THE INVISIBLE WAR Part 1
Understanding Spiritual Warfare - Exposing the adversary and his μεθοδεία (methods)
The obvious question we hear whenever we cover this topic of spiritual warfare and the devil is, "why do we need to talk about it?" And the simple answer is that the Bible is not silent about this reality. The Bible tells us there is a cosmic war happening in the unseen spiritual realm. There are principalities in the air that rebels against God's will and the earth and all that's in it are caught on this battlefield.
In our ignorance, we tend to see our problems and struggles in non-spiritual terms. And because of that, we tend to seek non-spiritual solutions. But everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world. The effects of the war going on in the unseen world reveal themselves in our strained and damaged relationships, emotional instability, mental fatigue, physical exhaustion and many other areas of life. Many of us feel pinned down by anger, unforgiveness, pride, comparisons, insecurity, discord, fear, addictions . . and the list goes on. But the overarching, primary nemesis behind all these outcomes is the Devil himself.
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN'T SEE INFLUENCING WHAT YOU CAN.
The greatest thing about the Scriptures is that it reveals to us who God is and His plan and purpose in human history i.e. our lives. But necessarily also, it exposes the enemy, Satan (the adversary), who also has plans and purposes on this earth - to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). If God wants us to be restored back to Christlikeness. The devil wants us to also be after his image and rebel against the Lord (Isaiah 14:14; Genesis 3:5)
Ignorance is one of the devil’s favourite playground for his schemes to be effective.
As we frame this series on the awareness of the spiritual realm, let us be reminded of the 2 errors we can fall to about such topic:
1. To disbelieve in their existence (What the devil doesn’t want you to know)
2. To excessively be interested in it as to magnify the spirit beings more than we magnify God.
Also, there are 2 errors that Christians have a tendency of inclination relating to Satan and his demonic schemes:
1. To underestimate them
Bible instructs us to be vigilant:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith… - 1 Peter 5:8
Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. - 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
2. To overestimate them
Movies and Media has hyped the image of the enemy as to fear and be paralised by such inaccurate appearances of evil.
We have to be reminded of our identity in Christ. We are children of God and Jesus' victory on the cross over Satan, sin and death is final and ours as we stand firm in Him.
Satan knows that his time is numbered that's why he is on double time to deceive as many as he can and we should not be among those.
10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” - Revelations 12:10-12
God is sovereign over Satan. The devil does not have a free hand in this world. He is on a leash, so that he can do no more than God permits. In effect, he must get permission — as in the case of Simon Peter, where Jesus discloses, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has asked to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). And the case of Job: “The Lord said to Satan, “Behold, Job is in your hand; only spare his life” (Job 2:6).
So evidently God sees the ongoing role of Satan as essential for his purposes in the world, since, if God willed, Satan would be thrown into the lake of fire now, instead of at the end of the age. “The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and . . . will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). His complete defeat is coming and sure. But not yet. As Christians, our attitude towards spiritual warfare should be just like that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our model and He is our Victor. We shouldn’t ignore and be ignorant, but we also shouldn’t overemphasise and be afraid of the enemy. We could very well practice the instruction of the Lord in praying "deliver us from the evil one" always. Because even though, the enemy is already a defeated foe, it doesn't mean he isn't working still to accomplish 2 things:
1. TO KEEP PEOPLE from CONNECTING with GOD (e.g. 2 Cor. 4:4)
One of the names we use for the enemy is the "devil"; from the Greek word (διάβολος) diabolos, meaning "slanderer" or "accuser". Throughout the Scriptures, this has been one of the main tactic of the enemy to distract, deceive, discourage and disillusion God's people. The devil:
1. Accuses God against us; (Genesis 3:1) so that we would question His trustworthiness and doubt Him.
2. Accuses us against God (Job 1:6-12,) so that he can be given permission to tempt us
3. Accuses us against ourselves (Rev. 12:10, Peter vs. Judas) so that he can condemn us and make us doubt ourselves.
4. Accuses us against each other (Ephesians 6:12) so that he can turn us against each other and destroy relationships.
In the next coming weeks we will be exploring more of the Biblical narrative concerning Spiritual Warfare and understand the battle we are in and the victory we have in Christ. But for now, the first steps to victorious living is being aware of it and being sure of our right standing in the Lord. QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION: 1. Why is it important for us to be aware and understand the reality of spiritual warfare? of the enemy?
2. What is the balanced way of approaching this topic? What makes us confident but not lax as well?
3. How does the Bible describe the enemy?
4. What are his tactics have you learned and how can you relate it to you personal experience?
5. What insights have you gained from this message?
6. What practical steps can you take from now on from what you learned?
7. What makes us victorious in this spiritual warfare?