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MHG  No 13.   JULY 2002

 

 

OVERTHROWING STRONGHOLDS

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal and physical, but mighty in God for overthrowing strongholds, for refuting speculations and arguments and for casting down every proud and lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and for capturing every thought, and bringing it into obedience to the Messiah.”   (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

MANY of us have not sufficiently grasped the fact that the human mind is a very impressionable zone where enemies build up evil strongholds.  

These malignant fortifications are built up, brick by brick; leaf by leaf; thought by thought, by evil influences, and by a string of wrong decisions!

The attack on the mind works like a virus that weakens the human immune system, corrupts the body’s responses, and imperils its health. Once it is established in the mind, a stronghold weakens and seeks to destroy our moral rectitude, our right resolve, our spiritual stamina, and our sanctified temple - all from within. 

Strongholds are obtrusive, satanic centres of mind control that subtly seek to gain our compliance, to manipulate our wills, to bring bondage, and to wreck havoc in our lives. 

 

THE PARABLE OF THE DIKBA VINE

 

Let us compare a stronghold to a Dikba Vine, which has very vigorous growth. It grows, leaf by leaf, until it takes  over,  controls,  and ruins everything around it.

Like most plants, the Dikba Vine begins with a single seed.  As it is watered, it grows stronger day by day, and produces hardy leaves. Its roots go down deep and it puts out  feelers to firmly establish itself.  It then spreads out further and further. If it is not plucked out early, it is likely to develop into a powerful vine with tenacious roots that can no longer be easily pulled up.

This Dikba Vine, mind you, produces much fruit, but sadly, not beneficial fruit; it’s poisonous.

This is an obnoxious vine that grows out of all proportion to its worth. It spreads its roots until it cracks the floors and the walls of your home, and dominates and restricts your movement. It destroys your freedom. 

It’s a vine you always intended to get rid of, but by default you allowed it to grow until it has become an enormous job to deal with. By now the problem is that you have become so used to the vine that you begin to appreciate its ‘cute’ little flowers, and so you decide to keep it - in spite of its harmful effects.  You even come to the stage where you say it is “too late” to get rid of it, so you decide to tolerate it - in spite of what it is doing to you, to your home and to your environment.  In short, you’re stuck with it!

This creeping Dikba Vine keeps pushing up new shoots all over the place.  At first you thought it was lovely because of its strong “healthy” growth, and so you dug up some of those small new shoots, put them in pots, and gave them to your friends.  And now they also are plagued with this creeping, detestable parasite – this “blessed” Dikba Vine!!

You now know that it wasn’t a wise thing to do. You saddled other people also with problems and now you can’t help them, or yourself.  You frantically lop off the branches of the vine, and tell your friends to do the same. But this prolific pest keeps on springing up. And you begin to feel like a Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

You seek advice. Some people tell you to dig out the roots. But you can’t seem to go deep enough. Some say you should poison it, but you don’t seem to have much luck at that either.  You despair. You say to yourself, “Well, I’ll just go out every morning and axe any new growth.”  But sometimes you forget, and sometimes you are just so busy to chop the vine. And it has you beat again and again! 

You feel then that if you have to live with it, you may as well trim it, and shape it into a nicely controlled shape, so that it will look pretty good around your front porch. You’ll show your neighbors how to make the most of this thing! You develop a love-hate relationship with your vine. But you find it is uncontrollable.  And when it becomes a jungle again, your neighbors are not too impressed by your “blessed” Dikba Vine.

In the end you decide that you will sell your house and move to a new location where you will not be troubled by this obnoxious thing.  You move. But guess what!  You managed to take some of the Dikba seeds with you, and in no time, they were taking root and springing up in your new locality! 

You felt a sense of doom. It was like a plague.  Is there no relief?  Is there no balm in Gilead?  You decide to go to the horticulturists – to the experts.  They give you much advice, and tell you what to do. But you just can’t seem to believe their remedy – because it seems so complicated. And it is going to cost you too much!  “Ah, forget it,” you say. “Let it grow! See if I care! It’s not really that bad!”

But it has a habit of driving you into a corner. Soon you are in despair again. You even think of suicide. You cry out in desperation, and are willing to pay whatever the cost – you must get rid of it.

And one day, with great relief you meet someone who gives you a book that tells you how to break the hold of this overpowering Dikba Vine.

The impossible, at last, becomes possible!

THE MEANING OF THE PARABLE

The parable is talking about a sin vine that becomes a stronghold in our lives! (Dikba is the Tibetan word for “sin.”)

Strongholds begin with a seed-thought that is sown in the mind. As we ponder on the thought it germinates and shoots up to become a small plant - a bad habit.

At first we never expect a “lovely” little sin habit to ever get a stranglehold on us, and to inflict great damage on our lives. But satanic strongholds are geared to paralyze our spiritual lives, and to rob us of joy, strength, peace, and abundant spiritual fruit. They are programmed to traumatize us by inserting the “genes of darkness” into the very fibre of our beings.  And this, my dear reader, can all happen in a believer’s mind.

The Scripture warns and exhorts us concerning the mind - the two types of mind.

“The mind of the flesh, the carnal nature, is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

There is a constant battle going on for the minds of men.  I believe we could even say that all battles begin in the minds of men - in children, as well as adults.

Believers are not exempt for this battle! It is all too possible that evil strongholds can take over our lives also. That’s why there are constant exhortations to God’s people:

“Let the same mind (the same attitude and purpose) be in you which was in the Messiah, Y’shua.”  (Philippians 2:5)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is – His good, acceptable and perfect will.”   (Romans 12:2)

When an evil fortress has been built up in our mind, it seems almost impossible to rout it out, or to overthrow it.  But it must be destroyed or else it will destroy us.

Praise God, as the apostle Paul says, we have been provided with mighty, non-physical weapons that can overthrow strongholds.

“For though we walk in the flesh as human beings, we do not wage war according to the flesh by using carnal and physical weapons; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal and physical, but mighty in God for overthrowing strongholds, for refuting speculations and arguments and for casting down every proud and lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and for capturing every thought, and bringing it into obedience to the Messiah.”  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Weapons are available, but the question is . . .

 

HOW TO OVERTHROW STRONGHOLDS ?

