Living Free Life Group–Notes and Quotes (From February 24th, 2013)

Remember:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; Jesus has come so that I may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

The Greek word for “full” is translated exceedingly abundantly above or superior in quality. How many believers are living a superior quality of life in comparison to the average non-believer? Why do you suppose that is?

God’s idea of quality living is found in Galatians 5:22-23. It is a type of lifestyle that should come naturally to the Christ-follower. The reason so few believers demonstrate this type of consistent living has to do with 1) fleshly desires and 2) spiritual warfare. Satan wants to steal our fruitful living and extinguish any quality of life we may have. Unless we take an active stance against Satan’s attacks and schemes, we will never experience life to the “full” as  we were created to.

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“Nothing is more foundational to your freedom from Satan’s bondage than understanding and affirming what God has done for you in Christ and who you are as His child. Your attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions to life’s circumstances are greatly affected by what you believe about yourself.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 46

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“Since your old self has been crucified and buried with Christ, you no longer have to sin (1 John 2:1). You sin when you choose to believe a lie or act independently of God.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 49

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“When the Bible tells us the truth about who we are already are and what Christ has already done, there is only one appropriate response—and that is to believe it.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 50

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Four evidences to test whether we are living by faith:

“Test #1—‘Am I doing this for the glory of God, or just to please myself?’

Test #2—‘Am I rushing ahead impetuously, or am I willing to wait?’

Test #3—‘Can I defend what I am doing from the Word of God?’

Test #4—‘As I contemplate this move, do I have joy and peace within?’” The Strategy of Satan, Warren Wiersbe

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“We don’t make anything true by our experiences. We choose to believe what God says is true, then live accordingly by faith; and the truth works out in our experience. It is not what we do that determines who we are. It is who we are that determines what we do. I don’t labor in the vineyard with the hope that God may one day accept me. God has already accepted me, and that is why I labor in the vineyard.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 51

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“Unless we are motivated and directed by truth, we will be defeated by the enemy. If we permit any deception to enter our lives, we have weakened our position and cannot fight the battle victoriously.” The Strategy of Satan, Warren Wiersbe

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“Satan’s perpetual aim is to infiltrate your thoughts with his thoughts and to promote his lie in the face of truth. He knows that if he can control your thoughts, he can control your life.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 61

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“We do not quench the darts by faith in ourselves (even our past victories), faith in faith, or faith in some creed. It is faith in Christ and his Word. We cannot stop Satan from throwing the darts, but we can keep them from starting a fire.” The Strategy of Satan, Warren Wiersbe

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All behavior is the product of what we choose to think or believe.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 69

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“Let’s quit kidding ourselves. There can be only one Lord of your life and mind. Jesus, Satan, or your self cannot all occupy the same throne. You must choose every day who will be God in your life.” Stand Up and Fight Back, Ken Abraham

**If you enjoyed this post and others, please enter your email in the space provided on the right hand side of your screen (or at the bottom of your screen if using a smart phone) to receive new posts in your email. It’s free and your email information is NEVER shared!**

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Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for Theprofilepic3 Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

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Discerning the Devil: In Childhood

We’ve already discussed how to discern the voice of the flesh, now it’s time to talk about the voice of the devil. This is a loaded topic, so we may discuss this for several posts to come. Let’s review what we’ve discovered about Satan’s voice so far.

Satan’s voice: Incomplete truths, deceptions, schemes, tricks, lies, temptations, partial Scripture quotes taken out of context to support a view that is opposed to God (see Matthew 4:1-11).

It sounds so simple, but that is part of the great deception of our Enemy. If Satan was holding a play by play book of strategies in his hand, probably one of the first things he’d have written down would be, “Get them to think I am nothing to be concerned with. Get them to focus on every Scripture passage except the one’s that talk about me and my work. As long as they don’t care about me, fight me, or acknowledge me, my task will be much easier.”

And if you happen to be one of the minority, that is, one of the few Christians who actively fight the spiritual war (by active, I mean daily), you’ve probably been labeled by other believers as a fanatic. I wish it were true, I wish I was just an over-zealous spiritual warfare junky-fanatic. But that’s simply not the case. I believe the Bible is truth, and when it talks about the Enemy, that is just as true and important as what it says about developing the fruits of the Spirit or any number of other spiritual growth subjects. I don’t know this is true by experience only (for we can never trust our experiences alone as truth), but I know this to be true because of what the word of God says AND my experiences with that truth.

