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In 1898 a science fiction novelist called H.G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds. His book talks a conflict between mankind and an alien race when Martians invade England. It has become a classic in its own right and has been presented by many people on radio and television and in Hollywood productions. In 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting network broadcast a special radio programme in two one-hour parts, starring Orson Welles. Uninterrupted by commercial breaks, it took the form of normal broadcasting that was interrupted by a series of supposed news flashes announcing that Martians had landed and were invading us. The producers’ aim of making it seem realistic worked so well, that people panicked and chaos set in. The authorities eventually asked the program to stop to allay the fears of the people.
One of the latest movies made was a Steven Spielberg creation, starring Tom Cruze. The enemy objective was portrayed as total annihilation... a complete, total and utter extermination of the human race.
Whilst we might not be waging a battle like that, we are in a battle nevertheless, often for our very existence, but the good news is that the outcome has already been decided. We win!

See the companion page The Armour of God... a biblically based presentation of Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus... a large church plagued with all sorts of problems. It will surprize you!
 

Paul wrote to correct major errors, adressing basically all major christian doctrines in this wonderful book full of revelation knowledge that applies to us today. In conclusion, he wrote...

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20.

Whilst we may not be fighting grotesque beings from another planet, we are in the middle of a war zone in which the enemy know no bounds and shows no quarter. He is merciless in his pursuit to bring us down, but he is an already defeated foe. 

We know doctrinally from scripture that Jesus defeated him, but we also know that things can and do happen in life. What happens to us then? How do they happen? What are we to do when it seems that we are going to be engulfed or swallowed up by a relentless and endless series of problems that come one after another?

There really are no glib, pat answers, because we are all different. Our life experiences differ and our needs and circumstances continually vary. The things that beset us can come from a variety of sources and at different times, so the only workable stable factor is to see what Jesus would have done if the roles were reversed.

He told us that He had overcome the world (see John 16:33) and I am not referring to the globe, but the system that controls human beings on the world. In the same breath, He also said that we would not be exempt from problems in life.
God never told us that we would be immune from certain things, but He did promise to be there in the thick of it all and give us a way to handle them and deal with the situation until we come through and out the other side! Storms do blow out you know!
Isaiah told us-

...but now [in spite of past judgments for Israel’s sins], thus says the Lord, He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. Isaiah 43:1-2.

The Israelites were to be taken captive as a result of their own disobedience and foolishness. God had given them the choice, warning of the outcomes depending on their choices! He told them to pray... to pray for their oppressors and for the places where they were being led away as captives. Here is a key for our own deliverance from those besetting problems.
And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
Jeremiah 29:7.

We may be in the thick of the storm, but we can have peace in the middle of it. We do not deny the storm, but can see the light at the end of the tunnel in the middle of the thing. If Jesus slept in them, so can we! See my publication Shhh. Click here. He never prayed for us to be taken out of the world. He said-

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. John 17:14-16.

Look carefully at all of chapter seventeen! What Jesus said is very powerful!
We are like the aliens on the earth now, for earth as we presently know it or understand it is but our temporary home, so we remain here to be the light on the hill, the salty savor and the messengers of hope in a confused and dying world to those who have no hope. The enemy does not want this, so for these and more reasons, we are constantly being bombarded with things that are designed to destroy us and how we respond is what matters.
At this juncture, many believers fail. They think that they have to wage spiritual warfare, binding this and binding that. Whilst there might be occasion for such things, on most occasions, they are wearing themselves out shadow boxing, fighting an already defeated foe or perhaps unnecessarily drawing attention to themselves!
I cringe when people tell me that they are being attacked! Of course we have a battle royal on our hands, but the devil cannot attack us if he is defeated and under our feet!
Never fight an enemy who has already been defeated! God never told us to fight the devil—He told us to resist him. He is like that alien invader from Mars. As in the movies, we were in disarray and in retreat, being attacked from all sides, seemingly  without any way out. In the 1953 movie, those critters were winning until a common cold killed them. God created the microscopic organisms that were fatal to the enemy, but never affected us. I see a moral in this story. It might seem that the enemy has us on the ropes and we may seem to be down, but we are not out! It’s not over, ‘till it’s over! The Lord told me that the day my son Gary died. I watched him die and go to Heaven after receiving Jesus in the ICU at the Townsville General Hospital, so I know that this stuff works.
The battle that really matters wages mostly between our ears! What we have to do is learn how to resist without the fighting.

