By Jerry Twentier & Marcella Willhoite
Now that we have examined the covenant privileges and responsibilities of kingdom members and the constitution for this new way of living, let’s take a close look at how we may conquer the enemy. Please understand the importance of learning to fight! To save our families, our children, loved ones, friends, and nation, we must stand up and fight!
Not against people, but against the forces of hell. Christ has conquered Satan and restored our rightful dominion. But we shall not claim an inch of enemy territory or rescue one soul from his dominion without a struggle!
In the Book of Acts are three key weapons that helped the early church prevail over every circumstance: the Word of God, the name of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit working through and with them. To the apostles, the ministry and dignity of the Word was supreme. Not yet having the written New Testament Scriptures, the anointed spoken Word became a life-giving force. They preached the Word, taught the Word, magnified the Word, and honored the Word. The Word increased, the Word brought conviction, and the Word mightily prevailed. The early church lived in the Word and the Word lived in them.
The name of Jesus was their power of attorney and credentials for miracles. As His representatives, they became masters of demons and their forces. They cast out demons in His name, healed sick bodies in His name, and baptized in His name.
The Holy Spirit recreated dead spirits, made their bodies a temple or sanctuary, became the powerful superintendent of the church, governing and giving direction to the disciples. As they went forth with the Word and the name, in the power of the Holy Spirit, they were completely victorious over the enemy. But how were they protected from enemy attacks? Paul described the spiritual armor that covered the inner man.
Ephesians 6:10-18; Isaiah 59:17
A clear, open clash was demonstrated between two spiritual kingdoms—kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The two had always existed, but were somewhat veiled. When Jesus and His apostles cast out evil spirits, people saw that Satan was real and that demons were under his control. However, they also witnessed the superiority of God’s power. The most dramatic impact was the fact that Satan was always defeated!
Our warfare is a struggle against an enemy that cannot be seen with physical eyes or be killed with bullets. To win this battle demands knowledge of enemy strategy, the Christian’s weapons and armor, and defense against his attacks. The war is both offensive and defensive. How skillful we become in using our weapons determines the outcome of the war. However, weapons cannot effectively conquer this enemy if the body and soul are not surrendered to the Spirit’s control.
In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul compares our walk with God to a Roman or Grecian soldier armed with six pieces of equipment. Because we are constantly invading Satan’s territory or being confronted with his deceptions, our spirit must be clothed with God’s armor.
The helmet of salvation protects the mind or thought-life. To prevent the enemy from introducing negative thoughts of fear, rebellion, unbelief or deception, the helmet of salvation becomes a safeguard for the mind. The breastplate of righteousness protects the chest, abdomen, and back, extending to the top of the thighs. The heart, lungs and vital organs of the soldier’s body are covered by the breastplate. This defensive piece of armor representing God’s righteousness protects the source of spiritual life. Isaiah wrote,
“For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke” (Isaiah 59:17).
Protecting the soldier’s thighs, the girdle of truth braces the armor tightly to the body and holds his garments in place. Paul compared the girdle to a knowledge of doctrinal truths that gathers and holds everything in place. Roman soldiers wore brazen shoes that protected the shins and feet. Our feet shod are shod with the gospel of peace. How well a fighter stands, pursues the enemy or obeys the captain’s commands depends largely upon strong legs. Not only are we to obey the gospel, but be prepared to “go” with the gospel!
Whether fighting the enemy, helping a discouraged, wounded brother or sister, or releasing a captive from Satan’s bondage, we depend upon the feet being shod with the gospel of peace. The shield of faith was a movable wall to defend the soldier against the enemy’s “fiery” darts. These were arrows dipped in lead and a combustible substance. While speeding through the air, the arrows caught fire, and then set the wooden shield ablaze. Therefore, metal coverings were attached to the shield to quench or “put out” the flames.
Our enemy’s fiery darts are doubt, fear, worry, discouragement, and evil thoughts which inflame the passions. The covering that shields us from Satan’s attacks is faith. Trusting the promises in God’s Word quenches his fiery darts. It has been said that faith is comprised of three things:
- Facts to believe.
- Commands to obey.
- Promises to enjoy.
Faith defends from Satan’s attacks, provides needs, solves personal problems, heals sick bodies, and removes mountains of doubt and unbelief.
All the armor previously described has been defensive. One piece is both defensive and offensive—the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Of all the spiritual armor, the sword alone requires skill and practice.
