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About this series
The Invisible War
What Every Believer Needs to Know About Satan, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare
Beneath our tangible landscape lurks an invisible spiritual realm where unseen battles rage. It's real. And it's dangerous. If you're prepared to remove the blinders and gaze into the unseen world, Chip Ingram is ready to take you there. Hang on to your seat. It's going to be a journey inside the very folds of our Bibles, a journey that will teach us about our greatest foe, Satan, also known as Lucifer, the Dragon, Serpent, and Son of the Morning Star. Although this lying thief comes to "steal, kill, and destroy," God details, in Ephesians 6, the battle plan to uncover Satan's cunning deceptions and to resist his sinister schemes. The cosmic conflict exploding all around us will have eternal implications, for us and those we love. This series will prepare you to do spiritual battle with the enemy of your soul... and win! You'll learn to clothe yourself with God's spiritual armor so you can be confident of certain victory over the scheming enemy.More from this series
I want to start off with two true stories. I’m not intending to be dramatic but we have learned from spiritual warfare 101 that there is an invisible world, that we’re in a battle, that we have a foe that’s formidable. We know that we respect and that we’re not afraid and we fight from victory, not for victory. And then we understand that part of being protected is God has given us armor and He’s commanded us to pick up this armor and put it on. And He’s given us armor that will protect us in many ways.
And He’s going to protect us from condemnation, He’ll protect us from doubt. He’s going to keep us from deception with just the normal walking with God, being a man or a woman, renewing our mind, being in the body and community. But sometimes, there is frontal attacks and we’ll talk about when.
This was now many years ago, it was our first year in Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz is a place very New Age, a lot of demonic activity. It’s 2 AM in the morning. I don’t know whether I’m awake or I’m asleep. All I know is I can look over and see my wife in the bed and I know I can’t move any part of my body.
And I’m thinking, “I must have a rare disease because this is really, really weird because I can’t move my hands, I can’t move anything but I can move my eyes and I can see my wife.” And then I’m looking around the room as much as I can and a sense of evil, you know, the night is dark but if there’s a darkness that can come over the dark, it did. And then, it was like a five thousand pound came on my chest and started pushing down and pushing down and pushing down and I couldn’t get my breath and then it was like someone grabbed my windpipe and squeezing.
And I don’t know if you ever remember as a kid, when someone ... When you were at a pool and they were dunking you and they held you under and they held you under and you were sure, you can’t get your breath, you can’t get your breath. And that’s what it felt like and I literally remember in my mind, Help Jesus, help Jesus, help, help, help.
And I just thought, how can you drown or die in your bed and not be able to move your body? And then just at the last minute before I kind of passed out from not getting my breath, whooo, and then I sat up in bed and I was literally soaking wet. If you’ve ever seen my play basketball, I mean, when I play, I mean, I was drenched and the bed was drenched. And my wife was asleep over here.
And there was evil in the room like never. And the hairs on the back of my neck. And I’m wondering, “What is happening?” And I’m terrified. And now, just for context, I went to seminary. And I was discipled by the Navigators. I know some verses. You know? I’m scared to death and I don’t know what to do. And so, I think this is evil. And I had some interaction but nothing like this. I mean, I think I’m inside of a Frank Peretti novel and I don’t know what to do.
And then the thought comes to me, You need to command these demons or do something to get them out of there. And then I had this second thought, I’m sure it was my pride. I looked over and I thought to myself, If I start talking out loud in the middle of the night and my wife wakes up and I’m speaking out loud in an empty room, she’s going to think I’ve gone over the edge. And so, I battled and then I did something which I’ll share with you a little bit later what I did and why.
No, it’s important. Second story. I had a friend who, he would call himself a very nominal Christian, came to church now and then, a little bit more often than maybe Christmas and Easter and was invited by a friend and said, “Hey, I think you’ll kind of like church, it might be a little bit different than you’re used to.” He came for a few weeks and then someone told him I played basketball and this guy was a diehard, what we call, gym rat. I mean, he loves the game.