You may well ask, How do we do that? The best way to answer is to see what Jesus did later in this message. He was in the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray and the devil showed up when He was weak. You will be tested for your strong points as well as your weak points. If he can weaken you where you are strong, his task is easier of course and he is constantly planning for your downfall. Paul told us to wear the armour of God for good reason.

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. Ephesians 6:11-12.

Here is where the real battles are waged. Our struggles are with a well structured, highly motivated, disciplined, organized and regimented enemy who is always making plans and formulating strategies to bring us down. The word for Wiles reveals this. It is μεθοδεία or Methodeia from which we get the word Method. It means to lie in wait, travelling over, travesty, trickery and the like. From this we can see that he is constantly travelling to and fro, looking for a great place to ambush us in the style of a classic cowboy and Indian movie.

Ambushment can come from unexpected quarters, even from those we thought were with us. Micah said- 

Woe is me! I am like those gathering summer fruit, like those picking grapes. But there aren’t any grapes to eat or any ripened figs that I crave. Faithful people are gone from the earth, and no one is decent. All people lie in ambush to commit murder. They trap each other with nets. Their hands are skilled in doing evil. Officials ask for gifts. Judges accept bribes. Powerful people dictate what they want. So they scheme together. The best of them is like a briar. The most decent person is sharper than thornbushes. The day you thought you would be punished has come. Now is the time you will be confused. Don’t trust your neighbors. Don’t have confidence in {your} friends. Keep your mouth shut even when a woman is lying in your arms. A son treats his father with contempt. A daughter rebels against her mother. A daughter-in-law rebels against her mother-in-law. People’s enemies are the members of their own families. Micah 7:1-6.

Jesus said-
Everyone will hate you because you are committed to me. But the person who patiently endures to the end will be saved. So when they persecute you in one city, flee to another. I can guarantee this truth: Before you have gone through every city in Israel, the Son of Man will come. “A student is not better than his teacher. Nor is a slave better than his owner. It is enough for a student to become like his teacher and a slave like his owner. If they have called the owner of the house Beelzebul, they will certainly call the family members the same name. So don’t be afraid of them. Nothing has been covered that will not be exposed. Whatever is secret will be made known. Tell in the daylight what I say to you in the dark. Shout from the housetops what you hear whispered. Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell. “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s permission. Every hair on your head has been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. “So I will acknowledge in front of my Father in heaven that person who acknowledges me in front of others. But I will tell my Father in heaven that I don’t know the person who tells others that he doesn’t know me. “Don’t think that I came to bring peace to earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but conflict. I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be the members of his own family. “The person who loves his father or mother more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. The person who loves a son or daughter more than me does not deserve to be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me doesn’t deserve to be my disciple. The person who tries to preserve his life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for me will preserve it. “The person who welcomes you welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. The person who welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. The person who welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. I can guarantee this truth: Whoever gives any of my humble followers a cup of cold water because that person is my disciple will certainly never lose his reward.” Matthew 10:22-42.

How to win

A major shortfall in the Church at large today is that it has failed to train God's people in the true art of spiritual warfare. We have seen a watered down teaching of passivism, which has led to too many Christians suffering great loss and defeat in many areas of their life. Many Christians are defeated, because they mistakenly accept certain things in their lives, believing it is God's will for them to suffer, or that God is either sending something like sickness to teach them a lesson or to humble them. That is a colossal lie! God is the author of all things good and never sends sickness etc. As for humbling us... we do that ourselves as an act of our free will. Teaching us lessons is the work of the Holy Spirit and the word of God revealed to us. The enemy has conned us if we believe otherwise. If you read the bible properly, you will see the truth. Many Christians do not even know these basic facts, and do not even know that they are in a war which is described in scripture, but notice the location.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

We should know who our true enemy is and how to identify him. Your enemy is not the person standing in front of you. It is not the person that cuts you off in traffic; the banker that denied your loan; someone who slanders you; the person who stole from you and the enemy is definitely not your husband or wife. No, your enemy is the most sinister creature that has ever roamed this earth. The people in front of you are just the pawns used to inflict the damage. Therefore, who is your true enemy?