 

From these three verses in 2 Corinthians10, we can understand five basic facts or principles:

a our warfare and our weapons are not physical, but spiritual.

a our weapons are mighty in God for overthrowing strongholds.

a our weapons are able to refute everything opposed to the knowledge of God.

a every thought can, and needs to be, brought into obedience to the Messiah.

a it is God’s will that the believer should not tolerate enemy strongholds, but should overthrow them by His grace and power.

My friend, there is no “keyword” or “quick-fix.” There’s no “3 easy steps to victory” solution for overthrowing strongholds. But there are principles and truths throughout the Epistles and Gospels which we need to learn to apply in our Christian lives.  We all may have issues that must be dealt with. If we want to be free, we must seek restoration and deliverance in the Word of God.

We need to go over the Scriptures in this study again and again.  These are steps to freedom and overthrowing strongholds, but remember, it is not the steps that will save us.  It is the Messiah Himself who sets us free. But it is our response, our faith, and our obedience to His Word that opens the door to the power, deliverance, and the blessing of God.

 

1   CHRIST CAME TO DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL a

 

We must understand and believe this fact!

“The Son of God was revealed for this purpose - that He might undo and destroy the works of the devil.”  (1 John 3:8)

“And having disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through it – His work on the cross.”  (Colossians 2:15)

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me . . . He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives.” (Luke 4:18)

“You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free . . . If then the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32, 36)

If Y’shua the Messiah loved us, and planned for us to be free, and wants us to be free, how can we accommodate a bondage – a slavery – a stronghold in our lives?

The Saviour has already set us free by His triumphant, atoning work at Calvary – the moment we believe. But that freedom needs to be maintained.  So Paul charges us:

Let us “stand firm in the freedom with which the Messiah has made us free; and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.”   (Galatians 5:1)

 

2       KNOW WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE “IN CHRIST”  a

 

My dear born again, believing reader, you are not a “no-body!” You are not a speck of dust!  You are not a dirty, guilty, condemned sinner! You are not an outcast! You are not an accident, an insignificant being! You are IN CHRIST, and in Christ you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!!  (Ephesians 1:3)

Following is a list of many of the realities of the believer’s status “in the Messiah.” And there may be more realities that could be added to this list. 

Please check each point and realize, and acknowledge your true status “in Christ.”  If there is any point about which you are not clear, please study that point, until you understand what it is all about.

Remember your status does not depend on how you feel. It is yours, potentially from eternity, and in reality from the moment Y’shua became your personal Saviour! This is your new status “in the Messiah”!

1    you are born again  (1 Peter 1:3)

2    you are a new creation  (2 Cor 5:17)

3    you are a chosen one  (Eph 1:4)

4    you are redeemed  (Galatians 3:13)

5    you have been forgiven  (Eph 1:7)

6    you have been purchased by God  (1 Cor. 6:20)

7    you have been emancipated  (Galatians 5:1)

8    you have been justified  (Rom 3:24. 8:1)

9    you have been made righteous  (Rom 3:22, 9:30)

10  you are reconciled to God  (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

11  you are set-apart – sanctified  (1 Cor. 6:11)

12  you are a child of God  (1 John 3:2)

13  you have been predestined to maturity as a son of God  (Eph. 1:5. Gal 4:7)

14  you have received God’s eternal life  (John 3:15)

15  you are eternally secure  (John 10:27-30)

16  you are included in household, the family of God  (Eph 2:19. Gal 6:10)

17  you are a temple of God  (1 Cor 6:19)

18  you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit  (Rom 8:9)

19  you are sealed by the Holy Spirit  (Eph 1:13; 4:30)

20  you are the dwelling place of the Sh’khinah glory  (2 Cor. 4:6-7)

21  you are complete in the Messiah  (Col 2:10)

22  you are included in the Bride of Christ  (Eph 5:23,25)

23  you are a member of the Body of Christ  (Eph 4:15-16)

24  you are an heir of God and a co-heir with the Messiah,  and have a glorious inheritance  (Rom 8:16-17. 1 Pet 1:4. Eph 1:11,14)

25  you are God’s workmanship, handiwork  (Eph 2:10)

26  you are God’s inheritance  (Eph 1:18)

27  you are a disciple of the Messiah  (Matt 28:19)

28  you are a royal priest after the order of Messiah (the order of Malkitzedek) (Rev 1:5-6. Heb 6:20; 10:19.1 Pet 2:9)

29  you are a minister of the new covenant  (2 Cor. 3:5-6)

30  you have been endowed with spiritual gifts  (1 Cor 12:7,11)

31  you are an ambassador for Christ  (2 Cor 5:19-20)

32  you are royalty – called to reign in life, and destined to reign in eternity (Rev 1:5-6.  Rom 5:17)

33  you are a warrior, with a glorious armour  (2 Tim 2:3-4. Eph 6: 10-18)

34  you are seated in the place of authority  (Eph 2:5-7)

35  you are protected by the power of God  (1 Pet 1:5)

36  you are destined for glory  (2 Cor 4:17, Rom 8:18. Col 3:4)

So believer, acknowledge who and what you are.

 

3  THE BATTLE AND THE  VICTORY IS THE LORD’S  a

 

The battle for our mind is being waged every minute of the day, but the believer’s response must be to bring every thought into obedience to our Master. We must learn to reject all types of wrong thinking. We must learn to refuse to meditate on anything that is unholy.

“Let this mind (the same attitude and purpose) be in you which was in the Messiah, Y’shua.” (Philippians 2:5)

Our mind must be surrendered to God, and our mind must be renewed daily by the Word. We must wear the Helmet of Salvation continually.

But my reader, you are not waging this war all on your own. The battle for your mind is not primarily your battle.  It is the LORD’s battle!

It is not a matter of trying to work your way out of a situation. It’s not a matter of trying your level best, with your outmost strength, to break down the strongholds, and to break the chains that Satan has been putting around you. It’s not a matter of trying to break down strong­holds in your mind by the use of your own intellectual reasoning and determination.

It’s a matter of learning the principles of the Word of God, and trusting the Master for His mighty enabling power.

We cannot win this battle in our own strength, or by our own wisdom. Of ourselves, we can do nothing. It is our Heavenly Master who gives us the victory.

