Tag Archives: Spiritual Authority

Standing Firm (Part 15)

Let’s start with the most important thing first. To begin with—you must know that you know that you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Do you? I am not asking you if you walked a church aisle, talked to a preacher, knelt at an altar, or prayed a prayer. I am asking you—do you know Jesus Christ personally? That is, have you the experienced the life-changing transformation he brings from the inside out from having a genuine relationship with him? Have you placed your complete trust in him? You can’t stand firm if you don’t know Jesus.

People often confuse church attendance, baptism, Bible reading, prayer, giving, mission work, or ministry as evidence that they are saved. Busyness and church activity do not save you—Jesus does! Do you know that you know that you know Jesus Christ? This is not a hope so, this is a know so. Are you intimately acquainted with him? Only you and God know the answer to this question beyond a shadow of a doubt. Make sure your answer is yes—not maybe—not I think so—not I hope so.

Secondly, do you understand what that relationship entitles you to? Have you grasped and begun to embrace the benefits of those blessings? It is far more than a free trip to heaven for eternity. It is far more than just eternal life. Have you grasped what it means to be in Christ?

Being in Christ means you have a secure position of victory. Jesus has defeated the enemy and you are in Christ, which means as long as you rest in that positional security you cannot be defeated. According to Ephesians 1:3, God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Every means all! In other words, what Jesus possesses right now is available to you because of your position in Christ.

Most believers have no clue of the power or potential contained in these blessings because they have been taught that those things are only available once you get to heaven. Listen closely, eternal life began the moment you came to faith in Christ. You need these things now to live the abundant life Jesus promised. We won’t need spiritual armor or spiritual gifts in heaven. We won’t be doing spiritual warfare up there. Much of our spiritual inheritance is available now so that we can live obediently and faithfully as son and daughters of the King.

God has equipped us for kingdom living, but we must embrace our position of being in Christ to fully experience it!

Standing Firm (Part 14)

The ancient Chinese General Sun Tzu once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” These are wise words that every warrior should heed.

We must know our enemy, but it is just as important that we know ourselves. We must discover and come to grips with who we truly are—that is, the real me. Most of us fall into one extreme or the other—we see ourselves as abject failures who can’t do anything right, or as overwhelming successes who can’t do anything wrong. Neither extreme is true. What each of us need is a realistic, credible assessment of our own strengths, limitations, and weaknesses, as well as a biblical understanding of who God says we are. All these components reveal the real you and the real me.

The ability to stand firm on a consistent basis demands that I know who I really am. You can bet your enemy knows. He has studied you. He has the latest intelligence on who you are and what you will do in any given situation rather than the inflated assessment of who you wished you were or what you hope you will do. He is betting on your natural tendencies, your engrained belief system, your learned habits, those hidden spiritual strongholds, and those unhealed wounds from your past—as well as your physical and emotional limitations.

Each of us must take a long hard look at who we are. This is not a condemning look, but rather a realistic look. If each of us understands our strengths, limitations, and weaknesses, that information will make us better warriors because it will drive us to the feet of Jesus. It will (or should) convince us of our utter dependence on him. Otherwise, we are deceived by who we think we are. The apostle Paul put it this way, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is nothing” (Galatians 6:3). And—deception is one of the enemy’s most valuable weapons.

Therefore, the next few blogs will be a tool to help us evaluate ourselves, not some other brother or sister. That responsibility rests with them and the Lord!

Standing Firm (Part 13)

The archangel Michael binding Satan.

This blog is a word to the wise when it comes to dealing with the enemy and standing firm so that we might enforce the victory Jesus Christ has already won at the cross. A great deal of faulty or bad teaching has infiltrated our ability to stand firm against Satan. Some are lies or propaganda embedded in our belief system by the enemy to throw us off and others are human attempts to concoct a system that is always successful if one simply works the system.

Often people work out a ritual or prayer that contains precise phrasing and exact words that must be recited in an orderly sequence. Others have been taught that if you pour oil here and sprinkle holy water there and say “in Jesus name” while wildly waving a cross and tossing salt, the devil will flee. All of these items can be used by the Holy Spirit, but none of them alone or in a ritual guarantee the enemy will flee. None of them are silver bullets. They are simply tools.

God’s word tells us to “submit ourselves to the Lord and the devil will flee.”  Submission means that you bow your knee and your heart and you surrender your will to the will of God. Listening to the Holy Spirit’s instruction is the key element in defeating the enemy. He will tell you exactly what to do and when to do it. That’s how Jesus defeated the enemy. In one instance the Holy Spirit reminded him of particular verses he had memorized and read and Jesus then quoted the verses. It was the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’s life and his obedience in that moment, and it will be the same empowerment of the Holy Spirit and obedience in our lives if we are to see the devil flee.

Let me say it again, it is not rituals or words strung together. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that causes the enemy to flee. And every attack is different. We can learn things through experience and study, but each time the enemy attacks, the upper hand is gained when you listen and do exactly what God’s Spirit directs you to do.