Sometimes one enemy we have to contend with is within your own self and I believe this because of what happened with Job. The problems Job experienced were a result of his own words and actions!

A man named Job lived in Uz. He was a man of integrity: He was decent, he feared God, and he stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 camels, 1,000 oxen, 500 donkeys, and a large number of servants. He was the most influential person in the Middle East. His sons used to go to each other's homes, where they would have parties. (Each brother took his turn having a party.) They would send someone to invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When they finished having their parties, Job would send for them in order to cleanse them from sin. He would get up early in the morning and sacrifice burnt offerings for each of them. Job thought, "My children may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Job offered sacrifices for them all the time. One day when the sons of God came to stand in front of the LORD, Satan the Accuser came along with them.
The LORD asked Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From wandering all over the earth." The LORD asked Satan, "Have you thought about my servant Job? No one in the world is like him! He is a man of integrity: He is decent, he fears God, and he stays away from evil."
Satan answered the LORD, "Haven't you given Job a reason to fear God? Haven't you put a protective fence around him, his home, and everything he has? You have blessed everything he does. His cattle have spread out over the land. But now stretch out your hand, and strike everything he has. I bet he'll curse you to your face."
The LORD told Satan, "Everything he has is in your power, but you must not lay a hand on him!" Then Satan left the LORD'S presence. Job 1:1-12
.


Several things happens to cause Job's problems-

He never disciplined or trained his children properly. In essence, he allowed them to live ungodly lives and then tried to make amends for it with his sacrifices after the event and He was full of fear.
What I fear most overtakes me. What I dread happens to me. I have no peace! I have no quiet! I have no rest! And trouble keeps coming!" Job 3:25.

By the power of his own confession and by his actions, Job opened himself up to troubles. It was as if he established a legal loophole in the courts of Heaven this way and the devil, being an opportunist, was able to come before God with his accusations to win a verdict.
Job himself, tied God's hands. When the Lord answered the devil's accusations, He in essence said, How dare you come here and even think of attacking My man like that! All the devil had to do was point out what Job had done and God, who is a truthful and righteous judge in every respect, had to permit the devil from doing what he wanted to with one proviso... which was to spare Job's life!

Faithless religious teaching has twisted what really happened. God does not want this to happen to us and He certainly did not want Job to suffer, but His hands were tied by his own man! I think that there are times when we are our own worst enemies!
The devil is the one who is the instigator or all strife and problems. He is constantly on the prowl, looking for your weak spot... seeking a weakness... pushing your button to see if he can get a reaction. All you really have to do is not permit it! Peter says-

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], Seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (emphasis mine).


Our adversary is the devil. He is Not a roaring lion and he is continually looking for someone who is gullible, weak or has his guard down, like an Achilles heel, to seize upon this opportunity. don't let him! See the page The Armour of God.

The Greek word for Adversary is Antidikos. It is derived from other words, the first of which is Anti, with meanings like cause, room, say, because and therefore and denotes a contrast or substitution. The second word is dikē, which is likened to an opponent as in a lawsuit.
Antidikos thus talks about someone opposing you as if in a court of law, intending to mete out justice, vengeance or punishment.
The name of the devil comes from the word Diabolos, which means an accuser, devil and slanderer. This word comes from other words. The first is diaballō and the second is śāṭān.
The word diaballō is derived from the word dia, that describes such actions as mocking and purging and denotes the way or reason whereby certain things are done. The second word is ballō, meaning beat, cast, lay, lie, pour, put, send, throw and thrust. One meaning refers to dung!
The composite of all these words identifies our enemy as being the author of all evil, who plots, schemes and comes up with plans to dig up all the dirt he can about us and throw them in our face by way of accusation. This rebel started in Heaven when he unsuccessfully wanted to do his own thing to satisfy his pride, ego and ambition and sit on God's throne. He hasn't changed.

Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels went forth to battle with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought. But they were defeated, and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer. And the huge dragon was cast down and out?that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him. Then I heard a strong (loud) voice in heaven, saying, Now it has come?the salvation and the power and the kingdom (the dominion, the reign) of our God, and the power (the sovereignty, the authority) of His Christ (the Messiah); for the accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out! Revelation 12:7-10.

