SPIRITUAL WARFARE
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TEMPTATIONS COME FROM SATAN

     Satan is called the tempter.  It is written, AND WHEN THE TEMPTER (or Satan) CAME TO HIM-Mt 4:3.   Satan will tempt you or trick you to disobey God.  Jesus was LED UP...TO BE TEMPTED OF THE DEVIL-Mt 4:1.  Satan wants to cause you to fall.  It is written, LEST BY SOME MEANS THE TEMPTER HAVE TEMPTED YOU, AND OUR LABOR BE IN VAIN-1 Thes 3:5.   Often his temptations come like they did on Eve.  It is very subtle.  It is a very small temptation.  It involves just a little disobedience.  The disobedience or temptation may prompt you to do something that is so insignificant, you do not even consider it as a temptation or a test.  Once you disobey or listen to a little thing, then a little bigger temptation should follow later.  Satan tempts you in very subtle ways, because he knows if you recognize the temptation as it really is that you should resist it and not give in.  Giving in to a little temptation can result in a little blindness.  Then it can grow and grow until total darkness sets in.   Beware of Satan’s devices.  You cannot say you did not know.

TEMPTATIONS COME FROM SATAN WORKING THROUGH PEOPLE

     THE PHARISEES...CAME, AND TEMPTING (Him) DESIRED HIM THAT HE WOULD SHOW THEM A SIGN FROM HEAVEN-Mt 16:1.

     THE PHARISEES...CAME...TEMPTING HIM...SAYING...IS IT LAWFUL FOR A MAN TO PUT AWAY HIS WIFE FOR EVERY CAUSE?-Mt 19:3.

     ONE OF THEM...ASKED HIM A QUESTION, TEMPTING HIM-Mt 22:35.

     THIS THEY SAID, TEMPTING HIM, THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE TO ACCUSE HIM-Jn 8:6.

     Beware, for it is written, NEITHER LET US TEMPT CHRIST, AS SOME OF THEM ALSO TEMPTED, AND WERE DESTROYED OF SERPENTS-1 Cor 10:9.

     Satan will tempt you through people such as your wife or husband, your children, your parents, your relatives, your boss, your fellow workers, your children or your teachers in schools or colleges, your friends, and other people.  The bottom line of these temptations is to try to cause you to disobey God in some way (even in something very minute) that will ultimately lead to more disobedience later.  And through your example of disobedience, someone else may be tempted and fall.  Be an example of Christ in "every" way.

TEMPTATIONS COME FROM THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH

     These are the natural lusts of the flesh, but often prompted by Satan.  Again, these temptations may be small, even insignificant in the beginning, but as you give in to sin, it can increase more and more.

WE PRAY THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE TEMPTED

     As it is written, OUR FATHER...LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION-Mt 6:9,13.  Jesus tells us to WATCH AND PRAY, THAT YE ENTER NOT INTO TEMPTATION-Mt 26:41.  Why then would we be so foolish as to lead ourselves into temptations?

WE LEAD OURSELVES INTO TEMPTATIONS:
THE PRETTY GIRL AND THE CHOCOLATE ECLAIR

     Consider the following.   A person is married.  A pretty girl or a good-looking guy lives on a road that is on the way the person travels to work.  They have a choice to take another way or take the way that leads them into temptation.

     Are you a "chocolate eclair" Christian?  A chocolate eclair is a delicious cream-filled type of donut (or pastry) with chocolate frosting, but it is very fattening.  Now a person who is overweight knows they should not eat chocolate eclairs.  They may pray to God, "God, lead me not into temptation."  Then one day they pass a bakery shop that sells these chocolate eclairs.  They walk in only to look.  Then they decide to buy some, but they promise themselves they will not eat them.  They take a box of them home and put it in the refrigerator, but they are determined they will not eat them.  Every time they walk by the refrigerator, they think of those delicious chocolate eclairs.   Every time they open the door to the refrigerator, they can see these delicious chocolate eclairs just waiting to be eaten and enjoyed.  As a couple days pass, the thought comes into their mind, "You better eat them soon, or they will go bad."   Finally, the temptation becomes too much.  The person runs to the refrigerator, opens the door and eats just one.  But then it was so delicious, they eat another and another.

