SPIRITUAL WARFARE

DEFINITION: Spiritual warfare refers to the battles waged by believers against our spiritual enemies–Satan, demons, and the spiritual forces of evil.


FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
There are two spiritual kingdoms. The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:5-6).
The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan himself, spiritual beings called demons, and all people who live in sin and rebellion against God. God’s Kingdom consists of the Trinity of God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, and all people who live in loving submission to Him. Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. There is no neutral ground (Matthew 12:30). You become a resident of God’s Kingdom by being born again and becoming a believer in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

Spiritual warfare began when Lucifer, who was originally a beautiful angel of prominence, rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:7-8).
The spiritual battle was manifested on earth when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

All the battles that you face in life, whether spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or relational are outward manifestations of a direct or indirect spiritual cause. Although in the natural world things often appear to be simply “circumstances” of life, the basis of these natural events originate in the spiritual world. Spiritual warfare is a spiritual battle which is manifested in the natural world.

Spiritual warfare is not against flesh and blood. The battle is against the evil forces that would hinder your walk with God, the Word of God manifested in your life, your worship of God, and your work for Him.

DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
Prepare for effective spiritual battle by arming yourself with spiritual weapons. These include:
-The belt of truth by gaining knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 6:14).
-The breastplate of righteousness–spiritual protection that comes by living the way the Word mandates (Ephesians 6:14).
-Spiritual shoes–protection that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:15).
-The shield of faith which stops the fiery darts from the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).
-The helmet of salvation, which protects your mind, soul, and spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
-The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
-Prayer (Ephesians 6:18).
-The blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
-Your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
-The name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).
-Praise and worship (Psalm 59:16-17).
-Fasting (the books of Esther and Jonah).

Use these biblical strategies to win spiritual battles.
Submit and resist. If you submit yourself to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7).

To resist means to “stand firm against and oppose the enemy at every point.” Do not give place to the devil. Do not leave room for Satan to operate (Ephesians 4:27). Giving “place” to the devil is providing him a foothold from where he can operate in your life–for examples through alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, witchcraft, cults, rebellion, etc. Recover yourself from the devil. You have a responsibility to recover yourself from Satan’s snare.

You must cooperate with God for deliverance (2 Timothy 2:26).
Abstain from fleshly lusts. To “abstain” means “to deliberately refrain evil practices. The lusts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as conduct from which you must abstain. Fleshly lusts war against your spirit (1 Peter 2:11).

Try the spirits.Be alert for the deceptions of the enemy (2 Peter 3:l7; 1 Timothy 4:1).
Reject false teachers. A false teacher is one who teaches incorrect doctrines and fails to live up to the mandates of God’s Word (2 John l0-11).

Lay aside worldly entanglements. To be a good solider for Jesus, you must lay aside worldly affairs (2 Timothy 2:4). Arm yourself with the mind of Christ.The mind of Jesus is not automatically developed in you. You must “let” or “permit” it to be developed (1 Peter 4:l; Philippians 2:5-8; Romans l2:1-2).

Pull and cast down strongholds.One of the goals of offensive warfare is to pull and cast down the strongholds of the enemy (2 Corinthians l0:4-5). To “pull down” means “to take down by effort or force.” To “cast” means “to throw or hurl.” You are told to cast off the works of darkness (Romans l3:l2) and cast out demon powers (Matthew l0:8). You are to demolish arguments and pretensions and to take captive any thought that is contrary to the thoughts of Christ.

Bind and loose. You have the power to bind the forces of evil and loose the forces of good (Matthew 16:19). For example, you can bind the spirit of iniquity at work in the life of a lost loved one and release the spirit of adoption (a ministry of the Holy Spirit) to work in that person’s life.

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15) See also Ezekiel 28:12-19.

“He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30) I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

(Matthew 16:19)
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18)

Read about the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13. Note that strategies used by Satan and how Jesus met each one with the Word of God. 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.” (Luke 10:18-19)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)

…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of
peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

…and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude… (1 Peter 4:1)

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (2 John 1:11)

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)

Read the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:8-22 for further insights into spiritual warfare.
(For detailed instruction on spiritual warfare, obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Spiritual Strategies: A Manual Of Spiritual Warfare” available at http://www.harvestime.org)

The Importance of Looking to the Future Rather than Dwelling on the Past

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Your past shapes who you are. The experiences you have throughout your life play an integral part in how you behave and look at the world. This may not seem like a big deal, but in certain circumstances, it can become a detriment to your success.

Keeping your focus on your past can actually negatively affect things in the future. From your work life to your love life, even your day-to-day things can be affected by an inability to move past negative experiences.

Romance

It’s perfectly normal to feel sad after a breakup, and even spend some time licking your emotional wounds. However, focusing on relationships that are long over is an unhealthy way to live your life.

You can sabotage your future love life by idealizing your ex. This sets up a standard in your mind that no future romantic interests can meet. This robs you of potential opportunities for what could be even greater relationships.

