Roman soldier in his military attire to illustrate the necessity and effectiveness of spiritual armour which is put on before the battle, and when used properly guarantees our victory in the battle against Satan. The Word of the living God (not our opinions or reasoning) is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. Jesus used this approach (Lk 4:4,8,12).
What is your role in defending the Kingdom of God?
schemes our attention should primarily be on maintaining our vital relationship with God, and being under His loving protection so we can utilize His resources, respond to His directives and gain the victory (Jn 5:19, 8:28, 12:49,50). When we are walking close to Him, He promises that no weapon used against us will prosper, for victory is assured – the Holy Spirit who is in us is more powerful than anything else that opposes (Isa 54:17; 1 Jn 4:4). While recognising evil is all around we must have a balanced approach, neither over-emphaising nor ignoring Satan’s involvement in our everyday affairs. Jesus gave us a mandate to continue extending the Kingdom of God using His delegated authority and although it will be difficult, with many opting out for an easier life, it is important to be involved. Then you will be able to say (with humility), ‘I had a part in bringing about God’s purposes for this lost world’ (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-18).
The divine weapons will enable us personally to resist and hold our ground against the evil attacks but we can also go on the offensive and take back from the enemy what he has stolen and demolish spiritual strongholds in the world around us (1 Sam 30:8; Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 10:3-6; Gal 5:1; Col 2:15). Become a skillful warrior in His spiritual army through devotion, discipline, diligence and suffering hardship, helping to win the battle in the spiritual realm by co-operating with the One who ultimately brings good out of evil (2 Cor 7:5; 2 Tim 2:3). Developing intimacy with Jesus through prayer, fasting and worship exerts immense power to change the course of events by enforcing God’s rule in human affairs, and by binding and loosing in the spirit dimension. Our worship directed to God invites His presence and power into our situations – and don't we all need more of Him in our lives (2 Chr 5:13,14, 20:21-24; Ps 22:3). Endeavouring to fight spiritual battles without the Lord's enabling and in obedience to His directions will end in defeat (Num 14:42). The battle must be won in the spirit realm before it is addressed on the human level. Involvement in spiritual battles is not to be taken lightly. Don’t consider a matter resolved by just dealing with the symptoms and not the root issues – like wiping away the odd spider’s web, and not killing the spider, the long-term cause.
Keep your attention on Jesus and your weapons ready for use
desires for it is only by sin he can gain the advantage over us (Jas 1:13-15). Thus, always be on guard for it is vital to maintain a right relationship with God, quickly dealing with any actions, words or thoughts that are not godly and would give a foothold for Satan as he attacks when we are vulnerable (Prov 4:23; Eph 4:27). It also means we are focusing on “He who is for us…If God be for us, who can be against us?...In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”, and whatever is opposed to His purposes will not succeed (Ps 46:7,11; Isa 8:9,10; Rom 8:31,37).
“In Christ we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings...” and so are potential victors (not victims) for “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness...” (Eph 1:3-2:10; 2 Pet 1:3). So use the spiritual weapons at our disposal – the name of Jesus, the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God, and the word of our confession (Rev 12:11). Declare into the spirit realm the promises of God. Be a latter day David fighting the Goliaths of this age (1 Sam 17:23ff). This should be our confident belief, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and bring me safely to His heavenly Kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:18).
Just as Paul urged Timothy to remain committed in the good fight, who do I need to encourage to continue in their Christian walk and ministry (1 Tim 1:18,19). There is no neutral side in the spiritual war, everyone is on one side or the other, for “no one can serve two masters” (Lk 16:13).
See also: armour (spiritual), binding and
blood (of Jesus), declare, deliverance,
fasting, freedom, identity, Jesus/name
opposition, praise, prayer, resist,
Satan, spirit oppression/possession, spirit
spiritual disciplines, spiritual gifts, spiritual
mapping, strongholds, victory, worship.