“YHWH says to you; ‘Do not fear nor be afraid at the sight of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s’.”  (2 Chronicles 20:15)

“… that all this assembly may know that YHWH does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle belongs to YHWH; and He will give you (Goliath) into our hands.”  (1 Samuel 17:47)

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Master, Y’shua the Messiah.”  (1 Corinthians 15:57)

We need to humbly recog­nize that our Saviour is absolutely able, and that He alone can deliver us. But we must be honest before God. Whatever the stronghold is in our life, we must confess it as evil.

Sometimes a stronghold may appear to be a very good thing, but if it is opposed to God, and robs us of devotion and commitment to our Master, it is evil.

There is, of course, a good stronghold, which we should greatly desire. It is the LORD Himself. 

“Yahweh is my Strength, my Rock, my Refuge, my Fortress, my Strong Tower, and my Stronghold.”  (Ps 18:2; 31:2-3; 91:2; 144:2. Prov. 18:10)

An evil stronghold may be a bad habit that has gradually developed. It may even be fear. Whatever the stronghold, let us not excuse it and let us not blame others. Let us not try to cover it up before God. We must be honest!  Don’t try to tell God that you are sick when you are drunk. Don’t blame your wife, or your husband, when you have made the bad choice of indulging in the flesh. Don’t blame others! Don’t excuse it, but recognise it as your sin, your stronghold, and that it is evil before God. And seek the Master’s deliverance.

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to YHWH’; and You, yes, You forgave the guilt and iniquity of my sin.”  (Psalm 32:5)

Y’shua taught His disciples to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13).  Y’shua is concerned about the effects of evil in our lives, and He wants to destroy the strongholds in our lives.

“Through God we do valiantly, and He treads down our adversaries.             (Psalm 60:12)

 

4   IDENTIFY YOUR REAL ENEMIES !   a

 

It is very easy to make excuses for evil strongholds in our lives, and to blame other people, or circumstances, for our bondage.  But reader, our real enemies are not our associates, our neighbours, our family, or people who oppose us. Our enemies are the spiritual forces of evil.  These are the spiritual powers that may be working in those people, building up strongholds in their minds, and motivating them to oppose us.  But remember the same forces of evil can also work in our lives, and inspire us to engage in the works of darkness.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against authorities, against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  (Ephesians 6:12)

Here’s the next reality we must face; we have three main enemies; the world, the flesh and the devil. These three enemies constantly work against us as believers, seeking to influence our volition – our power of choice – so that they can built up control centres in our minds.

The WORLD is the system, or systems, that are opposed to the truth and principles of God.  And those systems and influences are many, as you well know. They lunge at you through TV, through billboards, through conversations, entertainment, education, money business, social mores and standards. They seek to influence you, and to govern your decision-making facilities.  Regarding the world we are told …

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”   (1 John 2:15-16)

The FLESH is within you – it’s your own carnal nature that has not been “put to death” - that has not been rendered inoperative through the power of the Holy Spirit. The carnal nature seeks to manipulate our mind to cause us to perpetuate the life of the flesh.

Regarding the flesh we are told …

“Knowing  this,  that  our  old  man  -  our  old  self  was crucified  with  Him,  that  the  body  of  sin  might  be rendered powerless, and that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”  (Romans 6:6)

In our position “in Christ,” the “old man” has already been crucified. But in our experience, the crucifixion of “the flesh” has to be an ongoing execution.

“So then, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, the sinful nature, with an obligation to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, the sinful nature, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  (Romans 8:12-13)

The DEVIL, you know full well, is your enemy.  And because he is invisible, we’re inclined to believe he is only half-real. But Satan and his hordes of accomplices-in-evil constantly work against the believer to rob him of the power to make right decisions. They always seek to drag the believer back into the realm of darkness.

Regarding Satan we are told …

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”     (James 4:7)

So, these are our enemies, believer! And we have got to believe it, for they work together to build strongholds in our minds and lives in order to bring about our defeat.

a BE ALWAYS ON THE ALERT

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert, for your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, standing firm in the faith.”  (1 Peter 5:8-9)

To be on the alert means to be extremely watchful. We are forewarned, so must be on guard against any activity of Satan, and of the world, or of the flesh. If the schemes of evil are recognized early, it is possible to “nip them in the bud.”

My reader, we need to learn to see circumstances from a spiritual point of view. Things are not happening by accident. We can say, not much happens by accident. Believers know that God is working everything together for good in their lives. And you can be sure that Satan seeks to work everything together for evil. So be on the alert to discern enemy activity, and take up the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit.

Be on the alert for subtle temptations, such as the temptation to believe that “the spiritual principles of warfare can be applied and be successful - except in this particular case I’m facing.” Or the temptation to think, “I’ve made a terrible mess of the situation. There’s no hope.   I’ve forfeited my chances. There’s no alternative left except to give up.”

In times of severe combat, Satan will keep asserting; “See! I told you! It doesn’t work!” And instead of recognizing the devilish origin of these thoughts, we think it’s just our own honest reasoning telling us so.

Be on the alert, for our enemies are persistent!  After any period of marked blessing we need to be on guard against counter-attacks or kickbacks.  And after we have weathered a time of crisis, we must be careful not to drop our weapons, thinking that things should now go smoothly. The enemies are persistent, and will seek to make a comeback.

a DO NOT GIVE THE DEVIL AN OPPORTUNITY  (Ephesians 4:27)

Don’t make room for Satanic implants! We could also add, don’t give the world and the flesh an opportunity!

Make no provision for the flesh (the sinful nature) to gratify its desires (lusts).”  (Romans 13:14)

It’s very easy to open the door and allow evil influences to insinuate themselves into our decision-making faculties. Just a few words of criticism will do that. Arrogance, pride and wrong reactions open the way for the three enemies to begin an entrapment of our mind.

It does not need to be a major action to commence the process; small things can open the door for the world, the flesh and the devil. The tongue, the emotions, our relationships, our ambitions, and our reactions are the most frequent channels used to sabotage the mind.

The mind must decide, rationally and deliberately, to close the door to these insidious influences, and to “tie off any loose wires.”

If we have objects that influence us and cause us to stumble; if there are any desires that Satan, the world, or the flesh uses to trip us up; if there is any relationship that hinders our obedience to God, it must be dealt with. If there is anything that is a source of temptation to us, that causes us to make wrong decisions, we need to reject it. We must not give the devil an opportunity to wreck havoc in our lives.