Each romantic relationship, however, has something valuable you can take from it. Allow yourself to learn the lessons that the relationship teaches, then give yourself permission to move on.

Fears

Most fears are caused by prior experiences. People who are afraid of dogs usually had a bad experience with a dog. People who avoid eating certain foods likely had a really bad reaction to that food when they tried it.

While this is a rather indirect way of dwelling on the past, it can close you off to new experiences.

Forgiveness

Grudges can run deep. If a person feels that someone has wronged them, they could be hard pressed to let the person attempt to atone for their mistake.

Anger seems justified in a lot of circumstances. However, forgiveness is a major part of the healing process that can result in a tremendous restoration. People who were once alienated after a falling out can let bygones be bygones and start fresh.

Keep the Past in the Past

After a particularly negative experience, it’s human nature to put some emphasis on it. It’s important to remember that tomorrow is a brand new day. You can choose to start off with a completely blank slate.

Emotional responses are normal and grieving is a necessary process in tragic circumstances, but remaining stuck in that state is the danger. Emotional wounds begin to heal when, after a time of grieving, you move on with your life.

Take time to recover from negative experiences. However, it’s equally important that you make an effort to let bygones be bygones. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Keep a positive outlook, even after a bad experience. Learn the lesson that the experience offers, file it away in your mind and choose to head in a positive direction.

The past has value, and should not be discarded entirely. But once you’ve learned the lessons from the past and gotten all the benefit it offers, take what you’ve learned and use it to move forward with a positive attitude in the direction of your dreams.

Setting Your Life Priorities

He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 New King James Version (NKJV)

Every now and then, you may ponder the complexities and maybe even some chaos in your life. You might struggle to figure out what’s next. Maybe you feel confused at times about which way to go. Have you thought about setting your life priorities to make your life easier?

When you’re struggling to determine what’s important to you, it’s hard to make decisions. What will you do next? Where will you go for the evening? Who will you choose to pass the time with?

Feeling torn between two or more people, places and things is common if you haven’t yet identified your priorities. After all, when you consider everything and everyone in your life as all-equal in terms of their “level” of importance, it’s going to be tough to choose what to do next.

Setting your life priorities is a way of identifying what’s most important to you. Once you determine your priorities, you’ll be pleased with the ease of making decisions and the serenity that comes with knowing you did the right thing.

Establishing priorities also gives you a clearer focus on how to allot your time. If you allot the bulk of your time to doing what’s most important with the most important people in your life, you’ll feel more fulfilled and satisfied with your life experiences.

Common Life Priorities

What might your priorities be? The possibilities are endless. In the list below, you’ll find many common priorities in no particular order. Feel free to use the list as inspiration to help you figure out your own priorities.

  • Family
  • Finances
  • Friends
  • Extended family
  • Work
  • Hobbies
  • Personal appearance
  • Health and physical exercise/activities
  • Nutritious eating
  • “Alone-time” with partner
  • Quality time with the children
  • Playing games on the internet
  • Talking on the phone
  • Watching television

Example of a “Prioritized” Listing of Life Priorities

The whole idea of setting priorities is to put the many elements of your life into an order, with those that are most important to you at the top. Knowing your highest priority on the list is necessary in order to make focused, wise decisions that are right for you.

Consider this next list, which is prioritized, as an example of someone’s life priorities (in order).

  1. Family
  2. Alone-time with partner
  3. Work
  4. Health and physical exercise
  5. Nutritious eating
  6. Friends
  7. Watching television
  8. Personal appearance
  9. Hobbies – movies and reading

Coming Up With Your Own Priorities

Setting your priorities in life may take time and effort. However, taking the time to reflect on your day-to-day life and determine what’s on the top of your list will make your life so much easier. Once your priorities are clear to you, decisions on how to spend your time and with who will be a cinch.

Engaging in this exercise of figuring out your priorities might reveal some things that shock or surprise you.

For example, you might realize that you’re spending most of your time hanging out with friends even though you feel that your family is more important. Or you aren’t taking as much care with your kids as you thought you were.

Regardless of what you discover that you weren’t expecting, setting your priorities now will help you limit or even remove the less-important elements of your life and enable you to focus more fully on what means the most to you.

You can live more joyfully by setting your life priorities. Knowing what’s important to you and devoting your time to those things at the top of your list will ensure you experience an enriched and fulfilled life.Set your life priorities today.

Top 6 Reasons Why You Haven’t Found Your Passion

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Psalm 32:8 New King James Version (NKJV)

Are you living your life passionately? Life is too short to be slogging along without a sense of passion and purpose in your life. However, that’s exactly the way most of us live our lives. What happened to the exciting and ambitious ideas you had as a child? Are they gone forever?

You’re going to have to work diligently at whatever you choose to do if you want to be successful. It only makes sense to spend that time and effort on something that’s meaningful to you. Can you be more committed to your freedom and happiness than you are to your comfort zone?