And so he comes up after his third time at church. He goes, “Hey, how you’re doing?” I said, “Great.” Then he goes, “I hear you ball?” I say, “Yeah, I do. I love it.” He goes, “I do, too.” I said, “Well, do you want to play some time?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Two o’clock, my driveway today.” He goes, “Really, what’s your address?” I gave it to him and he goes ... I mean, it is our tradition. You know, I have three grown boys, couple key friends, we go three on three and it’s almost to the death in a good spirit of Christian love, of course.
But, I mean, it’s so great and it’s intense and we would go for a couple hours and Dave shows up. And I mean, Dave’s a player. And we just, we bonded. We had a great time, had fun. And so, when you’re playing, you’re sweating, you talk a little bit. And then little by little, Dave started coming regularly and then somehow, Dave thought, “I’m a Christian but I’ve never read the Bible.” And he starts doing that and pretty soon, his life starts to change. And fast forward about two, two and a half years, everybody didn’t show up and so Dave and I played five thousand games of one on one. And then we’re exhausted and he goes, “Hey, can I talk to you?”
And we’re sitting in the driveway, both in a pool of sweat. And he said, “Man, something happened weird the other night.” I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “You know, we’ve put the kids to bed and we put on this really, really old movie and it’s a chick flick and my wife really loved it. And then you know how it is, they want to watch one of those kind of movies and they fall asleep and so I had my arm around her and she fell asleep and I had one of those moments that I just looked down at her and I see our life has changed, my life has changed. Our marriage has changed. And I looked down and I thought, ‘I love her so much.’ And then this thought came to my mind. She’s going to die. It might be today, it might be tomorrow. She’s going to die.”
And he goes, “I mean, it was weird. But my emotions.” He goes, “Man, this was so weird. It was not like just a thought. It was like a doctor handed me: she has terminal cancer and has forty-eight hours to live. It was that real. And then my next thought was, ‘How could a good God let that happen to my wife?’ And then my next thought was, ‘How could you trust a God like that that would do that to my wife?’ And then I realized…” He goes, “Has anything like that ever happened to you?”
I said, “Yeah.” He said, “So, what’s going on?” I said, “Dave, that’s called spiritual warfare.” He goes, “Well, what do you do?” That’s what we’re going to talk about. Okay? What do you do?
What do you do when some very unusual things happen? First of all, you need to understand there’s four facts you need to know, and this is the baseline.
Fact number one, God has objectively defeated Satan and his agenda. He has delivered us from sin’s penalty, power and ultimately, will deliver us from sin’s presence. In the interim, we’re involved in a guerrilla warfare with demonic forces. Fact number one.
Fact number two. As believers, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light with all the rights, privileges, and position of being a child of God and what that entails.
Fact number three, the spiritual battle that we fight involves our responsibility on our part to put on the spiritual protection God has provided for us.
We can, and we will, resist the enemy’s attempts to deceive, accuse, and cast out when we stand firm by number one, being honest with God, ourselves, and others as a prerequisite to spiritual battle. And we learned what? It’s the belt of truth.
Number two, responding to the truth that God shows us about His will for our lives or living righteously. The breastplate of righteousness. And number three, a clear understanding and a readily sharing of the gospel, the message of grace. Our feet shod with the gospel.
Now, get this, and please, fact number four is very important. The great majority of spiritual warfare never need go beyond the regular practice of living out your position in Christ by faith. Our practice of Paul’s metaphor of the spiritual armor protects us from Satan’s ongoing attempts to break our fellowship with Jesus, however, there are times when we must move beyond standing firm and here’s the key word, engage the enemy in actual combat.
I want you all to open your Bibles to 1 John, all the way at the end, 1 John chapter 2.
And in 1 John chapter 2, he will identify the three areas of temptation that faced our first parents, the three areas of temptation that Jesus faced and the three areas of temptation that you and I will always face.
These are like three verses that would be of great profit to memorize. Verse 15 of 1 John chapter 2, “Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Okay, well, what’s the world? Is this the physical world? No.
This is the world as in the culture, the society, and the values. And who’s the prince and the power and the governor of this world? Satan. And so, he creates culture and society and norms and values to seduce.
