Seeking life wherever it is expressed.

Spiritual Warfare – The Practice of Overcoming


 

Spiritual Warfare

The Practice of Overcoming with Truth

Rev.21:7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

 

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience is complete. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Spiritual Warfare is not a fleshly external activity it is a spiritual unseen war fought inside of each man between the thoughts of man and the spirit within man.

Dallas Willard makes this statement and asks this question in a article called- Spiritual Formation in Christ: A Perspective on What it is and How it Might be Done

Indeed, the ‘spirit’ or heart may even be eager (Matt. 26:41), but unless the flesh or embodied personality as a whole is trained to go with it and support it, the follow-through in action will not occur, or will not reliably happen, or may even be in direct conflict with the spirit or will: “What I hate I do!” (Rom. 7:17). While the spirit or heart is the ultimate source of life (Prov. 4:23), we do not live there. We live in our body and its world. Christian spiritual formation works from the spirit or will and from its new life “from above.” But its work is not done until we have put off the old person and put on the new (Eph. 4; Col. 3).

This is an active, not passive, process, one that requires our clear-headed and relentless participation. It will not be done for us; however, we cannot obey Christ, or even trust him, by direct effort. What, then, are the indirect means that allow us to cooperate in reshaping the personality—the feelings, ideas, mental processes and images, and the deep readinesses of soul and body—so that our whole being is poised to go with the movements of the regenerate heart that is in us by the impact of the Gospel Word under the direction and energizing of the Holy Spirit?

The Renewed Mind is not an overnight event – It is the process of victory through the many battles of a the great war that is waged within our belief system and bodies.

We see this story told in the images of Joshua and the children of Israel taking Jericho and the Promised land.

Each Battle that is waged in the promised land represents a stronghold in a persons beliefs. These strongholds of the enemy are simply your belief in a LIE. It is only in believing the TRUTH that our belief’s can change and we can be set free.

Jericho means – City of the Moon. The Moon respresents the seat of our feelings and emotions. One of the first battles a person who is bringing their mind into Christ is the battle to bring our emotions in line with what is really TRUE and not simply what we perceive as truth. Fear is the emotion that must be overcome in all its forms. It is Fear that keeps us from a relationship with the Lord – and it is only in a relationship with the Lord that we will be able to do battle. That is why the First battle is fought by simple faith in Him.

Here is the report that the spies return with after spying out the land God had promised them.

Num.13:25-33 – 25 After exploring the land for forty days….. indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! …..

 

The spies report that the land is just as the Lord has said “BUT” – BUT let me tell what God didn’t tell us – BUT let me tell you my reasoning and opinion on what I saw – BUT let me tell you why WE CAN’T DO THIS.

 

 30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

Caleb believes the Lord – plain and simple – He trusted the Lord above what his own understanding might of reasoned.

 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

 

BUT – Let me tell you about what I perceive with my eyes…….my reasoning….my understanding. Do we have the perspective that the Lord has? Can we see from His vantage point?

The Enemy is a Liar (Jn.8:44) and therefore what we fight are Lies that are often based on what we think we see and not based on what God has said. We trust our natural eyes and the understanding that is perceived from what we see above God’s word.

We can’t go up against them! Lie – Can’t or Won’t

They are stronger than we are! Lie – Stronger how?                                                                       joshua_jericho

All the people we saw were huge! Lie – Everyone was huge?

We felt like grasshoppers and that’s what they thought too! Lie – Mind readers now

The Truth said –

Num.13:1 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel

The same way God brought the people out of Egypt He was now going to give the people this land. Because God has given you new life in the Spirit – This spirit is to be used to renew your mind and give you the freedom and rest from struggle, pain and sin.

When the people were led out of Egypt they declared these things and sang this song to the Lord. What they had just experienced and seen they expressed but over the next few months they would have time to RETHINK and see things in a different way – a more practical way. They had time to “not believe” what the Lord said “I am giving” The enemies lies are subtle and powerful to cause us to not stand with the Lord.

Ex.15:1-20 ……The LORD is my strength ….

He has become my salvation;

The LORD is a man of war;
….O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You;

Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, …..

The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away.

Fear and dread will fall on them; By the greatness of Your arm They will be as still as a stone,
…..

You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O LORD, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.

When they came out they believed the Lord would bring them into the Land – they believed it by faith until they saw it with their own eyes and took what they saw and began to perceive and reason with their thoughts and minds. Through this process the people came to believe something different than what the Lord had said.