     Are you a "chocolate eclair" Christian, who prays to God, "Lead me not into temptation," but then you lead yourself into temptation by being disobedient to God’s Word in some way?

     Do you go places you should not go and, as a result, lead yourself into temptation?  When you arrive, Satan is waiting for you.

     Do you associate with people that you should not associate with and, as a result, lead yourself into temptation?   When you do, Satan is waiting for you.

     Do you do things you should not do and, as a result, lead yourself into temptation?  When you do, Satan is waiting for you.

     It is written, NEITHER GIVE PLACE TO THE DEVIL-Eph 4:27.  Do you disobey this command, yet ask God not to lead you into temptation?  Are you a stubborn and rebellious person when it comes to obeying God’s Word?  It is written, FOR REBELLION IS AS THE SIN OF WITCHCRAFT, AND STUBBORNNESS IS AS INIQUITY AND IDOLATRY-1 Sam 15:23.  AN EVIL MAN SEEKETH ONLY REBELLION-Pv 17:11.

TEMPTATIONS OR TESTS CAN COME FROM GOD

     It is written, GOD DID TEMPT ABRAHAM-Gen 22:1.  As a result of the temptation, Abraham and his seed became a blessing to all nations of the earth, because he obeyed the voice of the Lord-Gen 22:18.   When God tries us, He does not give us all the answers.  He simply says, "This is the way, walk ye in it."  He says, "Climb that mountain.   Make that sacrifice."  You may be in pain and agony for what you are going through.  Your soul may be troubled, but you obey God.  The testings of God are to prove your faith genuine, enabling you to come out of it stronger than before.   Stay with God and in His will, no matter how you hurt on the inside, no matter what the pain.

     It is written, THERE HATH NO TEMPTATION TAKEN YOU BUT SUCH AS IS COMMON TO MAN: BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL, WHO WILL NOT SUFFER YOU TO BE TEMPTED ABOVE THAT YE ARE ABLE; BUT WILL WITH THE TEMPTATION ALSO MAKE A WAY TO ESCAPE, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO BEAR IT-1 Cor 10:13.

WE TEMPT GOD

     God forbid, then there are times when we tempt God.  It is written, THEY TEMPTED THE LORD, SAYING, IS THE LORD AMONG US, OR NOT?-Ex 17:7.  The people said, WOULD GOD WE HAD DIED IN THIS WILDERNESS!  God said, these men HAVE TEMPTED ME NOW THESE TEN TIMES, AND HAVE NOT HEARKENED TO MY VOICE-Num 14:2,22.  THEY TEMPTED GOD IN THEIR HEART BY ASKING MEAT FOR THEIR LUST-Ps 78:18.

     Beware, as it is written, NEITHER LET US TEMPT CHRIST, AS SOME OF THEM ALSO TEMPTED, AND WERE DESTROYED OF SERPENTS-1 Cor 10:9.

THE EARTH IS A SPIRITUAL BATTLEFIELD

     The battle begins in your mind.  BUT I SEE ANOTHER LAW IN MY MEMBERS, WARRING AGAINST THE LAW OF MY MIND-Ro 7:23.  Rev 20:2,3 shows that deception comes from the devil.  A battle rages in your thoughts.  Your flesh, your feelings, and your thoughts may all say to turn aside from the right way, but you need to obey God.  You need to learn to discipline your mind, to bring your thoughts in line with the Bible.  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-2 Cor 10:5.

TEMPTATIONS IN OUR MIND

     Jesus struggled in His mind hours before He was crucified.  Jesus prayed, O MY FATHER, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME: NEVERTHELESS NOT AS I WILL, BUT AS THOU WILT-Mt 26:39.   AND BEING IN AN AGONY HE PRAYED MORE EARNESTLY: AND HIS SWEAT WAS AS IT WERE GREAT DROPS OF BLOOD FALLING DOWN TO THE GROUND-Lk 22:44.  Here was the conflict.   Satan wanted Him to say He would not obey God, but Jesus said, NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE, BE DONE-Lk 22:42.  Jesus went to the cross.  You must go to the cross and crucify your desires, your will, and your flesh; you must begin living in God’s will.

