UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL WARFARE – Ray E Horton
There is much disagreement concerning spiritual warfare for some obvious reasons. On the one hand, we are told in the Bible that Jesus defeated Satan. And yet, we are told to resist the devil. The following was my response to a brother seeking input on the subject:
The enemy still has great indirect power through lies and deceits, accusation and confusion. He turns people on one another
As I see it, the enemy was defeated in that he has no more direct power over us. So, while Jesus defeated him, he left him here for now as a defeated foe. However, the enemy has great indirect power through lies and deceits, accusation and confusion. He turns people on one another, e.g., your wife did that, your husband doesn’t love you, this people group is evil and needs to be eliminated, etc.
Take Thoughts Captive
As the Word tells us, the battle is in the mind, and we must take our thoughts captive. We stand strong and give the enemy’s lies no place. We need to be submitted to God and resist the devil with God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit. We must know God’s Word fairly well to use it effectively. We protect ourselves from the fiery darts, the enemy’s lies and accusations, with the shield of faith, we protect our hearts with the awareness of righteousness we now possess, the very righteousness of God in Christ, which is like a breastplate, and we protect our minds with the knowledge of our salvation, of who we are now in Christ, which is like a helmet.
The devil can do nothing to us unless we let him. But it is easy in the natural to give the enemy ground by believing his lies and accusations. So, we need to be on guard. So spiritual warfare is first of all, fighting the battle of the mind so we don’t receive the lies. What about deliverance? I believe it is a valid and important ministry. Demons can possess unbelievers. However, a believer has received a new, perfected, new creation spirit, which is his new identity. That the devil can’t touch, so a believer can’t be possessed as such.
Overcoming Mental Strongholds
But that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods, so to speak. Our soulish, fleshly realm of mind, will, and emotions often carries over strongholds from the before Christ days, and sometimes needs help in overcoming these. So, deliverance for a Christian isn’t delivering him from the control of possession in spirit, where he is perfected, but it is delivering him from the inability to see and refuse oppression of the lies because of mental strongholds that that must be overcome.
Like many things in our walk with the Lord, our understanding of our tripartite being, spirit, soul and body, is key to understanding this subject.