If you want to keep the lion out, don’t leave the door open! If you want to avoid an electric shock, don’t leave loose and live wires exposed.

We need to be particularly on guard against our television sets, our computers, the internet, the news media, the entertainment world, and the world of commerce and business!

a PRE-EMPT SATAN’S STRATEGY

To pre-empt means “to get in first” – to disable your enemy before he can hit you.

“Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” (Matthew 12:29)

Remember the 1967, 6-day war, when Israel captured the Sinai? Trouble was brewing. Egypt, Syria and Jordan were preparing to attack Israel. Then in a brilliant move, Israel pre-empted the attack and destroyed the military aircraft of those three nations, on the ground, before they could take off. Good strategy!

And we should learn to pre-empt our enemies’ schemes. Why should we wait until they attack before taking up our weapons?

If we are going to live and work for God, we should know that our three enemies - Satan, the world, and the flesh, are going to attack us!  So we must pre-empt their schemes through prayer, wearing the full armour, and walking in the Spirit.

We must take steps beforehand, to counter the enemies’ attacks. That’s why we should pray before driving the car, and commit all our movements, activities and plans to the Father - beforehand.

Never think the devil is going to be kind to you.  And don’t try to make a deal with the devil, such as, “I’ll leave you alone if you leave me alone.” That won’t work! Even if Satan signed a bond, he would have no intention whatever of keeping it. 

We cannot appease our three enemies  –  we  must pre-empt them, and resist them in the Name and power of our Heavenly Master.

a CUT OFF OBSTACLES

We need to thoroughly check our lives and homes, to see if there are channels that are still open to our three persistent enemies. We must cut off those channels!

Any charms, or superstitious objects; anything of a magic or occultic nature; any idol or object of false worship; anything that our conscience tells us is not right; any doubtful books, literature, or art; anything that could have demonic influence; any cassettes or videos that our conscience is uneasy about; anything that could be a source of temptation to us or to others - we need to get rid of them all! 

If it seems impossible for you to get rid of these things, that underscores the fact that an evil stronghold has indeed built up in your life, and you need deliverance.  The strongholds need to be thrown down!

A real problem with many Christians is that they half-heartedly want to be free. They don’t really want to be completely set free. They want “the best of both worlds. They want a lessening of the obsession and bondage, but not total emancipation. They don’t want to be drunk, but they want to be “happy.”  They don’t want holiness; they want a good feeling! You’ve heard of the alcoholic who said, “Yes, I want to be free of drink. But please don’t ask me to give up the bottle!”

Obsessions help the buildup of strongholds, and strongholds enable obsessions to flourish. Obsessions are a major problem, and double-mindedness is a problem. Unless we have a genuine, earnest desire for freedom from them, it won’t happen.

The Master will break our obsessions, and deliver us even from our double-mindedness, if we truly thirst for righteousness, and seek Him will all our hearts.

‘Y’shua stood and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”  (John 7:17)

“I  love  those  who  love  Me;  and  those  who  seek  Me diligently will find Me.”  (Proverbs 8:17)

If you don’t feel thirsty; if you feel double-minded, or doubtful, or negative in any way, you need to confess that to God.  And then make a deliberate, determined, (even desperate) decision to seek the Lord for a breakthrough – for the breakdown of the strongholds.

My friend, don’t allow your feelings to control you and to determine your response. Feelings are deceptive and fickle.  It is the Word of God that must determine your attitudes and response. Leave your feelings aside, and make a deliberate response based on the Word, which you inwardly know, is true.

Freedom will be a result of what you believe, confess, forgive, renounce and forsake.

 

5   BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT  a

 

“Do  not  get  drunk  with  wine,  for  that  leads  to  unrestrained  behavior, to a  breakdown of morals and to wastage. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.”          (Ephesians 5:18)

“Filled with the Spirit,” and “walking in the Spirit,” should be our continuous experience. But any sin, anything carnal, will put us back into the life of “the flesh.” 

To be restored to fellowship with the Master and to continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit – the place of empowerment – we need …

i.    to confess all our known sins

ii.  to forgive and be reconciled with our “brother”

iii. to reactivate our faith – our trust – in God

iv.  to reaffirm our covenant-relationship to the Master

v.   to submit to the sovereignty of Christ

vi.  to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God

vii. to walk in faith and obedience

To effectively take these steps we will need to take stock of our lives and relationship with the Master.  The next section is meant to help us do that.

 

6   TAKE STOCK OF YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE a

 

The believer needs, periodically, to stock take – to take stock of his spiritual life and be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that he might overthrow any evil stronghold, and be freed from bondage and besetting sin.

We all know that we need to walk in fellowship with our Master, and as much as possible, to be at peace with all men.  But to actually do that, is often our problem.

Let’s face this reality - there is such a thing as human responsibility.  Each one of us has been given the ability to make decisions. And we have a responsibility of making right decisions, and to act upon them.  

a CONFESS ALL KNOWN SIN

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Y’shua the Messiah, His Son, cleanses us from all sin ... If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:7, 9)

It’s the blood of the Lamb of God that cleanses believers from all sins – the blood, of course, refers to the atoning work of the Messiah on the cross. This is God’s provision for our walk in fellowship with Him.  To confess our sin is to acknowledge that we have sinned against God. It is to acknowledge that our sin is sin, and not merely a “mistake.”  Confession brings cleansing, and a restoration to the enjoyment of the forgiveness that was obtained for us at Calvary. It restores us to fellowship with the Father and the Son.

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom YHWH does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!”  (Psalm 32:1-2)

a FORGIVE OTHERS

Forgiveness is not only receiving forgiveness, but also forgiving others – forgiving those who have wronged us.

“Be kind towards one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in the Messiah also has forgiven you.”  (Ephesians 4:32)

The Master said that if there is anything between us and our brother, we must go and put it right.  (Matthew 5:23-24)

If your brother won’t be reconciled, then pray and leave it to the Master to sort out. But by all means, forgive him! Yes, people may do evil things against us, but if we refuse to forgive them, the resentment builds up in our own hearts, in our own minds, and that itself becomes another satanic stronghold.

