“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Eph. 6:10-16)
3 Directions of the Warrior’s Focus in Spiritual Warfare – Focus is Identity!
* 1st) Focus upon God’s Mighty Power!
* 2nd) Focus upon God’s Mighty Armor!
* 3rd) Focus upon God’s Supreme Authority!
The way you see spiritual warfare matters. I pray that you experience a boost in your faith today, as you meditate on these principles from God’s Word. Your focus will be the determining factor in your outcome… it will define how you fight, how you identify yourself in the midst of spiritual struggles and how you stand!
1. The Enemy Flees Away from You – You are designed to occupy and rule spiritual territory!
- ‘Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.’ (Lev 26:8)
This is the Biblical direction of spiritual warfare: the enemy is at a disadvantage! He is fleeing before you… so where is your focus? We see it in the Old Testament, when God’s people were walking in obedience to Him, no enemy could stand before them.
- ‘The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.’ (Deut 28:7)
This is the outcome of the blessed life and the warrior’s focus: as you resist, your enemies will flee. We must recognize our authority over the demonic realm.
- ‘When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases’ (Luke 9:1)
Jesus has give you power and authority in His Name, over all the power of the enemy. Jesus’ disciples were able to cast out demons because they understood the focus of spiritual warfare and the goal as established in the Words of Jesus. And that was, that the enemy had to flee at their word! Notice this was not limited to the 12 Apostles… it was the unnamed seventy who returned rejoicing from a ministry trip saying amazing things… carrying testimonies of victory!
- “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17)
2. Spiritual Warfare Comes Against You – It gets personal!
- ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ (Eph 6:12)
Don’t be surprised at the feelings you get when attacked. Satan wants to intimidate you and to overwhelm you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is going to get personal and we must recognize that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours. The Greek word translated “wrestle” contains the imagery of a contest between two warriors where each is trying to throw the other and it is won when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck. Ouch, that sounds brutal – and it is! Many times, spiritual warfare gets up close and personal. You may relate to this as you experience a spiritual wrestling match right now… for your life, family, job, ministry or destiny. We must endure hardship as soldiers, warriors and leaders in fellowship with the King of Glory! The Bible does not promise that you will never experience demonic attack, pressure or spiritual warfare. However, Scripture does make clear that you have the ability to resist. In fact, we are commanded by God to oppose the enemy’s attacks.
- ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…’ (1 Peter 5:8-9a)
- ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)
At times, the direction of spiritual warfare will be towards us, in our face and beyond our control; however, this reality is temporary! When the enemy comes against us, we can submit to God, resist the devil… and he must flee! What does it mean to ‘resist’? The Bible gives some clear instructions. Your action can result in a change of direction, for what the enemy means for evil God wants to release His “good” in it. The enemy who comes against you will find himself fleeing from you in seven directions.
- Be alert and recognize spiritual warfare when it arises (1 Peter 5:8)
- Submit to God (step into intimacy—listen and obey) (James 4:7)
- Don’t put up with spiritual warfare, step into an opposing position (James 4:7)
- Resisting means speaking—use Jesus’ Name (Luke 10:17)
- Have confidence in your authority, knowing that the enemy must flee as you continue to resist (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 4:7)
3. You Are the Victorious One: The Devil is Underneath Your Feet!
The ultimate end of spiritual warfare is for the enemy to be under your feet. The enemy being ‘under your feet’ speaks of defeat and subjugation (Joshua 10:24-25).
- ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.’ (Rom 16:20)
No matter what happens, there is hope! The promise of God is that ultimately every work of the enemy will fail (2 Tim 4:18). However, the enemy being ‘under our feet’ (in submission to, and defeated by us) is not something we have to wait for eternity to experience. Jesus said to His disciples: ‘I have given you authority’!
- ‘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 10:19, also Psalm 91:13)
The Psalms of David can be your own Heavenly songs of rejoicing!
- ‘I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.’ (Psalm 18:37-38)
“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar” (Ezek. 47:1).
There is a River that flows freely from the throne of God!
This supernatural resource of the Holy Spirit, which runs through the Temple in Jerusalem, also flows through us (1 Cor. 3:16). In the same way that Solomon’s Temple was “filled with the glory of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-13), you and I can be filled to overflow with the same manifestation of His Presence in our lives. The Prophet Haggai prophesied about a greater glory coming to the Temple (Hag. 2:1). God intends for that increasing glory to flow through us.
Living in the River:
As believers we are in the River, but we must ask ourselves – how deep are we willing to go? How far will we allow the Holy Spirit to flood our lives? Are we merely standing at a safe depth to accomplish our agendas?
Have you noticed that children love splashing and playing in wading pools where the water is only ankle deep? Our early salvation experience is often like that, we got in up to our ankles and splashed around, suddenly exposed to the amazing things God can do. But are we still in that place, satisfied with surface things when God is calling us to maturity and a deeper commitment? Can we risk losing control or look foolish at His command? Are we willing to go deeper; to move in signs and wonders, believe in miracles, healings or deliverance? Have we ever thought that God would use us to touch people where they are?