     Satan will lie to your mind (or put thoughts in your mind), that you must not do this or that, or you must do this or that.  Satan may say, "You must leave that Bible-teaching church, or that Bible school, or that Bible study, or you must move away.  You must not listen to the correction of that spiritual Christian who is coming to speak to you.  He can never understand your problem.  You must work on the Lord’s day and forsake going to church.  Your finances are so bad, you’ll never pay your bills unless you work."  Satan will lie to a person in his mind, and say, "You must, you must, you must."  Your emotions may rise as they also say, "You must, you must, you must."  Satan will contradict God’s Word in your thoughts.   You need to let God take charge of your mind.  Bring your thoughts into harmony with the Gospel.  Read and obey God’s Word.

TEMPTATIONS IN SOLITARY PLACES

     Another place Satan wages his battle is in solitary places.  He gets you alone, apart from spiritual Christians.  It is written, in Ecc 4:10, BUT WOE TO HIM THAT IS ALONE WHEN HE FALLETH; FOR HE HATH NOT ANOTHER TO HELP HIM UP.  He likes to tempt you in the darkness of the night.  He may tell you that you’re a fool for doing those things God has led you to do.  He sows doubt.  He may tell you not to go to that church service or Bible study.  Remember: Job was tempted at home; Paul was tempted in prison; and Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.  In solitary places, Satan also wages his war.

     Whenever you go somewhere that is not in God’s will, Satan can be expected to be waiting for you.   Whenever you go to a place to fulfill God’s will, you may be joyful and excited, but don’t forget: Satan can be expected to confront you.  He may try to stop you from going.  He may try to stop you during your trip.  He may confront you when you arrive and while you are there.

THE CARNAL OR WORLDLY LIFESTYLE

     This lifestyle is very vulnerable to spiritual warfare.  When a Christian is carnal, he still thinks of ways to satisfy the desires of the flesh.  He may be either a newborn babe in Christ, a long-time Christian that has not grown much in Christ, or a backslidden Christian.  He has ambitions that are not God’s will for him.  It is when you are in this carnal state, that you may fall.  You may come to "spiritual indifference."  You may say, "I don’t care anymore."  You may be at ease in Zion, as was spoken by Amos the prophet.  You may have a spiritual attitude of, "Don’t count on me.   I’m not getting involved.  Let someone else do it."  This indifference can cause you to fall.  Beware of Satan’s cunning devices.  He tries to wear a person down day by day, and they wither away-ref Mk 4:6.  He may wear them down and then, at their weakest point, tempt them with something they are very susceptible to.  Then they may fall.

BEWARE OF STUBBORNNESS AND SELF-CONFIDENCE

     A person must become totally unyielding to Satan, the temptations of this world, and the flesh, but must remain totally yielded unto the Lord Jesus Christ.  When you become stubborn to God’s will, you provoke God.  Stubbornness makes you susceptible to Satan, and you may fall.

     Beware of self-confidence.  It is written, WE...HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH-Phili 3:3.   Beware of an attitude of, "I can make it on my own.  I am a self-made man."  Your confidence needs to be placed in Christ.  When fighting Satan, if your feet are not firmly planted on the "Rock," you may fall.  Beware of humanistic self-confidence.  FOR WHATSOEVER IS NOT OF FAITH IS SIN-Ro 14:23.

BEWARE OF HAVING TO FIGHT THE DEVIL ON TWO FRONTS

     One of the tactics in warfare is to divide the enemy, to cause him to divide up his forces in order to fight in two or three areas at the same time; thus, he becomes weaker in each area.  Then the enemy will determine which of the areas is the weakest and concentrate all his power at that weakest point.  We might say, divide and conquer.  Many Christians are trying to fight Satan on the front lines, while they are struggling with guilt, fear, misgivings, unbelief, and not dealing with their own problems.  As long as you do this, you may meet one defeat after another.  You need inner peace.

     You may be asked a tempting question.  Before you can even answer, someone else hits you with another tempting question, and before you can answer, yet another person asks you a tempting question.  Confusion sets in, and you may speak something wrong and trap yourself.   Satan seeks to confuse, then divide and conquer.  Be slow to speak.  When Jesus was tempted with lying accusations, He sometimes answered nothing.

I DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY

     "WARNING, WARNING, WARNING," if you have an apathetic attitude when you are being corrected by God’s Word (regarding something in your spiritual walk that is not right).  Beware, if you say to yourself, "It’s not so bad," or "It will all work out all right, don’t worry."  If you do this, you are on very dangerous ground.   Someone might warn you not to go here or there, which is in harmony with God’s Word, but you believe it will be all right.  You have an indifferent attitude.   So you go, fully persuaded nothing will happen.  Then an unexpected accident happens; your vehicle is smashed.  You are hospitalized, or permanently injured, or some other thing happens that had not even entered your mind.  The unexpected happened.  You chose to ignore God’s warning.  You did not have God’s protection; you gave a place to the devil to attack you, because you were in disobedience to God’s Word.

     Little did Israel suspect, when they brought up an evil report, that it would cause them to have to wander in the wilderness for forty years.  Later on, Israel would not follow God’s ways.  They were warned, but they chose to take an attitude of, "It will be all right."  They were wrong.  Little did they suspect that their nation would be destroyed.  Little did they suspect that they would be carried away captive.   Little did the rich man suspect that he would be in hell, in Luke chapter 16.   Little did Ananias and Sapphira suspect that they would be struck dead for lying, in Acts chapter 5.  When a person chooses to disobey God, even in something small, he is giving a place to Satan to attack him.  Neither does Satan put in the person's mind how he plans to attack him.  Disobedience brings judgment, and MERCY REJOICETH AGAINST JUDGMENT-Ja 2:13.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
WE FIGHT

     God’s Word tells us we are in a spiritual battle: a war, a fight, a wrestling match. This battle rages in our mind, in our flesh, and through our feelings.

THE WAR OR BATTLE RAGES IN OUR MIND

     BUT I SEE ANOTHER "LAW" IN MY MEMBERS, WARRING (or waging war) AGAINST THE "LAW" OF MY MIND, AND BRINGING ME INTO CAPTIVITY TO THE LAW OF SIN WHICH IS IN MY MEMBERS-Ro 7:23.   Note the words, MEMBERS, WARRING AGAINST...MIND.  A battle, a war, a conflict is going on in our thoughts.  Satan puts lying thoughts in our mind.  Our defense is to know, understand, and obey God’s Word.  You need to be TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND-Ro 12:2.  For ONCE YOU WERE ALIENATED FROM GOD AND WERE ENEMIES IN YOUR MINDS BECAUSE OF YOUR EVIL BEHAVIOR-Col 1:21 NIV.   WHEREIN IN TIME PAST YE WALKED ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD, ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE: AMONG WHOM ALSO WE ALL HAD OUR CONVERSATION IN TIMES PAST IN THE LUSTS OF OUR FLESH, FULFILLING THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH AND OF THE MIND; AND WERE BY NATURE THE CHILDREN OF WRATH, EVEN AS OTHERS-Eph 2:2,3.  In the past, prior to submitting to God, you were enemies against God; your behavior was evil.  You fulfilled the desires of the flesh and mind.  But now, you have become transformed and renewed in your thinking.  Again, the Bible describes a battle going on in your thoughts.  The outcome should be a transformation taking place in your thinking.  That transformation is from worldly, carnal, doubtful thinking, to thinking that is in line with God’s Word, even as the "mind of Christ."  For the CARNAL MIND IS ENMITY AGAINST GOD: FOR IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD (or God’s Word), NEITHER INDEED CAN BE-Ro 8:7.  FOR TO BE CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH; BUT TO BE SPIRITUALLY MINDED IS LIFE AND PEACE-Ro 8:6.

     The war rages in your mind.  It is a war between a worldly mind, as opposed to a spiritual, Christ-centered mind.  It is a war between truth and error, between right and wrong, between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean.  God commands the Christian, PUT OFF CONCERNING...THE OLD MAN, WHICH IS CORRUPT ACCORDING TO THE DECEITFUL LUSTS; AND BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND; AND THAT YE PUT ON THE NEW MAN, WHICH AFTER GOD IS CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE HOLINESS-Eph 4:22-24.  Put off the old thinking and put on new thinking, which is after righteousness and true holiness.  A person needs to be "in God’s Word."  In America and much of the world, people’s minds are full of thoughts of the world, of the programs on radio and television, of certain movies, of what is in the newspapers, but not of Christ.  And when the time of testing comes, they easily fall away.  Their foundation (their thinking) is not built on or filled up with God’s Word.  For it is written, LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU, WHICH WAS ALSO IN CHRIST JESUS-Phili 2:5.