Satan's goal is to devour anything and everything you have.  This means your life and everything in it; your family, your health; your prosperity; your job and all the blessings of God such as peace, joy and happiness. The devil seeks to devour it all. The word Devour comes from the Greek word Katapino and it means to drink down or gulp entirely, to swallow up, destroy, or to be consumed with grief. The the objective of our enemy is to consume all that God wants you to have and make your life miserable and frenzied with grief, despair and anger... mostly directed against God.

Only too often, we look at the means or the results of our problems and frustration and fail to identify their true source. The sad truth of the matter is most Christians do not know whom the real enemy is, much less how to win battles, in this war.
To win... start by correctly identifying your real enemy! 

I want to reaffirm this one important fact!
Jesus went to Calvary for us and rose triumphant for us, having defeated the enemy. I have mentioned a court setting in which the accused is brought to the judge and sentence pronounced. It is completed, but all that remains is final execution of that sentence, or the carrying out of punishment. The Righteous Judge has pronounced Not Guilty over us. He has also declared the devil as guilty. The sentence has been pronounced over him, but he is still awaiting final execution of that sentence and in a manner of speaking, is temporarily released. We see this kind of thing when a judge sets bail which is paid and the person involved is released on probation.
Until that day, we still have to deal with issues, but we can rest assured that our victory comes from the fact that we do not really have to fight. The battle is the Lord's.

Look at 2 Chronicles 20:14-23.
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ?Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you." And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with voices loud and high. So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper." And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:  "Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever." Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 

As we read stories like this, it is imperative that we replace the people as the enemy and insert the real enemy, Satan, in their place.  The people are just pawns in his hands whether they know it or not.  Who are these people, Ammon, Maob, and Mount Seir?  Their Hebrew names offer great insight in identifying the real foe.
Ammon comes from the Hebrew root word `am which means a people as an assembled or congregated unit like a tribe, troops or attendants or a flock.  Moab (an incestuous son of Lot) comes from the Hebrew word meaning, descendant or from his father. Mount Seir comes from the Hebrew word which means shaggy and a he-goat. This is an analogy of the devil.  It comes from a word that means to storm.
By implication, it means to shiver in fear and to hurl as a storm or whirlwind. Remember the story of Jesus in the boat during the storm in Mark 4? 

Our war is never against the people that are deceived and come against us. People are merely the instrument used by a crafty enemy. Our warfare, our fight, is not carnal (fleshly), it is a spiritual fight and if we are to win, we need to fight spirit against spirit, but how do we do that? 
Positioning, standing and seeing are the keys to victory. We have to see who we are and where we stand to win. Forgive those people that have hurt you, because they are not your real enemy and even when they are gone, the devil might send others to take their place. If you know anything about poison ivy, you cannot kill it unless you kill it at it roots. We can pull its leaves off, but they will grow back. It must be attacked at it roots. This is what we are to do.

The intensity of this world war has increased, and only an effectively trained soldier will survive and obtain the spoils of victory. Soldiers are disciplined, well trained and equipped, ready for action and obey to their C-in-C's orders. Are we? God has given us all these things, but are we really using them?
Peter says that we are to remain alert and not give an opportunity to the devil, but he also said that the devil is roaming from place to place... from person to person, pushing your button to see if you react! All you have to do is withstand him, considering that you are not the only person in the world with a problem!
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. 1 Peter 5:8-9. See also 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Our job is to withstand or resist the devil, confident in the fact that the war has already been won.

In the previous section, we saw how Peter gave us the best piece of advice anyone could give us in 1 Peter 5:8-9-

  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God
  • so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
  • casting All your anxieties [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on him, because he cares for you.
  • Be sober-minded; be watchful.

Having done these things, we can then resist the enemy like this-

  • Withstand
  • Be firm
  • Know (who you are, your position and where you stand)
  • Realize that you are not alone

The best place to start is to submit to God. Jesus did! James never told us to fight the foe in the way many Christians think we should. He told us to resist him. James tells us how to go about it, reinforcing what Peter said. Chapter one tells us to be joyful when the opposition comes because there is reward at the end.
Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him. James 1:12.

