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Posts tagged ‘spiritual armor’

Spiritual Warfare: LIVING IN LIGHT OF THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE

SOURCE:  Pastor Dean/Focus on the Family

Non-Christians live as if God doesn’t exist.

Too often Christians live as if the enemy doesn’t exist.

Yet the Bible makes it clear that we do have an adversary, and he has a terrible plan for our lives.

The apostle Peter put it this way: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

And he should know. Remember Jesus’ words just before Peter’s denial? “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

As to the terrible plan Satan has for people’s lives, Jesus made it very clear that a battle rages in the spiritual realm: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Job, whom God called “a blameless and upright man,” knew just what an accuser this enemy could be (see Job 1-2). So did Joshua the high priest, also accused by the enemy but affirmed by the Lord (see Zechariah 3). Both of these instances pull back the veil that separates physical and spiritual reality to offer an eye-opening look into the spiritual realm.

In light of this, two priorities emerge for pastors and ministry leaders, both having to do with living in light of this spiritual battle. First, we must take seriously the fact that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us.

In the preface of The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis warns: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors.”

Let’s not fall prey to this “lion.” I’ve found the following practices to be helpful in my own life:

  • Start afresh with God every day. A good way to do so is to pray along with the psalmist David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24).
  • Get into God’s Word every day. All Scripture is “God breathed” and quite profitable (see 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Also, keep in mind how Jesus, our example for life and ministry, responded to temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • Pray every day. Jesus taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:9–13), which includes: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (v. 13). Pray on the armor of God. (Prayer and the Spiritual Battle)
  • Don’t give the enemy an inch. Play with matches, they say, and you’re sure to get burned! Give the enemy an inch, and he’s sure never to be satisfied until he has a “foothold” (Ephesians 4:27).
  • Practice praise and thanksgiving, moment by moment. The old adage is, “Garbage in, garbage out.” When you focus on praise and thanksgiving, your heart’s always in the right place to hear from God and resist the evil one (James 4:7).

While the first priority in living in light of the spiritual battle is to take spiritual warfare seriously in your own life, the second priority is to help those around you to do the same. Model and pass along the above practices. Don’t simply make a passing reference to Satan and demons; equip those around you to keep from falling prey to the enemy.

After speaking about spiritual armor for the spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-18), Paul gave a final exhortation to pray: “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (v. 18). We’ll conclude with a final exhortation to pray as well. Indeed, these Spiritual Warfare Prayers from The Navigators will help you to keep your eyes on Jesus, stand firm in the faith, and experience victory in your own life and ministry.

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A LOOK AT OUR SPIRITUAL ARMOR

SOURCE:  Based on MacArthur Study Bible notes- Eph. 6:10-18

A true believer having a Spirit-controlled life can be sure to be in a spiritual war. Ultimately, Satan’s power over Christians is already broken, and the war is won through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  However, in life on earth, battles of temptation go on regularly.  The Lord’s power, the strength of His Spirit, and the force of biblical truth are required for victory.

The armor should be the sustained life-long attire.  Satan’s deception and schemes are carried out by his demons and are highly structured for destructive purposes.  Satan wants us to distrust God, forsake obedience, have doctrinal confusion, falsehood, be hindered in service, be divided, serve in the flesh, live hypocritically, be worldly, and reject biblical obedience in any way.

Belt –   Pulls spiritual loose-ends together in truth – tucks away anything that hinders – Self discipline in devotion to victory;

Breastplate –   The Christian’s chief protection against Satan and his schemes.  As believers faithfully live in obedience to and in communion with Jesus Christ, His own Righteousness produces in them the practical, daily righteousness that becomes their spiritual breastplate.  Lack of holiness leaves them vulnerable to Satan;

Shoes –   It is knowing that through Christ, believers are at peace with God, and He is on their side – confidence of Divine support allowing the believer to stand firm.

Shield –   Basic trust in God – the necessary, continual trust – trust in God’s Word and Promise – all sin comes when the victim falls to Satan’s lies and promises of pleasure, rejecting the choice of obedience and blessing;

Helmet –   Not attaining salvation, but protection against Satan’s weapons of doubt and discouragement to destroy a believer’s assurance – salvation is eternally protected, and one need not fear its loss.

Sword –   God’s Word – the only needed weapon – infinitely more powerful than any of Satan’s.  Used defensively to fend off Satan’s attacks, and offensively to destroy his strategies.

Warfare Praying: THE ARMOR OF GOD

SOURCE:  The Adversary by Mark Bubeck , 74-77)

The following is an example of warfare praying given the reality of Satan, his kingdom of darkness, and the fallen angels (i.e., demons) who align with him.  While Jesus has defeated Satan (Col. 2:15; 1 John 3:8) and our primary focus is to be on the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 12:2), Satan still is a formidable foe of whom we must be aware and prepared for battle (1 Pet. :8-9).