In my book, Like a Lost Sheep: Life through the Eyes of a Prodigal, I talk extensively about the voice of the devil and how it played a role in my childhood and the way I interpreted events. It’s important to note that Satan doesn’t wait until we are “all grown up” to attack us. His lies often begin to infiltrate our thinking when we’re children, before we’ve probably ever been taught anything about fighting a spiritual war.

“Jesus told the Jewish men of his time, who thought they were children of God simply because they were Abraham’s descendants, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The Bible is clear about Satan; he is a liar and he is actively fighting against the Church (see 1 Peter 5:8-9, Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians 2:10-11). Do you think he has enough manners to wait until we are adults to take aim and fire his weapons at us? Not a chance. From the moment we are born, the greatest Enemy of God has sought to destroy His most prized creation: man. If Satan can’t have our soul, he will at least try to ruin our testimony and affect in Christ’s kingdom. And he doesn’t sit back and wait until we recognize what he is doing, or we are old enough to understand. Satan is merciless, and he wants to destroy us.”

     So, in what ways might we have heard Satan’s voice when we were children? (This is important to think about and uncover, because often the lies we’ve believed as children affect the choices we make as adults.)

Think back to a painful childhood event, what were some of the things you “thought” at the time? I’ll give an example from my life. As an overweight child plagued with severe acne, I was teased quite a bit, not just from peer groups, but from my own family members. Every time I experienced the shame of teasing, I thought, “I am not good enough. I am ugly. No one loves me. I am alone. I am worthless.” Do you see how these thoughts differ a great deal from the voice of the flesh, which is rooted in pride?

Satan is merciless, he doesn’t care how old we are, and he takes every opportunity to hammer his lies into our psyche. Because if we believe, for instance, that we are worthless, we will probably make choices in our lives that reflect that belief.  In order to gain an upper hand in this Great War we fight as believers, the first step we need to take is to discover the lies we believed about ourselves as children and renounce them. It could look something like this.

“Lord, you know the experiences I had as a child and how they made me feel _________ (worthless, unloved, lonely…etc.). Today I choose to believe the truth that in Christ I am __________ (loved, accepted, never alone…etc.).  Thank you, Jesus, for your truth that sets me free. Open my spiritual ears so I might be better able to discern your truth from Satan’s lies. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

     What lies did you believe about yourself as a child? Have you been able to see how Satan was at work in your thoughts, even at a young age? Does this knowledge make you think about your own child may be experiencing and how you can help them combat it? In our home, my daughter (at five years old) has memorized and often quotes verses like the ones below to help her focus on truth and recognize thoughts that are opposed to the truth:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

“We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

memory verse

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If you enjoyed this post, please take a moment to enter your email in the space provided on the right hand side of the screen (if using a computer) or scroll to the bottom (if using a smartphone). Your email is private and will not be shared. By signing up you will receive new posts directly in your inbox.

Other related posts:

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

The Voices in My Head: The Flesh

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press) and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

 

The Voices in My Head: The Flesh (Part 2)

In the last post I gave a simple example of how to discern the voices in our head (God, Satan, or the Flesh). In this post I will elaborate more on the Flesh, which is probably where the greatest confusion remains in most Christian circles. First, the following is a simple way to define the voices:

God’s voice: The Bible as a whole, God’s Word, Truth, the Holy Spirit’s leading (always in line with God’s written Word).

Satan’s voice: Incomplete truths, deceptions, schemes, tricks, lies, temptations, partial Scripture quotes taken out of context to support a view that is opposed to God (see Matthew 4:1-11).

The Flesh: Learned behavior/habits, coping mechanisms, our own subjective thoughts (i.e. “I want to eat at Burger King today).

You would be hard-pressed to walk into any church today and hear a message teaching these concepts, which is dreadfully sad. Most Christians walk around with somewhat of a self-defeatist attitude. “I’m just a wretched sinner!” True, we are sinners saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9), but once we have been saved we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15, Eph. 4:24, Col. 3:10) clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Who I Am in Christ). We are no longer wretched sinners, but rather, children of God who still sin.

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     Neil Anderson uses an excellent illustration of this concept (from the book The Bondage Breaker). When you get a splinter in your finger, do you say you are a wretched piece of wood because you now have a splinter in your finger? Do you now take on the identity of the splinter as your own? Obviously not! No, you are a human being with a piece of wood in your finger. Scripturally you will find this concept made clear in Romans 7:14-25. It doesn’t take much work to discover that Paul is referring to himself after he has been regenerated (I know much debate remains about this fact, but if you’re using proper techniques of Biblical interpretation you can arrive at no other conclusion than this). Many of us can identify with Paul’s struggle. We know better, yet we still sin! What’s wrong with us?

