Spiritual Warfare–Part 2

In Part 1, we learned about two kingdoms, two different modes of spiritual battle, truth and lies, and how the kingdom of darkness operates. Now we will turn our attention to the other kingdom: the kingdom of light.
In Genesis 1:1 we see a picture of God creating the world. In the original Hebrew, the words say “the Gods” (plural), “He” (singular) created the heavens and the earth. Jesus was with God and was God. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5) Jesus was God, and demonstrated who God is in the way He lived on earth, both in word and deed. (Colossians 1:19)

Through His life on earth, he suffered (Isaiah 53:3), and he learned obedience to God through that suffering. “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:8-9) He was enticed to do wrong in every way that humans are, and because of this, He is able to help us (Hebrews 4:15; 2:18), and to reconcile those who are alienated in mind (Colossians 1:21). To those who believe in Him, “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-33)

That freedom is always spiritual. (Romans 8:2) It is sometimes physical. (Acts 5:19) And the consequence of obedience to God sets people physically free. (Isaiah 58:6) It means freedom from the fear from which all other fears in life come, that is the fear of death. (Hebrews 2:15) And it is a perfect freedom, spiritually, physically, and universally, to come in the future in the literal kingdom of God. (Hebrews 11:13-16, Revelations 21:27)

To be introduced into the kingdom of light is to go from being a “child of the devil” to being adopted into the family of God. (Romans 8:15) As children of God, we become “like” Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18) We take on His character. It is to call Jesus “Lord.” That means we accept His authority. If He wants us to do something, or does not want us to do something, we obey, regardless of what any other person or entity in this world tells us to do. (Matthew 28:18, Acts 5:29) According to history, the martyr Antipas was ordered to call the Roman Emperor Lord and god. Upon refusing, he was roasted to death. He was commended by Jesus in Revelations 2:13. (CBN: The Seat of Satan: Ancient Pergamum) We follow His way of living. He learned obedience through suffering, and so do we. (Romans 8:17) He conquered death, came back to life, and lives forever, and so will we. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) He rules and will rule the nations of the world and so will we. (Daniel 7:27) If we believe Him and live out His words.

Reality of Persecution and Temptation

To be a Christian is to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23) Do not be surprised if following Jesus gets you crucified. We are told that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” (1 Peter 4:12a) As Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” (John 15:19-20a)

This pressure to reject God—to sequester Him in a box we pull out as we like, or to give up our responsibility to obey him and claim we are only human and should not be expected to stand firm under threats and weaknesses (Matthew 13:20-22)—serves a good purpose. It will test who really does believe and love God, who will stop and think about His feelings before they act. (1 Peter 1:6-7, 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5)

The hypocrites can be revealed to themselves. (1 Corinthians 13:5) I’m sure many of those who think saying a prayer gave them the fire insurance they needed to stay out of hell, only to hear Jesus after death tell them to “depart from me you workers of iniquity,” would have liked to know beforehand whether their souls were really redeemed. They have the opportunity to be sincere with God at last.

Second, for those who have given themselves to God, whose names are written in the book of life, and who have received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, Romans 8:9), in the face of pressure to do wrong, they will have the choice to choose God or something else. They will be confronted with everything in themselves that is not sound, decaying, and evil, (Hebrews 12:27) will be given the strength to reject it, (1 Corinthians 10:13) and become more and more pure, as gold is refined in fire. This testing will determine with what power and responsibility they should be entrusted in the eternal kingdom. (Luke 19:15-24, 2 Timothy 2:12)

These pressures to do wrong must come. God uses these things to test, refine, and judge His people. (1 Peter 4:14) He uses even His enemies for His own purposes, as He used the Pharaoh of Egypt to show He was greater than the strongest nation in the world. (Romans 9:22, 2 Timothy 2:20, Exodus 7:2-5) God can use Satan to judge His church. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) Even though God uses His enemies, they will still be punished for what they have done. (Luke 17:1-2)