Here’s his goal. He’s a seducer. He wants to seduce you from your love of Jesus and get you to love you. Yourself. And he tells you the way that you can have all that you want. Remember what Eve…? “This will make you like God.”
And we don’t want to admit this but when we want to control our world and our outcomes, we want to be little gods. And so, notice what he says, well, what is the world? “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.” And then the next verse is like perspective.
“And the world is passing away and also its lust but the one who does the will of God abides forever. And by the way here, this word for lust, lust of the eyes, it’s not necessarily a negative word. Literally, it’s the word desire. In this passage and others, there is a little prefix they put to it. It means an intensified desire.
And so, three things. Jesus comes and the enemy says, first questioning His identity, “If you are the Son of God,” well, he knew who He was. But it’s: prove it. Prove it. Turn these stones into bread. Use Your supernatural power rather than trust in God, you take control and it’s been forty days and the text says He’s hungry. He has a legitimate need for food. And the enemy says, “Well, then turn the stones and prove something and You can meet Your legitimate physical need of the flesh now. My way and my time.”
And what did Jesus say? “It is written man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that precedes out of the mouth of God.” The test, lust of the flesh. Then he took Him up to the top of the temple and he says, “Throw yourself off.” And then, are you ready? He quotes Scripture. He quotes the Psalms and says, “The angels will catch you.” Here is the temptation. The lust of the eyes. “You want to look good in front of people. People will know you’re the Messiah. You’ll be hot stuff.” And then third, “Look at all these kingdoms. You can have power, You can have fame, You can have glory and guess what, there’s no cross involved. All You have to do is bow down and worship me.”
“Be gone, Satan.” And each time: it is written, it is written, it is written. Sometimes, words like lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life, they sound a bit biblical because they are. Can I give it to you in our nomenclature? Lust of the flesh: sex. Lust of the eyes: status. Greed. Possessions. Is it wrong to have appetite for food, a desire for sex, a desire for significance, a desire for security? Absolutely not. It’s how you go about getting it and believing that that will satisfy you.
God says, “Sex inside marriage is one of the most precious gifts.” Food, we all need food. But there is one thing to love food, it’s another thing to live to eat. And so he says to us that these desires for the flesh, “I want to provide for you. These are legitimate needs. But let Me provide for you in My way and in My time and in the right way.”
Lust of the eyes is we see something and we all want to look good. I mean, everyone, I’m guessing, looked in the mirror today. And psychologists tell us that if we walk by a department store and there’s glass, every single person, when you’re walking by, what do you do? You look at yourself. And usually…right? And elevators, if you get into an elevator by yourself, there’s a mirror in the elevator, what do you do? Oh, wow. We are obsessed with how we come off.
And it’s so interesting because it doesn’t matter if you’re young, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a gang, it’s funny to me because we’re all human. You can be in a gang and to be cool: “Man, I got my bling, I got my stuff here, get after your own bad self, I got my hat like this.”
Or, if I’m a worship pastor, I get these skinny jeans, I got holes in them here, I do it here. Or, if I’m a member of the Atlana Country Club, “I have these loafers but I don’t wear socks. And I have an insignia, right here, right?” And if you’re ... Actually, I used to go to conferences, and I’d say, “Okay, let’s name the pastor.
Hushpuppies from Wisconsin, probably a Mennonite.” Okay? You know, you got the guy. Hair combed over, khaki pants, blue short, one of the Bible Church guys. You know?
And we all dress and we have our groups and there’s nothing wrong in wanting to look good but there is something very wrong when we believe that what we need to possess and how we come off and that our bodies are who we are and that what kind of house we have and what we see and the desire, it’s: if and when I have that or if I earn that. And then the final one is this whole idea of control and power.
The pride of life. I’m a somebody. Christ says, You are already a somebody by whom I made you. You’re already a somebody because you’re worth the death of My Son. And so, what I want you to know is that every temptation that will come your way or my way and the darts will come will be around these three things. It’s classic methodology. He’ll disguise it, he’ll cast doubt on God and His word and your worthiness. And then he will provide an immediate alternative rooted in the pride of life, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.