The Response of People who are captured by the enemy (in their minds) and believe the lies they are told is to excuse and blame. They excuse and blame because they have allowed their thinking to cause them to FEAR. –

Num.14:1-4 Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”

The Blame game is another way of saying “My thinking and reasoning is fine it is “fill in the blank” who caused me to do the wrong thing. Look at Adam – Gen.3:12 “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.” Its the same as saying to God “I know what you said BUT!!!” But let me explain – But let me tell you why – But I trust in my way of thinking above your words. How do we combat our thinking that leads us to blame and BUT’S!

Our Weaponry and what we fight with is God as our armor. We put on Christ!

Eph.6: 10-17…….Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

……. putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

(NEVER ALONE – WE CAN HAVE A REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS – SPEAKING TO HIM AND HEARING FROM HIM) Putting on the armor of God is putting on a close relationship with Christ. What is a close relationship with Jesus Christ? Well lets just say that you spend a lot of time together and you talk a lot together.

Gal.3:26-28 ……faith in Christ Jesus. And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes. Faith in Christ Jesus…….

Stand your Ground – Together with Christ

Putting on the Belt of Truth – The Truth of Christ is what holds things close to you.

Body Armor of Righteousness – Faith without works The external expression of inward holiness

Shoes of Peace (from the Good News) – Being trained in the WAY of your going.

Shield of Faith – Believe without Seeing or Understanding (You need this for the Dark Nights)

Helmet of Salvation – The Mind of Christ

Sword of the Spirit the Word of God. – Speaking Truth in Love

Speaking the Truth in Love

Our form of fighting is something that many Christians have simply lost. Learning doctrine has taken over the “putting on of Christ”.

Eph.4:13-15 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son,[growing] into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching,by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. (HCSB)

Unity in Faith (Hearing and believing without seeing) and knowledge (understanding without experience)

Mature Man – One who walks in Wisdom (The experience of living out your knowledge)

We all come from a place of being Enslaved to Elemental Forces – The Arrangement of the World.

Col.2:8-10 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head…….

Col.2:18-23 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his fleshly mind. He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.

If you died with Christ to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? All these [regulations] refer to what is destroyed by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines. Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value against fleshly indulgence.

 

Gal 4:8-10 But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

 

Egypt – Elemental Forces- Enslavement to law – Enslavement to right and wrong

Wilderness – We learn to hear and recognize His voice – the Word of God – and He tells us who we are. He whispers in our ears you are holy because I AM holy.

Promised Land – We believe who we are and begin to live who we are “Sons of God”.

 

Jesus engaged in Spiritual Warfare

 

Matt.4:1-11 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

But He answered,”It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

He will give His angels orders concerning you and, they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. “

Jesus told him,”It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.

Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus told him,”Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him. ” Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.

 

#1 Challenge – Question God’s Word as He has spoken to Identity – (To Doubt) The Father had just said at Baptism “This is my beloved Son.

Response of Jesus – I live on the words that come from God’s mouth

 

#2 Challenge –Question Identity in relation to God promises and care for you.. (To Doubt)

Response of Jesus – I won’t test my Father to prove what I already know to be true.

 

#3 Challenge – A short cut in the mission. Makes things easier.

Response of Jesus – I serve and worship my Father only – Go away Satan!

 

Spiritual Battle Over – Victory Jesus

 

What might a spiritual battle look like? (this is very generic – a response can only be generated from that which each individual knows to be true from within themselves)

 

Challenge – You are a Sinner! I see you Sin all the time.

Response – I am a child of God who my Father calls Beloved and Holy one.

 

Challenge – If you are Holy why don’t you act like it? The Bible says 1 Jn.3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Are you claiming that you don’t sin?

Response – I am a new creature born from above. I know my Father through my spirit. My body is still in the process of being purified – my spirit is sinless and it is within my spirit that I abide with my Father.

 

Challenge – If that’s the case and you are free why don’t you let your body do whatever it feels like doing?

Response – I am free and my body and mind are being set free – You will find no home in me – Go away from me you liar. I will not entertain your lies anymore!

 

Gal 4:8-10 But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

 

Get to your Lord – Spend time with Him – Present your thoughts to Him – Let Him get to know you. Your Father wants to know you. The warrior that is prepared for spiritual battle is the one who has allowed Himself to be known by His Lord. The Lord does not get to know you while you just study or read about Him – The Lord gets to know you as you spend time with Him meditating and talking with Him. In is in these times that your mind is renewed. Not allowing the Lord to get to know you is called a lawless life.

 

Matt.7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'” And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s