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Those who will do right no matter the cost are the light of God to the world. (Matthew 5:14) His eternal hope gives meaning to the temporal world. His overpowering love, even for His pitiful enemies (Romans 5:6-8), overflows out of His people through their every act in the world. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

His actions towards us are not arbitrary. His purpose is to invite, guide, strengthen, test, and then receive a people for His coming kingdom. Life is the crucible where people are refined like gold or revealed to be false. Sufferings discipline us. (Hebrews 12:7) We are told to rejoice when they come, because we are developing perseverance, so that we will be perfect, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-5) So that we will have hope. (Romans 5:3-5) So that the church can be strengthened. (Colossians 1:24)

We are soldiers. We have been freed from slavery to the enemy, but we are still under attack. It takes focus. It takes relentless determination. The full force of our energy. “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4) We are told to “fight the good fight of faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

There is no middle ground. You cannot be partly God’s and partly Satan’s. (Luke 16:13) When you are being attacked by Satan, you will want to be completely surrendered to Christ. Anything left out is a chink in your armor that Satan will exploit to drag you down. In Romans 6 Paul uses a crude human expression that we become slaves of doing the right thing. It is what it takes. It takes everything.

Before a king sets out to war, he has to count the cost, or else he will have to surrender before finishing. (Luke 14:31-33) “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:23-25) Those who look back are not fit for the kingdom. (Luke 9:62)

Here’s a nice verse to put on a picture of flowers to some soothing music: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” –Jesus (Luke 14:26) This is likely confusing to people who understand Jesus to have commanded us to love one another. (John 13:34-35) I have heard it is a Hebrew idiom, meaning, to love, and to love much more. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 john 2:15) It is as Paul said, that he was someone who was someone well bred, well educated, and well respected, but he saw all of his status and accomplishments as a waste in so far as they did not accomplish what was truly important. (Philippians 3:4-11)

“’Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

People are false. The world lies. Satan lies. At the end of the day they are corrupt. They are in it for themselves. They will sacrifice you for their own comfort. It is a sad thing to put your hopes in that fraud. (Romans 3:4, Psalm 27:10) The only secure place to put it is in the perfect goodness of God. When you give up the world, you aren’t losing anything. You are clearing the way to gain God’s redemptive purpose.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
–Jim Elliot.

Many faithful saints have shown their full devotion to God, not only living lives of suffering, but also choosing to be murdered rather than betray their God. (Hebrews 11:35b)
As Jesus faced His death He said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” (John 12:27-28a)


Authority of Jesus

God is not threatened by Satan. There has never been another god besides Him. (Isaiah 43:10) After humanity became corrupted, God told Satan that a human decendent would be the enemy of the Satan, and though Satan would bruise His heel, He would bruise Satan’s head. (Genesis 3:15) Jesus prophesied that the ruler of this world who is Satan would be cast out, and when He would be crucified He would draw all men to Himself. (John 12:31-33) Having died and being risen from the dead, all authority was given to Jesus. (Matthew 28:18, 1 Peter 3:22) Every demon in the kingdom of Satan must obey His word. (Mark 1:27) When a demon was confronted with Jesus, it begged in fear, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” (Mark 5:7) Demons live in fear of God. (James 2:19) They know that their time of eternal judgment is coming. (Matthew 8:29, Revelations 12:12, Matthew 25:41)

When Jesus gave the power to cast demons out of people, his servants were amazed and thrilled. But Jesus told them this was nothing serious to celebrate over, but rather that they were intended to live in the kingdom of God forever. (Luke 10:17-20)
“These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The Kingdom of Heaven

God created the whole universe. (Isaiah 43) It is entirely within his power and authority. (Colossians 1:16-17) He could wipe it all out in a moment, but He has a plan in mind for it. (Jeremiah 31:36) He has allowed His creatures to act independently of Him, to make their own choices. (James 1:13) So in a way the entire universe is His kingdom. (Psalm 24:1) But when the kingdom of heaven is talked about, it more specifically relates to those beings who have chosen to be loyal to God. It includes His countless angels who are able to exercise powers beyond human capabilities. And it includes His adopted children on earth.