The Flesh

     In simple terms we are infected with the “sin splinter” otherwise known as “the flesh”. The nature we were born with (self-serving/pride) along with the habits we’ve developed over a lifetime all contribute to this voice known as the flesh. Paul recognized this and he hated it. He knew he had been regenerated as a new creation in Christ, yet at times he still struggled to put that old nature to death. We can only imagine what Paul’s specific struggle was with but Scripture isn’t clear on it. It wouldn’t surprise me if pride had something to do with it, though. Deep down we are all struggling against a self-serving attitude, from the way we dress to the food we eat. Our world revolves around us, our desires, wants, and needs. No matter how awesome we are as Christians, pride will always be an issue because it is in our flesh which continuously wars with the new life we received when we accepted Christ. Jesus is the antithesis of pride and self. This is why just doing “what Jesus would do” is not as easy as it sounds. It contradicts our flesh! On our own we can’t will ourselves into good works with proper motives; this can only be accomplished through Christ’s rule in our hearts.

Coping Mechanisms/Habits (Flesh)

     As an addict I learned how to cope with mental anguish by abusing drugs. This was a learned behavior, as well as a sinful behavior. Over time it became a pattern of life. Feel pain—take drugs—pain goes away (temporarily). Some of us deal with unhealthy learned habits every day when we fight the urge to over-indulge at the dinner table or eat chocolate for dinner instead of broccoli (maybe even chocolate covered broccoli?). I grew up drinking soda and cool-aid every day, and eating macaroni and cheese and bologna sandwiches. It was a learned way of eating (and an early introduction to weight problems). As an adult I have had to work hard to re-learn a healthier way to treat my temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20). But when that voice kicks in saying, “Boy, I’d sure love to sit down with a bag of Doritos and watch T.V. all day,” I can be certain this voice is my flesh and not Satan.

Defense Mechanisms (Flesh)

•denial (a conscious or unconscious refusal to face the truth)

•fantasy (escaping the real world)

•emotional insulation (withdrawing to avoid rejection)

•regression (reverting to less threatening times)

•displacement (taking out frustrations on others)

•projection (blaming others)

•rationalization (making excuses for poor behaviors)

[Strongholds] are fleshly thought patterns that were programmed into your mind when you learned to live your life independently of God. Your worldview was shaped by the environment you were raised in. But when you became a Christian, nobody pressed the “CLEAR” button. Your old fleshly habit patterns of thought weren’t erased.¹

I hope this clears up some of the confusion surrounding the flesh and what exactly it means. In the next post we’ll discuss Satan’s voice in specific detail.

     Are you able to recognize fleshly patterns in your own life? What is your greatest “flesh” struggle?

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¹ The Bondage Breaker ©1990/1993/2000 by Neil T. Anderson Published by Harvest House Publishers (pp. 60-61)

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Related Posts:

The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh (Part 1)

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh—(Part 1)

Every single day thousands of thoughts flood our minds. Many of those thoughts lead to actions. For example, every morning I think, “A cup of coffee would really help me wake up.” I choose to act on that thought by stumbling to my coffee maker in a sleep-induced haze and brewing a cup. So how can we really know whose voice we are hearing at any given time? Let me give you a real-world scenario, one that plays out in my own thought life nearly every week.

It’s 6:30 Sunday morning; my alarm clock rings out with a favorite song I specifically chose to help wake me up (Like a Lion-Kristian Stanfill). Once again I stayed up too late the night before, and have less sleep than my body probably needed. I think, “I really don’t feel like going to church today. Maybe I should just stay home; I’m so tired.”

A)     God’s voice:

In His omniscience, God knows that my presence at home is required. Through the Holy Spirit, He causes me to consider staying home so I won’t miss out on a “divine appointment”.

B)      Satan’s voice:

Having observed my actions/countenance in the past, Satan knows how my attitude and behaviors are changed after I attend a worship service. Through observation, Satan also notices the physical reaction my body is having as a result of a poor choice I made to stay up late the night before. Taking advantage of my weakness, he places a thought in my head, tempting me to stay away from God’s house and His will, which will probably pave the way for more temptations that, based on past behaviors, Satan has a good idea I will fall victim to.

