Spiritual Warfare

Christians and churches are in desperate need of showing God’s power in transforming lives and in a Christlike confrontation of evil wherever they find it. Whether demonic, systemic, or personal. We face two dangers; on the one hand, we may avoid bold demonstrations of power for fear these may become magic. The church then is poor in the manifestations of God’s might. On the other hand, in our zeal to demonstrate God’s power we can run after the sensational and be tempted to use power for our own glory. Neither miracles nor the cross can be taken out of the gospel without distorting it.

The biblical heros in spiritual warfare are given in the hall of fame in Hebrews. “Some overthrew kingdoms, escaped death by the sword, put whole armies to flight, and received their loved ones back from death (Heb. 11:33-35). Even greater are the victors who were tortured, mocked, whipped, chained, oppressed, mistreated, and martyred (Heb. 11:36-38). They were “too good for the world” (Heb. 11:38). In all these cases, victory lies not in defeating the enemy, but in standing firm in faith and bearing witness to Christ, no matter the outcome.

The battlefield of our spiritual warfare is the human mind. The passages of scripture, which discuss our spiritual struggle against angelic adversaries, shows that our battle is a mental one. It is the struggle to develop a right and mature understanding of God’s Word or give way to an immature, ungodly world-view, which comes from the angelic enemy and our sinful nature.

The Greek word for minds is, noema which means a mental perception, an evil purpose, that which thinks, the mind, thoughts or purposes. It occurs 6 times in the New Testament and is translated as “mind” 4 times (2 Corinthians 4:4), “device” one time, and “thought”one time. 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices”. 2 Corinthians 2:11 tell us that we are not ignorant of satan’s mind, his plans, his intentions, and his strategy. Satan’s strategy is to deceive us, to blind us from God’s will, to corrupt us from the saving knowledge of Christ.

A biblical view of spiritual warfare points to the final establishment of the kingdom of God throughout the whole universe. When we focus too much on the current battle, we lose sight of the cosmic picture in which the real story is not the battle, but the eternal reign of Christ. That vision transformed the early church, and it should be our focus in ministry today.

Spiritual warfare is a battle over our minds, as 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; (Through God: or, to God) 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; {imaginations: or, reasonings}.

This passage from 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us clearly that our struggle with our adversary is a mental battle. It is over our thoughts and our imaginations. It is about knowledge. It requires us to align our thinking to Christ, to God’s will. It informs us that the weapons we utilise to accomplish this task are not some strange metaphysical instruments, by which we subdue fallen angels, but which we use to subject our own thoughts to Christ.

Now that we know that the battle is fought in our minds and that, the objective of the enemy is to deceive us. We are trying to avoid in spiritual warfare is remaining carnal, worldly, and sinful in our thinking and in our minds. Noted earlier from 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2-3 and 4:17 all of us start out in this corrupt state of mind. It is the default mind and thinking of an unsaved person.

Romans 8:6-7, For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. {to be carnally…: Gr. the minding of the flesh} {to be spiritually…: Gr. the minding of the Spirit} 7 because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

2 Corinthians 4:4 and Ephesians 4:17 – establish that the deception of the human mind is the objective of our angelic adversaries and the state of those who do not believe in Christ Jesus. We were saved in Christ Jesus, we were once just as those who do not believe. Ephesians 2:2, “Therefore, while were in the world and was apart from God, we were deceived by our enemy, partakers of the sinful nature, and men of carnal minds. Yet after we are saved in Christ the enemy still seeks to lead us astray.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 – “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Jesus Christ defeated satan on the cross; we must trust Him and His finished work as the means of our salvation from satan and the power of sin. 1 John 1:7; Rev.12: 11 “They overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb”. By submitting our soul’s well-being to our Heavenly Father and trusting His promises – Psalms 46: 1. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”

Therefore, we see that we start out carnally minded, blinded by the devil. Moreover, after we are saved, our minds are still targeted by the enemy. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Paul told us that we must make our previously carnal and sinful minds and thoughts subject to God and obedient to Christ. The carnal mind is the product of the world and the enemy. It is an ungodly world-view or worldly wisdom, which, as Christians we must still fight to avoid. Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. {rudiments: or, elements} {make a prey: or, seduce you, or, lead you astray. The word translated in these passages as “spoil” is the Greek word sulagogeo, which only occurs here in this passage. It means to carry off booty, to carry one off as a captive, or to lead away from the truth and subject to one’s sway.

Through the power of the Word of God “and by the power of the Word” (Rev.12: 11). When Jesus was tempted by the Devil, He rebuked him by quoting the Scriptures. We must be able to do the same thing. David said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” Ps 119:11, Psalms 91; Gal. 6:12-16.




Categories: Theology

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