God has been working with humanity throughout our history. He chose the people of Israel for Himself. That nation under His direct rule has been suspended for a time. (Romans 11) Though Israel was not entirely a part of the kingdom of God throughout its history. (Romans 9:6-8) Through many periods of rebellion, God has always had a remnant. There have always been the few who were true in heart towards him. Even when Elijah the prophet despaired that he was the only one left in all of Israel, God comforted him that He had reserved 7000 who had not bent their knee to the false god Baal. (1 Kings 19:18) And there have been followers of God from other nations as well. (Matthew 8:11)

The true kingdom of God has always been a kingdom of spirit. (Hosea 6:6) It is invisible. In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God is not something they can observe, but it is in the midst of them. It is in the knowledge of the truth. The truth that there is a God (Romans 1:20), that the world is in His hands, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) It is this kernel of faith that God searches for (2 Chronicles 16:9). It cannot be silenced. If the crowds were to stop singing His praises, even the rocks would cry out. (Luke 19:40)

It is like a seed that is sown far and wide among many people. Most do not take it to heart, but for those who do, it spreads and multiplies. (Mark 4:1-20) It is subtle at first. (Luke 13:18) Most do not necessarily realize the value of it. For those who do, they have the wisdom to take hold of it at any cost. (Matthew 13:45-46)

God is not like Satan, in many ways, but in one way in particular. He is moved by meekness. By sorrow, humility, and remorse. (Matthew 5:2-5) God’s way to victory was to take His beloved son and send Him to an imperfect species, to grow up poor and without renown. (Matthew 13:54-57) To not be handsome so as to attract people to him. To not speak so as to please men. (John 6:48-67) To be despised, misunderstood, unrecognized, rejected, and killed. (Isaiah 53)

It is said that the wrongly persecuted and the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of God. (Matthew 5:10-11) Those who wish to be greatest then must make himself the lowest now, serving others. (Matthew 20:26-28) God choses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:26-28) This demonstrates that it is not by our own power that God brings His will to fruition. (Zechariah 4:6) And it demonstrates God’s genuine love for those who have nothing to offer Him. (Rom 5:6) This is a testimony to the heavenly authorities. (Ephesians 3:8-12) Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil – sin. (1 John 3:80 To seek and save those lost to it. (Luke 19:10) He tells a parable of a good shepherd who leaves His ninety-nine sheep in the fold to seek out the one who had strayed, and when he had carried it home, he rejoices over it more than the ninety-nine who never went astray. (Mat 18:12-13)

The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who receive it as a child receives it. (Luke 18:15-17) We are told to be “born again,” which is a metaphorical way to say born of the Spirit and not just the physical body. (John 3:5-8)
Few enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 7:13-14) Those who live in disobedience to God will not. (Matthew 5:10, Matthew 7:21, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:5, Matthew 25:31-46) Jesus said it was incredibly difficult for the wealthy to make it. “With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Luke 18:24-27) Those who do make it will make it through many struggles. (Acts 14:22)
Nevertheless, as our desires first align with Gods, He will take care of us. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

At times the kingdom of God is demonstrated with God’s supernatural acts of power through his servants, such as casting out demons or healing the sick. (Matthew 12:28, Luke 10:9)

Right now those of the kingdom of God are physically behind enemy lines. (John 18:36) We are in the world, but we are not of the world. (John 17:14-16) Satan is still called the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4) But that will not always be the case. There is coming a time when Jesus will come back in person, and will defeat planet earth in battle, and will set up a literal country where He will rule with us. (Revelation 19:11-16, Daniel 7:27)

Right now, “He is preparing us for the place, and the place for us.” –David Pawson. Jesus explained this with a parable of a nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself and then return. (Luke 19:11-12) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
When He returns, all of His people will be changed in a moment to have new immortal bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) He is bringing His reward with Him. (Revelation 22:12) Believers will have our own judgment. Everything worthless done will be burned up. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) For what we have sacrificed, we will be repaid many times more. (Matthew 19:29) We are expected to be productive with the time here on earth, and our rewards will be proportional to that. (Luke 19:11-26) In the new literal kingdom, we will be appointed positions of authority based on that work. We will reign with Him forever. (Daniel 7:27, Luke 12:42-44)

We are given a word of warning. We do not know when Jesus will return. (Matthew 24:36) “But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.” (Luke 12:45-46) But for those who love His appearing, He will give a crown of righteousness. (2 Timothy 4:8)

What is it like?

