WINNING THE PRIVATE WAR IN THE MIND
Pastor John Samson
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…
Over the years there have been extremely dubious or downright ridiculous teachings about spiritual warfare in the Church at large. Much of it was borne out of ignorance, speculation, superstition or religious tradition. Yet there is a reality to spiritual warfare and it is something God certainly wants us to know about, or else He would not have revealed it to us in His Word. If we just stay with the Scripture, we will be on safe and sure ground. God wants us to understand the warfare, know our enemy and live a life free from his clutches.
In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle outlines the arena of warfare in which all Christians are engaged. One scholar translated the original words as follows: “For our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies, but against rulers with various areas and descending orders of authority, against the world-dominators of this present darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies.”
The picture here is of a very highly structured and well organized kingdom with descending orders of authority and different rulers and sub rulers responsible for different areas of their territory.
FACTS ABOUT THE WARFARE
1. The conflict involves all Christians — not some special group like missionaries, evangelists, pastors, etc.
2. By Paul using the analogy of a wrestling match, he infers that this is the most intense battle, with every part of the body involved — it is total conflict.
3. Satan’s kingdom is located in the heavenly regions, and where he is called “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2). The Greek word “aer” refers to the atmosphere immediately BELOW the mountains. In other words, it is right in the arena of man’s existence.
4. Though our conflict is against evil powers located in the heavenlies, the actual battle takes place on the earth in the minds and hearts of people (2 Cor 4:4). 99% of all spiritual warfare takes place in the mind
5. God has already given us complete victory in this warfare and satan is already a defeated foe. We are called therefore not to defeat him, but to enforce the victory Jesus has already won for us at the Cross (Col 2:15).
Because the warfare is spiritual, God has given us spiritual weapons which are more than able to demolish the mental strongholds satan has in the minds of people. See 2 Cor 10: 3 -5
SIX KEY WORDS IN OUR WARFARE
1. Devil (Greek: diabolos) from two Greek words – ballo — to throw something over and over until dia — he penetrates.
It describes the repetitive action of hitting something again and again until finally the wall or membrane is so worn down that it can be completely and thoroughly penetrated. Therefore, the name “devil” is not only a proper name for this archenemy of the faith, but it also denotes his mode of operation. He strikes repeatedly, until finally he breaks down any mental resistance. When this occurs he strikes with all his fury to penetrate the mind and to take that person’s mind and emotions captive.
The devil is not some skinny guy in a red suit with horns, a tail and a pitch fork. In Medieval history, people in towns and villages sensing his presence in the community, dressed up that way to try to mock the devil, believing that if they could wound his pride (pride being the cause of his fall from heaven), the devil would leave them well alone. Later generations had no idea of the reason for the caricature and thought that the mock image was the real thing… but though evil in the extreme, he is dazzlingly beautiful, and even comes as an “angel of light” as he seeks to deceive people with his lies. Knowing your enemy and his mode of attack is a key to living a life free from his clutches.
2. schemes (Eph 6:11) — (Greek: methodos) “with a road” (not plural as in the English word “schemes” but singular in form).
Contrary to popular belief, the devil does not have a lot of tricks in his bag. The word schemes (methodos) plainly means that the enemy travels on one road, or he has one trick in his bag. Obviously, it’s a trick he’s learned to use well. So where is that road headed? That leads us to our next key word in our warfare: the word devices.
3. devices (designs) (2 Cor 2:11) (Greek: noemata) from the word nous, the Greek word for the mind or intellect.
This is the picture of a deceived mind. This word has been translated as “the wicked schemes” or “insidious plots” and even “mind games.” Because of these mind games, Paul told us in 2 Cor 10:5, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Note the three words: imaginations, knowledge and thought… Again, 99% of all spiritual warfare takes place in the mind.
4. deception (Greek: dolios) “to bait with a hook”
Deception occurs when a person believes the enemy’s lies. Then the mind games begin to shift from merely the realm of fantasy, to the realm of actual reality. However, as long as you resist his allegations, his words and thoughts will exert absolutely no power in your life. The only power satan has is what we give him through deception, by believing his lies. Though he has absolutely no authority in our lives, he is persistent in his methods, and our mind has to be constantly renewed by the word of God for it to be free. True freedom comes by thinking in line with God’s word — knowing the truth and the truth making us free.
5. witchcraft — Gal 3:1 “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (literally, who has put the evil eye on you or brought you under their spell?) It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.”
Witchcraft seeks to obscure the cross. Yet Paul was able to say “you saw the cross.. He was publicly portrayed among you as crucified.”
How is this so? The Galatian Christians were not at Golgotha to see the Lord crucified.
Ahhh yes, but years later, the Holy Spirit had erected the cross in Galatia through the preaching of the apostle Paul. Something very supernatural happens when the cross of Christ is preached. They “saw” the cross, because Paul had preached the cross.. and now, the enemy was seeking to make that amazing portrayal cloudy and fuzzy in the hearts and minds of the Galatian Christians. We break the power of witchcraft by the clear preaching of the cross and being reminded of all that was achieved and its implications.
6. stronghold (2 Cor 10:4) (Greek: achuroma) — a prison
The devil (the one who throws repeatedly until he penetrates) desires to build something in your mind, piece by piece, brick by brick, thought by thought, with the purpose of keeping you locked up as a prisoner, through your fears and perceptions of reality. Strongholds are not built overnight — you don’t wake up with a stronghold! It is the culmination of non-resistance to his lies until you are locked up by the devil, where only the knowledge of the truth will set you free (John 8:31, 32). Now that he has failed in his attempt to keep you in his kingdom, he desires to stop your effectiveness as a Christian, locking you up to his fears.
What are some of the lies the devil constantly bombards your mind with?
What does God’s word say about the issue?
How does the truth of the Gospel of Christ expose satan’s lies?
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (or saved brains) 2 Tim 1:7 (KJV)