OFFENSIVE ARMOR for the INNER BATTLE
Ephesians 6:11-13, 17-18
"PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL. FOR WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES. WHEREFORE TAKE UNTO YOU THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY, AND HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND...AND TAKE...THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD. PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION IN THE SPIRIT, AND WATCHING THEREUNTO WITH ALL PERSEVERANCE AND SUPPLICATION FOR ALL SAINTS."
We are in a battle, actually, in two battles. We have an inner battle with our carnal man, defiled by sin, weakened by the curse. We also are in a battle with the devil, who tries to take advantage of that carnal man we keep crucifying.
THE INNER BATTLE, IN OUR OWN PERSON
I Timothy 1:18-19
"THIS CHARGE I COMMIT UNTO THEE, SON TIMOTHY, ACCORDING TO THE PROPHECIES WHICH WENT BEFORE ON THEE, THAT THOU BY THEM MIGHTEST WAR A GOOD WARFARE, HOLDING FAITH, AND A GOOD CONSCIENCE."
Our warfare is ‘good’ if we are holding the faith, and have a good conscience.
The first battle therefore, is in our soul and spirit. There are many kinds of soldiers in God's army. There are many deserters, many cowards, many shirkers, many "hope-to-make- it -throughers", and many conquerors. We are told to "WAR A GOOD WARFARE." Christians cannot be wishy-washy, show- up- on- Sunday- only, keep- the - Bible - somewhere - in- the - house kind of Christians. Christians must get militant against the devil. We are in a battle. We must begin to battle the devil as never before. The army of God cannot become entangled with this world.
II Timothy 2:3-5
"THAT THOU ENDURE HARDNESS, AS A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST. NO MAN THAT WARRETH ENTANGLETH HIMSELF WITH THE AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE; THAT HE MAY PLEASE HIM WHO HATH CHOSEN HIM TO BE A SOLDIER. AND IF A MAN ALSO STRIVE FOR MASTERIES, YET IS HE NOT CROWNED, EXCEPT HE STRIVE LAWFULLY."
To be a good soldier, we must:
ENDURE HARDNESS - be ready for some suffering and hard times...
NOT GET ENTANGLED WITH THE AFFAIRS OF THIS WORLD - don't get wrapped up in so many other things that God is only a sideline...
STRIVE FOR MASTERY - try to excel at being a soldier for Jesus, don't be satisfied to just get a passing grade, get the A+...
STRIVE LAWFULLY - there are rules to obey, commands to adhere, we are not "Lone Rangers", we battle together against the devil...
DO YOU HAVE THAT KIND OF GUMPTION ???
Some act as though they have years to get ready for a single battle. This war is already in progress. The devil and his forces are already attacking. To save your loved ones, to keep your possessions from the enemy, you must be fighting the devil now.
"THE NIGHT IS FAR SPENT, THE DAY IS AT HAND; LET US THEREFORE CAST OFF THE WORKS OF DARKNESS (we must cast off all the sins of this life), AND LET US PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT (this means the same armor the God reveals is available to us in Ephesians). LET US WALK HONESTLY (from the Greek, euschemonos = decently), AS IN THE DAY (this means -as if we know that we are not in darkness where our sins are not seen, but are in the light where God sees everything); NOT IN RIOTING AND DRUNKENNESS (not in revellings and drunken orgies), NOT IN CHAMBERING AND WANTONNESS (in the Greek this means - not in whoredoms and perversions), NOT IN STRIFE AND ENVYING (we are not to be fighting each other, but the devil and sin). BUT PUT YE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND MAKE NOT PROVISION FOR THE FLESH (don't make the carnal side of you stronger), TO FULFIL THE LUSTS THEREOF (if we feed our fleshly nature, it will be strong enough to control our being)."
Christian soldiers must learn to nurture the spiritual man. There is a part of our nature, as Christians, that still would want to be involved in "riotings... drunkenness... chamberings... wantonness... strife... and envying..." We, as Christian soldiers, should put on Jesus, and His armor of light.
People are TRI-PARTITE BEINGS. This means that we have a three-fold being. We are BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT.
We all understand the BODY part. But what are the SOUL, and the SPIRIT?
The SOUL is the part of you that wants to satisfy our fleshly lusts and desires. It wants to put itself first, above God and others.
The SPIRIT is the part God put into people that desires to serve God. All of mankind has a SPIRIT.
The SOUL battles the SPIRIT for control of the person.
The side that wins it the side that you nurture and make strong. The side that wins is the one you allow to become the strongest. If you feed your SOUL the Playboy, or Playgirl magazine, filthy movies, dirty jokes, foul language, impure thoughts, etc. -- who do you think will win the battle between the SOUL and the SPIRIT???