The reason Jesus came to earth was to destroy what Satan had done, to undo the corruption in the human soul. It was to save people from their sins, to literally change who they are so that they are not at the mercy of their wrong desires. We are saved to do good. (1 John 3:8-10, Ephesians 2:10)
God is able to take a heart of stone, and replace it with a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) When He saves a person, he is recreating them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) Fundamentally, what you think is who you are. (Proverbs 23:7) This is where God requires truth. (Psalm 51:6) When we are saved, we replace lies about who God is, who we are, and what is right and wrong, with the truth. (Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9) “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) We are to test everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

We who have been given the Spirit of God can understand the way that God thinks in a way the natural man cannot. (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) As the Spirit of God transforms us, it produces a series of qualities. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) This transformation is a process. “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)

God’s love is poured out into our hearts. (Romans 5:5) We have a peace that is incomprehensible. (Philippians 4:7) Rather than fear or confusion, we have power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 14:33) We are patient and joyful in hard times (Romans 12:12), and full of courage. (Proverbs 28:1, Acts 15:26) Consider the transformation of Peter, who despite promising to die with Jesus betrayed Him three times (Matthew 26:34-35), only to openly preach Him in the face of threats, beatings, imprisonment, and ultimate death. (Acts 4:21; 5:18,40) “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant Your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word.” (Acts 4:29) After he had been beaten, he left, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41) We cannot be moved.

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He who swears to his own hurt
and does not change;
He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.”
-Psalm 15

The people of God are peaceable, reasonable, and merciful. (James 3:17, Philippians 4:5) We are sincere. (Ephesians 4:25) When we speak the truth we do it with a desire for the good of the other. (Ephesians 4:15) When we work, we work diligently and faithfully, as though we were working for Christ and not their boss. (Colossians 3:23)

A group of believers meet each other regularly. (Hebrews 10:25) Our meetings are well ordered. (1 Corinthians 14:40) We are equal with each other. (Matthew 20:26, Matthew 23:8-12, 1 Peter 5:3, Galatians 3:28) We study scripture together. (2 Timothy 4:2) We are to settle our own conflicts. (Matthew 5:24; 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8) We are gracious and kind to each other. (Ephesians 4:29,32) We serve each other and are hospitable. (Romans 12:13) We mind our own business and lead quiet lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:11) We respect differences of conviction where there is no obligation to intervene. (Romans 14:4) We support, encourage, and honor each other. (Romans 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) We sacrifice for each other. (1 John 3:16)

Towards outsiders, the child of God is to be gentle (1 Peter 3:16), gracious (Colossians 4:5-6), courteous (Titus 3:2), and forbearing (Matthew 5:39). The church doesn’t ostracize unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:11-13), although we do not bind ourselves to them either. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17) We are to do them good. (Galatians 6:10) Especially to those who are in need. (James 1:27, Luke 10:30-37) We pray for everyone, including our leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) We advocate for those who are unjustly wronged. (Isaiah 58:6, Proverbs 24:11) We pay taxes and obey laws. (Mark 12:17, 1 Peter 3:13) We defend our faith. (1 Peter 3:15, 2 Timothy 2:25, Acts 4:20, Romans 2:4, 2 Corinthians 5:11) We demonstrate God’s goodness. (Matthew 5:16, John 13:35) We convict others that they are in the wrong. (Galatians 3:24, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Romans 3:19) We are to be at peace with everyone as much as possible. (Romans 12:18)

What are its tactics?

