“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Many years ago, while in Vietnam, we were well trained by Marine Scouts stationed nearby. One challenge they put me through was to infiltrate our own lines by crossing a 50-yard open space of nearly white rolling sand . . . in daylight. With a covering of a dingy and partially shaded sheet, I slowly cut through concertina wire and began an extremely slow crawl across the hot sand. It took me more than three hours to slither across those 50 yards. Those on the parameter knew I was attempting this, and so they were watching very closely to catch sight of me. Proof of my success would be the evidence of my powder grenades marking their foxholes. I made it across our defensive lines totally undetected. Of course, training was intensified after this.
Beloved believer, when the evil one attacks you unnoticed, he has a major advantage in this spiritual warfare. To recognize Satan’s advancing tactics is a long step toward his defeat. Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)
When you “watch,” you become aware of your attacker and the strategy he is “tempting” you with. This is vital to withstanding and defeating him.
Satan’s foremost activity in the world is in gaining control of human beings in thought and action; he targets our minds. It has been rightly said that the battleground in spiritual warfare is the mind. His power in this is largely dependent on human cooperation. Sadly, he appears to be doing quite well in this.
Our enemy, the devil, the evil one, has two determinations for launching out against us undetected. One, he wants to get us far from God and useable to Him and keep us that way. Secondly, he wants to steal our peace, power, and joy. If he is successful in stealing the individual Christian’s peace, power and joy, he then has a shot at weakening the church by hindering our fellowship, unity, and koinonia. He divides and conquerors.
Our only true enemy, Satan, uses two lines of attack to defeat man. He tempts. He attacks.
“Temptation” is an attempt to stimulate us to do wrong; to lead us by much or by little, away from the righteous path.
“Attack” is an attempt to injure us regardless of our consent. He tempted Eve. He attacked Job. He did both with our LORD Jesus.
Temptations are directed toward everyone, whether saved or lost, but the types of temptations used are wisely crafted to meet the target’s known weaknesses. Beloved, do you know your weak areas of life? I know you do; you had better be on guard.
Attacks are often used toward those who effectively resist the temptations offered by the evil one. Apparently, when he fails at tempting, he then moves toward attacking. Dear Christian, remember Job . . . God had high regard for Job . . .
“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8)
For temptations to be successful, Satan needs our approval. With his attacks toward us, he does only what God approves and within the limits God sets for him, thusly he injures without our approval. But also, be aware, if he fails with one temptation approach, he will likely try again with a slightly different appeal to us. Keep in mind, if we did not want to do what he presents, it would not be a temptation; neither would it be a pleasing sacrifice to God when we stayed away from it. The victory in temptation is the dying to self, or the fleshly desires.
What are good believers to do? What are the bona fide strategies that we can depend on that Satan fears with a respect that cannot be refused?
First of all, we can take courage and hope in the words of the Apostle John in Revelation 12:11—
“. . . they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Hebrews 13:12 tells us that “Jesus also suffered . . . in order to sanctify the people through His own blood.” God wants us to be dead to sin, to be free from the prison of sin that previously damned us. That is why He gives us the power through the victorious blood of Jesus Christ, to be cleansed from our sinful behaviors.
The name of Jesus, the Victor, carries authority that executes signs and amazement and set the enslaved free from sin and Satan’s conspiracies.
The next advantage a believer must grasp to defend against the devil is persistent submission to the LORD Jesus! Also, from the writings of the Apostle John in his Gospel in chapter 15 we have the “key” to an effectual life for the Christian/disciple of Christ—
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
We are commanded, as followers of Christ, to “walk in the Spirit” and walk implies continuous action. I often speak of a deep, personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This intentional relationship is a power for the believer.
Finally beloved, we have the encouragement of our Victor, our LORD Jesus Christ, as He answered the disciple’s request to “teach us to pray.” His response was instruction, key elements to prayer, and power released through praying—“deliver us from the evil one.” (The LORD’S Prayer—Matthew 6:9ff) The word “deliver” could rightly be exchanged with the word “rescue”, thereby, “rescue us from the evil one” (Satan and his realm).
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Dear Christian, America is barely treading water, gasping for air and strength to prevent going under for the third and final time—America needs a Church at her best in the power of the blood, the name of Jesus, and His mighty and protective rescue (deliverance) from the evil one. The church right now is anything but her best in Him. Beloved, be a hero. Make a difference. Pray On!