“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV
You have a spiritual enemy. His name is Satan, he hates God, he hates that you give Him glory. His motivation is get glory away from God so he is plotting and scheming to hurt you.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
There is another realm. Another reality. Your battle is not against other people. Your battle is against the powers and the principalities of this dark world.
We live in a physical world; and yet, there is a spiritual world that is just as real. You’ve felt it. Deep down, you know this. Embrace this truth.
We have to learn this important principle, that what we see with our physical eyes in the physical world is not all that there is. There is a spiritual world that is just as real, and even more powerful than what takes place in the physical world. Where forces of good faces the forces of evil, where the Kingdom of Light wages war against the kingdom of darkness.
We call it spiritual warfare. For the Christian, spiritual warfare simply means this:
Spiritual warfare is the leveraging of everything that God promises against everything that opposes God’s purposes.
You take your stand with the promises of God, to leverage them against what the enemy is trying to do to oppose God’s work in your life and those around you.
What You See Is Not All There Is
We learn a few important principles about these battles from scripture. In fact, if you’re going through a battle right now. You need to remember this:
You are not alone in your battles
In fact, there’s an interesting account recorded in scripture. In the book of 2 Kings, chapter 6, starting in verse 15 there is a story of when Israel was at war against the king of Aram. There was a servant, who was in a dialogue with a man of God.
“When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. ‘Oh, sir, what will we do now?’ the young man cried to Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15 NLT
The man was afraid. He looked out and he saw the enemy forces everywhere. There were horses and warriors. There were all sorts of troops, and he felt they were way out numbered.
“’Don’t be afraid!’ Elisha told him. ‘For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” 2 Kings 6:16-17 NLT
God gave him a glimpse into the spiritual world and he realized there were God’s angels and warriors everywhere. He was not in the battle alone. And we have to remember, there’s more than the eyes can see.
The reality of the spiritual world teaches us another important principle, and this one’s about prayer.
Your prayers are far more powerful than you know.
There may be times when you pray and you feel like nothing’s happening. But recognize that your prayers are far more powerful than you know.
There’s a great example of this from the Old Testament. One time, Daniel was praying and apparently nothing had happened. Then one day an angel came to deliver this message to him. The account is recorded in Daniel, chapter 10, verse 12.
“Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.'” Daniel 10:12 NIV
From the first day Daniel prayed, God heard the prayer and God was working even though Daniel didn’t even know it.
“‘But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.’” Daniel 10:13-14 NIV
Can you imagine this? Daniel prayed, and as soon as he prayed God heard his prayer. He released His angels, and for twenty-one days they did battle against an evil spirit. Then Michael, the archangel, appeared and was able to hold off the evil spirits so the other angel could go to Daniel and say, “God has answered your prayer.”
There’s a very real battle going on right now.
What Are the Devil’s Schemes?
Let’s briefly look at five specific things from scripture that the devil does to scheme against you…
- He blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Without God we easily succumb to the devil’s schemes. We can become so mired in the affairs of this world that we completely lose sight of God. He tries to blind your minds, so you do not hear the truth.
- He steals God’s word from you (Matthew 13:19)
There may have been different times in your life where you would have heard something about God, or you would have heard His word, and it did something inside of you. Then, you got up the next day, or were distracted by something and all of those spiritual thoughts were gone. Life goes back to normal and you’re wondering, “What was that? I can’t even remember what it was.” Where did it go? Why did it vanish? Jesus tells us why it vanished – Satan steals away the word of God.
- He sets traps to ensnare you (2 Timothy 2:26)
The devil will use any point of vulnerability in your life to try to tempt you. If you’re trying to purify your mind, next thing you know there’s some image that creates a lustful thought. You want a healthy marriage, but some other guy or woman starts talking to you. If you’re trying to get out of debt, there’s more opportunities for debt. Wherever you’re weak, that’s where he attacks.
- He fights to stop the work of God in your life (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
For example, if you get a vision from God to do something, watch how Satan will try to block you. You’ve got spiritual opposition, the forces of darkness trying to stop you from doing what God has called you to do. Why is it that 2000 years later and we still don’t have the gospel preached to every people group on the earth? Because it’s not easy and our enemy is trying to stop us.