God designed us. He created humanity in the first place. Sin is a departure from being what we were originally intended to be, and much of the resistance to it is building up your “health,” on individual and community levels. A healthy body receives good information, moves in the right direction, and coordinates seamlessly, transmitting accurate information. Each part carries its own weight and supports the weaker parts; the strengths and weaknesses of each part complement each other.

The foundation of a walk with God is to believe the truth. It is the first part of the armor mentioned in Ephesians 6, with which we may fight the enemy. We are to perpetually focus our attention on spiritual matters. To put things into God’s perspective. (Romans 8:5, Galatians 5:16-17) “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) When Satan searched for Jesus’ vulnerabilities, He would respond with “It is written,” always going back to the authority of God. We are “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.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is a battle of ideas. You must think critically about even things that come from preachers or angels. (2 Timothy 4:3, Galatians 1:8, 1 John 4:1) Where you are believing a lie, you are weak. When you replace it with the truth of God, you become strong.

To give you some examples, when you feel small, you can remember that the creator of the universe died for you. (John 3:16) When you feel guilty, you can know that God can put that behind you, and you can stand before Him blameless. (Ephesians 6:17) When you have been hurt, you can recognize that what was done to you was wrong, and feel validated that you are in the right. (Psalm 119:161) When your adversaries seem strong, you can remember God’s endless love is also expressed in His final judgments. (Hebrews 10:31, Matthew 23:33) When you feel that you have no choice but to do the wrong thing, you can remember that God has given you the choice. (1 Corinthians 10:13) When you feel that others think of you as nothing and try to control you, you can remember that God who has every right to you gives you self-control. (Galatians 5:23) When you are tempted to hate, and see no reason to move in the world in a positive direction, you can remember that God is powerful enough to redeem even the worst and most hopeless of men. (1 Timothy 1:15) When you feel uncertain of the future, you can remember that God works everything out for the good. (Romans 8:28)

The enemy wants to turn you into something false. He wants you to fake strength, and to fake love. (Proverbs 21:29, 2 Peter 2:13) Those things are not the answer.

Prayer is simply talking to God. It is something God called Israel to do when they had grown distant from God and disregarded His laws. Many times Israel would become calloused as they continuously wronged each other. It was said of them, “nor did they know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 6:13-15) God implored them to recognize what they had lost, and to learn how to grieve for their spiritual and soon to be physical destitution. (Jeremiah 9) He always extended the offer that were they to realize they were grieving Him, to feel grief because of it, and asked Him to return to them. Then He would restore them again. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Part of our walk with God involves searching out any part of us that is separating us from Him. (Psalm 139:23-24) We can always confess these things to God and be forgiven, and made more holy. (1 John 1:9)

We are to pray for our fellow saints who have their own battles. (Ephesians 6:18), for those who are persecuting us (Matthew 5:44), and for everyone. (1 Timothy 2:1) Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Be watchful in your prayer. Be thankful. (Colossians 4:2)


“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8)

God hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29) The prayers of Jesus were heard because of His reverence. (Hebrews 5:7) “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b) We can give our worries to God. (Philippians 4:6) When Paul and Silas were in prison praying, an earthquake shook the prison and opened their doors. (Acts 16:25-26)

Fasting is a serious way to focus on God by limiting food for a period of time to pray. Jesus did this for forty days in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:2) There are many cases of people spending time to fast and pray when they had a very serious problem to bring to God. (Nehemiah 9:1, Esther 4:3, Joel 2:12)

Satan is opposed to those doing the work of God. If you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target. You have to expect it, and to watch out for it. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

The book of Nehemiah is a good book to read about the children of the devil trying to stop the work of God. Nehemiah’s work was to build back up the wall around Jerusalem after the Israelites had returned from captivity. Without it, they were at the mercy of constant attack. The enemies repeatedly tried to pull Nehemiah away from building the wall to meet with him, although it was a plot. “So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” In the face of plots to kill him, to claim he was a traitor, to trick him into doing things that they could criticize him for, Nehemiah persisted. We are to continue and not “turn to the right or the left.” (Proverbs 4:27) We have to make the most of the time that we have “because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