Paul told us to give thanks on those occasions. Before we think they are brain dead, they are not telling us to thank God for the trials but be thankful in them. Sometimes the problems in life can be for our benefit. Before you think I just fell out of my tree, let me explain. They can make us stronger people; We can learn lessons; We can be better equipped to minister to others and we can see how Jesus operated. I'll come back to this shortly.
We have to dig deep into the principles of God and delve into the real secrets of success and see what God really says about the matter. It all comes down to knowing what God says about it and start saying the same things. Instead of worrying and complaining which exacerbates the problems and I personally feel opens us up to attack, because it  may give the enemy legal licence by which he can operate as he did with Job.

James tells us that the testing of our faith produces endurance, which is a quality the Olympic champions possess. He said that it has a reward!

...let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. James 1:4.

God does not want us to be deficient in anything and James reinforces this by telling us if we are lacking in wisdom, to ask God for it!
Wisdom is not knowledge. The wisdom of God is knowing how and what to do in a given situation. We see a good example in 1 Kings 3:16-28 how Solomon had a real problem when two women were arguing about a child. Instead of making a ruling that may have had adverse consequences if he was wrong in his judgement, he exercised Godly wisdom and turned it around by letting them make their decision. The real mother was thus revealed.

When trials and testings come our way, the unlearned or foolish person will blame God. Never do that.

We hear people ask why God permitted this or that with such questions as- If He was a loving God, why did He allow that disaster? If God loves us, why did He let my baby die? Why did God let that war happen?

Those who ask such questions forget that we are the product of our own choice actions and it all started in the Garden! Since then, God has constantly asked us to make the choice between His way or the enemy's way. The results speak for themselves.
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. James 1:13-17.

Please notice where it comes from! This is why I said earlier that the battle that really wages lies within us! If we do it God's way... we will win! Knowing God's way is revealed in, through and by His word.
God decided to give us life through the word of truth to make us his most important creatures. Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily. An angry person doesn't do what God approves of. So get rid of all immoral behavior and all the wicked things you do. Humbly accept the word that God has placed in you. This word can save you. 
Do what God's word says. Don't merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. If someone listens to God's word but doesn't do what it says, he is like a
person who looks at his face in a mirror, studies his features, goes away, and immediately forgets what he looks like. However, the person who continues to study God's perfect teachings that make people free and who remains committed to them will be blessed. People like that don't merely listen and forget; they actually do what God's teachings say. If a person thinks that he is religious but can't control his tongue, he is fooling himself. That person's religion is worthless. Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world. James 1:18-27.

The devil pokes and prods us, looking for opportunity to ensnare us and he did it to Jesus.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ” And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13 (emphasis mine).


Did Jesus ever sin? I hope you said, No. Temptation therefore is not sin, because He was tempted, but yielding to it becomes sin! This is where the battle is waged. We can win because Jesus won in the three areas of our lives where we are attacked as follows-

1. The Realm of the Flesh:

The devil came to Jesus when the Lord was physically weak. He probed for a weakness as I explained before and saw a potential opportunity. There are no rules of engagement. It is all out war and he never plays fair, so when Jesus—the man was weakened by hunger, the devil lunged at the weak point and tried to instil fear and doubt into the man he saw. He said... If... you are the Son of God.

That little word If speaks volumes to me. Firstly, the devil did not know for sure. He was confused. He does not possess the attributes of God at all... not one single one of them, because he is a created and fallen being with no revelation knowledge! The devil is not all knowing. He is clever and intelligent, shrewd and able to scheme, but is not all knowing as God is, so he wanted to find out.
The second aspect is doubt. The devil also tries to make us doubt God. He wants us to question and doubt. Did God r-e-a-l-l-y say that? This is what he did to Eve in the garden! She succumbed and ate to satisfy a curiosity and natural craving. The devil wanted proof of identity. He wanted to know if Jesus was really the one, so tried to get Him to prove it.
We see this a lot today when talking with others. They want proof first. They do not want to believe. They say, You prove it and then I’ll believe it, but they never will. God says, You believe it and then you will see it! We are bound by the limitations of the flesh and it is always anti the spirit... always. See Galatians 5:16-17. Galatians 5:19-21 list the manifestations of those whose flesh rules their lives and Galatians 5:22-25 reveal the fruit produced by the spirit.
They are diametrically opposite each other and will always be so.

