At the outset, I will warn you that this is a lengthy message. However, it is a very important one, so, I am asking to set aside some time to read it and to open your heart and mind and allow the words to nourish you.
You see, years ago, my wife and I were very active in the area of Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance. While attempting to counsel someone, we often found ourselves confronted with situations that were way beyond normal counseling.
The difference between the two is that deliverance is dealing specifically with demonic bondage and setting people free, where Spiritual Warfare is something all of us do, whether we realize it or not. It is resisting, overcoming, defeating the lies our enemy throws at us. These lies are always found in the form of deception, temptations, and accusations. Or, as I often tell you: TIS, Thoughts, Ideas, and Suggestions.
Jennifer LeClair stated:
Spiritual warfare is real, despite some who insist we don’t have to fight because the devil is already defeated. Spiritual warfare is biblical, despite those who argue we should ignore the operations of the devil. Spiritual warfare is necessary because principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph. 6:12) and other forces are raging against all those who call Christ Lord.
There are two ways you will fight spiritual warfare: offensively and defensively. Offensive warfare is where you tear down a stronghold the enemy has formed in your mind through those T.I.S. The combat part is actually guarding yourself against those nasty schemes the devil has been throwing your way.
Recently, someone took me to task when I said that when someone has multiple personalities and bi-polar conditions we were dealing with demonic powers. To understand that statement, you have to remember that Paul pointed out that we are not struggling against flesh and blood, but rather, against demonic forces. Do you remember that?
“Be forewarned and forearmed in your spiritual conflict. Be strong — not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armor so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil” (Ephesians 6:10–12)
Paul clearly warned us not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices (II Corinthians 2:11). James instructs us to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7). We can’t resist a devil we don’t discern — or one we ignore. Peter warned us:
“Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith and remember that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world” (I Peter 5:8-9)
The Amplified translation of verse 9 says to:
“Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.”
You can’t withstand something you aren’t willing to look at.
Years ago, I was watching a show on multiple personalities, and they were showing, through PET Scans, how every time a new character appeared, it would present a new pattern, proving that we were indeed dealing with a different personality! Doesn’t that sound demonic to you? Just watch this video. You can see this in a brain scan.
Don’t you think that is odd? Each personality is a real “identity.” According to scripture, Jesus dealt with this issue many times: “He cured many who were sick with various diseases and forced many demons out of people . . .” (Mark 1:34), “Demons came out of many people . . .” (Luke 4:41, Evil spirits screamed as they came out of the many people they had possessed . . .” (Acts 8:7), “In the evening the people brought him many who were possessed by demons. He forced the evil spirits out of people with a command . . .” Matthew 8:16). And, we prefer to deny that these are spiritual entities, and believe that we are dealing with simple psychological disorders. That is rather presumptuous.
Later, we are told, Jesus sent out 70 of his disciples to preach the gospel, and now get this, to cast out demons! Ah-ha! When they returned, they were full of joy as they could see that this was a genuine and meaningful ministry. Now for Jesus to send out 70 men and they came back with praise reports of deliverances, tells us that plenty of people in their area needed deliverance! It doesn’t say they counseled them; made them think better of themselves; prescribe medicines for them. No, they delivered them!
“The 70 disciples came back very happy. They said, ‘Lord, even demons obey us when we use the power and authority of your name!’” (Luke 10:17)
So, they are real, they are particular identities, and they are something disciples of Jesus can deal with! But because we have refused to confront these realities, we end up dismissing people’s “issues” as mental disorders, and purely emotional problems. We are struggling with three primary things: Deception. Temptation. Accusations.
Where there is grace there will be conflict. The believer is a soldier. There is no holiness without a warfare. Saved souls will always be found to have fought a fight. It is a fight of absolute necessity. Let us not think in this war we can remain neutral and sit still … We have no choice or option. We must either fight or be lost. It is a fight of universal necessity. … The foe we have to do with keeps no holidays, never slumbers, and never sleeps. So long as we have breath in our bodies we must keep on our armour, and remember the enemy’s ground.
Deception: When the enemy is deceiving you, he is an attempting to cause you to believe something that is simply not true! We are listening to his lies and end up under his influence! The strongholds that are being built in our lives are the result of his deceptions. That’s right! When deception takes hold in a person’s mind, a stronghold is created. The simplest explanation I can find to explain this is that “a stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that stems from believing something that is not true.”
From the very early events of creation, we see that Satan deceived Eve into believing that God’s Word was not true.
Temptation: Quite simply, a temptation will always follow a deception. First, the enemy tells us, “Oh, don’t worry, you won’t die!” Then he makes that fruit look pretty good to us. In Eve’s case, she was tempted (enticed) to sin because she allowed herself to first be deceived.