Never is the sword used to cut or wound people. Our combat is 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” (Ephesians 6:12). Young, inexperienced soldiers are rather awkward at first. While this weapon is unfamiliar, scriptures cannot be easily found. But with practice, they soon become adept at wielding passages that will kill doubt and unbelief, verses that build faith, and those that bring peace and solve problems.
With the Word of God, we can conquer demons in the name of Jesus, heal the sick, strengthen the weak, and deliver captives from Satan’s power. This unique piece of weaponry is indispensable. The Word not only is a weapon, but also becomes spiritual food to build the soldier’s strength. Without the Spirit’s sword, the soldier can never survive.
The shield and sword—faith and the Word of God–team up as the principal pieces of armor. Those who acquire a rich knowledge of Scripture and a faith that declares, “Nothing is impossible with God!”, have no fear of any adversary.
Sources of strength
Now that we have explored the armor and weapons given us by God, let’s discuss three sources of spiritual strength that are available to every believer.
Prayer (developing a relationship with the King)
Matthew 6:6; Psalm 91:1; John 9:31; 15:7; Romans 8:26-27;
I Thessalonians 5:17; I John 3:22
Prayer is the communication system between man and God. It is a key that unlocks the door of God’s treasury. Prayer helps us determine the will of God and then go forth to do His will. It is not merely asking what we want, but conforming to what He wants.
“If any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9:31).
“If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (I John 5:14).
The only way to build a lasting relationship with God is through consistent prayer. Setting aside a definite time and place for prayer is more than a handy suggestion. Rather, it is an absolute MUST for spiritual survival! How can we defeat the enemy of our soul without fresh, daily reinforcements? Without the strength of daily communication with God, we CANNOT live victoriously.
When God created man, an amazing faculty was designed within him to visualize unseen things. We call it the imagination. As a contractor visualizes a completed house before the project begins or a woman pictures a new dress before cutting the fabric, so we can imagine the Lord in our minds as we talk with Him.
The problem with prayer is that we must discipline ourselves to talk with the Lord. If a busy schedule seems to prevent having a set time and place, include prayer throughout the day’s activities. Whenever you have three or four spare minutes, talk with Jesus.
Riding in the car, washing dishes, cleaning house, mowing the grass, and shopping are great opportunities to take Him along. In this way, we can fulfill the command to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). Continual communication helps place Him at the center of life—where He should be!
Paul’s remarks to the Ephesians about husbands and wives loving one another were really referring to Christ and the church. He loved us before we loved Him, while we were yet His enemies. If He died for us while we were His enemies, what do you think He will do for us now that we are His friends, His sons and daughters, His bride? As we learn to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, prayer will become a joy. Spending time with Him will be eagerly anticipated.
Prayer should be so intimate, life’s most closely guarded secrets can be freely shared with Christ. Why shouldn’t “doing the Father’s will” include relaxing in His presence, talking affectionately, enjoying His gentle touch? He wants to be as near as we will allow. Do not leave Him in the “God room” of your heart all day and never acknowledge His presence or speak to Him. Being with Jesus in the secret place of the imagination can be the most enjoyable activity of the day!
There are many types of prayer—thanksgiving, supplication, confession, intercession, meditation, praying in the Spirit, and travailing prayer. Each meets a definite need. But do not spend all your time asking for gifts and forget the Giver. He has needs also. Jesus enjoys hearing our words of praise and gratitude for what He has already done. And sometimes He wants us to be silent and listen to what He has to say.
As children grow, “prayers” to their parents change. They begin with, “I want…” or “Would you please give me . . .” A little later, we hear an occasional, “Thank you!” or they may even ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
The more our will conforms to God’s will, the more prayer time changes to sharing. His top secrets can only be shared with mature believers. As Jesus once told His disciples,
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (John 16:12).
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9-10).
Never be content with a constant “give-me” prayer life. Enter into a deeper walk with God, not surface Christianity. Read good books that will inspire you to reach for higher levels of spiritual communication. The Lord has many fantastic secrets to share with those who are ready to hear.
Fasting (a physical discipline for spiritual alertness)
Matthew 6:16-18; Acts 13:2-3; Mark 9:29; Joel 1:14; 2:12; Isaiah 58:6-8
To fast means to voluntarily abstain from eating or drinking anything with food value for one or more meals. The best policy is to eat nothing and drink only water. Why is spiritual alertness increased when we fast? Both eating and exercise require an increased amount of blood. But when we neither eat nor exercise, a larger supply of blood is available for mental and spiritual concentration.