C)      My Flesh:

I stayed up too late, I’m tired, and because I would rather be comfortable I contemplate on how nice it would feel to sleep in. It has nothing to do with God or Satan; it is just me being my sinful, prideful self. I don’t want to be challenged, I don’t feel like changing my behavior, I just want to SLEEP!

So, which is it; A, B, or C? Let me help you out a little by eliminating A. The Holy Spirit will never, I repeat—never, “lead” us to do something contrary to God’s written word, no matter how spiritual it sounds. Remember, Satan is an angel of light, so he often uses such a ruse to encourage us to think we are spiritual while we are, in fact, sinning. Scripture clearly instructs us to fellowship with other believers, and not to forsake that act as some might be inclined to do (Hebrews 10:25). (Occasionally we are sick, and in some instances, some are stricken with chronic illnesses that keep them from attending church regularly; that is not what I’m talking about here.)

Well, that leaves us with B or C. This is when we need to consider the surrounding circumstances. If I told you that I had been struggling with depression, feelings of regret, or was having difficulty with someone else at church, you may be more apt to lean towards B as your answer. But if I told you that everything was fine, I had no outstanding debts of bitterness, money was raining down from heaven and all my financial problems had been solved, you would likely consider C as your answer. In reality, it could be either. In my case, knowing my life and circumstances, I am about 99.9% certain it is a tempting thought strategically placed by my Enemy.

If I didn’t show up to church one Sunday, most people wouldn’t consider that abnormal because those close to me know that my husband is not a Christ-follower and that he wants to spend time with me on his days off (the weekend); church could be a conflict for us. However, I know that for the most part, my husband couldn’t care less if I go to church or not, as long as I am spending time with him and being flexible with my church-activities schedule (not spending every waking moment at church throughout the week), he really isn’t bothered by it.

But do you see how Satan can use all that he knows (through observation—he is not omniscient) to “scheme” against me (and you)? Suppose I decide to hit the snooze button and sleep instead of going to church (which I have done). My husband wakes up and sees I haven’t gone to church like I said I was going to and asks me about it. Feeling defensive I might whip out a lame excuse, “I wasn’t feeling well,” which is a lie because even though I was tired, I wasn’t legitimately sick or unable to get up. Now my credibility as a Christ-follower is diminished in my husband’s eyes. He notices my lack of commitment and how easily I am swayed from God (after all, he goes to work every day whether he’s tired or not, so God must not be that important). Do you see, friends, how subtle this is? A simple little thought, “I’m tired, maybe I should stay home” could negatively affect my husband’s view of Christianity, and even his salvation!

Stay alert! I will be getting more in depth on these “voices” in the posts to come. Remember that our circumstances play a huge role in determining what voice we may be hearing.

“Lest Satan should get an advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his devices [noema-schemes].” 2 Corinthians 2:11

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Related posts:

Demonic Schemes

Every Story Has a Villian, Even Yours

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Before Your Feet Hit the Floor: An Essential Daily Prayer

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

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Spiritual warfare is real, whether you believe it or not. If you think I’ve gone off the deep end with my theology, consider the following evidences (I’m going to assume if you’re a regular reader of this website that you believe the Bible to be the true, infallible word of God):

•The Lord of Hosts

You can scarce read the Old Testament without running into the phrase “Lord of Hosts” (using the King James Version, anyways). The name “Lord of Hosts” in the following Scriptures all have the same Hebrew meaning, and there were dozens more I didn’t include for reasons of time and space.

“As for our redeemer, the Lord of Hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 47:4

“Again the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me.” Zechariah 8:1

“The Lord of Hosts is with us.” Psalm 46:7

“Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts…” Jeremiah 23:15

“Hear ye and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord God, the God of Hosts.” Amos 3:13

The word “hosts” (tseb-aw-aw’) is derived from the root word meaning assemble, fight, perform, or war. The term “Lord of Hosts” can be translated “The Lord of Armies” or “The Lord of War”. He is an active God of the ARMIES! Why do you suppose the term “Lord of Armies” would be included in the Bible, at least a hundred times in just the Old Testament, if it didn’t mean exactly what it says, that God leads an army? What exactly is an army used for? Battle!

The battle is so real, the people and prophets of God referred to their Leader as the divine captain of the largest host of armies ever amassed (Isaiah used the term “Lord of Hosts” more than thirty times in his book). Our Lord is not passive, He is active and fighting a very real, very serious spiritual war. So why aren’t we?