And so, the application here when darts of doubt and deception must be immediately met with the shield of faith, your active, present application of truth to your personal situation, as soon as you recognize the dart. And now, I hope you’re thinking, “Okay, what’s that look like?” I mean, practically, how does this actually work? Let me give you three examples.
First, it’s trusting in God’s character. My friend has an overwhelming fear that God’s going to kill his wife that he logically knows makes no sense. In that moment, he says to me, “What do I do?” I said, “Well, you’ve been reading the Bible quite a bit.” Yeah. “Dave, do you know Psalm 84:11?” “No.” “Okay, let’s get it out. ‘The Lord God, Lord Adonai, Yahweh, is a sun and a shield.’” Unlimited source, unlimited protection. “The Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
The moment that thought comes in, it’s a lie about God’s character. On a card I have written: the goodness of God, Psalm 84:11 and I’ve memorized that card and then I have the definition on the back of the card of the goodness of God is that which aspect of my heavenly Father that longs and finds great happiness in His people and He wants to give me the very best. When God revealed Himself to Moses, Moses said, “Show me your glory.” Do you remember what he said? “I’ll let all my goodness pass before you.”
The Hebrew word for goodness there, the root of it is generosity. The most generous, lavish, caring, loving, compassionate person in the whole universe is God. He’s got your back and He’s for you. But the moment that thought comes, Oh, He’s not good. If I stay sexually pure, I’ll never get married. God’s not good. If I give my all and surrender to Him, He’ll send me to some foreign country where there is snakes and I hate snakes.
All those are rooted in a lie. And the moment your mind starts that way you stop and you out loud say, “The Lord, the Lord God is a sun and a shield. He has unlimited source of ability and abundance. He can protect me from anything. He gives grace.” What’s grace? That’s getting what you don’t deserve. He gives glory. He wants to exalt, He wants to lift you up. He wants to help you. As you walk with Him by faith, no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
So, He prompts you to make a special gift to someone or to help someone out and the first thought is, “Oh, if you do that, there won’t be enough money left for you.” And then you quote that out loud. God’s a God of abundance. And as you quote that out loud, what you’re doing is you’re saying, “I trust in God’s character.”
I was finding myself getting acutely ... I mean, having a great day, having a great week and every Saturday between two and three o’clock going to a dark place that I just couldn’t figure out what was going on. Doubts about my message, doubts about me, doubts about the worthiness of it and fighting and struggling and fighting and struggling. And we had an old, old man with white hair in his late eighties, godly, godly man. He would pray every Saturday night with me. And before I could figure out what was going on, I would go back with him and we prayed together. And there would be an opening and, great! And finally, I realized, wait a second. God has promised: “My word goes forth and it won’t return to Me void.”
Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent. Has He spoken and will He not do it? Or has He said it and will He not bring it to pass?” And so, pretty soon, I started, that wall would come and I would just out loud say, “Wait a second, I’m going to teach Your Word. Enemies, whoever you are, whatever you’re trying to do, God is not a man.” And then I would just quote scripture. Bam. It’s a dart ... It would just be like: put up the shield. Put up the shield.
Third. Trusting in God’s program and timing. You ever had a decision, you’re afraid about the future, doubts about: don’t do that, that will never work out, don’t leave family, don’t relocate, don’t take that new job. And yet, God’s leading. “You know the plans that I have for you,” Jeremiah 29:11. “plans for good and not for evil. To give you a hope and a future.”
At times when you feel like, You know what? I just can’t stay in this marriage, I can’t be this unhappy, and this unfulfilled any longer. Whisper, You know, you’re not getting any younger, he’ll never change, or she’ll never change.
When those become into your mind, then you need to go to God’s promise, 1 Corinthians 10:13, about temptation. “No temptation or trial has come into my life except is common to man but with the temptation, God will provide a way of escape that I might be able to endure it.”
