Saturday, July 29, 2017

Spiritual Warfare: Ten Things You Need To Know

 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, 
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds..."
2 Corinthians 10:4

In this post and this post, I mentioned that God has been teaching me about spiritual warfare.
The training exercises have been intense and unforgettable.
The hardest-learned lessons impart the deepest and most long-lasting learning.
Any wisdom we acquire in this Christian life is worth whatever we have to go through to glean
because it better equips us to overcome and conquer in future spiritual conflicts.
Just as it takes time and experience for a soldier to become seasoned and tempered for combat,
so it goes in the Christian's life.

I shared before that God led me to take on a very exhaustive ministerial endeavor.
What I didn't tell you is that it took me a little while to surrender to what He was asking me to do,
and, when I finally surrendered and said, "yes" to God, it didn't take satan long to launch what has been one of the most fierce, cruel, extreme seasons of spiritual warfare I have battled through yet.
I said "yes" to God's call on a Wednesday, and, I kid you not, the brutal attacks began on Thursday.

Not only do the hardest-learned lessons impart the deepest and most long-lasting learning,
this learning can come by no other means than a first-hand, personal walk-through of the experience.

So, for quite some time now, I have been engaged in what feels like hand-to-hand combat with satan himself.
Aren't we all?
This fight is not unique to me.
If you are a Christian, if you are sold out to God, determined to follow Him whole-heartedly and have made up your mind to live your every moment in alignment with His Word and will,
you are either IN a spiritual battle, or there is one looming on your horizon.
Not to be negative, just telling it like it is.
It is not a matter of if you will be called out to the battlefield, it is a matter of when.

Here are ten things I've learned about spiritual warfare that I hope you will find beneficial.

1.  Prepare for war in the time of peace.
The time to prepare is when times are calm...on those precious, ordinary days.
Oh, that we would all learn the true value and worth of an ordinary day!
It is too late to try to prepare when thrust suddenly onto the battlefield.
Use lulls in between battles and moments of reprieve as opportunities to reload, regroup, and to set in motion a game plan for the next attack.
The secret to victory lies in adopting a proven strategy ahead of time and strictly adhering to it, regardless.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
 Benjamin Franklin

2.  Study your opponent.

Who is he?

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:14

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience..."
Ephesians 2:1,2

How does he operate?

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
I Peter 5:8,9

What have you learned from his past maneuvers?

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
Zechariah 3:1

When has he been most successful in discouraging you?

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

Where does he spend his time?

"And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
Job 1:7

3.  Be always on guard.
You never know when the enemy will pounce,
where temptation will present itself,
or what channel he will decide to use.

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
I Corinthians 16:13

Watch and pray.
The disciples slept and later failed when it mattered most.
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:41

"Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."
Psalm 121:4
Unfortunately, our adversary never sleeps, either.
Don't think for one moment that he ever lets up or falls down on the job.

4.  Build a Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
(Read about this, and find 30 Scriptures here and 20 more Scriptures here.)
Learn from Jesus' example.
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.
And when the tempter came to Him, he said, if Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But He answered and said, 'It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'
Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto Him, if Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, 'It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'
Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, 'Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'
Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."
Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus Christ, our Example, absolutely overcame satan and all of his temptations and tactics every, single time by quoting the written Word of God out loud.
This is how you and I will overcome, too.
Keep your Massive Scriptural Arsenal well-stocked, at all times.
Produce their power by SPEAKING them in the face of satan and his ploys.

"Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee..."
Job 22:28

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

5.  Be sure to include many praise verses in your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.

The prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah 61:1-3 says,
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified."

Jesus came to give the garment of praise as an exchange for the spirit of heaviness.
The enemy will not stick around where praises to God are being uttered.

Here are ten praise verses to enhance your arsenal.

"I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies."
2 Samuel 22:4

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ..."
Ephesians 1:3

"The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt Him."
Exodus 15:2

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
Revelation 5:12

"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
Psalm 22:3

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
Ephesians 5:20

"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people."
I Chronicles 16:8

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15

"I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee..."
Daniel 2:23

"I will extol Thee, my God, O king; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."
Psalm 145:1-3

6.  Memorize every verse in your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
It sounds like a lofty goal.
It isn't that difficult.
If you are going to be prepared to fight and successfully overcome the enemy the way Jesus fought and conquered him, you are going to have to know the Word of God.
Write Scripture verses on index cards or post-it notes and tape them on your bathroom mirror,
on the dashboard of your car, in the corner of your computer screen, on the back of your phone, 
on your refrigerator or microwave door, or wherever you are most likely to see them.
Repeat them out loud throughout the day.
Let them permeate your personal space and surrounding atmosphere.

