Spiritual warfare

During the third century when St Felix of Nola was running from his enemies, he took refuge in a cave. Eventually a spider began to weave a web across the small opening, sealing it off and making it look like nobody had been inside for months. Consequently, his pursuers passed by. Stepping out into the sunshine, Felix declared, ‘Where God is, a spider’s web is a wall. And where God is not, a wall is a spider’s web.’

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 25/2/2018

When you are under attack spiritually, it usually signals that God is going to use you to be a blessing; to bless others. The enemy doesn’t attack people who are not a threat; he doesn’t attack people for no reason. If you are being attacked it’s because you are a threat and you are taking ground from the devil. And so he attacks; the devil wants to rob us of our joy and make us miserable, and the main weapon he uses is discouragement. He tries to discourage and deflate us. Discouragement is like a toy balloon with a slow puncture; it gradually deflates a person and drains away strength, hope and joy, until there is no fight left and they are spent. But we need to remember the enemy is a defeated foe. The devil no longer has any authority over you accept, that is, the authority you unwittingly give him. If you allow yourself to listen to enemy propaganda; to his accusations of self-doubt, or fear or weakness; if you start to believe his lies and bluffing and bully tactics, then discouragement and despondency will set in and continue to deflate you until eventually, you are totally spent!

We are so fickle and changeable, aren’t we? We can go from the heights of joy and exhilaration to the depths of despair in less than 24 hours! We so easily forget who we are in Christ and we allow the enemy to gain the upper hand on us!

‘Standing on the deck of a US aircraft carrier, in an historic moment never to be forgotten, General MacArthur walked over to Tojo, the Supreme Commander of the Japanese forces at the end of World War II, and publicly stripped him of all his symbols of power. He took the sword out of his hand, declared victory and enforced the terms of unconditional surrender. – And that’s what Jesus did for us at the cross. Colossians 2:15 says: ‘Having disarmed the principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them.’ – The Japanese Supreme Commander had first wanted peaceful coexistence, then compromise, then concessions. But he got none because he was powerless. In a card game an opponent with an empty hand will try to bluff and bully you. But when you know you have a winning hand you can face him down, because knowledge is power. And your power over Satan comes from knowing that he’s a defeated foe.’

Source: The UCB Word For Today , 26/8/2012

‘We are involved in spiritual warfare but we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from victory because this battle has already been won, and we are on the winning side, but Satan is still a powerful enemy. Satan lost his authority but he didn’t lose his power. The truth we need to realise, and the truth that will set us free, is that Satan no longer has authority. That is the key. Authority is the right to use the power you possess. In order for Satan to use his power in your life, he has to keep you from functioning underneath your authority because his power is only effective when he has the right to use it – that is, when we relinquish our authority and allow him to have power over us.’

Tony Evans, Victory In Spiritual Warfare, 2011, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing, p.42

Spiritual Authority – claiming what you have been given: One day a man was given a special gift – a cruise! He had never been on a cruise before, so he was excited to take his first voyage. The cruise came at no cost to him. The person who gave it to him picked up the entire tab.

Throughout the week on the cruise, one of the crew members noticed that the man frequently ate the free crackers and juice provided on the deck. In fact, he had never seen anyone eat as many crackers as this man did. Curious as to the reason why, the crew member spoke to the man as he was disembarking.

“Sir, how did you enjoy the cruise?”

“It was spectacular,” the man replied, “I have never experienced anything like it before.”

“Very good, sir,” the crew member said, and then he continued. “I noticed that you really liked the crackers and the juice on the deck. I was just wondering – why?”

“Well,” the man replied looking down, “I saw all of the lavish meals that were being offered all week long, but I didn’t have any money. And since the crackers and juice were free, I let them sustain me during the cruise.”

The crew member replied, “Someone didn’t give you all the information. When the price of your ticket was paid, it not only included getting on the boat and going everywhere the boat goes, but also included everything on the boat as well. Your food was covered in the price of the ticket.”

Our faith in Christ, and our salvation not only takes us to heaven but also provides us with everything we need for the journey.

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, Victory In Spiritual Warfare, 2011, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing, p.118-119

Even our great adversary has a fatal weakness. He has already been defeated! Like a boxer who fights on because he will not admit he is beaten. Yet the judges have counted the scores and measured the match, and there is nothing he can do to alter the final verdict. He can still land a bruising blow – but he cannot overturn the result!

Explore Bible notes, 30/12/2007

Victory in Spiritual Warfare: The United States government has what is called a Federal Witness Protection Programme. It is for individuals who are at high risk because they have testified against someone who wants to see them killed. What the government does for these individuals is literally change their identities. It changes their names, looks, social security numbers, and locations. If the people in the programme don’t accept these changes, the government will not guarantee their protection. But when they do accept the changes, the government protects them. – Let me let you in on a secret – Satan is very upset that when you trusted in Christ, you testified against him. In fact, your life is a testimony against him every day that you operate under the authority of Christ. Because of this, Satan is after you to destroy you. But God has put you in His own protection programme. He can change the way you look at yourself by showing you how He looks at you. When you see yourself the way God sees you, you will begin to walk differently, talk differently, act differently, and live differently. You will live in the victory that He has already given you.