That’s a lie. I’m not going to believe that. Here is what you’re going to get. This is spiritual warfare. You know that thought that creeps in like that? You know that thought where you’re just barely tempted and you start down the path, you stop and you address that with Scripture. That’s spiritual warfare.
Those thoughts, those temptations, that second look, that third look, that person that treats you and then you find yourself knowing there’s going to be a meeting and you dress up a little bit nicer. You know, I’ve had guys tell me I started looking forward to going to work and which meetings, who is going to be in the room and I kind of have a connection and things were kind of bad at home.
You’re in the battle. That’s where it’s at. And you don’t try hard to get out of it. You have to stop, claim God’s Word. At a level of great embarrassment but possibly maybe a lot of help, I did not grow up as a believer and everything I learned about dating, sex, relationships, was not from the Bible. And I went to a school where there was four girls for every guy.
And I would joke, “Ugly guys could get dates.” And I was a brand-new Christian and I was committed to being sexually pure which was very unpopular – now. And the sexual revolution had happened, and man, I mean, it would be like a girl would come out of the guys’ bathroom, everyone was sleeping around. And I’m like, God, are you kidding?
But I thought, You know, I hate hypocrites, and these were the kind of people and I’m struggling and so my behavior was pure and my mind was in the ditch. And I remember literally coming to a point where, God, I don’t think I can ever win this battle of lust. And I just, I guess I’m going to have to quit the Christian life, and that didn’t work because the verses kept coming to my mind and God says, “You can resign from Me but I never resign from you so get back up and let’s…”
And I accidentally, and this was a revolution in my life, my roommate was a heavy weight wrestler and we both kind of came to the Lord at the same time and I was on the basketball team, but we had this sort of good competition. But he was very big and very strong.
And I was even smaller than I am now. And I came to him and I said, “Hey, you know what, I’m trying to get up in the morning. Every night I say I’m going to get up and read the Bible and every morning I hit the snooze. And I can’t do it, I can’t do it.” He goes, “You really want help?” I said, “Well, yeah, Bob. Would you help me?” He goes, “I’ll help you. But you really want help?” “Absolutely.” “You really want help?” “Absolutely.”
So, the very next morning, the alarm goes off and I hit the snooze and Bob says, “You’re going to get up?” I said, “No, maybe tomorrow.” Anybody have this problem? Maybe tomorrow I’ll do it. This guy rips off my sheet, grabs me by the ankle and lifts me up like this, upside down. We had those communal bathrooms, knocks open the door, turns on the shower and he swings me. And this is a true story. And I’m yelling, “You idiot! What are you doing?” But, the guy’s a heavy weight wrestler. He is huge. I couldn’t do anything. And so, I’m dripping wet and he puts me down at the bed, he goes, “Now, you want to be a man of God or not? Or just shut up at night.”
Will this shock you? I got up. And the competition went on. And so, Bob was going to go, they had these training programs with the ministry and he would go for a summer but before you could go, you had to memorize these sixty verses and I’ve always been very competitive.
And so, Bob was memorizing one or two verses a week to get ready for this summer program and I wasn’t going to go to any programs. But he left the room and he had these little cards, it was called the topical memory system, just little cards with verses which I thought, paying, back then, five dollars for cards that you can write yourself seemed stupid.
So, when he left, I took 3x5 cards and I cut them as close as I could. And I copied down all of his verses and I didn’t tell him and I hid them. And then I decided that I was going to show him how lame wrestlers were, especially after how he treated me in the shower. And so, I memorized a verse a day. And, I reviewed them and because I knew you’re supposed to say the verse, then you say the title, like God’s Word, 2 Timothy 3:16, you quote it, God’s Word, 2 Timothy 3:16. So I knew, that’s the way you’re supposed to do it.
So, I did a verse every day and then I had this amazing blessing of a psychology class that was perhaps the most boring class ever given unto mankind. And the tests were always the same, they were right out of the book, you didn’t even have to go to class. And so, I would put my book up and sit in the back row and I reviewed verses the whole time. And then I remember, I jogged to baseball practice. And it was just like, “Hey, sixty days,” I’m just going to say, “Hey Bob, how are you getting on with your verses?”