As we begin to seek God and pray, letting go of agendas in exchange for His purposes in our lives… we go deeper. We ready ourselves to stretch beyond our comfort zones, trusting that He knows what He’s doing in us. And while this is a very good thing, it tests our character and our faith. As the water reaches our waistlines we find that movement is far more difficult. The Holy Spirit wants to change us, exposing pride, selfishness or unforgiveness.
Neck deep in the River, shakes our confidence and calls us to completely identify with Christ (Gal. 2:20). It is at this level that many Christians turn back, because moving is hindered by the deep water. It is at this place where the Holy Spirit begins to ask for more sacrifice and we begin to surrender our future to a higher call. In trusting God’s purposes and risking our own lives, we come to know the abundant resource that flows from His Throne (Heb 4:16). And while it feels as if you can’t go any deeper, I promise you my friend there is much more!
In Over Our Head:
As we go deeper still we must let go of the firm footing beneath our feet, learning that we must swim in order to stay alive. In the River of God we must let go of our security and allow the Spirit to take us where He wants us to go. And while we all like to feel as if we’re in control, its here that we begin to experience the true freedom of the Spirit. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who has control and once we know and trust God, we can abandon ourselves to His tender care and mercy. It feels very risky, but it is actually the safest place for the believer to abide.
Its Up To Us:
Where are you in the River of God today? Ankle-deep? Knee-deep? Waist-deep? Neck-deep? Or way over your head? Ezekiel tells us of this river experience, but it’s up to us to determine where we will live. Still going deeper brings healing and joy; but most of all it will release us into the increased Glory of God!
The Glory of the Lord is the most awesome reality of Heaven. It moves the Angels to sing of His holiness and bow to His majesty. Although, the Glory of the Lord may be experienced; it is often misunderstood and seen as a rare occurrence here upon the Earth. The Bible talks about the Glory in many ways in both the Old and New Testaments. Still it remains only a vague concept to most Christians. It is my belief, that the Glory of God should be a central focus for the Church and a passion for all who long to know Truth.
Just consider for a moment the experience that King Solomon was able to share with us at the completion of the Temple in 2 Chronicles 6-7.
Then Solomon spoke: “The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever (2 Chr. 6:1-2). Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. Now therefore, Arise, Oh Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, Oh Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in goodness. Oh Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed; remember the mercies of Your servant David.” (2 Chr. 6:1-2 & 40-42)
When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the Glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the Glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the Glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chr. 7:1-3)
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)
Moses Gives Insight:
Moses contends for God’s Presence… with a passionate plea, we hear his desperation, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Ex 33:15-17). We need to contend for the Presence of God in our lives and never settle for our perception of reality. Note that Moses pulled upon God’s heart with an earnest expectation of going beyond the Presence and seeing something more… encountering something more. And God says, “I will do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” He wanted God’s Presence to go with him, but he wanted something greater… something visible, tangible and real. He wanted to see evidence of God’s goodness and encounter His Glory.
He said, “Please, show me Your Glory!” (Ex 33:18).
What a prayer! He not only wanted to know that God was with him, he insisted upon the manifestation of that Presence… God’s goodness. We could say, he wanted God’s Presence made known to him, a manifestation… made visible and tangible. Think about it… if Moses could see the Glory of God, why shouldn’t we? Why can’t we see His Glory?
I believe as a Child of God, we can see the Glory! (Heb. 1:3)
The Bible speaks about our ability to see the Glory with the eyes of faith. We must understand that the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord.
- ”But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the Glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18)
The Bible also points to where we find the knowledge of the Glory of God.
- ”For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6)
Look Into the Face of Jesus:
Spending time beholding Him and worshiping at His Throne, takes us somewhere in the spirit. It transforms our sense of reality and moves our heart into intimate places with the heart of God. These encounters deepen our knowledge of how love and grace are imparted, because we are introduced to heaven’s atmosphere. These encounters cause us to have a greater hunger for His Voice and His revealed Glory in our lives. Seeing Him in the pages of God’s Word is just the beginning… faith inspires a deeper search, knowing that there is more available for our lives. Deep cries out to deep… we go deeper and we begin to have Glory encounters of our own, where we gain firsthand knowledge of His goodness and His power.
You and I were made to drink of His Spirit and share in His Glory! (1 Cor 12:13)
It’s interesting to me that all of the creatures God made had coverings… except man. Animals had fur, birds had feathers and fish had scales or shells. But man did not have any outer covering, as he didn’t need it before the fall. Why? Because God clothed man in His Glory.
“You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (or clothed him) with glory and honor.” (Ps 8:5)
God’s Original Intent:
The atmosphere of the Garden of Eden was permeated with the same splendor as heaven. There was no sin in the beginning and man walked with God everyday in a peace filled relationship in the “cool of the day”. This means they walked together in a spiritual dimension where they shared a oneness that was maintained by God’s Glory (a covering) and God’s Honor (atmosphere).