Heavenly Father:

I desire to be obedient by being strong in the Lord and the power of Your might.  I see that this is Your will and purpose for me.  I recognize that it is essential to put on the armor that You have provided, and I do so now with gratitude and praise that You have provided all I need to stand in victory against Satan and his kingdom.  Grant me wisdom to discern the tactics and sneakiness of Satan’s strategy against me.  Enable me to wrestle in victory against the princes, powers, rulers, and wicked spirits who carry the battle of darkness against me.

I delight to take the armor You have provided and by faith to put it on as effective spiritual protection against the spiritual forces of darkness.

I confidently take the belt of truth that You offer me.  I take Him who is the truth as my strength and protection.  I reject Satan’s lies and deceiving ways to gain advantage against me.  Grant me discernment and wisdom to recognize the subtle deceiving ways in which Satan seeks to cause me to accept his lies as truth.  I desire to believe only the truth, to live the truth, to speak the truth, and to know the truth.  I worship and praise You that You lead me only in the ways of truth.  Thank You that Satan cannot stand against the bold use of truth.

Thank You for the breastplate of righteousness, which you offer me. I eagerly accept it and put it on as my protection.

Thank You for reminding me again that all of my righteousness comes from You. I embrace that righteousness which is mine by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is His righteousness that is mine through justification.   I reject and repudiate all trust in my own righteousness, which is as filthy rags.  I ask You to cleanse me of all the times I counted my own goodness as being acceptable before You. I bring the righteousness of my Lord directly against all of Satan’s workings against me.  I express my desire to walk in righteousness before God today.  By faith I appropriate the righteousness of Christ and invite Him to walk in His holiness in my life today that I might experience His righteousness in total context of ordinary living.  I count upon the righteousness of my Lord to be my protection.  I know that Satan must retreat from before the righteousness of God.

Thank You, Lord, for the sandals of peace You have provided.  I desire that my feet should stand on the solid rock of the peace that You have provided.  I claim the peace with God, which is mine through justification.  I desire the peace of God, which touches my emotions and feelings through prayer and sanctification (Phil 4:6).  Thank You that as I walk in obedience to You that the God of peace promises to walk with me (Phil 4:9), that as the God of peace You are putting Satan under my feet (Rom 16:20).  I will share this good news of peace with all others today that Your Spirit will bring into my life and witness. Thank You that You have not given me the spirit of fear but of love and power and a sound mind (2Ti 1:7).  Thank You that Satan cannot stand against Your peace.

Eagerly, Lord, I lift up the shield of faith against all the blazing missiles that Satan and his hosts fire at me. I recognize that You are my shield and that in Your incarnation and crucifixion You took the arrows of Satan, which I deserved.  By faith I count upon You to shield me from above and beneath; on my right and my left; in front of me and behind me, that I might be protected, walled in, encapsulated by You that Satan may gain no way to hurt or destroy me from fulfilling Your will today.  I am willing that any fiery darts of Satan You wish to touch me should do so, but I shall look upon them as refining fires permitted in Your providence for my refining and glory (1Pe 1).

Thank You, Lord, that You are a complete and perfect shield and that Satan cannot touch me apart from Your sovereign purpose.

I recognize that my mind is a particular target of Satan’s deceiving ways.  I take from You the helmet of salvation.  I cover my mind, my thoughts, with Your salvation.  I recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is my salvation.  I helmet my head with Him.  I invite His mind to be in me.  Let me think His thoughts, feel His love and compassion, and discern His will and leading in all things.  Let my mind be occupied with the continuing, daily, saving work of my Lord in and through my life.  May the salvation of my Lord meet and defeat all Satanic thoughts that come to my mind.

With joy I take hold upon the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  I affirm that Your Word is the trustworthy, infallible Word of God.  I choose to believe it and to live in its truth and power.  Grant me the love for Your Word, which comes from the Holy Spirit.  Forgive and cleanse me from the sin of neglecting Your Word.  Enable me to memorize it and to meditate upon its truth.  Grant me proficient recall and skill in using Your Word against all of Satan’s subtle attacks against me, even as my Lord Jesus Christ used the Word against Satan.  Enable me to use Your Word not only to defend me from Satan, but also to claim its promises and to wield the sword strong against Satan to defeat him, to push him back, to take away from him ground he claims, and to win great victories for my God through Your Word.  Thank You that Satan must retreat from Your Word applied against him.

Thank You, dear Lord, for prayer.  Help me to keep this armor well oiled with prayer.  I desire to pray at all times with depth and intensity as the Holy Spirit leads me.  I reject all fleshly praying as sin.  I trust the Holy Spirit to enable me, to intercede for me and through me.  Grant me great supplication and burden for others in God’s family of blood-washed saints.  Enable me to see their needs and to assist them through prayer as the enemy attacks them.  All of these petitions, intercessions, and words of praise I offer up before the true and living God in the name and worthy merit of my Lord Jesus Christ.   Amen.


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