Satan will use your feelings of bitterness, resentment and revenge, to defeat you. For your own well being you must forgive!  For your own spiritual victory, you must forgive. No matter what anybody has done against you; no matter what they have said against you; no matter how much they have slandered you, you must forgive. Otherwise you will go on living in defeat, and will never get rid of the strongholds that are ruining your spiritual life, and quite possibly your physical life as well.

a RENEW YOUR FIRST LOVE

“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember then from where you have fallen, and repent and do the works you did at first; or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand out of its place - unless you repent.”  (Revelation 2:4-5)

Do you remember the time when you called on the Lord Jesus and experienced His love and saving grace? Remember the joy that followed?  Remember the love you had for the Saviour who so loved you that He suffered and died for you?  Remember how you wanted to serve Him and live for Him?  You loved to be in the Presence of the Master, and in the presence of His people.

How is your love now?  Has the first love cooled down?  Has it dissipated? Has it become lukewarm?  Has your devotion to your loving Master lost its deep joy? Have you lost the excitement of reading His Word?  Has your love relationship become strained?  Has the spiritual life become tiresome?  Has the pressures of life robbed you of your first love?  Has another goal or joy become an obsession, so that the Saviour must now take a back seat?

Maybe you are feeling guilty about it. You wish the joyous relationship might be renewed, but you find yourself bogged down by cares and burdens. How to get back to your first love?

The Master says repent!  So confess this sin of allowing other things to displace your love for the Saviour.

a REJECT ANY FORM OF IDOLATRY

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  (1 John 5:21)

The apostle here is talking to Christians! An idol can be any object, person, goal or passion that robs God of His rightful place in our life.

“You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image - any idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath, or in the waters below.”   (Exodus 20:3-4)

Stop and reflect on what takes up your time and thinking - your business, your car, your computer, your family, your friends, your sport, your entertainment, your money, your hobbies, your eating and drinking, your sleeping, your celebrations, your chatting. None of these things are necessarily wrong, but if any one of them displaces God, or helps to displace Him as the One you love with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, it is idolatry.  (Deut. 6:5)

We need to identify the false gods in our lives. We need to confess our sins of idolatry, and renounce them.

If we obey the exhortation of Romans 12:1-2, there will be no room for idols:

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service and spiritual act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is - His good, acceptable and perfect will.”   (Romans 12:1-2)

a RENOUNCE ANY INVOLVEMENT IN FALSE AND EVIL PRACTICES

We must come to a point of deliberately renouncing the habits, the idols, and our decisions and actions that have led to the building up of strongholds. I repeat, we must deliberately reject and renounce the strongholds and all their infrastructure. Trying to brush them aside will not do. They will just keep growing.

We must a complete break from any involvement in witchcraft or any occult practice; in any false cult or religion; in any evil, corrupt or immoral practice.

“Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,” and “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”   (Ephesians 4:22-23)

We must reject all deception, and wholeheartedly embrace the truth as revealed in the Word of God.  We must reaffirm our faith in the Word – not watering it down, not bypassing it, not trying to explain it away and making it compatible with our carnal patterns.

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By observing and living according to Your Word.”   (Psalm 119:9)

a THROW OFF THE SIN THAT LEECHES ON TO YOU

That’s what has been called the “besetting sin.” Here is an amplification of Hebrews 12:1-2  …

“… let us also throw off every weight, every encumbrance, every hindrance, and particularly the sin that most readily assails, entangles and leeches onto us, robbing us of spiritual strength; and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Y’shua, the Author of the Faith and the One who completes and perfects our faith.”   (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Besetting sins build up strongholds. And strongholds perpetuate besetting sins.  It is a dangerous circle. We’re told to lay aside, and throw off these sins that leech on to us.

Easier said than done? Of course, in our own power it is virtually impossible. But the book of Hebrews presents the Messiah as totally adequate to meet all our needs.

“For this reason it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things related to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

(Propitiation = atonement or expiation - to deal with sin, to fulfil the righteous judgment of God against sin, to acquit sinners and to reconcile them to the holy God. This is all made possible through the sacrifice of the spotless “Lamb of God” - Y’shua Himself.)

And since He Himself has suffered in being tempted and tested, He is well able to come to the aid of those who are being tempted.”   (Hebrews 2:17-18)

“Through God we do valiantly, and He treads down our adversaries.”             (Psalm 60:12)

He will break down our strongholds, but we must cease building bridges to our bondage master. Don’t supply chains to your captivator. Be done with the habits and enslaving practices! By the power of Y’shua, break down the castles of unholy imaginations! Destroy the speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and bring every thought into obedience to the Messiah.               (2 Corinthians 10:5)

This means the renewing of the mind, through the Word of God.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is – His good, acceptable and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:2)

a REBUILD THE BROKEN WALLS

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you is set-apart and holy, you also be set-apart and holy in all your behavior; because it is written YOU SHALL BE SET-APART, FOR I AM SET-APART.” [Lev.11:44] (1 Peter 1:14-16)

The people of God are set-apart by the Messiah, and they need to maintain their separation – the walls of holiness – and the word of their testimony. (Rev 12:11)

This does not mean that the believer should be isolated, insulated, self-centred and unapproachable, with little to do with the people in the world. Rather, he is in the world, but not of it.  The walls of separation are not to make you a Fort Knox, but to keep evil out.

Take any compound wall. Why was it made? To keep thieves, robbers, and all unwanted things out. And anyone or anything that robs you of your walk with the Master is a thief.  Pity on you if you make friendship with thieves, and bring them into your compound.

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever decides to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  (James 4:4)

This is the Word of God directed to believers, my friend.  This is the Word that we must affirm, is absolutely true!

Are there any cracks in the wall of our separation and holy testimony?  Look! Maybe you will find that a whole section of the wall is breaking down. There may be some not-so-obvious holes where thieves come in to steal. Is our wall in bad shape? 

The walls of separation, and the word of our testimony can be broken down by our own actions, or neglect. Any sin will make a crack in the wall, and it doesn’t have to be a sin like murder, adultery, or drunkenness. Even criticism and quarrels will cause a crack in the wall. Pride is disastrous! Bitterness, selfishness, dis­honesty, lies, under-handedness - all these things will cause cracks; and cracks will develop into gaping holes. Soon it will be possible to be right back in the world! Our walls need to be rebuilt and maintained.

“You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer be a reproach.”  (Nehemiah 2:17)

Figuratively, Jerusalem can be likened to the church. Brother, it is not only our own personal testimony, but the testimony of the church as a whole that we need to be concerned about. And our personal testimony is a part of that Jerusalem! 