While fasting, we can more readily perceive God’s direction for our lives. In extended fasts of over three days, sensual desires decrease and we become more sensitive to the Spirit. Prayer is the force with which we grasp the invisible. Fasting is the force with which we cast aside the visible.
Why should we fast? In Bible days, fasting was combined with repentance for sin, to seek God’s will in a specific matter, concern about God’s work, for demonic deliverance, protection, deep sorrow, or a form of worship. Jesus’ forty-day fast was a preparation for His upcoming ministry, enabling Him to quickly defeat Satan’s temptations (Matthew 4:2).
Another vital reason for fasting is for health purposes. Abstaining from food one day a week gives the heart, brain, stomach, kidneys and intestines a well-deserved vacation. Fasting will purify the blood and remove poisons more effectively than any other medical means.
Guidelines for fasting were mentioned in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:16-18). The Pharisees were quite faithful to fast and to let everyone know. Jesus scolded them for disfiguring their faces and told them to wash instead. Therefore, we should shun all outward signs of abstaining from food and drink. If we fast to impress others with our spirituality, their commendation will be our only reward. God judges our motives for fasting and rewards us accordingly.
Bible study and meditation (practicing kingdom concepts)
Joshua 1:8; Proverbs 4:4; Psalm 1:2-3; 119:97, 99
We have discovered that God originally planned to rule man through his spirit. In turn, the spirit was to rule the soul (mind, will, emotions) and the submissive soul would rule the body. For the spirit to become the center of our existence, it must be given new attention. What helps the spirit grow and develop? We know how to feed the body and the mind, but what about the spirit? Communing with God, Scripture meditation and the preaching of the Word satisfy the cravings of the inner man.
When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, the Bible begins to come alive! As the Spirit helps us comprehend His Word, a rebuilding process begins in the thoughts, emotions and will. Saturating the mind with Scripture is the way to educate the spirit for its leadership role.
The word “meditate” comes from the idea of a cow chewing its cud. What the cow has previously eaten comes up again and again to be chewed and enjoyed. This is how we meditate on Scripture. First we memorize passages of Scripture on particular subjects that are especially meaningful. Then those same verses are rehearsed and repeated, as we savor each individual word.
Suppose you have been misunderstood and deeply hurt by a companion or dear friend. Find applicable passages in the Psalms or read about David’s disappointments. As you slowly read the verses, words of encouragement will leap from the pages. Memorize those special verses or write them in a notebook. Each time depression or gloom threatens to cloud your vision, meditate on the Word of God—word by word—and watch the sadness disappear!
Notice these beautiful promises to those who learn to meditate:
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
“He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live” (Proverbs 4:4).
“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. . . . I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:97, 99).
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:2-3).
God’s formula for prosperity and success is this: meditate day and night in Scripture. By this constant saturation of scriptural teachings, we are enabled to make correct decisions and align our will with His. How much time do you spend each day reading the newspaper, magazines or books? If the Bible is our main Book, we should be spending more time in it than the others.
To begin, read the Gospels, then the Book of Acts and the Epistles. Plan to read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7) and the love chapter (I Corinthians, chapter 13) at least once a month. Choose a system for marking your Bible. Certain topics could be marked with an appropriate colored pen. Underline passages that speak a message especially to you.
Invest in a good concordance and other practical study helps. If you are seriously studying the Word, purchase an Interlinear Greek-English New Testament which has the literal translation of the Greek words immediately under them. With the help of a Greek-English lexicon and a Greek concordance, you can learn much about the original language.
Kingdom concepts were designed to be practiced—not just to be admired. We must “do” the Word. Put it in action. Live according to its instructions. The mind must be renewed and subject to the recreated spirit through obedience to the Word. There can be no renewing of the mind without practicing, living, and doing the Word.
C.P. Kilgore, a pioneer Pentecostal preacher, was known for his humble walk with God and his intense prayer life. At one point of his ministry, he was so desperate for revival that he and his wife went on a thirty-day prayer chain. One of them was praying at all times, twenty-four hours a day. All great things begin with prayer and love and study of the Word of God. If you want things to be shaken then you must pray.
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
The price of praying and getting into the Word every day is known as personal discipline. But once we make a habit of spending time every day in reading, studying, comparing scripture with scripture, memorizing, meditating upon God’s Word, we will develop such a love for the Bible, reading it will become sheer delight! Prayer also will become as David described it in Psalm 16:11:
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
This article “Provisions for Conquering the Enemy” by Jerry Twentier & Marcella Willhoite was excerpted from the book Search for Truth #2. August 2011. It may be used for study & research purposes only.