Find your passion and experience life to the fullest!

Are these reasons keeping you from discovering your passion?

  1. You lack the necessary experience. While a few people choose the course of their lives by the age of six, most of us need more experience to make that determination. You can’t know what it’s like to play the piano, race a car, or write a screenplay until you’ve actually spent some time doing those things.
  • Passion comes from experience. Spend some time doing the things you think you might love to do.
  • You’re too comfortable and have forgotten what you love. Dreams and passion start to die as soon as you take a job primarily for financial stability. You quickly lose sight of what you love to do in the name of comfort and convenience.
  • Spend some time thinking about and experiencing the things you once loved to do. It might spark some new ideas.

  • Avoid being too practical. You’re more capable than you believe. Nearly any passion can be turned into a significant income.
  • Your ideas lack a creative component. People are destined to create something. Whether it’s molding the minds of children in the classroom, designing a skyscraper, or a building a string of dry cleaners, many careers thrive with creativity. No one fantasizes about working in a cubicle.
  • In most cases, your greatest passions and utmost joy will come from something that allows you to be creative.
  • You’re projecting too far into the future. It’s easy to become discouraged if your passion will take a long period of time to achieve. Becoming a rock star or an orthopedic surgeon won’t happen overnight. It’s easy to think that all the steps leading up to a big goal are meaningless.
  • But all of those steps are part of the journey and just as worthwhile. In fact, they’re not just obstacles, but learning opportunities necessary to make your passion a reality.
  • You’re unclear about your values. When your values are crystal clear, it’s much easier to make decisions and plot your course. What’s most important to you? Create a list of your values. You’ll find this exercise is highly useful. It will help to define you as a person.

  • You’re not good at dealing with discomfort. When you think about your passion, you might feel uncomfortable. After all, if you’re sleeping on your mom’s couch with $37 dollars to your name, how will you ever become the world’s most powerful sport’s agent? You must be able to step out of your comfort zone in order to change your life for the better.

No matter how you’ve been living, you can change. The difference between pursuing your passion and taking the safe, boring path is tremendous. Regardless of your age, you can begin living your passion right now. You give your best to the world and your family when you’re excited, committed, and fully engaged.

Experience the Joy of Living on Purpose With a Life Mission Statement

Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
Habakkuk 2:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Do you have a mission for your life? Crafting a mission statement will allow you to live more purposefully. The creation of a mission statement requires that you define your strengths, interests, and values. Once these are known and documented, life becomes much easier and more fulfilling.

You simply have to ask yourself, “Am I living in accordance to my mission statement?

Your goals will become more obvious and you’ll feel more certain and clear regarding your decisions.

Use these ideas to develop a mission statement and take control of your life:

  1. Who are your heroes? Think about those you respect and admire. Consider people you know personally, people you know of, and people from history. What do they have in common? What traits or experiences do these people have that you’d like to see in yourself?
  • Your true-self is closely aligned with those you hold in high regard.
  • Define the person you want to be. Life isn’t only about accomplishments and accumulating a list of impressive possessions. Life is also about the person you become and your contributions. Consider all the roles you might fill over your lifetime and define your ideal person for each of these roles:
  • Student
  • Spouse
  • Grandparent
  • Parent
  • Employee
  • Employer
  • Boss
  • Friend
  • Imagine you’re 80-years old and only have a month left to live. Look back on your life. What would you like to look back on? What do you want to be able to remember? Making a million dollars? Climbing Mount Everest? Starting a charity? Having happy, successful children?
  • Start with the end in mind. Then you can create a path to reach that destination.
  • List your strengths, talents, and loves. What are you good at? Make a list of your natural talents and those areas where you’ve developed the most skill. Include the things you love to do, whether you’re good at them or not.
  • If your mission statement can include or leverage your skills and talents, you’ll be able to accomplish more.

  • By including the things that you love to do, you’ll have a lot more fun!
  • Create a list of purposes. Define the overall theme of your life and list the things that you want to accomplish in your life. Create a mission statement that incorporates all of these things into a central idea. It might require a couple of paragraphs to capture. These could be thought of as vague goals, such as:
  • Alleviate the suffering of others.
  • Fearlessly try new things and visit new places.
  • Make a living in the field of music.
  • Be a supportive and loving parent.
  • Be grateful for all the experiences that enter my life.
  • Be a committed life-long learner.
  • Set concrete goals that support your purposes. Set goals that will ensure that living your purpose is guaranteed. For example, what are some goals that might turn you into a supportive and loving parent?
  • Resolve issues from my own childhood.
  • Read and apply a book on being more patient.
  • Get involved at my child’s school by volunteering.
  • Read to my child each night.
  • Tell my child, “I love you.” at least twice each day.

If you’re feeling confused, or your life lacks purpose, developing a mission statement is the answer. A mission statement creates focus and boundaries for your life. There’s much less confusion when you’re clear about your purpose and goals. Get your life on track with a thoughtful mission statement and live your life on purpose.