Look how plainly this is spelled out in scripture:
“For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.” 1 Thessalonians 2:18
- He plans to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8)
We’ve got to get serious about fighting this battle spiritual battle. You can defeat temptation. You can be saved. You can have the truth and it can set you free. You can be freed from the traps. Why? Because…
The devil is subject to our God.
He trembles at our God. He already had one fight that lasted a second once God got in. When you align yourself with God, you become just as victorious as God is with the devil.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Take Your Stand
We’re going to fight this. The Bible says you’re in a fight. We need to learn how to fight.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV
Strongholds comes from a greek word that refers to any lie of the devil that keeps you trapped in slavery. The word demolish means to violently cast down.
There’s nothing really passive about it. You gotta buckle up and strap on, dress for battle, and realize there’s a part of your Christianity that is communion with God but there’s another part that’s in confrontation with an enemy who wants to destroy you.
Your life. Your marriage. Your parenting. Your identity. Your confidence.
Take your stand… fight your fight.
So we have to fight with these weapons. What are those weapons and how do we use them?
1. The Name of Jesus
Many of our songs just boast on the name of Jesus. Why? Because names have power.
Cancer is a powerful name. Debt is a powerful name. Addiction is a powerful name. Virus is a powerful name. Depression is a powerful name.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 NIV
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 NIV
Call on the name. Use the name. Sing the name. Worship the name of God.
The demons have to line up at the name of Jesus. This is why we pray in Jesus name. It’s powerful because some people are praying in the name of another God. When we pray in Jesus name, we’re saying this prayer is powerful now, and we’re saying Jesus is the only way to God.
Declare His name is higher!
2. The Word of God
The word of God has power. All throughout the scriptures it talks about the word of God as a metaphor of a sword. A sword is an offensive weapon. It’s the only offensive weapon listed in the armor of God.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14-17 NIV
That’s what Jesus did when the devil came for Him. In all three occasions he responds to the devil with scripture. The Bible isn’t there just to be your lucky charm or to give warm fuzzies. It’s a weapon. Treat it like one. Quote it. Change the verses into the first person and use them as a weapon that you need to use against your enemy.
3. The Power of the Cross
The cross was to save you from your sins. But that wasn’t all of it. After Jesus died on the cross, He went to the depths. He stood the devil face to face and tells him He just paid for everything so hand over the keys!
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18 NIV
The cross of Jesus didn’t just pay for sins, it conquered death. Whatever the devil can throw at you, Jesus has already won.
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11 NIV
Share your testimony. You are saved. You are delivered from every attack of the devil. God has forgiven your sins. God stepped in and saved you. Healed you. Redeemed your life from the pit. Crowns you with love and compassion. He satisfies your desires with good things. Placed your feet upon a rock. Transformed you. Renewed your strength.
It’s time to take your stand – Jesus has already won the battle!
Check back on your discussions from the last week, “Rise Above It (The Realities of Heaven)”
Any more thoughts on the discussion from that message and not being discouraged by trouble, distracted by temptations and focusing energies on what will last?
What if you were fighting the wrong fight and focusing on the wrong thing? This week we wrap up Eternal Realities by discovering how to use our energy on the right fights and take our stand for things that will last.
Get started with scripture. Read Ephesians chapter 6.
Discussion & Application
- Focusing on Ephesians 6:14-17… Discuss practical ways to use the weapons we have to fight against the schemes of the devil.
- Describe a time when you realized God was doing something spiritually that you couldn’t see with your natural eyes. (Maybe God was warning you, or speaking to you, or prompting you to do something.)
- We studied several of the devil’s goals: blinding minds, stealing God’s word, trapping you, fighting against God’s work and destroying you. What has your enemy done to hinder God’s work in you recently?
- The Bible is one of our greatest weapons in spiritual warfare. Talk about times you have used the Word of God in an attack from the enemy. Share with the group any verses that are your “go-to” verses when you are facing struggles in your life.
- What is an area of your life right now where you need to claim and speak God’s Word so that you can gain victory?
God has blessed you with spiritual armor and weapons that are not of this world. Your armor doesn’t cover your backside. Other believers help cover you. Spend some time covering each other in prayer.
As you pray this week, remember that prayer is not just communion with God, but also confrontation with the devil. Pray about the areas in your life where the devil may be attacking you that have become strongholds you are battling. Pray in the name of Jesus to fight against the devil in these areas.