7.  Keep a song of praise in your heart at the ready.
When King Jehoshaphat was faced with a battle that he could not, humanly, ever hope to win,
he developed an unusual, but simple and perfectly successful, military strategy.
He prayed to God, and he sent singers of praise out BEFORE the army.

"And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.  And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten."
2 Chronicles 20:19-22

As a result of the singers going before the army, God fought the battle FOR them,
and they did not have to lift a finger to fight!!

"I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."
Psalm 104:33

"Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers."
Jeremiah 20:13

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him."
Psalm 28:7

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High..."
Psalm 92:1

8. Study and learn from great warriors.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."
Hebrews 12:1
Think Joshua, David, Jehoshaphat, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Inundate your Massive Scriptural Arsenal with their words and quote them out loud in battle.
Old Testament battles are types and shadows of our spiritual battles in the dispensation of grace.
Think Peter, Paul, John.
Study their battles and the New Testament books they, through Holy Spirit inspiration, penned.
Think a Godly mentor from your past, a hero of the faith you have read about and admire, 
or a current pastor or spiritual leader who lives a holy life.
Read about the saints of old and replicate the spiritual weapons they used and wrote about.
How did they run a successful Christian race?
I guarantee that two common threads you will inevitably find is that they live(d) a life of fervent prayer, and their Scriptural arsenal is (was) abundantly armed.
Emulate that.

9.  Set Ebenezer stones to mark places of victory.
"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us."
I Samuel 7:12
Set your own Ebenezer stones in place.
Look back on them later for encouragement.
Start an Ebenezer stone journal.
Read it when faced with a new spiritual challenge.
The same God Who brought you through before will bring you through again.
You can trust Him.
He never changes.
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

10.  Keep your armor on.
Don't ever take it off.
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
Ephesians 6:11-18

God has provided for ample protection, if only we will pick up our armor, put it on, and never take it off.

2 Peter 1:10 says, 
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall..."

May God bless each one of you and keep you ever faithful at your post of duty.
God has placed you where you are for a Divine purpose.
I don't know what your individual battle entails, but I do know that God is with you always.
Through Him, you are more than a conqueror.  (Romans 8:37)
Since God is for you, who can be against you?  (Romans 8:31)
Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.  (I John 4:4)
There are more with us than be with them.  (2 Kings 6:16)

Be courageous in your battle, and know that God is ever on your side!
As the song below says, "we must soldier on!"

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  1. That is some serious wisdom, Cheryl. I know that it was earned and awarded to your by our Father. Thanks for the encouragement. Praying for you, sister.

    1. Thank you ever so much for your kind words and faithful encouragement, brother. God bless you for the blessing you are to my family and me.

  2. Thank you for this post, Cheryl.

    God bless.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Victor. God bless you, too.

  3. I get very caught up in the here and now, so I need reminders like this that our "battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of wickedness." Thank you, Cheryl.

    1. Yes, it is so easy for us all to do this. Thank you so much for your kind words and visit, Michele. God bless you.

  4. It's very late here but I have decided that tomorrow morning I will print out all of the scriptures you have listed in your posts to set about memorizing the ones I have not committed to memory yet. Thank you for your commitment to our LORD and for the time you take to write these posts for us.

    1. Oh, Betsy! That is wonderful! I am so thankful for you and your encouragement. You are such a dear blessing to me! God bless you abundantly, sweet friend, and may you ever feel His presence near you. I hope you are enjoying your summer and feeling well. :) Praying for you!

  5. What a wonderful post, Cheryl! We have recently had discussions in our home with our children and also in our Wednesday eve Bible Study about how we truly are fighting a spiritual battle and we should prepare ourselves for spiritual warfare. Satan uses the physical,earthly battles to distract us, doesn't he?

    I especially appreciated your #9 suggestion. I visual, physical reminder can help reset our minds and hearts.

    I'm your neighbor today at the Modest Monday Link UP!

    1. What a wonderful discussion to have with your dear children, Linda! So thankful for your visit and kind words. God bless you, my friend. :)

  6. Your tips are spot on for spiritual warfare and I needed to refresh! Thank you for posting this and now I know just where to go when I need to study up. You're a gem.

