While spiritual warfare can seem to be a nebulous concept, this week Leslie shares one of the most important lessons in both personal and ministry life – how to resist the enemy. Using God’s Word, Leslie brings clarity on how to determine whether a problem is a trial from God or an attack from the enemy so that you can walk biblically and confidently in knowing how to handle whatever comes your way with grace and truth.
We generally fall into two mindsets when we think of spiritual warfare. We either don’t realize that some of the challenges we face are coming from the enemy or we blame things that the enemy is doing in our life on God — which creates a barrier between ourselves and our intimacy with Christ.
As we study God’s Word, we see that God has not called us to live in constant defeat, fear, and anxiety over what is happening in our present circumstances. Rather, He wants us to be proactive and offensive against the Kingdom of Darkness, intent on building God’s Kingdom instead.
James 4:7 explains that there are things we are to submit to and things we are to resist in our Christian lives. The key is to discern whether what we are experiencing is a trial and test of our faith that God is allowing into our lives, or if it’s an attack of the enemy that is trying to hinder us from accomplishing the call of God on our lives.
God’s heart behind allowing a trial into our lives is that we would be strengthened to be more effective in what He has called us to do. While it might bring challenge or a test of faith, a trial is also accompanied by hope, strength, maturity, patience, and a stronger faith. However, the fruit of an attack of the enemy in our life breeds nothing but confusion, fear, oppression, guilt, shame, doubt, defeat, etc.
Ephesians 6:11 commands us to be strong in the Lord. As Christians, we are to possess a conquering attitude, not one of fear and worry. Catherine Booth once said, “Do not give way to lowness while you are young. Rise up on the strength of God and resolve to conquer.” And while we certainly can’t conquer in our own strength, in God’s strength and might we can!
What to Expect in a Trial vs. an Attack
A trial may be accompanied by godly pain. However, like any physical fitness, this is a good pain that leads to greater strength and has purpose and hope while an attack of the enemy will be paired with doubt, disillusionment, hopelessness, and darkness.
Contrast the nature of God and the character of the enemy. God’s nature is life and light; the enemy’s is death and darkness. A good idea is to measure the fruit of what is coming out of your life and see whose character it matches.
Steps to a Spiritually Fortified Life
The book of Nehemiah provides us with a phenomenal picture of what it looks like to be spiritually fortified against the plots of the enemy. Fortification is about learning to recognize enemy attacks and then using the tools that God has given you to resist and raise the shield of faith in your own life.
- Identify breaches: These are holes in your spiritual wall that could be allowing the enemy access into your life.
Common breaches include: worldly preoccupation, idolatry, unforgiveness, resentment, selfishness, pride, etc.
2. Make a sacred list: Write down areas that have been previously marked by defeat that you want to be transformed into trophies of God’s grace in your life.
3. Begin to wrestle in prayer: Use your list to go after the promises of God in faith! The key to wrestling prayer is not to stop until the breakthrough comes! Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed.”
4. Remain on guard against opposition: A realistic understanding that we have an enemy that is full of wiles and schemes should remind us to stand strong in the power of God.
Leonard Ravenhill said, “Men of prayer must be men of steel, for they will be assaulted by Satan even before they attempt to assault his kingdom.” Amy Carmichael’s reminder should also keep the reality of spiritual warfare before us, “Our enemy is more aware than we are of the spiritual possibilities that depend upon obedience.”
Remember, the purpose of being fortified is not so you can live in ease and comfort, but so that you will be prepared and made strong against the enemy’s attacks in order to be poured out to this dying world.
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