I recently preached the sermon The Mind Is The Battlefield Of Spiritual Warfare. In it I say that Satan's most effective tactic is to establish strongholds in your mind. A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, pretending to be bigger or more powerful than God.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Strongholds are built by the “ imaginations, speculations and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God.
These imaginations can be a superstitious belief, an addiction, wrong thoughts, or despair over the loss of a loved one or relationship or many other things.
They can consume our emotions, cause us to become overwhelmed, and sap our mental strength. If we try to ignore them we will never be able to live the life of victory promised by Jesus.
The devil’s chief target is the mind, because the most effective way to influence behaviour is to influence our thinking.
God has given us armor for protection and a powerful and effective weapon in the “sword of the Spirit” which is the word of God (the Bible).
Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV 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. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
We must have the whole armor of God protecting us at all times so we can stand successfully against the enemy’s attacks and plans.
To “take your stand” literally means to stand in front of and in opposition to the forces and plans of evil. It means to be the one standing after the battle. It also means to stand ready for the next battle which will come. You need this armor to stop any attack in your life.
To win this war against Satan, we need to take control of our thought life – “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” We take those thoughts captive with the Word of God the “sword of the Spirit”.
Here are more weapons and ammunition to use along with your sword so you will continue to win battle after battle.
6 Ways to Beat the Devil
Learn how to conquer your foe
By Corine Gatti
Since the dawn of time, the devil has been out there scheming to take down the believer. We can't see him, but this does not mean he's not there. The devil whispers those lofty temptations into our spiritual ears and into our minds. He was present was Jesus was born and showed up at Calvary. He loves to torment us and is pretty good at tempting us into sin since he was the first sinner! Satan rebelled and was cast out of Heaven and this became a domino effect as sin emptied into the Garden of Eden. The Bible said that Satan is angry. No wonder why, he was God's chosen one and fell from the skies in disgrace. Look at Ezekiel 28:13-15, which described Lucifer as a precious stone and was "The anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." The enemy desires to remain supreme above God. Are you powerless? No! You have weapons that you can use.
Prayer gives you a covering against the devil and is the opportunity to share our wants and needs with God. Prayer in our daily lives is important as it protects us. "The Bible reminds us that our battle is not people-based, it’s spiritual. Identify your opponent, his strategies and tactics and be empowered through the Holy Spirit to thwart them," author Joel Osteen wrote. Additionally, Jesus prayed often. In Matthew 14:23, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. In Mark 1:35 we know that he prayed in the morning. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Prayer is mentioned a lot in the Bible and there is a reason.
Cast Down Thoughts
So when you're attacked by depression, hate, anger, division, addictions and all of those nasty thoughts that come into the heart, that could be the devil. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms," the Bible warned. In this case, you want to combat these thoughts by casting aside things that are not true. Jesus was tempted in the desert and was tempted to give up on the cross, but He focused on the power of God and God's Word. The tempter came and said to Him, ‘If indeed you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread,” it said in Matthew 4:2-3. Again, Jesus prevailed.
If you are exhausted in every sense of the word, you won't be able to combat the devil on the spiritual plane. Get rest and build yourself up. Church, people, schedules and taking on satan head-on is depleting. The author of Hebrews mirrors this by instructing us to cease from weariness. “Let us, therefore, be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest of God, to know and experience it for ourselves.” When you are feeling discouraged, stop yourself for a moment and release the burden to God. On your darkest days, you should rest and on your good days, you should rest. Israel wandered across the wilderness for 40 years and felt depleted. According to Psalms 95:10-11, "For 40 years I loathed that generation and said, 'They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.' Therefore I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest.'"
Renew Your Spirit
When you don’t feel like you can make it another day, turn to the Scriptures to drown out depression, anxiety, doubt and anger. God promised to renew our strength like the eagle, and we will run and not faint. Also, go to the Bible, a devotional, enter into prayer, or play worship music to encourage yourself and to keep your spirit energized. You need to come to Jesus and just humble yourself before Him. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," Jesus reminded us.
Know You Are Loved
The devil knows how much you are loved because he once had the love of the Father. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life,” John 3:16 said. Ask the Lord to show you His love to you, so you can enter into His rest. When we experience His love it will flow to others. On your darkest days when there is nothing to keep you going, He loves you. No wonder the devil is mad at you and everything that is good. God so lovingly created men and women to reflect the beauty of their Creator and the devil is mad over this.
We can't go into any battle without confidence and you need to know who you are in Christ. To do this, start affirming yourself through Scripture. Your words are powerful and are impactful. Think of it as one of the most powerful weapons that you own, which is your mouth. The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the "mouth speaks and also as a person thinks so they are. Change your thoughts, change your words and God’s power will change your life," Osteen added. Once you build up your confidence you can take on the devil and show him who is the boss. If you lack self-confidence, the devil will walk all over you and use people to keep you down as well. Speak life and power into your situation, not doubt.
Dealing with the devil can be a troublesome ordeal, no matter where you are. There will be times that you will want to give up and walk away for good. But there are tools at your disposal. By using faith, prayer, Scripture and some determination, you will beat the devil at his game.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.