The relationship Satan is most interested in disrupting is your relationship with God. For “in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28a) Apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15:5-10) That is why Satan is always trying to get us to disobey God. Jesus tells us to “watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) This watching involves constantly discerning whether some action is right or wrong. (Hebrews 5:14) Prayer focuses on what God’s heart is on the subject, and appeals to Him to strengthen us. We are to not put ourselves into situations where we may be tempted to do wrong. (Romans 13:11-14) When temptation does come, we should get away from it. (1 Corinthians 6:11; 10:14, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22) Resolution to stay away is an understatement. The feelings of a Christian towards the desires to sin within himself should be vicious hatred. “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” (Matthew 18:8-9) Sexual immorality should not even be named among believers. (Ephesians 5:3) “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) God has made a way for you to resist temptation in every situation. It is never more than you can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) We already have what we need to do the right thing. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

When you are already following God and doing the right thing, there isn’t much for the enemy to attack. (Daniel 6:4) To this you should add wisdom. I define wisdom as the strategic use of amoral means to achieve moral ends. Things of innate value, like the human soul, imply moral requirements. Right vs wrong, permissibility and impermissibility. However many things in the world only tangentially effect those things of innate value. For example, it is wrong to kill, it is unwise to eat unhealthfully. It is wrong to leave your children to starve, it is unwise to do poorly at your job. Wisdom is about understanding what is really important, and making provision for it. It is wise to save money in the event of unforeseen circumstances. (Proverbs 21:20) It is wise to have possessions and skills that are dependable in hard times, and that you maintain well. (Luke 22:36, Proverbs 31:10-31, Genesis 41:56)

It is wise to choose your friends carefully—people of integrity who will not seek to harm you. People who are competent. People who encourage you to be a better person. (1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 13:20; 17:17; 22:24-25; 27:17) Be careful not to bind yourself with someone who is going in the wrong direction. This includes all unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16) It is wise to maintain those relationships well. To have integrity, to be competent, and to encourage others to be better people. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) As we watch for schemes of the devil, Paul prevented the church from being misled by counterfeit letters by signing them and instructed the church to watch for genuine signatures. (2 Thessalonians 3:17) We should be careful to act in a way that is not correctly open to criticism. (Romans 12:17, Proverbs 11:9, 1 Timothy 3:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:22) When there are problems in the relationship, one must be careful to respond in the best way possible. To reconcile where possible (Matthew 5:24), to not become bitter (Ephesians 4:26-27), to forgive and be in harmony (Colossians 3:13-14), and to act in love. “He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” (1 John 2:10) It is a scheme of Satan to prevent reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 2:11)


There are a number of practical responses you can take when dealing with those who are intent on doing serious wrong, who will not repent and be reconciled. The first is to avoid them. As seen in Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5, the standard practice for people within the church who will not stop doing wrong is to kick them out. This includes those who try to cause division and put up obstacles (Romans 16:17-18), and the heartless and the treacherous (2 Timothy 3:1-5). There is no point in trying to reason with someone who refuses to be reasonable. They can only be punished for others to learn. (Proverbs 9:7-8; 19:25) “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.” (Proverbs 22:10)

The second is to assert your rights. When Paul was unjustly arrested and about to be flogged, he appealed to his rights as a Roman citizen to not be flogged uncondemned. (Acts 22:25) He later used his right to appeal to Ceasar. (Acts 25:11) Where the system is just, it can be employed.

The third is to run away. Jesus told his disciples about a future time where they would be hated by all, and instructed them to flee from persecution. “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.” (Matthew 10:23a) At the direction of an angel, Jesus’ family fled with Him from Bethlahem to Egypt when Herod was trying to kill Him. (Matthew 2:13)

