Dwight Fletcher | Defeating the enemies within
Spy movies, like James Bond and Mission Impossible, give us a fictional, but not too far-fetched view of some of the conspiracies that take place in the world. But inside of us, a similar intrigue is taking place.
Last week we established that there is an unseen spiritual world. Two kingdoms are at war in this realm. The kingdom of light has the goal of bringing back our peace with God - our wholeness and our purpose in life; while the opposing kingdom of darkness is about creating mayhem, destruction and death.
We looked at Ephesians 6 and we established that some of the spiritual struggles and distractions we experience are not only because of natural phenomenon, but because spiritual enemies are influencing us; "we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world". - Ephesians 6:12 (NLT). We are in a spiritual war!
The enemy often affects us from the outside in, using things like other people and government systems. But the enemy's tactics also extend into our lives, where, like a spy planted within, he tries to destroy us from the inside out.
The fact that Satan and his demonic hordes can have access to your life is a well-established understanding from scripture. For example, in speaking to Christians, Paul cautioned, "don't sin by letting anger control you" and "don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil." - Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT). The dictionary states that a foothold is "a secure position, especially a firm basis for further progress or development."
The first goal of demons is to prevent you from receiving salvation. If that fails, they work at preventing Christian maturity. They do this through many forms of temptation, harassment, and by challenging God and His Word. Demons lie to us and work hard to have us lie to ourselves.
We may face struggles in particular areas of our lives and find that it is an agent of Satan that may have gotten access and is wreaking havoc. For instance, when it comes to sickness, we must always check with a doctor first, but when it appears totally inexplicable and beyond reason, then it may be caused by an agent of the devil. But The Bible says "... you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32 (NLT).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23b, Paul helps us to understand that we are made up of three parts. He says this: "May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." There is a part of us that is spirit which lives forever . It is either alive to God, if you are a Christian, or dead to God, if you are not a Christian.
We have a soul that makes us conscious. The soul consists of the mind, the emotions and the will. The mind and the emotions inform the will and the will decides what to do.
Then there is the body that senses the world around it through smell, taste, touch, hearing and seeing.
When we read the Bible, we see that demonic agents, if allowed to, can attack your body or your soul. "One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for 18 years and was unable to stand up straight." Luke 13:10-11 (NLT). Her body was under attack.
King Saul continuously disobeyed God and this caused God to reject him as King. The scripture says that, as a result, "a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear" was attacking his emotions - 1 Samuel 16:14 (NLT).
Romans 6:16 (NLT) makes it clear that "you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living." 2 Peter 2:19 further develops the thought by stating that "you are a slave to whatever controls you." To submit to sin makes us slaves to it and gives Satan access to our lives.
The good news is that Jesus came to set us free from the power of and the punishment for our sin. We may think it's easier to remain in captivity to Satan, but the truth is that it will only get worse. Jesus wants to bring liberty in our lives if we will allow Him.
Next week we will look at six primary ways that Satan gains access to our lives, how we can resist his attack and the spiritual weapons we have at our disposal.