The War Against Evil
Direct Combat with the Prince of the Power of the Air
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
Before you were saved, you were working for the Prince of the Power of the Air. Better known as Satan. If you are born again, you’ve changed teams. You’ve joined the winning team. Satan isn’t happy about it.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
Is Satan boxing your ears? Are you finding yourself constantly getting knocked down and having to get back up? Some of that is just part and parcel of the Christian life. The devil is gonna land a blow here and there. If though you are finding yourself on your back looking up far too often then read on…
And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
The source of our trouble is our heart. The heart is the source of the evil. A lot of people believe that they can follow a rigid code of conduct and be okay. There heart can entertain all sorts of evil so long as they don’t act it out. Not acting it out is a good thing but alas you can’t keep it contained. An evil heart will spill forth evil things.
8 “ ‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
9 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men
There was another group that thought if only they could codify a strict enough set of rules that they could contain their evil. They even went so far as to teach their rules as God’s. The people were burdened under by these rules. Did it contain their evil? No. Because their hearts were evil.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
How does all this apply to us? Well. If we harbor hate, and yet appear kind we are like a white washed tomb. We are beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside. Trying to contain an evil heart is impossible. No man can do it. We need a change of heart. The very first change is of course the new birth. Next comes a process where God works on our heart and tenderizes it.
When you genuinely love people, you don’t have to figure out what you have to do. See the heart that is not right with God is seeking how to meet the requirement and do no more. When a disciple asked Jesus how many times he must forgive someone, he was looking for the minimal way out. Jesus gave the loving answer.
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Peter’s question indicated a quest to know how long he had to tolerate mistreatment. He was planning on keeping count. Jesus answers in a way that indicates we must always forgive.
How do we get our hearts right then? Well for one we must seek the face of God. We must draw close to Him.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded
When you are close to God, His presence will keep you very aware of sin. You cannot be in the presence of God on a regular basis and not sense the sin in your life. That sin will be fresh and obvious at first but if you ignore the sin it will build up and soon you will find yourself drifting away from God. Sin won’t bother you as much. Then Satan can strike. Your defenses are down.
The key here is to repent of the sin and remove that barrier. To change your mind about what you were doing and renounce it. That is repentance. It’s not being sorry you were caught.
Staying close to God though is about more than not sinning. Just ignoring God is a great way to start drifting. If you have a friend and you stop talking for a long period of time, you will grow more distant. If you never call your parents, then they will be unhappy and think you don’t love them. A relationship is about staying in contact. It’s about shared time together. God is there for us. He is a loving father. He wants a loving and close personal relationship. That is how you have victory.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
I will break down this passage into some helpful habits.
Realize that only God’s strength can sustain you.
The entire set of practices is necessary. Leaving out any one will result in a vulnerability and Satan is a master of attack. That opening will be all he needs.
Your enemy is Satan. It’s not other people. We are here for the people who are lost. When God is done with the lost of this world we will be gone in the blink of an eye.
The Belt of Truth - Be a person of truth. Don’t lie. Don’t deceive. Be known as a truth teller.
Breastplate of Righteousness - We do what is right. We do to others as we would want them to do to us. We seek justice for the week. We protect those needing protection. We help those needing help.
Shoes that Carry the Gospel. - We must be people who witness to others. We must prioritize reaching the lost for Christ and then discipling them.
Shield of Faith - When the darts are incoming we must put our trust in God.
Helmet of Salvation - The blessed hope. We are heaven bound. Nothing on this earth can defeat us permanently. This should fear and hopelessness.
The Sword - The word of God. We must know it. We must use it. We must apply it. Just knowing it is worthless if we don’t apply it. Knowing the word but not applying it is like having a sword but keep it in it’s scabbard. A sword is meant to be used.
Prayer - The most important is last. You can’t maintain the relationship without talking with God. He will strengthen you each day. He will refresh you and put you on the right path that day.
There is a lot there fellow Christian. We must pursue our relationship with Jesus. How can we do less when He so vigorously pursued us when we were lost?
Do you know that we the church are the bride of Christ? We are His bride. He is coming back for us in the same way a groom would come for his bride. He will present us perfect and glorified. Until then we should seek a good relationship with Him. That means talking with Him by praying. That means learning about His truth and reading our bible.
When our heart is right, then good things will flow out from it. Evil will be noticed immediately. If we learn to quickly identify that evil and repent then we will stay close to God and others will see we serve a mighty God. The Spirit will work in us and we will be able to accomplish the work God has for us.
Thank you for reading. There will be more God willing. I love you all. I pray God blesses your mission.