If the wrong side is winning? What can you do to take back control of your life from the SOUL? First, you must begin to feed the SPIRIT. The devil will encourage you to feed the SOUL, but God will help you feed your SPIRIT. You must feed the Spirit - Bible reading, prayer, repentance for sins, Christian fellowship, worship of the Lord, church attendance, etc. Then as you get the SPIRIT stronger, you must begin to use your spiritual weapons against the devil and your own carnal nature (the SOUL). The weapons that Christian soldiers have been given are the RHEMA, and PRAYER.
II Corinthians 10:3-6
"FOR THOUGH WE WALK IN THE FLESH, WE DO NOT WAR AFTER THE FLESH. FOR THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE ARE NOT CARNAL, BUT MIGHTY THROUGH GOD TO THE PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS; CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS, AND EVERY HIGH THING THAT EXALTETH ITSELF AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST. AND HAVING IN ALL READINESS TO AVENGE ALL DISOBEDIENCE WHEN YOUR OBEDIENCE IS FULFILLED."
In that passage of Scripture, you will note that there are four objectives for us to conquer:
This refers to enemy territory. The areas in your life that the enemy calls his are these strongholds. First these must be conquered.
These are the doctrines, or patterns of thinking that allowed the devil to build those strongholds. How did he get started in your life? What thoughts or patterns of thought allowed him in to build that part of your life that is displeasing to the Lord. We must learn to identify those thoughts that are contrary to God's Word and change them.
The thoughts that we choose to think must be made to be pleasing thoughts to God. We cannot stop thinking, but we can start thinking good thoughts. Let us find out how to make our thoughts acceptable to our Lord.
After we have done the first three, we will still find times that the devil will find a way to get an evil thought into our head. Now that you have gotten control, and the SPIRIT is dominating the SOUL, still the old nature is trying to feed that old sinful nature. We must be ready to fight, and put on trial every wrong thought. Fight to keep yourself pure. Don't hang your head in defeat, just because the devil managed to get you to fail. No! Admit your failure, repent, and strengthen your SPIRIT again.
THE METHODS OF THE BATTLE
We are told in that same passage of Scripture to:
BRING INTO CAPTIVITY
This refers to destroying, demolishing, totally conquering. We are to go to the walls of the strongholds in our lives, and cast them down with our weapons of RHEMA and PRAYER. This is God's will and way, so don't fear failure. After praying and repenting for having allowed the devil to build that stronghold in your life, speak RHEMA to it and command it to be demolished. Speak to it, and break its hold on you. Ask God's forgiveness and power. Break the stronghold with the weapons that God gave you.
In the Word, we are told to speak to a mountain to be cast into the sea, and it will be done. Do you think that God is wanting us to go about casting literal mountains around? No! God is telling us that there are problems, sinful natures in us that need spoken to with authority. This is using the RHEMA that God told us is our SWORD. We have the authority to speak to the wrong desires, and wrong attitudes, and the wrong habits in our lives - and cast them away.
"...IF YE HAVE FAITH AS A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED, YE SHALL SAY UNTO THIS MOUNTAIN, REMOVE HENCE TO YONDER PLACE; AND IT SHALL REMOVE, AND NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE UNTO THEE."
There were patterns of thinking that are contrary to God's will and Word, that allowed the devil to build that stronghold in your life. Now that the wall of the stronghold has been caused to fall by the RHEMA and PRAYER, grab the stones that made up the stronghold and cast them away. Forcibly cast away those doubts, fears, lusts, pride, etc. every time you come across one. This also involves using the weapons of RHEMA and PRAYER. Rebuke those evil thoughts and ask God's forgiveness for them.
BRING INTO CAPTIVITY
A captive is one under control of a captor. So now the Christian must bring his or her thinking into the control of the captor. Get the thoughts of your mind to be pleasing to God. Begin to exercise thought of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. With the SPIRIT now in control, you must feed that SPIRIT the proper diet. The SOUL has been de-throned. Starve the SOUL to death. Don't give him and evil, lustful, lascivious thought to strengthen him.
None of us are perfect, except Jesus. We will all occasionally fail. Don't revert back to the old patterns when you fail. Don't give up. No! Revenge that failure. Admit your failure, ask God for help and forgiveness. Court-martial, hold trial, sentence that failure to the sea of God's forgetfulness.
"FOR IF YE LIVE AFTER THE FLESH, YE SHALL DIE, BUT IF YE THROUGH THE SPIRIT DO MORTIFY THE DEEDS OF THE BODY, YE SHALL LIVE."
There is a time to grab yourself by the nap of the neck on your shirt, pull yourself over to a mirror and give yourself a good scolding. Then straighten yourself up.
"MORTIFY THEREFORE YOUR MEMBERS... PUT OFF THESE... PUT ON THE NEW MAN... FORBEARING... FORGIVING... PUT ON CHARITY... LET THE PEACE OF GOD RULE... LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU... DO ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD."
This is your new way. This is how you fight a good fight, and war a good warfare.
We need armor for this inner battle, and the Bible tells us what to wear in this war of the inner self.