Instead of responding by saying No I won’t to the devil, Jesus said what God said. He never argued or debated the issue.
Sometimes we fail because we enter into debate. We might struggle and fight, tell the devil where to get off and keep saying, No to temptation, but still fail and the reason is that we have fallen to sense knowledge. In this realm, you will always fail. The devil is more clever than you and he is an expert in this dimension with several thousand years of practice. When we start to argue and debate, as he wants, we move out of the dimension of revelation knowledge and into the dimension of the mind, the will and the emotions. This is often the area in which he excels.

We will win simply by choosing not to react and respond and say what God said... It is written!
When we act the way Jesus did then, we resist the enemy and submit to the absolute Lordship of God. Sometimes you may have to find out where your weakness or weaknesses lay. You might have to do this often and you may find it difficult, but persist, because you will ultimately win. Paul constantly struggled with this dilemma, saying-

I know that God’s standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin. I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them. I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it. So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. However, I see a different standard {at work} throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? Romans 7:14-24.

This sounds familiar! It is an outcome of the fall and we all have it! Paul knew it and kept winning then losing, wining then losing, up one day and down the next and for good reason. He had not yet seen the truth of what Jesus did and what he could do to get the victory. The moment he saw it... things changed.
I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature. Romans 7:25.

He knew who he was. We have to know who we are. Jesus knew who He was when He was tempted and merely spoke the word.
The secret to your success is getting that word inside you. If it is in there, it can come out and as the devil cannot stand against the word of God, he has to quit. If you do not have the word... you’re a cooked goose. When Jesus came straight back with the word, I can imagine him saying, Well, that didn’t work. Lets try something else! 

2. The Lure of Earthly Glory:

Pride is another area in which we can be tested. This was Lucifer’s downfall. Pride however is not a matter of being too self-opionated, pompous or full of oneself. We can for example spurn an offer of help and go down the gurgler because we are too proud to accept help. That is a form of pride which is as damaging as the obvious. Satan tried to con Jesus by offering Him something he knew Jesus wanted—a Kingdom. Look Jesus, if you want a kingdom, I’ve got one and I will give it to you. You do not have to wait. You can speed things up if you want to and still get what you want. Jesus did not argue with him. The kingdoms offered Him were real and he did possess them, because Adam delivered them up in the garden. Always remember that when we speak of those kingdoms, we refer to the way of doing things... the world system.

This is a common area of failure, because we do not want to wait for the promise and try to get it ourselves in our way and in our time, even for a noble cause! God made certain promises to Abraham, but instead of doing it God's way, they he and Sarah tried to make things happen and Ishmael is the result. This problem exists to this day.
Do not associate with wickedness, even if it seems that you are doing it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. You aren’t!
There is always a hidden motive and although it may be applied in different ways, the idea is to sidetrack you off the God ordained path. We can fall into that trap and accept a substitute for God’s divine order. We can resist this temptation by doing what Jesus did and speak the word. Our reply should be on the lines of, I worship the Lord My God and Him only will I serve.

The last area to look at is the one in which we want to reveal that we’ve got it!

3. The Desire to Prove Yourself:

I’ve seen this a lot in ministry, but it is an area all of us have to deal with. The desire to prove we are right and that we are God’s special chosen one in regard Christian ministry. The attitude reveals itself by showing off your spirituality! For Pentecostal or Word of Faith believers particularly, there is a real trap of one-up-manship. Pastors ask others, How big is your church? I’ve got the gift of such and such. There is nothing wrong with that if the motive is correct and we are to emulate others for all the right reasons, but when we compare ourselves with ourselves (sometimes it seems to be for the correct motives), we may have taken the bait, hook, line and sinker.

The devil can read you know. He had the gall to quote (I should have said misquote) scripture (Psalm 91) to Jesus to appeal to His natural man and get Jesus to prove Himself and to anyone who may be watching how great He was. Jesus never fell for that and merely spoke the word of God correctly. The lesson to be learned in this is to avoid performing a Godly act with a prideful spirit.

If we really know our place in the Kingdom of God and are living the life, we do not have to justify or prove ourselves one little bit. Just keep on keeping on and do what God told you to do and keep saying what God told you... that’s all.

John wrote about these three areas I mentioned. Notice my emphasis in the highlighted portions-

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:12-17.