In Matthew 4, we are told that Jesus was led out to the desert so he could be tempted by the devil. In one situation, the devil tried to convince Jesus that it would be harmless to jump off a building. Often people will be so drawn to sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend or someone other than their spouse when the enemy tries to convince them that it is all harmless and fun. But it is not harmless at all, but an open door to the devil. Jesus saw through Satan’s deception and resisted the temptation by speaking God’s Word. King David said:
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalms 119:11)
If you aren’t hiding the Word of God in your heart, you will indeed sin against Him.
When the enemy tempts you, he is showing you the worm, but my friend, behind that worm, is a hook! Well, the Word of God helps us see the “hook” behind the worm! Without the Word, you will remain blind to his deceptions.
Accusations: Scripture tells us that the devil is known as the accuser of our brothers and sisters (Revelation 12:10). He often takes a believer who has done something embarrassing or some gross sins in their past, and continues to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation.
Well, when that happens, grab the “belt of truth” and the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:14-17) which is the Word of God. Both of them represent the truth which is found in God’s Word. This is why they are given two different names (a sword and a belt). One is meant to be defensive, while the other is meant to be offensive. In fact, the Word of God is both an offensive and a defensive weapon.
You use the belt of truth (God’s Word) to guard against the enemy’s deception (his lies), while you use the sword of the Spirit (also God’s Word) to tear down existing strongholds (the deceptions that have taken root) in your mind.
Paul instructed us:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your mind . . .” (Romans 12:2)
Oh? That can be done? Yep. By getting in God’s Word and allowing our minds to be renewed and fixed on His Truth! In another letter, Paul referred to this process as “washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:26)
James told us to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). But my friends, don’t just read that portion of the text; in the same verse, we are also told to draw near to God! Dealing with our enemies temptations is a two-fold process of resisting the devil and drawing near to God! The closer our fellowship to our Father becomes, the more we become aware of His Grace (or His ability), and the temptations will have less power in our lives.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (The context of that verse is clearly speaking of temptation) (James 4:7)
The fiery darts of the enemy in Ephesians 6:16 are the accusations we continually hear. For example, when the devil tries to accuse us of our past sins, we are to have faith in the work of the cross and know that they are forgiven and to no longer look back! Faith is what we use to put out the fiery darts of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16). We are not to meditate about our pasts because they have passed away (II Corinthians 5:17), and our sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17).
“Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (knowing your sins have been forgiven through your faith in the work on the cross), and having on the breastplate of righteousness (not our righteousness obviously, but the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus)” (Ephesiians 6:14)
Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), but because of the work of the cross, we can receive the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22, Galatians 3:6). So, when the enemy tries to remind you of your past, tell him it has been washed away (II Corinthians 5:17), your sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17) and you have the righteousness of God (Romans 3:22)! Go ahead, stand up and shout, “I am no longer a slimy worm, I am the very righteousness of God!”
As Watchman Nee taught:
The finished work of Christ really has gone to the root of our problem and dealt with it. There are not half-measures with God. He has made full provision for sin’s rule to be utterly broken
Jesus’ blood has dealt so effectively with our sins, our Father will never remind of our sin or even bring them to our attention. The are gone and forgotten! Just like the Law once separated God from sinners, the blood of Jesus now separates sinners from their sins, making them perpetually clean in the sight of God! Do you understand this? It is done, completely finished.
If you continue to fixate on the lies our enemy is spouting, a stronghold will be built within your mind. By listening to those lies, you gain an incorrect view of your Father. You will believe that He doesn’t love you, isn’t concerned with your welfare, etc. You will feel like a dirty old sinner as Satan continually reminds you of your past (which has been washed away!). All of our strongholds are based on lies from the devil. They can come in the form of deception or accusations. And the accusations always lead to guilt and the feeling of unworthiness, which weighs you down and tears you apart spiritually.
Because the strongholds are built on lies, the only way we can tear down those strongholds is by feeding on the Truth of God’s Word, which is the opposite of what the enemy has been feeding us. If the enemy has been feeding us a lie, we need to stop feeding on the lie and start feeding ourselves the truth. The weapon we use to tear down strongholds is found in Ephesians 6:17, “. . . take in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.” A sword is an offensive weapon and is meant to tear down and kill the enemy’s troops. Strongholds are the devil’s assets in war, and he uses them against us. Take up the sword of the Spirit today, and start slaughtering the enemy’s assets that he has been using against you!
I found a good teaching on Strongholds that will give you a much better understanding of how strongholds work in your life and how you can tear them down.
I also have some very good books on spiritual warfare that I enourage you to read:
Joyce Meyer and Battlefield of the Mind
Kim Freeman and Basic Training
Derek Prince and Spiritual Warfare for the End Times: How to Defeat the Enemy
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.