When something happens; when we realize that there are cracks; when we see activity, anywhere, that’s breaking down the walls of testimony, let us seek to plug the cracks and rebuild the wall.

If the crack involves us personally, it must be “plugged” through confessing our sin, and by submitting ourselves anew to the authority of Christ. But often the repairing of the walls requires that matters be put right between us and others, both in the church and outside.

Cracks that are not plugged will soon widen. A small conflict between two brothers, if not put right, may become ever more glaring, and may go on for years.

Look friends! Adverse things may happen; plans and relationships may go amiss, but breeches must be repaired as early as possible. This calls for humility on the part of the believer, and a willingness to “stand in the gap.” It means a positive resistance to demonic forces and to carnal activity by using the powerful, spiritual weapons of our warfare. If we don’t resist and put things right, the broken walls will be readily and regularly penetrated by our three unrelenting enemies, and the buildup of demonic fortresses will increase.

a DECIDE WHOM WILL YOU SERVE?

It is most important in the endtimes for believers to be clear as to who they serve, and who they worship.  Do we actually serve the One who we proclaim is our Master? It is very possible that we are serving our own interests.

The ancient Israelis faced this same dilemma, and Joshua laid it on the line for them.  They must decide one way or the other.

“If it is disagreeable to you to serve YHWH, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve YHWH.”  (Joshua 24:15)

They made the right decision! And “Israel served YHWH all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua.” (Joshua 24:31). But later generations fell into the trap of double-mindedness.

The Messiah, Y’shua, says to His people today:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you ask of the Father in My Name, He may give to you.”  (John 15:16)

Do we still serve our Master?  Or have we forgotten that on a certain day, we did pledge our allegiance to the Saviour? Do we still abide in the True Vine that nourishes and produces choice fruit in our lives? Or have we promoted the Dikba Vine, and live under the influence of its beguiling branches?

Let us choose whom we are going to faithfully serve!

a OBEDIENCE !  NOT REBELLION !

Disgruntled, insubordinate Christians! “The Redeemed of the LORD in Rebellion!” Good title for a book, maybe!

If these titles can be tagged on to us, we are in a dangerous position indeed.

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination or witchcraft; and stubbornness, self-will, and insubordination are as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of YHWH, He has also rejected you from being king.”  (1 Samuel 15:23)

We have been called to obedience to the truth, not to rebellion.

“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were servants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became servants of righteousness.”  (Romans 6:16-18)

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you is set-apart and holy, you also be set-apart and holy in all your behavior.”  (1 Peter 1:14-15)

So, brethren, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service and spiritual act of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is - His good, acceptable and perfect will.”   (Romans 12:2-3)

“Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice” does not mean presenting our bits and pieces to God. It means surrender of our whole lives! And if that seems too demanding, remember that it is God’s intention that we should …

“comprehend the width, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love - and to know this love which surpasses knowledge so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God – that you may become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!”   (Ephesians 3:18-19 Amp.)

Our Saviour is a loving Master, not a taskmaster.  To loose our lives in Him, is to find life indeed.  To surrender to His control is both a wise and an essential step in overthrowing the insidious strongholds that inflict frustration and misery in our lives.

If God asked you to sacrifice a sheep, or to give a sacrificial cash donation once a year, you would probably do it.  But …

“Samuel said, ‘Has YHWH as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of YHWH. Look!  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

The sacrifices that God desires are the sacrifice of righteousness (Ps 4:5), the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart, (Ps 51:17), the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Lev 7:12), the sacrifice of praise (Heb 13:15), and a sacrifice of ourselves - as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) – to do His will. These are our daily sacrifices.

a FELLOWSHIP WITH BELIEVERS

In seeking to overthrow strongholds in our lives, or elsewhere, we may need the fellowship of at least one believer who will stand with us, and pray with us. The Saviour encourages believers to gather together in 2’s or 3’s, and to agree, and to ask in His Name. (Matt 18:19-20)

You may be able to confidentially share your problem with a trusted person, but you are not obliged to confess your sins to anyone except God.

It is true, James wrote:

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  (James 5:16)

James is referring here to faults and sins between believers, and to the need to apologise and seek forgiveness and the restoration of fellowship.

But you don’t have to make any person your “father confessor,” or “mother confessor.” As a believer you are  a  priest,  and  you  are  invited  to  come  directly to God through Jesus Christ, and you need to confess your sins to Him alone!

Sometimes it may bring relief by sharing about your sin or problems to another person.  But it is not always wise to do so, for the simple reason that there are few people who can be trusted to keep total confidentiality. Some may assure you they will keep it to themselves, but later they will “feel” that they must “share” it with someone else. Or often they just let it “slip out.” Remember the tongue is very hard for most people to control! And the next thing is that a “dikba gossip vine” begins shooting up, and prejudice, hypocrisy and rejection follows. You are then likely to fall out with the person you first confided in, and trusted.

Sins confessed to God are forgiven, and He remembers them no more. (Jeremiah 31:34). There is no spiritual benefit in publicizing the sins of a believer in private or public. That inevitably feeds the gossip vine. The news media delights in doing that! It’s news, you know! 

In times of great revival, however, when the Spirit of God is moving mightily and there is a yearning to get right with God, it is common for “everyone” to publicly confess their sins. But at such times there is a spirit of love, forgiveness, and respect prevailing throughout the church.  And love covers a multitude of sins!  (1 Peter 4:8)

If two or three believers know there is a problem, a stronghold, and are willing to join together in prayer, and to come against the stronghold, they can help to bring it down. And their unity of faith and authority against the stronghold needs to persevere, for sometimes it may involve a prolonged battle. After the deliverance there may be a relapse, for satanic forces will always seek to come back in greater numbers or power. But we must proceed from victory to victory, knowing that this battle is the LORD’s.

As well as receiving cleansing, and brotherly understanding, a person who has been afflicted and defeated by a demonic stronghold, needs to be built up in his spiritual life and personality. He needs a gracious touch by the hand of the Master, and the support of human hands as well. The fellowship of spiritual believers is important, for the person’s mind needs to be renewed, his conscience re-sensitized, his faith strengthened, his appetite for and enjoyment of spiritual food stimulated, and his participation in the life of God restored.