•The Apostles (After the Cross)

Paul (and the other apostles) had a godly view of spiritual warfare. Paul often spoke of principalities, powers, forces, spirits, Satan, the enemy, the battle, and other “spiritual warfare” terms. He spoke of it as if it were a fact, a reality, a real issue the Church needed to be aware of. (I’m purposely not mentioning the work of Jesus here [casting out demons…etc.] which will be discussed in later posts.)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 3:10

“Resist the devil.” James 4:7

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:9

•Noema

It doesn’t get more straight-forward than this, friends. Noema (no-ay-mah) is the Greek word for “mind”. Consider these uses of this specific form of the word noema:

“If there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (noema).” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds (noema) of them which believe not.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

“Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought (noema) to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Did you notice anything interesting? The same Greek word, noema, is used in three different passages of the same context—how Satan directly influences the minds and thoughts of people, believers and non-believers alike. Another definition of noema is perception. In other words, it is a satanic perception of circumstances that influence us toward unforgiveness (2 Cor. 2:11), and a satanic perception of circumstances which blinds the minds of unbelievers against the true knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4), and also a satanic perception of events that infiltrate the minds of believers which can lead them into sinful behaviors (2 Cor. 10:5).

Satan is real, his influence is real, and the battle we face every day is real. God is fighting, his angelic armies are fighting, but are we as the bride of Christ fulfilling our role in this area (see Eph. 3:10)? Why aren’t we talking about this in our churches, teaching this in Sunday Schools, and hearing this from our pulpits? Perhaps the greatest deception of all is the belief that no “battle” exists, and if it does, I certainly don’t need to get involved. After all, didn’t Jesus defeat the enemy at the cross?

Well, if that is what you have believed I pray your eyes will be opened now to see the dangerous “perception” of that thinking. If you’re not fighting, Satan is gaining ground in your life. As I pointed out in the above section “After the Cross”, all of those Scriptures were written for believers after the death and resurrection of Christ. Obviously, we still have a battle to fight.

Now it’s your turn. What role do you actively take in spiritual warfare? Do you believe it is important? Why or why not? Is it an easy battle for you? On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest) how would you rate your daily participation and awareness of spiritual warfare?

As the scales begin to fall from your eyes and you take a more active role in fighting Satan’s schemes (noema), you will face more spiritual (and physical) opposition, I can guarantee it. Write the above verses down, keep them with you and memorize them, because you will need the truth to fight. Without the truth, you are defenseless and will be rendered an ineffective, unarmed soldier.

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In my next post I’ll be discussing the voices in our head (the Holy Spirit, Satan, and our Flesh) and how you can recognize what voices are coming from where (remember, Satan quotes Scripture too!). If you need to catch up on what all this spiritual warfare talk is about, check out my last post. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog (it’s free and your information is not shared) in the space provided on the upper right hand area of this web page so you can receive future posts. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing what your battles in the spiritual realm have been like. Comments are encouraged (however, insults, personal attacks and foul language will not be allowed on this website).

First time here? Learn more about me here.

Satan, God, the Flesh and Spiritual Warfare

If you read my recent post (So, What is YOUR Word) you already know that my 2012 was defined by “perseverance”. To elaborate further, the perseverance revolved primarily around spiritual warfare (consider one of my most popular posts this year: Freedom is Here). Yes, there were health issues, financial issues, and relational issues, but the biggest issue was Satan. (And no, I’m not saying “the devil made me do it”.)

I didn’t kick off the New Year asking God to give me a new word; I had already learned my lesson from 2012. However, God has clearly given me a new focus: spiritual warfare. Perhaps the appropriate “word” would be: fight.

Let’s be honest here, you probably aren’t reading too many articles about spiritual warfare, Satan, and his evil spirits, are you? Neither am I. So my mission in 2013 is to change that. After all, there are plenty of people writing about relationship problems, financial woes, and health issues. There are plenty of people writing awesome devotions and providing good soul-food to inspire and encourage. And for the majority of 2012 I also wrote about a variety of things from devotionals to health and fitness to marriage. This year I am choosing to focus on what I’ve learned and experienced regarding Satan, spiritual warfare, freedom and truth, so I can really help someone live in the spiritual abundance they were created for (as well as keeping myself well grounded). Step one involves identifying the problem. So in my next post (and many more to follow) I will address some of these questions:

Is there an Enemy?