One last thing, I hear far too many Christians pray “I bind you Satan!” and they think their prayers are accomplishing something. They are not! You cannot bind something on earth that has not yet been bound in heaven. Satan has been loosed until the return of Christ—that is Bible! So stop praying ineffective prayers and start standing firm against him. Satan will only be bound temporarily when Michael, the archangel, puts him in the abyss for one thousand years, and eternally, when God casts him into Gehenna, the fiery hell of eternal torment prepared for the devil and his angels. Otherwise, he ain’t bound no matter what you or anyone else prays! We can bind the work of his emissaries and his demonic spirits when they step into the physical realm to harass, tempt, or attack us. But there is no comprehensive prayer that binds his whole kit and caboodle.

Satan is betting you don’t believe what Scripture teaches. He betting you believe the fairy tales, fables, and folk religion you’ve been taught. He is wagering you haven’t taken the time to see what the Bible clearly teaches about him. He is not afraid of rituals, folk remedies, or what Aunt Susie claimed would work. He only fears Jesus and those who are covered in Christ’s blood and know how to respond immediately and confidently in faith to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

So we must walk daily in the victory of Jesus Christ. We must understand what the Bible teaches about our enemy. We must know it, believe it, and walk it out! Then and only then will he flee from us.

Standing Firm (Part 12)

Lucifer’s personal rebellion led to an angelic insurrection in heaven as one-third of the heavenly host followed him and were banished from the third heaven—God’s personal abode. The shining one became the fallen one, the prince of demons, and his followers, demonic angels. Therefore, in spiritual warfare, we face a well-organized army arrayed in ranks—rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness.

The name Satan means adversary and devil means slanderer. He is our adversary and is called the accuser of the brethren who accuses us night and day before God. We can gain great insight into our opponent if we pay attention to the names the Bible affixes to our enemy. He is called the evil one, the tempter, the prince of this world, the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air, the old serpent, the dragon, the worthless lawless one (Belial), and the lord of the flies (Beelzebub).

Just remember the devil is not the Hollywood horned figure with a pitchfork. Instead he is a master of disguises and deception. It seems he can appear in different forms depending on the temptation or deception. The apostle Paul tells us he can even materialize as an angel of light—one of God’s elect angels. He is a powerful creature who lost his authority, but not his power or abilities when he fell.

Jesus tells us he is a cold-blooded murder and a liar. He wants to kill you and he will even quote Scripture to you in the process, but he will always twist its meaning and make it a lie. Satan is a liar. Demons lie. That’s what temptation does. It lies to you, telling you God is holding back something you should have. A temptation is nothing more than the presentation of an illegitimate solution for a legitimate need. A temptation is a lie perpetrated against us by the father of lies.

Jesus also calls Satan a thief and in John 10:10a he discloses the enemy’s sole purpose: “The thief comes only to steal, kill (the word is slaughter), and destroy. . . .” The idea that you can make a deal with the devil is ludicrous. It is laughable if you think you can outsmart him. He makes no deals except the ones that will benefit him and eradicate you.

He is a formidable foe with great power but no authority. We are not called to outsmart him or even outfight him. He is far stronger than we are on the physical level. He is mentally faster and far smarter than we are. Therefore, we must learn to live, breathe, and walk in the victory of Jesus Christ, who has given us both his authority and his power.

Standing Firm (Part 11)

We have an enemy whose sole purpose is to eradicate, annihilate, and wipes us off the face of this earth. He hates our guts with a passion unlike anything we might imagine and he will do anything—anything—no matter how despicable, dirty, dishonest, or debauched it may be. In simple terms, he wants us D-E-A-D!

He is not human, not flesh and blood. He is a spiritual creature, an angelic being who is the embodiment of pure evil. He is wickedness to the nth degree.

Yet most of us have a different picture of who we think he is. Most of us envision a red creature with a pointed little beard, beady black eyes, horns on his head, a pointed tail, and a pitchfork in his hand, who will get you if you don’t behave. Our images are borne out of bedtime tales of the boogey man rather than the Bible.

We have been told his kingdom and the domain from which he rules is hell, which it is not! He does not work out of a corner penthouse office in hell. In fact, he has never been to hell and has no desire to visit. For most people these caricatures are what spring to mind when they think of the devil. This is the enemy most of us think we know, but this is not the portrait the Bible paints.

If we are to stand firm we must know our enemy. We must be able to identify him in a lineup. We must know who he is, what he can do, and what he cannot do. This knowledge, to be useful on the battlefield, must be up-to-date, factual, and realistic, or we will be underprepared, and thus unprepared for his attacks. Both are simply descriptions of defeat.

A famous Chinese general, Sun Tzu, once wrote, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will suffer a defeat. If you know neither you enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Let that resonate for a moment in your spirit and soul.

Most believers have no clue who they are and even less about their mortal enemy, so they live a defeated life. If we simply recognize and realize what the Bible teaches about Satan, many of us could increase our chances of being victorious on the battlefield from 0% to at least 50%. It is essential that we know our enemy.

Therefore the best place to get our information is not from historical pictures painted by humanist painters, or from the mascots of sports teams, or from Hollywood movies, or speculative fiction, but rather from Holy Scripture.