 

7    THE WEAPONS OF YOUR WARFARE  a

 

Our Master has not left us defenceless.  He has not said, “O.K., get out there and do something; make the most of what you’ve got and do whatever you can.” No! He trains us; He gives us weapons, and He shows us how to use them, and what His strategy is. Our legitimate weapons are spiritual, and they all come from the Commander of the armies of the LORD of Hosts. The Master will never give you a weapon, or expect you to use a weapon that is not spiritual.

In the spiritual conflict, we should have no confidence in the flesh – our natural abilities.  Our confidence must be entirely in our Heavenly Master!

a BE COMBAT-READY !

 “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes and strategies of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against authorities, against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Your fitness and combat-readiness will depend upon your relationship to your King, Y’shua the Messiah.

“No soldier in active service entangles himself with the everyday affairs of life, because he wants to please the one who enlisted him.”  (2 Timothy 2:4)

When the Scripture (1 Timothy 1:18-19) says:

“Fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good con­science, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith,” 

it is not saying “fight with all your might.” 

We are to fight in His might, and in His authority. We must be strong in the LORD, and that means we are to put on the full armour that He provides.  And that is not a physical armour. The armour we wear is all that the Master is in us, and all that He has provided for us. Y’shua is our armour, and our weapons.  “The Messiah in you, the Hope of Glory.”

 

a PUT ON THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD

 

 

“Therefore take up the full armour of God, that you may be  able  to  resist  in  the  evil  day,  and  having  done everything, to stand firm.

“Stand then, having fastened the Belt of Truth around your  waist,  and  having  put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and having put footwear in preparation and readiness to proclaim the Good News of Peace; above all, having taken up the Shield of Faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.

“Take also the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying in the Spirit at all times, with every prayer and supplication. To this end, keep alert and watch with all perseverance, interceding for all the set-apart people of God.”  (Ephesians 6:13-18)

In this passage, seven pieces of armour are mentioned. The Apostle is not saying, “Here are seven pieces of armour; use one or two of them.” No! We need the full armour. And dear believer, every one of those “pieces” is Y’shua.

i.    The Belt of Truth (v14)

Y’shua is “the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.” (John 14:6). He is truth. And as we are “in Christ,” our defensive armour, our offensive weapons, and our demeanor and life must be that of Truth.  The truth of the Word needs to permeate us, and surround us. We must know the truth, and practise the truth.

If we try to work for God, or to fight against strongholds with lies or falsity, we will fail. And all we will be doing is producing wood, hay and stubble.

Truth is something we must deliberately choose.  And remember, exaggeration is not truth.  Truth is truth! Compromising the Word of God is not truth. To “water down” the truth, to “shelve” the truth, or to reject the truth, will, in fact, be an unbuckling of the belt that we must wear. And if our belt is not buckled, our whole attire will be flimsy.  So buckle up!                

Be on guard against the lies of the devil, and the lies of the world.  Guard against the lies that come from our carnal nature

But how can we tell what is truth and what is a lie?

The sum total of Your Word is truth; and every one of Your righteous judgments is everlasting.”  (Psalm 119:160)

ii.   The Breastplate of Righteousness (v14)

Y’shua is the Righteous One, and He is our RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Remember, Y’shua is the physical manifestation of Yahweh, the Eternal One.

“And this is His Name by which He will be called; ‘YHWH our RIGHTEOUSNESS’.”  (Jeremiah 23:6)

“We have an advocate with the Father - One who pleads our cause - Y’shua the Messiah, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1)

“But by His doing, you are implanted in the Messiah, Y’shua, who has become to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”  (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Our breastplate is; firstly, the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. The righteousness of Christ protects our most vital part - our heart.

Secondly, our breastplate is our positive attitude of righteousness, which is expressed in our walk of righteousness.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for right­eousness, for they shall be satisfied.”   (Matthew 5:6)

iii.  The Footwear of the Gospel of Peace  (v15)

We need the right “boots.” Rubber thongs or sandals are not at all suitable for warfare! We need to be equipped with the good news of salvation that we have personally experienced.  And we must be prepared to go for God, and to share good news with others – believers and unbelievers.

“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news; who announces peace and brings good news of happiness; who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns’!”  (Isaiah 52:7)

There are many false ‘gospels’ that men proclaim, but we preach the Gospel of Peace, the Gospel of the King of Peace. We don’t preach a worldly liberation theology, or a gospel of violence, retaliation, and terror. Our gospel is Y’shua; and He is the power of God that liberates people from the violence of sin.

iv.  The Shield of Faith  (v16)

Y’shua is “The Faithful and True.” (Revelation 19:11). Our relationship to Him is one of faith, for we walk by faith in Him, and not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7). The Messiah is our SHIELD through faith.

As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of YHWH is proven. He is a Shield to all who trust and take refuge in Him.”  (2 Samuel 22:31)

Our shield is secondly, a life of faith. God has given each one of us the seed of faith, and this must become an effective shield. We need a practical experience of faith in the living Saviour.

The Shield of Faith is defensive, and it enables us to extinguish or ward off the flaming missiles of Satan.

My reader, this is not a fairy story or imagination. This is a reality! The symbol of the old-time warrior’s shield may seem archaic these days when we talk about nuclear shields, and nuclear umbrellas. Well, if you like, you could say we need a mighty umbrella shield of faith to search and destroy the guided missiles of the enemy.  And I don’t mean a flimsy umbrella that will turn inside out with a heavy gust of wind. We need one that will stand the spiritual cyclones of these end times.

“..and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.”  (1 John 5:4)

What is faith? It is simply trusting God.  The Word says, “God has spoken!” And we believe Him. So whenever a missile is launched against us, we say, “Master, I trust You.” And not only do we say it; we do it! We trust! We know who we are trusting, and it’s this exercise of faith, trusting in the Master, that enables Him to bring about the victory.

Now that may all seem very easy, but remember, you have to put faith into practice.

An implicit faith in God is essential for victory. Faith is trusting God for the breaking down of the strongholds; it is trusting God for the reality and fulfillment of His promises. Faith says, “I cannot do it, but God can! Therefore I must trust in Him!” 