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, Victory In Spiritual Warfare, 2011, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing, p.116

Spiritual Authority: [Your home is connected to a local power station via the National Grid and through a supplier, one of the energy companies.] The energy company supplies your home with everything you need to run everything you have that requires electricity. Let’s say you turned off all the lights in your home and were sitting in the dark. It would be foolish of you to call the electric company and ask them to give you more power. All the power you need has already been made available to you. Instead, what you need to do is access that power. You need to flip on the switch, which opens up the flow of the power. Now, what would happen if you called the electric company and told them that all of your lights were off and you needed them to come over to your house and turn them on for you? Do you think they would come? Most likely they would not come because their job is to supply the power, not to turn your lights on and off. It’s your responsibility to access the power. In the spiritual realm, it’s the act of faith that accesses all that’s supplied to us by grace. It’s faith that flips the switch.

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, Victory In Spiritual Warfare, 2011, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing, p.115

Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). If Jesus has all authority then the devil has no authority over us… none, that is, unless we give it to him! The devil has been defeated but he has not yet been destroyed. It’s a bit like what happened at the end of WWII: On 6th June 1944, D-Day, Allied troops landed in northern France to begin the liberation of occupied Europe. The war was effectively won on D-Day and the enemy knew it. It was a re-invasion, and the German armies were forced to retreat until their final defeat almost a year later on VE-Day (Victory in Europe); the 8th May 1945. – Satan has already been defeated but he has not yet destroyed… that will happen when Jesus returns.

‘You are not under attack… the attack is under you. The enemy is under your feet and you are seated above him – in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. So change your perspective. Yes the enemy may be attacking you, but you are not under his attack – you are over them. Speak and act as if you believe that.’

Source unknown

Spiritual Attack: Tony Evans says: ‘You know, I’m awesome when I play basketball by myself, because there is no competition. Put someone in front of me waving his hand in my face, though, and it’s a different ball game. The proof of how good you are is when you are opposed. Do you quit when the devil starts waving his hand in your face? – God allows opposition so that you might prove that “the One who is in you in greater than he is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Satan and his minions were defeated on the cross, and we are now involved in the final mopping-up operation before the return of Jesus. As Christians, we need not be afraid of Satan; he has a great deal to fear from the activity of Christians. We are called to pray. We are involved in spiritual warfare, ‘though the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds’ (2 Corinthians 10:4). Prayer was a very high priority for Jesus, and it should be for us. In the words of the hymn, ‘Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on their knees.’

Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Questions of Life, 2007 edition, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.168-169

Freedom from Bondage: In America on January 1st 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which was as a presidential declaration and an executive order. In a single stroke the law was changed and the legal status of over 3 million slaves was immediately changed from “slave” to “free”. But history records that being legally free can be an entirely different thing from being functionally free. – News of the slave’s freedom didn’t reach Florida until several months after the Proclamation was drafted. News didn’t reach Texas until Union soldiers marched into Galveston a full two years after the document proclaimed their freedom. For years, legally freed slaves remained in bondage simply because of what they thought was true. Even though they were technically free, they had remained virtual slaves; trapped in a false reality because they did not possess knowledge of the truth by which they could escape their bondage.

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, Victory In Spiritual Warfare, 2011, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing, p.109

Jesus gave his disciples authority over the devil and his demons. In Luke 10:17-20 we read: “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’” The devil is a powerful and dangerous enemy but he is also a defeated enemy and he is no match for Jesus, or for those in whom the presence of Jesus resides, through the Holy Spirit. 1 John 4:4 resolutely tells us: The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

As Christians, we should be aware that there is cosmic conflict going on all of the time; it’s spiritual warfare: a world of trouble; a battle between good and evil, between Christ and the devil. Jesus told his followers: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16v33): He warned us that troubles, battles and skirmishes would continue… but, friends, the good news is that the war has already been won and Christians are on the winning side. The war is won and victory has been declared but it has not yet been fully established.

According to the biblical worldview behind all the evil in the world lies the devil. The Greek work for devil, diablos, translates the Hebrew word Satan. We are not told very much about the origins of Satan in the Bible. There is a hint that he may have been a fallen angel (Isaiah 14:12-23). He appears on a few occasions in the books of the Old Testament (Job 1; 1Chronicles 21:1). He is not merely a force but is personal. We are given a clearer picture of his activities in the New Testament. The devil is a personal spiritual being, who is in open rebellion against God and has the leadership of many demons like himself. Paul tells us to take our ‘stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:11-12). The devil and his angels, according to Paul, are not to be underestimated. They are cunning. They are powerful. They are evil. Therefore we should not be surprised when we come under a powerful assault from the enemy.

Nicky Gumbel

Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Questions of Life, 2007, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.158