Saturday, October 12, 2013

Don't Fight The Devil

by Donna L. Watkins

Paul is teaching the believers in Ephesians how to stand in our authority over the devil. It's a well-known passage since it describes the armor of God that we are to put on. Many years back in the mid-90's, I was given a CD that had dramatic background music and a strong voice addressing these verses step by step as you went through the process of putting on each piece of the armor and then going into battle with the enemy and all spiritual forces in the heavenlies.

It was quite stirring as you might imagine and was supposed to build up my faith against the devil, but it sure seemed to imply that it was a major battle and that the devil was one strong warrior. It made me feel like I had to put a lot of time, energy and mental reinforcement into fighting these battles of life. Admittedly, it did stir up my soul (flesh) and bring excitement as I imagined and fought these battles in my mind.

As I studied this portion of Scripture in Ephesians 6 a couple of months ago I realized how differently I view those verses now. Jesus gave His disciples power and authority over the devil, but there is no implication of a tug of war going on. There is nothing I can find in Scripture that tells us we are to fight the devil. Jesus gave us authority over him.

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).

"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matthew 10:1) Also told in Luke 9:1.

This is what Jesus taught about how we are to handle the devil. So how do we use this power? With great struggle and battle? I Peter 5:7-9 tells us to "7. Cast all our care upon Him; for He cares for us. 8. Be sober [calm], be vigilant [watchful, cautious]; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: 9. Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 

Most times the middle verse 8 is quoted by itself and vigilant seems to indicate a continual battle with a powerful force [lion], but when you continue on it tells us how we do this: "resist stedfast in the faith."

Jesus told us, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Anybody living for Jesus and making Him known will have trouble. The devil can't take our salvation away but he would like to kill, steal and destroy our witness to others of the love of Christ and the Gospel [good news].

Colossians 1:13 tells us "[God] delivered us out of the authority of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" You have been delivered out of Satan's dominion. You have been "translated into the kingdom. You are free. If you don't feel free it's because you do not yet believe this to appropriate the power of it.

© Donna L. Watkins
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Let's go back to Ephesians 6:10-17 and look more closely at what it is saying:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

I can see how our flesh wants to rise up and conquer and defeat the Enemy in our own power and strength, especially for men who have a warrior mentality anyway being God's designated provider and protector of a family. But the first verse tells us that we are to be "strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS might," not our own.

Another realization is that when you go through all the pieces of armor you will notice that it's all defensive, not offensive other than the last part mentioned about the word of God. It's also the "armor of God," not our own armor of flesh and might. We "gird our loins with truth" and have a "breastplate of righteousness" with our feet prepared for "the gospel of peace." The "shield of faith" is to "extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

Notice that truth, righteousness, peace and faith are all spiritual terms. This battle is waged from within our own state of mind. How we think will determine who wins, not our shouting and glorifying the devil with our thoughts of how powerful he is. "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4). We have the victory with the only weapon mentioned in the Ephesians account of how to battle him: with the Word Of God! When we implant His Word and Truth into our hearts to the point that we believe what He says more than what we see in the natural, we will overcome.

James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

We have to be submitted to God, walking with Him daily and in relationship as He intended for us to have, just as He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden. That was God's plan for mankind: relationship. This immense, awesome, amazing, incredible, mighty and wonderful God who measured the waters of the earth in the hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens in the span of His hand (Isaiah 40:12) wants to be our Abba [Daddy].

The power to live this life victoriously is in the Word of God. Christianity Today did a study last year that reported 80% of churchgoers do not read the Bible. Is there any doubt as to why there is no obvious difference between Believers and non-believers? Acts 17 speaks of Believers who were known to have "turned the world upside down." Christians were known in those days.

© Donna L. Watkins
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It is more gratifying to the flesh and soul to be doing something more than being spiritual to win our battles. We relate to God through our spirit. We were created spirit beings with a fleshly body and a mind to make choices. What we think on will control our body and our lives.

What we believe in our hearts is key to the amount of success and peace we have in our lives on earth. It's not the knowledge we've stored up, it's what is Truth. If Christians aren't reading the Bible how do they even know what Truth is? The Holy Spirit was given to us to guide us but we have become so spiritually desensitized that most Christians say they can't hear God.

What we feed into our minds will show what we consider most important in our lives. Is it television portraying so much of what the Word calls evil? Bad reports all day long (news)? Gossip that corrupts our soul? Proverbs 18:8 says, "The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts."

The world has a fascination with gossip making talk shows and grocery store tabloids popular. What do we read? What do we listen to? Is there any wonder minds are in such confusion? Consider these things that you might find peace in this life! There is so much unforgiveness, greed and strife. The Bible says, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16).

We have forgotten our "first love" or maybe we never experienced God's love in our salvation experience because it was just a method to avoid hell, not explained as a way to have eternal life with our God.

Do you know what eternal life is? Most Christians think it's living forever in Heaven. It is not. Jesus told us what it was in John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." It's to know Him! Isn't that amazing? For 60 years of my life I thought eternal life meant I got to live forever in Heaven. Everybody lives forever! Nobody ever dies. They go to the arms of Jesus or the horrible alternative.

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (I John 4:15-16).

Love is the key. Have you come to know the love of God? Do you know that He is love?! He put all our sin and judgment on Jesus and we can now have the relationship Abba Father had with us at the creation of our world and we have dominion of the world as we did before Adam gave it away to Satan. We now have power and authority over the Enemy, given to us by Jesus Christ. In HIM is our might and it's a spiritual might, not fleshly. We overcome by His blood, not by screaming at the devil or rebuking him till you wear your mind out.

If we know Him and love Him, our faith is full and we fight with the spiritual weapons He gave us. Choose LIFE that you might live!

Related Articles:
A Focus on Love
Does God Punish Us?
What Does God Want?

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