Satan is an angelic being, one of the cherubim. He was once a part of this angelic order whose responsibility was to guard the very presence of God. He was the chief cherub, according to Ezekiel 28:12-15, the anointed one who covers or guards. He is one of the most powerful angels God created. Don’t forget though, he is still a created being.

He was full of wisdom and exquisitely beautiful. He was known as “the Shining One”  In Hebrew or Lucifer in Latin. From his description, it is possible that he was the worship leader of heaven. One thing is for sure, he was the most beautiful angel created and he began his existence in the very presence of God.

—But he no longer enjoys that premier position—things changed!

Standing Firm (Part 10)

The Stronghold

The key to winning the battle of the mind is to realize you have a new heart and mind available to you in Christ. If we utilize these elements we can always find the door of escape when temptations arise and then slip through it.

When we came to Christ we received a heart transplant. God removed the old heart of stone and replaced it with a new one made in the image and likeness of Christ. This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them” (Hebrews 10:16). The writer of Hebrews is quoting Jeremiah 31:33. Because of our position in Christ, we have his heart.

We also have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16b says, “. . .But we have the mind of Christ.” That is, we can know exactly what Jesus would do in every situation if we simply allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. We also find this promise in 1 Corinthians 2:12-13: “Now we have received, not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit of God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words”

These available abilities in Christ allow us as spiritual warriors to be transformed by Christ, rather than conformed to the image of this world. Our minds can think like Jesus, but we have to exercise them and rid them of the lies we have believed. Lies provide construction material for Satan to build strongholds in our minds. Strongholds are fortresses of wrong thought, unbelief, or disbelief. These stronghold color how we think and act. They also create fear, insecurity, anger, or uncertainty at the most inopportune moments during the heat of the battle. These are the moments God want us to step out in faith, but strongholds if not dealt with, will cause us to freeze up in fear. That stronghold is like a remote control the enemy uses to control us from a distance. When he hits it, we tend to pause, act inappropriately, or panic and  run for our lives.

These strongholds of wrong thinking must be dealt with. They are also prisons that chain our minds in bondage to a particular belief system or thought pattern. Jesus gave us his mind so that we might take our mind captive and lay siege to these citadels of sin. We can regain control of the battlefield, but only if we deal with the enemy’s playground lurking between our ears. We must take every thought captive and deal with it.

The Siege

Perhaps you need to lay siege to some of the strongholds Satan has erected in your mind. They are footholds of enemy occupation within you. A stronghold is a traitor in your camp—in your mind. In the heat of the battle a traitor will turn against you and deliver you over to the enemy. You cannot defeat the devil if you are always fighting yourself.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any stronghold of wrong belief. Acknowledge how it got there. Ask God to forgive you. Renounce it! Throw the grappling hooks of faith over its walls and breach those walls with the battering ram of God’s Word, which is truth.

Take back the ground the enemy has taken in your life, and then get ready to advance in power across the battlefield. If the enemy has no ground in you—he cannot stop you.

Standing Firm (Part 9)

Watch out for those fiery darts!

What consumes your thinking? What are the issues, dreams, or fantasies running laps like a track star in your head right now? Are they wholesome or destructive, good or evil, productive or worthless? You are the sentry who stands guard at the entrance to your mind. Whatever you allow to squeeze in has your permission to be there. It is your mind after all.

The mind is the battlefield on which spiritual warfare is first waged. It is the first line of defense. Therefore it is very important to learn how to defend it and wage warfare from a mind set on Christ.

The enemy’s favorite tactic is to launch a fiery dart (a thought that opens one up to temptation, elicits a wrong emotion, or spurs a bad idea or action). In ancient warfare, arrows were dipped in boiling pitch and set afire. They were designed to set anything they touched aflame. When a fiery dart hit, the burning tar would splatter, throwing tiny droplets of liquid fire everywhere, creating multiple fires and panic. This is what the devil wants to do in our mind. If he can set it ablaze with a thought, he will simply stand back and watch us burn.

His goal is to entice us to conform (to be pressed into a mold) to the world’s belief system (his own personal system in disguise) rather than God’s. Consequently, he will tempt us with was is exciting, popular, satisfying, or intriguing. He will present good and normal things that are legitimate needs, but his goal is tempt you into satisfying those things illegitimately. Temptation is a trap he presents, but you have to jump in it for it to be successful.

The devil cannot make you do anything. All he can do is pitch the bait and stir up your thought life. He needs a partner to be successful. That is why it is so important to protect your mind. What you spend time things about for long periods you will eventually do.

You cannot stop the thoughts from coming. They are like arrows being shot at you by the enemy. But, you can decide which ones you will allow to cross the threshold and remain. We are to take every thought captive. That is, to stop it at the entrance of our mind and question its value. You would never let a stranger in your home without asking a ton of questions and verifying the information. Don’t allow the strange thoughts the enemy sends knocking entry either.

Shut the doors of your mind and install some screens on your thinking. Look hard at what you allow to enter through your sense gates. If you don’t want Satan to build a vacation resort in your head for him and his demons, then don’t be deceived by those invitations he sends through the mail to your mind. Deal with it like you do junk mail—throw it in the garbage in Jesus name!