HOW TO EXPERIENCE VICTORY IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE
I. Do you believe that Satan truly exists?
A. The charge.
Sometimes you hear people charge Christians with conveniently blaming Satan for their own weaknesses and failures. This charge is true sometimes because as sinners we are good blame-shifters and we don’t want to take responsibility for our failures (Gen. 3:13). However, this does not negate the fact that Satan and a multitude of demonic forces do exist and are seeking to thwart the purposes and plans of God.
B. Jesus believed Satan existed.
Jesus clearly believed that Satan existed because He taught His disciples and warned them of his power and influence in the world (John 8:44) (Luke 22:31). Since Jesus believed that the Devil existed you should too. Therefore, you must learn to discern his attacks upon you.
II. Discerning spiritual warfare.
A. Know Satan’s devices.
Paul warns believers to be fully aware of the Devil’s devices lest he “should take advantage of us” (2 Cor. 2:11). The words should take advantage of us are one word in the original and mean Satan will defraud you of something that is yours. This is the goal of the enemy of your soul. Jesus said that He has come to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). If you will let the Devil he will steal and rob you of the blessings that God desires to give.
B. What are Satan’s devices?
1. He consistently will attempt to undermine, question, and cause doubt in God’s Word (Gen. 3:1).
2. He will seek to focus you upon every reason why you should exercise self-gratification and self-exaltation (Gen. 3:6) (Is. 14:13-14).
3. He will seek to get you to question the fairness of God’s commands
4. He misquotes and misapplies God’s Word in his temptations (Matt. 4:6-7).
5. He looks for an area where he believes you are vulnerable (Job 1:9-11).
6. He wants to get you to rebel and curse God (Job 1:11).
7. He uses people to even encourage you to do the same (Job 2:9).
8. He encourages you to extreme actions that would tempt God (Matt. 4:5-7).
9. He wants you to compromise your calling and mission in life as he also tried to do with Jesus (Matt. 4:10).
10. He wants to draw you from keeping God and your number one priority in life and cause you to worship and serve something else (Matt 4:10).
11. He is a master at lying, guilt, and temptation (Rev. 12:9).
C. How can you be certain that you are involved in spiritual warfare?
If you are struggling with any of the above issues in your mind, you can be sure that you are involved in spiritual warfare. Remember that some times it is hard to discern the difference between your own sinful desires and the temptation of the enemy of your soul. Scripture acknowledges that both your own desires and the enticement of Satan are at work in temptation. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14). Therefore, when you are struggling with any area of the flesh, you should assume that demonic forces would also be involved.
III. Be committed to wrestle.
A. What does it mean to wrestle?
Paul declared, “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” (Eph. 6:12). The word to wrestle refers to a struggle until one throws the other down. This is what is occurring spiritually when you are involved in a wrestling match with demonic forces. It is important to notice that Paul teaches that we wrestle with the rulers of darkness who are the principalities and powers (rankings of demonic forces). It is unlikely that you would ever wrestle with the Devil himself simply because he would probably be interested in very influential people in this world (Heads of states etc.).
B. Where does this wrestling match take place?
1. In your mind (2 Cor. 11:3) (2 Cor. 10:5).
2. In your faith (1 Tim. 6:12) (Luke 22:31-32).
3. With temptation in the flesh (Eph. 2:2-3).
4. With temptation to entangle yourself in the affairs of this world (2 Tim .2:4).
5. Over the souls of lost men (Acts 26:18) (Matt. 12:22-29).