“We should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope.  And He will yet deliver us.”  (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)

When something happens, when an attack comes, don’t throw up your arms in the air! Don’t start crying! Don’t start running here and there looking for human aid! Lift up the shield of faith, and say, “Master, I trust You, for You are my Shield; You are my victorious Commander in this situation. I trust You for the answer! I am trusting You for protection, for peace, wisdom, sanctification and victory.”

v.   The Helmet of Salvation  (v17)

Y’shua is our SALVATION. He is the Redeemer, the Deliverer. And He is the One who protects our mind, and renews our mind. He is our Helmet.

“Adonai, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your Yeshu’ah - Your Salvation.”  (Luke 2:29-30)

“YHWH is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? YHWH is the Refuge - the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

It’s not only ancient warriors who need to wear helmets. Those who ride two-wheeled vehicles in our modern, mad-rush thoroughfares, realize the value of head protection. Without a helmet, one heavy crack of the skull means it’s all over!  Yet many foolishly refuse to protect their heads.

A spiritual helmet is indispensable for the protection of the mind, where our decisions and responses are made.

The mind is the main arena of spiritual battle, and our minds must be protected by the Salvation of Y’shua. (His Name means Yahweh is salvation).  He is our Salvation, and we need a practical knowledge and outworking of His Salvation – a daily ex­perience of His salvation - so that our mind will be free from the exploitation and accusations of the devil. 

When Satan tries to fire a guided missile into our minds; when Satan comes and says, “You are a low-down dirty Christian,” we can immediately say, “I am cleansed and saved by the precious blood of Y’shua the Lamb of God. He is my Saviour, and my Righteousness. He is my Shield, and I know it!”

It is not only a theoretical, doctrinal knowl­edge of Salvation, but a demonstration of God’s saving power in our life, that we need.

vi.  The Sword of the Spirit  (v17)

Y’shua is the Word of God, and the Sword of the Spirit.

“… a white horse appeared, and He who sat upon it was called Faithful and True … the Name by which He was called was, The Word of God ... Now from His mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword with which to strike the nations.” (Revelation 19:11,13,15)

Y’shua has given us the Word, and He teaches us to apply the Word.

The sword is for offensive use. And this Sword is a very powerful weapon. But we must know the Word, be filled and motivated by the Word, and use it with authority. The Bible is not a collection of opinions. It is the Sword of the Spirit. It is a powerful weapon, and must be used correctly and skilfully.

“For the Word of God is alive! It is powerful, active and sharper than any double-edged sword; it cuts right through even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow; and it judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Let us examine our intake of the Word of God.  Is it adequate for the spiritual battles?  And have we learned to use – to apply – and to obey the principles of the Word?

vii. All Prayer and Petition  (v18)

Y’shua is the One who intercedes for us.  And it is in His Name that we pray with authority.

“Therefore He is also able to save completely and forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”   (Hebrews 7:25)

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore …” (Matthew 28:18-19)

“If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it.”   (John 14:14)

Prayer is not a begging bowl, my friend. Prayer - the prayer of faith - is a weapon. It is a spiritual principle. God already knows what we need. He knows our problems and situations. We don’t have to wail, as though God is reluctant to answer our prayers. The prayer of faith pleases God, for it is something that He uses to open doors, and to set in operation the circumstances that will bring about victory for the Kingdom of Light. When we call to Yahweh in faith, He responds and does battle with demonic forces.

We need to check our prayer life - is it strong?  If it is weak, then that may be one more reason why our lives are weak, our walls of separation and holiness are broken down, and the enemies continue to build up strongholds in our minds.

We  could  spend  a  lot  of  time  amplifying  this  subject of prayer as a weapon, including, the necessity of continuous praise to God.  (See for example, 2 Chronicles 20:14-22)

So, my reader, that’s your seven-piece armour and weapons equipment. It’s all to do with Y’shua our Master.

viii. HOLINESS AND AUTHORITY

There is what we might call an eighth part of our equipment – a holy life, linked to the authority of the Messiah.

“His  Right  Hand  and  His  Holy  Arm  have  brought salvation and given Him the victory.”   (Psalm 98:1)

The Right Hand is His Absolute Authority. The Holy Arm is His Awesome Attribute. Together they give Him the victory.

The believer is in the place of authority because he is positioned “in the Messiah.”

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in  transgressions,  made  us  alive  together  with  the Messiah - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly realms in Messiah Y’shua.  (Ephesians 2:4-6)

The believer also partakes of Messiah’s holiness, His divine nature as he takes hold of the promises of God, and walks in the Master.

“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and reverence, through the true, personal knowledge of Him who has called us by and to His own glory, virtue and excellence. For by these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises in order that through them you might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  (2 Peter 1:3-4)

The believer’s holy testimony is a weapon against the powers of darkness. But if he is walking in the flesh, he will not be able to effectively exercise faith and authority. It is not very sensible to try to put the armour of God on, over the body of carnality.  It can’t be done! First we must confess our sin, receive the cleansing, and then put on the garments of praise, and the whole armour of God.

a ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM WHO BELIEVES

Once we understand that it is Satan’s strategy to build strong­holds in minds and lives, we can begin to diagnose his schemes in our own lives, in the church, our neighborhood, and in society. And then we can take a stand against the wiles of the devil, the world, and our own carnal nature.

As long as we think, “Oh it’s just me. I can’t change, I’ll never be any different!” we are where Satan wants us to be, and the strongholds will never be broken. But the Messiah has assured us that all things are possible to him who believes.  (Mark 9:23)

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”  (Ephesians 3:20)

a EQUIP OTHERS ALSO !

We don’t send all our crippled men to the battlefront, do we? We don’t starve and treat our soldiers badly, until they suffer from malnutrition and are demoralized, and then send them out to fight. We don’t give them the poorest food; we give them meat, protein and vitamins so that they will be strong. And that’s what all believers  need  for  their  spiritual  lives  –  good  solid food - the Word of God.

I pray that this study will be milk and meat and encouragement for all my readers.  If you understand these things, I charge you, teach them to others. As Paul said:

“And the things which you have heard from me through many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be competent to teach others also.”   (2 Timothy 2:2)

Praise Yahweh for His provision and authority. And believer, let’s take up the spiritual weapons that are divinely powerful for the destruc­tion of fortresses.

 

Let us bring every thought into captivity to the Master,

and by His enabling power, destroy every lofty thing

that is raised up against the knowledge of God.

(2 Corinthians 10: 3-5)

zzzzzzz

 
 

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