Another method is to hide. The infant Moses was hidden from Pharaoh when he had given orders to kill the male infants. (Exodus 2:3) “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself.” (Proverbs 22:3a) “When the wicked arise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.” (Proverbs 28:28) There are times when it is right to hide fugitives, as in Isaiah 16:3b. “Hide the outcasts, Do not betray him who escapes.” It is also sometimes right to keep secrets. Samson’s downfall was to reveal his weakness to his lover Delilah. (Judges 16:15-21) When King Hezekiah showed all the treasures in his storehouses to the envoys from Babylon, Isaiah prophesied that the Babylonians would come back to take it all. (Isaiah 39) It is a naïve and false thing that people today believe, that good people are open with others about their personal matters. That they are required to think others are trustworthy and have good intentions. That simply isn’t a Biblical view of humanity. “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25)

Conversely, it is often the nature of those who are doing wrong to conceal their evil acts. (John 3:19-20) Our response is to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

The kingdom of God does not operate on the same way as the kingdom of this world. The standard practice for humanity is to hurt in order to control, and to hurt back or submit. God operates under different principles. We see some very strange and surprising things about how we are supposed to love and pray for our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) This is in keeping with God’s own attitude towards His enemies.

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written,
“Vengence is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap
coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
(Romans 12:19-21)

The Bible doesn’t say how this works in the passage, although it says your kindness will be distressing to your enemy. Perhaps it is because it shows you are not broken and defeated. Perhaps because he cannot provoke you. Perhaps because it creates conflicting desires within himself, when good terms are extended. Perhaps it reveals that he is a beast compared to a man.

But remember the eternal perspective. This is an eternal soul that could be our companion forever. That has so much to contribute. So much value and uniqueness that is not being manifested. This person is reduced to a slave. He is going to run out of chances. He is going to be judged, and be sent to a place where the agony will remind him over and over again how he really should have treated you. (Matthew 13:42) We are going to forget about him. (Isaiah 65:17) But I doubt he will forget. There was a rich man who after death found himself immersed in flames. From a distance he saw Abraham, and begged him for a drop of water for his tongue. “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:25-31)

We should remember what an opportunity it is to be a witness to those still living. We can explain the gospel to them, and we can demonstrate its power in our lives. Remember God’s eternal perspective. You are the light of the world to them. The salt of the earth. A city on a hill. (Matthew 5:13-15)

We are told to we are to not be terrified of our adversaries in any way. Because this is a proof to them of their judgment in hell. (Philippians 1:28) Because they are mortals who are passing away, soon to be eaten by worms. (Isaiah 51:7-8) Because it will do no good. (Psalm 37:8) Because everything that they do in secret will be revealed. Because they cannot kill your soul. (Luke 12:1-6) Because the fear of man is a snare. (Proverbs 29:25a)
What we are to have instead is faith. Faith that God is just. (Romans 2:6-8) That He has not forgotten us. (Luke 12:6-7) That He knows what He is doing. (Job 38) That He is working every evil thing we go through for the good. (Romans 8:28) That we have hope in Him. (1 John 5:13) That it is only up a matter of time before we are perfected with Him forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
-Isaiah 26:3

Faith is key. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) The shield of faith can extinguish all of the flaming darts of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16) All of them. “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4a)

In faith, even when the world is chaos and danger beyond our control, we can be at rest, knowing that God is working. We can be silent and wait as God splits the sea for us to walk through. (Exodus 14:13-14) We can rest knowing that the battle belongs to the Lord. (2 Chronicles 20:15)

Faith is more than peace. It is also exaltation. It causes an overflow of joy and gratitude for God’s power and goodness. This is why it is so perfectly natural for God’s people to sing songs exalting God, reflecting on His love, faithfulness, redemption, and victory. He is enthroned in the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3)

“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.
The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers their works.
No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon is,
Just as we hope in You.”
-Psalm 33


What happens to the people of the kingdom of heaven?

Despite our many trials, we need not be afraid of the kingdom of darkness. Jesus has prayed that we would be protected from the evil one. (John 17:15-18, 2 Thessalonians 3:3) And we will not be touched by him. (1 John 5:18) What we are suffering now cannot be compared with what God has prepared for us. (Romans 8:18)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
-Romans 8:31-39



  1. Hi Ria, I love your flow on how all your thoughts connect with verses with each thought. How thorough and in depth and complete your message is.
    Love, Chinue


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