There is a battle warring around us. Like the War of the Worlds movie, the enemy wants total extermination... he enemy wants us dead and forgotten but cannot do a thing without God’s permission... and ours! We are more than conquerors and we are seated with Jesus in the realm of Heaven. God told us that the devil would be trampled beneath our feet (Romans 16:20). When those dramas come our way, we have two options. One is to yield to them and struggle, fume and fret and start shooting our mouths off as the devil wants us to, because we set the stage for our own deliverance by the prophetic statements we make! Remember at all times what the bible tells us about our faith confessions. They are not merely positive affirmations to make us feel all warm and fuzzy, but creative self fulfilling prophecies! Wow! What a mouthful.

The other option is to do what I just said. In Hebrews 10, the writer tells us that we can come boldly into the Throne Room and present our case, knowing that we are already vindicated, justified and sanctified. He said-

... hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. Hebrews 10:19-23.

That word Profession is ὁμολογία or Homologia, which comes from two words, Homou and Logos. It means to say the same things God says  by way of confession, assent, harmony and acknowledgement by way of... covenant! That’s a lot more than just mouthing something off to con up or hype ourselves up. That is using the creative power of the word of the Living God in the middle of the battle! 

This is why I often tell someone to get a word from God for themselves by asking the Holy Spirit to show it to them in their own bible. It is personal. It cannot be done for you. You have to get it yourself although others could help you in the process.

Nothing can affect the position God has established for His family. Nothing can separate us from His love... nothing. The only real threat to us is ourselves. We are planted into the Kingdom of God by way of a personal decision each of us made when we were born again. Everything we do is by decision making processes. We can choose to believe or not, react to problems or not, receive the Lord’s peace or not, no matter what happens. Our cry is to be God-ward in faith, not in despair, fear or anger, knowing that even if we have to go through stuff, God is with us and Will see us through.

Paul knew this when he said-

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan. This is true because he already knew his people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of his Son. Therefore, his Son is the firstborn among many children. He also called those whom he had already appointed. He approved of those whom he had called, and he gave glory to those whom he had approved of. What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
God didn't spare his own Son but handed him over {to death} for all of us. So he will also give us everything along with him. Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ has the highest position in heaven. Christ also intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love? As Scripture says: “We are being killed all day long because of you. We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.” The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can't be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation. Romans 8:28-39.

David also understood this truth in his darkest and loneliest times when he was attacked, persecuted, maligned and his very life threatened.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me. Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! Psalm 27:7-14.

We have a very real and powerful promise from the mouth of Jesus that assures me that we shall not be moved... no matter what-
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20.

The war of the worlds is a war in our own lives in which the battle is for supremacy. This battle is for supremacy between the Kingdom of God within us or the way of the world with all its failures. The battle is between the soul life of the mind, the will and the emotions and the flesh on one side, with the spirit of man on the other. The devil cannot directly beat us. We are the only ones who can. The battle is for our minds, our will and our emotions in which the victory is determined by knowing and acting on what the word of God says about us and not letting the devil push our buttons. He can’t do this to a dead man.
Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.) Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him. For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:4-11.

Paul spoke about the armour of God in Ephesians, saying-
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. Ephesians 6:13.

The word withstand is anthistēmi which is a compound word which means to oppose, resist or withstand. It comes from the word anti, which we have dealt with earlier and the word histēmi. The latter word means abide, abode, appoint, appointed, establish, set, stand, standing, stood, weigh, weight, weighty and weightier. It relates to establishing and continuing in a covenant.
It goes without saying that challenges will come to us just as sure as the sun rises in the morning. Challenges respect no one, confronting the strong and the weak, but when we are confronted by challenges in life, we have hope. As I said elsewhere, Jesus told us in John 16:33 that tribulation will come, but to be of good cheer, because He overcame the world.

Challenges will come, but what position we take to address them when they come is the issue. Do we pray that they pass us by, or do we take a determined stand of faith and refuse to budge? We may occasionally feel like we have been in a 17 round heavyweight championship boxing match with Cassius Clay to be immediately followed up with another bout with Mohammad Ali and taken a few blows, perhaps knocked down. It is not how many times that we get knocked down that matters, it is how many times that we get up that separates the winners from the losers. The good news is the fact that we do not stand alone and unaided. We have a covenant with the champion of all champions and, providing we continue to abide in that covenant… we win!

