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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Mind Is The Battlefield In Spiritual Warfare

This is the exhortation before prayer on Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Thursday Prayerline. Adapted from the blog post "The Mind Is The Battlefield In Spiritual Warfare". Audio at the end of the transcript.

Something I read yesterday;

Faith is the force of God's kingdom and fear is the force of Satan's.

Spiritual warfare consists of struggling against evil forces in our minds. The Bible is clear that this is not a battle which is fought on a physical plane at all, but rather a spiritual one.

Ephesians 6:12 (HCSB)2  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (KJV)3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;6  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

These principalities, powers and rulers of darkness are all spiritual beings are all troops in  Satan’s army.  Remember this Satan is a created being and not omnipresent, and can only be in one place at a time.  He works with through these  principalities, powers and rulers of darkness.   When somebody says, “The devil is on my trail”, it’s unlikely that Satan himself is doing it, but it’s probably one of his spiritual troops.  

We are giving Satan too much credit.   We blame Satan for everything from us having a flat tire, to us contracting an illness.  We have a flat tire because we ran over a nail in the road, we have hypertension because we have a family history and we don’t eat right.  Satan had nothing to do with that.  What he can do however is cause us to think that he has the power to do these things.  When he can get you to believe that he can do these things we being responsible for the things we can do and we may start to doubt God’s word that He will care for us no matter the situation or circumstance.

Satan has no authority to attack the believer physically without God’s permission.

Job 1:8-12 (HCSB)8  Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.”9  Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing?10  Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.11  But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse You to Your face.”12  “Very well,” the LORD told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job ⌊himself⌋.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence.

Job 2:3-6 (HCSB)3  Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him, to destroy him without just cause.”4  “Skin for skin!” Satan answered the LORD. “A man will give up everything he owns in exchange for his life.5  But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse You to Your face.”6  “Very well,” the LORD told Satan, “he is in your power; only spare his life.”  

So unless God gives him permission Satan can’t affect your external circumstances.   Where he can attack and injure you is in your mind.  If he can get you to believe that he or his demons cause the bad things to happen to you the next thing that can happen is you start to doubt God and His promises.  

The devil wants to establish ‘strongholds’ in your life.

Strongholds are built on imaginations or thoughts
A stronghold is a mental fortress

A stronghold is anything that exalts itself in our minds, pretending to be bigger or more powerful than God. The New American Standard Version (NASV) calls them fortresses.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NASB) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
These strongholds are built by the “ imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,”.

A minister I know defined an imagination as a nation of images (imagi-nation), or a series of connected images that become a stronghold or fortress.

These imaginations can be a superstitious belief, an addiction, wrong thoughts, and despair over a loss, etc.  The can consume our emotions, cause us to become overwhelmed, and sap our mental strength.  

If we try to ignore them we will never be able to live the life of victory promised by Jesus.

The Satan’s  target is the mind, because the most effective way to influence behaviour is to influence our  thinking.  He did that to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden causing Eve to doubt God’s truth.  

Genesis 3:2-5 (HCSB)2  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden.3  But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’”4  “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman.5  “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  

He even twisted God’s truth when he tempted Jesus.  

Matthew 4:1-11 (HCSB)1  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.2  After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry.
3  Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”4  But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”5  Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,6  and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
7  Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”8  Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.9  And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10  Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”11  Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.  

The Counter Attack

Attack strongholds with overwhelming force
Ephesians 6:13-17 (HCSB)13  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.14  Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,15  and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.16  In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17  Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.

Only one piece of the armor of God is an offensive weapon--”the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word.

Do you remember at the beginning of Iraq war President Bush wanted to attack with “shock and awe”, which is a  military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.The doctrine was written by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in 1996 and is a product of the National Defense University of the United States.  We should attack Satan’s strongholds with a bombardment of the Word of God.  This is the only way that we can demolish them.  

The following is 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 from the Amplified Bible
“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.”
To win this war against Satan, we need to take control of our thought life – “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  We take those thoughts captive with the Word of God that addresses them.  When you identify and attack a stronghold in your life find God’s truth that confronts and it.   Find it in your the concordance of your bible, read it, speak it, sing it, and apply its truth over and over and over until the stronghold is destroyed.  Put it on your mirror, your refrigerator, in you car (don’t read it while you drive).  Bombard the stronghold and destroy it.   The truth destroys strongholds.

John 8:32 (HCSB)32  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Here are some strongholds that can be established in our minds and then exploited by Satan in spiritual warfare along with bombs from the Word of God to pull them down.

Psalm 37:8 (NLT) Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.  
Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.
Ephesians 4:26 (NLT) And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,
Colossians 3:8 (NLT) But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
Psalm 23:4 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Psalm 27:1 (NLT) The LORD is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
Psalm 118:6 (NLT)  The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Psalm 27:10 (NLT)  Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)  So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NLT)8  We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.9  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Isaiah 50:7 (NLT)  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.
1 John 1:9 (NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Leviticus 19:11 (NLT) “Do not steal. “Do not deceive or cheat one another.
Proverbs 12:22 (NLT)  The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
Proverbs 13:5 (NLT) The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace.  
Colossians 3:9 (NLT)  Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.
Financial lack
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)31  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Psalm 37:25 (NLT)  Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.  
Philippians 4:19 (NLT) And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)  You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (NLT)15  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.16  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
1 John 2:16 (NLT)  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT)  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
1 Peter 2:11 (NLT)  Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.
Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)1 I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.2  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.3  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 34:17 (NLT)17  The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)38  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.39  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)10  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.  
Matthew 5:4 (NLT) God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT)13  And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.14  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.15  We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.16  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.17  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.18  So encourage each other with these words.  
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (NLT)51  But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!52  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.53  For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.54  Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.55  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”56  For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.57  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 14:1-4 (NLT)1  “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.2  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?3  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.4  And you know the way to where I am going.”
These specific strongholds may not affect your life but until Jesus returns you will have imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, that you will need to fight and destroy.  The only way to win is with the “sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  To guarantee victory we must;

  1. Love God's Word
  2. Know God's Word
  3. Memorize God's Word
  4. Meditate on God's Word
  5. Believe God's Word
  6. Use God's Word
  7. Do God's Word
Strap on your sword and take the battle to the enemy.
Prayerline Exhortation Audio