“I’ve been looking those over myself.” And I’m going to nail sixty, just kill him. Well, I can still remember day twenty-one. And you know, I’d now perfectly memorized, and some of them were more than one verse, but they were on God’s Word, purity, prayer, just all the basics of the Christian life.
And I came around the corner in front of the library and a co-ed that was very, very attractive and very godly. And I sort of had a little crush on her. And I’m just going to be real vulnerable here. As a man, when you lust for women, you can feel very guilty and when you lust for a godly woman, you feel overly guilty.
And my mind, my mind was just ... It was all those years of all that trash that I had put in my mind. And so, I came around the corner and we have this conversation and then she left, and I left. I didn’t lust at all. I mean, my eyes were at her eyes. And then I started to go to one cafeteria where all the basketball guys would sit because it was a girl’s dorm and there were four floors and they would all walk by. “Seven point five, six, nine. And it was terrible. Okay, sorry, guys. No, forget guys, you’ve all done this. Sorry, ladies.
And I started and then I realized, wait a second, I don’t want to go to that cafeteria, that’s where my problem is. And I went to the other one. And then day twenty-two was another verse. I didn’t know the power of God’s Word. And then, this verse that I quoted, I found myself, I didn’t, no one taught me this but I’d come around the corner, and this was a day where girls weren’t wearing much. And my eyes, I thought, “Okay, first look is not my fault. After that, I got to own it.” And then the second look, “Okay.”
And literally, out loud, sometimes, I’m not exaggerating, forty times in a day I might find myself go, “Okay, love not the world and the things in the world. If any man loved the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father. And that is in the world was passing away but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
And then go around another corner. Oh, here we go. Love not the world. And I didn’t know it. I was doing spiritual warfare. You know what happened? I got a clean mind. I’m not going to tell you it’s perfect, I’m telling you. And then I understood that’s true of fear, that’s true of insecurity. That’s true of afraid to take a step. That’s true of not having the courage to talk to someone. What I found was, God’s Word quoted the moment you have an issue, trusting His character, trusting His promises, trusting His program.
“My God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.” You need love to give her that you don’t have. And love isn’t a feeling. Love is giving another person what they need the most when they deserve it the least at great personal cost. So that’s what I’m going to give you for today.
And there’s been times where we took steps of faith and we thought, “Oh, we can’t do this because we don’t have any money, or the ministry doesn’t have any money.” My God will supply all your needs. I can do all things through Christ. You become a promise-centered Christian who is rooted, and your life is a life of faith. Faith is not a feeling, faith isn’t I feel good about this. Faith is believing in the character of God and the promises of God to the point that you act regardless of how you feel.
And when you do that, guess what it is, God is what? He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He rewards faith. You will experience Him. So often, the fear is, you take a step of faith, one side of a coin is called faith: I’m going to trust you. The flip of the coin is called obedience. And you obey when you feel like it and when you don’t and you quote Scripture out loud as all of the thoughts bombard you. And you put up the shield of faith and you quench these darts.
Secondly is the helmet of salvation. It says, “Take the helmet of salvation.” Literally, the word is to receive the helmet of salvation.
So, all this stuff is real and actually, my wife is more sensitive than me and has had far more of these kinds of issues even than me. And they happen very regularly, especially when those five things, when you’re taking territory et cetera.
And so, scared to death, out loud, I said, “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. And this is the victory that has overcome Him. The blood of the lamb, the word of their testimony and they love not their life, even unto death. I command you now, evil and demonic spirits in my bedroom, in His authority, not mine, depart from my room and my house and go where Jesus sends you and do not return.” Gone.
Now, just so you can be aware. As things got more intensified, and again, this is sort of the Chip experience not to be confused with Scripture, but there were some times later when I would pray that, and like, uh-oh, are bigger demons here? I guess we’ll go with that again. And I would pray for a season and then they would leave. And what I want to tell you is, you know those verses I gave you? All of my kids memorized those. And I literally heard my ten-year-old son do spiritual warfare and literally have this attitude.