    1. Thank you, sweet Mary! You are a blessing and encouragement to me, and I so appreciate you!

  7. How very true this is!! Satan wants nothing more than to keep people from coming to the Lord and if they do . . . he wants nothing more than to make them ineffective! Thanks for all of these great points and for sharing your lessons learned!

    1. How very true! To make God's people ineffective...that is such a good way of wording it. It is a constant battle and fight, but surely if God be for us, who can be against us? Thank you so much for your encouraging words, dear Lauren! God bless you abundantly!

  8. Thank you for sharing such beautiful Scriptures again, Cheryl! I love the story of Jehosophat, and cling to those precious thoughts that the Lord INHABITS the Praises of His people. And, I agree with you--I have found the Lord bringing His Scriptures back to my mind, just when I needed them, even when I thought I had forgotten them, HE kept them firm in my mind. I am so thankful that the Lord helped you to obey the call He gave to you! Blessings to you!

    1. Oh, I love that story, too! I seem to refer to Jehoshaphat often, lately. I love where he prayed and said, "Neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon Thee." Oh, how many times, I have come to the place of saying that! You are such a dear blessing to me, Bettie. Thank you for your encouragement and friendship and for reaching out from your own pain and battles. Your last post was SUCH an encouragement to me! God bless you, my friend!

  9. Awesome, very real post Cheryl. Oh that we would be mindful to keep our armor on. I have taught several classes on spiritual warfare and to be honest, I dreaded it as I knew what it meant for me. Satan loves it when we put ourselves out there for God as it gives him all the more reason to come against us. As I have grown and matured in the Lord which I believe will be to the end of our life....there are so many times that I have instantly recognized that that the attack was coming from none other than the attacker, Satan. Other times I am sad to say I missed it all the way around. He's sly and clever like that you know. When my oldest daughter married which was 19 years ago, she would get up every morning and read the armor of God and visualize in her mind her putting on each piece of the armor as she prayed over their marriage. Now, she is sharing that with teenage girls and using it for much more than just marriage. Glad I got to catch up today with you. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Oh, wow, I would love to have been a part of your classes! I can only imagine the depths of thought you were able to share. You are SO right...sometimes, it is easy to spot where the attack is coming from...other times, it is harder to recognize and identify. I am so thankful for your visit and the insights you shared. You are a dear blessing to me, my friend. God bless you and your daughter and whole family. I hope your vacation was wonderful...I'll be over to visit. :)

    2. Cindy, I plan to rise each morning and read the armor of God while I visualize putting on the armor! Lately, it seems the more I attempt to share God's word, the more obstacles I face. It has been a bit challenging. You reminded me, the more I put myself out there for God, the more opportunity Satan has to come against me. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thank you for sharing! I look forward to immersing myself in the scripture and, to share with others who find themselves in the midst of challenges!

    1. That is so wonderful, Robin! Thank you ever so much for your kind words and encouragement, and I trust the Scriptures will prove to be a huge blessing to you. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

  11. My Mama taught me to fill my mind, heart and soul with Jesus and to protect my thoughts and heart.
    These are vital points that you have shared and a wonderful way for us all to freshen up our scripture lessons and be mindful. Indeed Satan is always twisting things about in an effort to sway us from our Dear Lord.

    1. You had a very wise-hearted Mama, my friend. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here and for your sweet visit. God bless you!

  12. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share this valuable resource.

    1. Thank you for reading and for visiting and commenting, Miriam. God bless you!

  13. How thankful I am for the scripture arsenal at the ready! Keeping a journal of the powerful verses there for us to lean up in our moments of distress is a great tool as you mentioned. This is a powerful post, and I pray for the Lord to continue to work in mighty ways in you and through you! You are a blessing and encouragement to me, dear friend! With love and hugs!

  14. Cheryl, Oh my! This was such a well-written and thought out post! So many precious nuggets of wisdom to think upon and act upon.

    And some I had never thought of before, but there is so much wisdom in what you are saying.

    I love the Truths you pulled right from the saints of old and how they proceeded in Battle.

    Thank you so much for this encouragement today. You have blessed me - as you always do.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you sweet friend.

    With much love, Karen

    1. Thank you ever so much for your dear, encouraging words, sweet friend! You are such a dear blessing and encouragement to me. Sending much love to you today!

  15. Cheryl, God Bless you, thank you for this post :-)

    1. Thank you SO much for your kind comments, Renee! God bless you abundantly!