(Romans 12:2 NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 NIV) (23) May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the most misunderstood subjects in the Church is the subject of spiritual warfare.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–
So then, what is spiritual warfare really all about?
Spiritual warfare is really over the decisions that we make or we could say, your desires or your wants.
The enemy uses your unfulfilled desires to generate and apply pressure in your life to get that desire fulfilled.
(James 1:13-15 NKJV) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (14) But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Your success in resisting the pressure is what spiritual warfare is really all about.
A temptation, test or trial is really about unfulfilled desire and the battles whether that desire is going to get fulfilled or not.
The Holy Spirit desires to influence our decision making process through our spirits but the enemy brings pressure to bear on our flesh to cause us to make the wrong decision.
(1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP) (13) For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
The tests that you fail or flunk you must keep re-taking until you pass the test or you will stay exactly where you are.
A test comes when the devil is generating pressure.
If these tests are common to man than we should be able to gain some insight on how we can prepare for the tests before they arrive.
(Luke 4:1-13 NKJV) Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (2) being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. (3) And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (4) But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD.’ ” (5) Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (6) And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. (7) Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” (8) And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’ ” (9) Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. (10) For it is written: ‘HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU, TO KEEP YOU,’ (11) and, ‘IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ ” (12) And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.’ ” (13) Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
Three types of tests that we will face:
- The flesh’s unfulfilled desire for “food”.
You will never be able to satisfy your flesh’s unfulfilled desire as it will always want more.
(Proverbs 27:20 NLT) Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.
There are a lot of things that the body desires that are contrary to the Word and the enemy will always bring the focus of your attention to that hunger.
You have the challenge of resisting the pressure and living your life on the Word of God.
- The wrong relationship with this world (material realm).
The devil wanted Jesus to misdirect His worship or His affection.
Many times this will play out in areas to do with money.
Money is nothing but a means of exchange in the material world and the power of the kingdoms of the world is money.
- The testing the Lord.
Testing the Lord is doing the Word with the wrong heart motivation.
The reason for doing the Word is just as important doing the Word itself.
What is prompting us to do the Word of God?
Are we doing the Word because it would put obligation on the Lord to do something for us and to relieve the pressure from us?
How do we overcome the temptation and pressure on our desires?
- Know there is a way of escape.
(1 Corinthians 10:13b AMP) …But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
With every temptation there is a way of escape.
“That you may be able to bear it…?” Bear what? The pressure!
When you know there is a way of escape you can bear the pressure.
Example: knowing payday is coming enables you to bear up under the stretch that sometimes we have to do making the pressure bearable.
- Resist the pressure and he will flee just like he did with Jesus.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (9) Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
The temptation, test or trial is over your desires or your wants.
Your consistency in resisting pressure and changing your stand on the Word of God will eventually bring you to the point that the desires are dissolved or can get fulfilled God’s way.
How do I change my desires?
(Psalms 37:4-5 NLT) Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. (5) Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you.