     The battle, the struggle, the war, the fight goes on in our thinking.

     It is also written, LET NO MAN BEGUILE YOU OF YOUR REWARD IN A VOLUNTARY HUMILITY (do not let anyone beguile you who delights in false humility) AND WORSHIPING OF ANGELS, INTRUDING INTO THOSE THINGS WHICH HE HATH NOT SEEN, VAINLY PUFFED UP BY HIS "FLESHLY" MIND-Col 2:18.   This is another illustration of the war that goes on in our mind.  It is between truth and error.  Our emotions and feelings are involved.  Again, it needs to be said, Satan is a master at deceiving people.

     AND THIS I SAY, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BEGUILE YOU WITH ENTICING WORDS.  BEWARE LEST ANY MAN SPOIL YOU THROUGH PHILOSOPHY AND VAIN DECEIT, AFTER THE TRADITION OF MEN, AFTER THE RUDIMENTS (or basic principles) OF THE WORLD, AND NOT AFTER CHRIST-Col 2:4,8.  Again, the Scriptures are showing us a battle and a war going on in our mind.  It is a battle between the lies of Satan and the truth of God’s Word.  These lies enter our mind directly from the spiritual realm and through others, including clergy.  It is a battle that goes on in our mind, our flesh, and our emotions.

     FOR WE WRESTLE (or struggle) NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES (or authorities), AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES (or spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms-NIV)-Eph 6:12.  There is a war going on in our mind.  We wrestle against Satan and his forces.  BELOVED, THINK IT NOT STRANGE CONCERNING THE "FIERY" TRIAL WHICH IS TO TRY YOU, AS THOUGH SOME STRANGE THING HAPPENED UNTO YOU-1 Pe 4:12.  BUT CALL TO REMEMBRANCE THE FORMER DAYS, IN WHICH, "AFTER" YE WERE ILLUMINATED (after you received Christ), YE ENDURED A GREAT "FIGHT" OF AFFLICTIONS-Heb 10:32.

     Once you surrender to Jesus, you are going to have to wrestle against Satan’s forces.  It is a fiery trial, and fiery darts will come at you.  It will be a great fight, as Satan lies to your mind.  Big knots will come into your stomach.  The lusts of the flesh seem to be on fire.  The affairs and cares of this life want to swallow you up.  The pleasures of this life will try to draw you away from God.  Riches from Satan may enter the picture to draw you away from God.  Riches are deceitful.  You may become afraid, even ashamed.  You may be persecuted, beaten, or thrown into jail for your faith in Jesus Christ.  But hold fast till the end, your most precious faith.   Paul tells us, FOR, WHEN WE WERE COME INTO MACEDONIA, OUR FLESH HAD NO REST, BUT WE WERE TROUBLED ON EVERY SIDE; WITHOUT WERE FIGHTINGS, WITHIN WERE FEARS-2 Cor 7:5.

     Beware, for Satan goes out to DECEIVE THE NATIONS-Rev 20:8.  For, indeed, he DECEIVED THEM-Rev 20:10.   The Scriptures tell us, SATAN, WHICH DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD-Rev 12:9.  One way he does this is in our mind, our thinking.

A SUMMARY OF WHAT WE SHOULD DO

     Yet despite all we will go through, the seemingly endless struggle in our minds, we are to BE FULLY PERSUADED in our mind-ref Ro 14:5.  We are not to walk as OTHER GENTILES WALK, IN THE VANITY OF THEIR MIND-Eph 4:17.  We are not to be of a DOUBTFUL MIND-Lk 12:29.  For the CARNAL MIND IS ENMITY (or hatred) AGAINST GOD-Ro 8:7.  We are not to be SOON SHAKEN IN MIND, OR BE TROUBLED-2 Thes 2:2.  WHEREFORE GIRD UP THE LOINS OF YOUR MIND, BE SOBER, AND HOPE TO THE END FOR THE GRACE THAT IS TO BE BROUGHT UNTO YOU AT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST-1 Pe 1:13.

 

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