Stand strong in the Lord spiritually

I confess that this article is just as much self-help as it is written to benefit others. Much of the information in it was taken from the following biblically sound, ever-encouraging website http://www.gotquestions.org:

http://www.gotquestions.org/spiritual-warfare.html

A few nights ago I had a nightmare that made me awaken disturbed and shaking. In it, demons persecuted me mercilessly. They then attempted to drown a man in my dream who was helping me. Unfortunately I tried to save the man using my own power – which turned out to be woefully inadequate – not the Lord’s.

So how do we stand against the forces of darkness? What tools has the Kingdom of Light given us to deal with them effectively? Ephesians 6:10-12 outlines the spiritual armour God has kindly provided to His followers. The first thing to note is that in dealing with evil, we must stand in God’s might, not our own. Even Michael the archangel in Jude 9 did not rebuke Satan in his own power, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee!” He rebuked Satan in God’s name and authority, not his own.

It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that Christians have any authority over Satan and his demons. It is only in His name that our rebuke has any power. As it is written:

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (ie. the belief in – and confession of – Jesus as the Son of God) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Ephesians 6:13-18 gives a description of the spiritual armour God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation (assurance), the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God), and by praying in the Spirit.

What do these pieces of spiritual armour represent in spiritual warfare? We are to speak the truth against Satan’s lies. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we receive. We are not to waver in our faith, no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defence is the assurance we have of salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. We are to follow Jesus’ example in recognising that some spiritual victories are only possible through prayer.

Jesus is our ultimate example for spiritual warfare. In Matthew 4:1-11 each temptation was answered in the same way – with the words “it is written.” Jesus knew the Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. If Jesus Himself used the Word to counter the devil, do we dare to use anything less?

The ultimate example of how NOT to engage in spiritual warfare is the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-16). They were not relying on Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and they were not employing the Word of God in their spiritual warfare. As a result, they received a humiliating beating. May we learn from their bad example and conduct spiritual warfare as the Bible instructs.

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