What does he sound/look like?

What is the difference between the flesh and the devil?

How can I recognize God’s voice over my own desires?

Is Satan really messing with my mind on a daily basis?

Are there really spirits out there trying to control me?

If I am a Christian, aren’t I immune to demonic power?

Should I address spiritual warfare with my child, and if so, how?

I hope you’re well-armored, because the more you know about the schemes of the devil, the more opposition you can expect to encounter. This isn’t for the faint of heart. This is serious, this is life or death.

I’m going to share a passage I read and pray with my daughter every morning before we start our day (she is five years old).

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all the strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spiritual world. So, use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up.” Ephesians 6:11-13

If you’ve subscribed to this blog because you enjoy my devotionals and other articles, don’t worry, I share all of my favorite Christian influencer blogs/articles/devotions every day on twitter and my facebook author page, so if you’re on either of those services and are following me, then you are already receiving great soul-food material from great Christian authors every time they post something new. (Authors like Beth Moore, Joel Rosenberg, John and Stasi Eldredge, and many more, along with some “lesser” known names whom I’ve stumbled across in the writing world and whom have a great voice for truth.) I also host an online women’s ministry which shares a great deal of inspirational/devotional material from women all over the world. My social networking sites are used primarily for the spreading of truth from other great writers to make transforming teaching readily available to you at your convenience. I will also continue to post articles I have published in other periodicals here on this website, along with the occasional book review (again, another way I like to share truth from the voice of other believers), as well as information about my upcoming book releases.

Buckle your seat belts and hang on to your Bibles, this ride is about to get bumpy!

I’m Hearing Voices…

“Every negative thought about yourself or another person is not from God. It cannot be from God. It is either from the Enemy, the World, or the Flesh,” Steve told me after I asked him about the negative thoughts that had possessed my mind for two decades.

Such a simple statement and yet the truth is profound, even life-changing for someone like me. I started hearing that “voice” at a young age, maybe 6 or 7. The voice said, “You’re not good enough” and “They don’t care about you.” I also heard voices like, “He’s such a jerk” and “She is always using you, wiping her feet on you like a doormat.” I’d venture to say I am not the only one who has experienced such mental interference. Even in prayer the voice interrupts. “God doesn’t want to hear from you” and “Isn’t it selfish to pray for yourself?” What would my life look like if I believed these lies and behaved accordingly? Well, until recently, my life took on the form of these lies through my behaviors. It required honesty, confession, repentance, and spiritual warfare to break free from those chains of bondage.

Any voice of condemnation, shame, or slander could not come from my Holy Heavenly God. When I look at my husband and think, “He is so mean”, I can acknowledge this voice for what it is: a liar. I can acknowledge where the voice came from: the Accuser. I can renounce the enemy and his lies, and choose the way of truth: “God so loved the world” (Jn. 3:16) and “He first loved us”. (1 Jn. 4:19) All of us were created in His image (Gen. 1:26) and I am to think and act blamelessly towards my fellow creations, regardless of how I’ve been treated.

*Recognize the Enemy’s influence in my thought life:

“How is it that Satan has filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3)

*Recognize the World’s influence in my thought life:

“We know…that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 Jn. 5:19)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” (Rom. 12:2)

*Recognize the Flesh’s influence in my thoughts.

“For the sinful nature [flesh] desires what is contrary to the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:17)

The next time I hear the negative voices, I can identify where it is coming from and renounce it in the name of Jesus. “We also know that the Son of God has come to give us understanding, so that we may know him who is TRUE.” (1 Jn. 5:20)

I cannot think on what is pure, lovely, good and wholesome (Phil. 4:8) if my mind is filled with lies and slander towards God’s creation, people. I’m determined to make a daily trade in my stocks of beliefs. I’m trading the lies for the truth; what is ugly for purity; what is demoralizing for what restores. If my gaping wounds of lies are left open, they will quickly fester into infection of more lies. The only way the wounds heal is if they are soothed with the balm of truth.

Lies steal; truth heals.

“[I] demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and [I] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)

“By faith I choose to be filled with the Spirit so I can be guided into all truth. I choose to walk by the Spirit so that I will not carry out the desires of the flesh. I choose to renew my mind by the living word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable, and perfect. I put off the old self with its evil practices and I put on the new self. I declare myself to be a new creation in Christ.”Statements of Truth, (The Steps to Freedom in Christ -Neil Anderson)