The Garden of Eden was Heaven on Earth:
The original Hebrew word for “crowned” means “to encircle”, “to surround’. In other words, Adam and his wife were surrounded by God’s Glory and Honor. They had been clothed with the Glory of God and didn’t need natural clothing and they were living in an atmosphere of perfect relationship and did not need natural knowledge. God was giving man a wonderful environment to rule, where God would truly be their provision and protection if this stewardship could be maintained.
Losing the Glory:
However, once they had been deceived by the serpent and sinned, they were no longer able to focus on spiritual reality as the Glory that once clothed them, seemed to lift. They found themselves naked. Notice that they immediately respond to their new condition by becoming afraid. They made coverings for themselves and hid from God. This is an interesting response since Adam and his wife felt no shame of being naked before they sinned (Gen 2:25).
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:7)
Why would they even consider making coverings for themselves? Weren’t they the only human beings in the Garden of Eden? Weren’t they surrounded by only animals, birds and fish?
Hearing God’s Voice:
The reason is given when Adam is answering God’s call “He answered, I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Gen 3:10). Adam and Eve were afraid, because they were naked before God. I understand being ashamed, but why would they be afraid? They were afraid, because they were naked and had lost their original God given Glory. Now they found themselves controlled by a deception, a satanic lie that they needed natural covering and natural knowledge to sustain their lives. This came as a fulfillment to what God said to them earlier, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). The moment they were no longer in God’s Glory, they died spiritually and inner peace was replaced with fear.
We are able to see a powerful expression of God’s Fathering love in the moments following the broken relationship. God, seemingly unaware of man’s location, calls out to man and asks him of his connection to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Gen 3:11)
Then God makes the first sacrifice, in order to clothe them properly. ”The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God would spill the blood of a lamb; one of His created beings, to provide a garment suitable to cover human shame. This would serve as humanity’s first revelation that spiritual life is in the Blood.
The Apostle Paul said it this way, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Rom 3:23)
Our spiritual death has its connection to sin by the loss of our covering (God’s Glory) and our relationship (God’s Honor) based on His Presence (Holy Spirit atmosphere). Yet the Apostle Paul goes on to tell us of the reality of God’s grace… God’s favorable actions toward us who trust in Christ Jesus. He tells us that God has restored access to His Glory and Honor in the free gift of salvation. Access to all that was lost could be restored through the Blood of Jesus.
“We have been freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24).
The Gospel of Restored Glory:
This good news cannot be overstated, because it is not accomplished by anything man can do (Rom 3:20)(2 Cor 5:21). God proved His love by sending Jesus to die for us, in our place and for the spiritual relationship to be restored that once was established in the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that when anyone turns to God in faith, a veil is lifted from their hearts and they are enabled to behold the Glory of God in the very face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3:16-4:6). As believers who continue to look into that Glory a transformation takes place, whereby we are being changed into the same image (God’s original intent) from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).
Jesus Said – Be Clothed In Glory: Power from On High!
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49)
Be careful not to dismiss your dream too quickly… it may be a vision of your future. God has dropped His plans into the hearts of many “chosen” individuals who missed their calling simply because they treated the plans like “wishful-thinking” or “fantasy”. We must consider the possibility that God may be trying to break into our lives with revelation and purpose.
You are God’s Favorite Child!
As a Child of God; you have incredible potential, that when it begins to be unlocked carries supernatural power. The real key is “belief” …can you believe the impossible is truly possible in Christ? If so then anything can happen… its for those who believe.
Keep Leaning Forward:
Hesitation is fine for a moment, especially if you are taking an inventory of your skills and growth process; but it can become a subtle form of rebellion. You may feel uncomfortable stepping out in faith or you may feel a sense of fear at the possible risks involved; but God is the God of the breakthrough. Breakthroughs come one step at a time. If you continue to lean into His love and embrace, you will realize God knows your heart better than you do. He knows how to accomplish the biggest tasks even when we feel like a fool attempting them.
“…many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14)
Jesus makes this comment to say, “don’t miss your chosen-ness”! There will always be a cynical crowd; who having seen the opportunity, drew-up short because of unbelief. They never affirmed the calling nor took to heart the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit; therefore, they speak as those who missed their engagement with heaven. Don’t let that be you.
The writer of Hebrews said, “We are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb 10:39)
You will fail, but your destiny is not perdition or doom, judgement or condemnation. We are called to live our lives leaning into the abundant life of Christ, free and confident. Just to answer the question “what if I fail?” Let me tell you from experience - you will fail! While you begin to see His plans emerge from within your “dream”, you will have doubts and frustrations.
But… God is faithful!
Maybe I should repeat that phrase… God is faithful! The plan was never to bring glory to your name, but to fulfill His wonderful purpose on planet Earth. His love for you and His power inside gives you the courage to allow the Holy Spirit to wear you like a glove. You have the heart within, dig for it. Lean forward and God will allow all that you were made for to be seen in the trail that you blaze.