There was a time when we were all petrified and angry and then there got to be a time where, “What happened?” Oh, had one of those satanic nightmares, it was terrible. And you know, you do what you’re supposed to do and they’re trying to make us afraid and you know what? In Christ, we’re invincible. And it was really loud but the gun is filled with blanks and we’re not going to let that address us. I’m not going to live in fear.
And you need to understand, that’s true if you’re a child of God. Now, notice in your notes, there’s something summary to engage the enemy in spiritual warfare. The prerequisite is a healthy spiritual life. What I want you to know is that if you’ve left yourself open to things, it can be a lot more difficult. Second, is understand your position in Christ. You need to understand, I’m a child of God. I’ve been sealed with the Spirit. There’s no doubts here.
Third is discern when demonic influence may be the cause. You know, you can’t run to every problem you have is somehow there is a demon behind every bush. But you discern and it gets pretty easy over time. Fourth is claim God’s promises out loud. And yes, you’ll feel silly. But it’s way better than being terrified. And finally, take our authority and position in Christ and command demonic forces to cease their activity and depart and they will. They will.
I’m going to close with an illustration that is the most helpful for me. It was one of those opportunities that I had in Santa Cruz and because it’s a picture, that will help you. Because how do you take all this truth? So, I’m walking ... There’s a main thoroughfare, throughway in Santa Cruz. And it’s where there’s street musicians and it’s wild, crazy and there is a bunch of bars but it’s a really cool place to walk around. And there’s restaurants and other things.
So, it’s one evening, and I’m walking down and it’s outside of a bar and there’s a couple really big guys in black T-shirts, they’re bouncers, they look really, really strong. I think they can ... And they’re messing with this one guy and they don’t seem to be able to handle him. And he’s, “Aggh! Aggh!” And so pretty soon there’s a crowd. And I’m just like everyone else. I just join the crowd, I want to see what’s going to happen. You know, what’s going to happen, those big guys. And hey, go ask for help, security.
And so, more and more people and then someone called the police. And so, it’s getting more and more rambunctious and the onlookers are getting bigger and bigger and I wonder what’s going to happen here and those big guys don’t seem to be doing very good with this guy and he’s thrashing around, he’s telling them this. And then a police car pulls up and I’m thinking, “Oh, what’s going to happen?” And the door opens and okay, ladies, now this is an illustration in no way to diminish female police officers. This is an actual story.
Because I’m thinking, “These two big guys can’t handle this.” Then the door opens and I’m telling you, if she was 4 foot 11, maybe. Police officer, a woman. And I’m thinking, “Oh my, this is going to be interesting.”
And you know, it was one of those where the police car came, like two wheels were up on the curb and there’s this ruckus and the crowd is growing and I’m thinking, “I wonder what’s going to happen.” And she walks up like this. “Sir, excuse me.” They all get the attention, the two bouncers and this guy’s going crazy. She goes, “Sir, stand down.” And he looks at her like this and she puts her hand on the gun like this. “Sir, I will say it one more time. Stand down.” I don’t know how drunk he was or what he was on, but he got very sober very quickly.
And then she said, “Sir, I want you right now to turn around.” And she walked over to him, you know, just like on TV, tchoo, tchoo, tchoo, right? Put his head down, get in the car. Wow. And you know the metaphor for me? You know what I realized? She had a badge on from the state of California and the authority of the Santa Cruz police department to handle that situation. And she had a weapon that I don’t care how wild he is, that .45 was much more formidable.
I don’t care how big, I don’t care how strong, I don’t care how drunk, I don’t care how high. But I will tell you this. This will outweigh that. And if necessary. And what I want you to know is that somehow you think this is a bunch of weird stuff from missionaries or pastors or super spiritual people and I want you to know, if you’re a child of God, you have the authority of the living God, all power in heaven and earth has been entrusted to you.
And you don’t have a gun. You’ve got much more. You have the living Word of God. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living, active, powerful, piercing into the division of soul and spirit, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” And when you turn this Word loose, demonic forces must obey. You never have to be afraid. God bless you.