I previously said that The Battle is the Lord's. We are in partnership with Him and when we function like that, doing what we are capable of doing, He will do what He alone can do. 

This is very true, but He also expects us to do our part and not be double minded about it. 
Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25.

Every kingdom, city, house, family, or individual who is divided will fall. We understand this easier when more than one person is involved, but what if it is you alone?  What if you are the one that is divided?  What if you are the one that cannot make the decision on what to do during a crisis?  What will you do if you are uncertain of what to do when you are facing the enemy’s onslaught and your house, your soul that is divided and vacillating between decisions?  This can become a bigger challenge than the actual obstacle standing in front of them.

Such a division existed in the house of Israel in Numbers 13:30-33.

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

A whole generation was lost because of division, double mindedness and by making bad decisions. After more than four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, many still had a perception of themselves as slaves to the world.  Their decision making process was distorted. They still thought as if they were still in Egypt and did not see themselves as free people in covenant with almighty God. They were free physically, but their souls, that is, their minds and emotions were still in chains.

Many Christians today still think as if they are in Egypt and allow the world system to affect their decision process. Paul told is in Romans 12 to change how we think. It is like reprogramming a computer. I was 26 years of age when I was born again, so for those 26 years, I was squeezed into the mould of the world system. I had to change my way of thinking and doing things and this is what He meant.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:2.

With the exception of two people, the people of Israel failed to accept God’s promise that He had given them the land, despite the miracles that had happened to bring deliverance from Egypt and the enemy army.
They were still thinking the old way. They were double minded and that leads to failure. James tells us-

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8

A divided mind can lead to confusion and distortion about the truth of any situation that comes against us.  The divided mind stands in direct opposition to God’s promises.  Ten of the twelve spies for Israel gave a report that was in direct conflict to God’s promise.  When the enemy comes, too many Christians today make bad decisions based on reports that are in direct conflict with God’s promises to them.  They allow their thinking to continue to be like the world from which we have been delivered.

To win over the tests and temptations that come our way, we must recognize that although we are in this world, we are no longer of this world.  We might be affected for a season, but we do not function like the world. When we become one mind with the Lord, think as He thinks and agree with what He would do, all things become possible. Our faith in God and His ability to bring us victory during times of adversity will always be in conflict with what the world thinks.

It is to our benefit to always remember what Moses told the people when they were facing extermination from a relentless enemy.
…And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:13-14.

Our war is not against the people that are deceived and come against us. Sometimes they simply do not know what they are doing. On the cross, Jesus said-
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. Luke 23:34.

They might not know what they are doing to us, but equally as truthful… they may not know what they are doing to themselves as a result of their own actions! Remember that we are part of His Body—bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh and the apple of His eye. What happens to us does affect the Lord in more ways than you realize. His love for you is intense, passionate and jealous and even if it does not seem like it, you are held in the hollow of His hand and engraved on His palm.
The Lord will fight for you!

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Conclusion

We have shared much about this and still have much more that could be shared.

By now however, I hope that you have seen that the devil, although a powerful adversary and one not to be taken lightly is by no means as powerful as some people state.

The Lord and I were speaking one day and He said, "How dare they! How dare they!"

It startled me and as I wondered what He meant, He continued by saying that people worship the devil by default, by giving him too much attention and too much credit. He said that it was like telling Him that Calvary was not good enough!

This caused me to start thinking on the teaching I had received in my earlier Christian days and I repented because my doctrinal belief in this area was not completely true.

Of recent times, my wife and I have been on the receiving end of all sorts of attacks, for want of better expression, although I personally dislike that term. Things do happen. We cannot deny that, but I realized that there are many people who are suffering in some way because of incorrect beliefs.
This study is the result of much prayer and seeking the face of God. It has not come lightly.
I have shared some thought emanating from such studies with you here with the intention of helping you find your place in the economy of things and live as God wants you to live.

If we have helped you, please contact us.

Be blessed,

Robert.

Additional readings:

Ephesians 2:1-7; 3:7-21; 4:8-13; 4:21-27; Philippians 1:6, 2:4-13; Colossians 2:10-15; 3:10; 1 John 2:13-17; 3:8; 4:4; 5:1-5; Revelation 12:11.

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