GJiGT Unabridged Version of War on the Saints
Chapter 9 Victory in Conflict.
The great question here is, how to be victorious over the powers of darkness as a whole. How do we walk in victory and have authority over the wicked spirits. We have learned the devices of the enemy. We know the way of deliverance. Now we are also deeply concerned that others should be set free. We also want to see others have victory "over all the power of the enemy."
DEGREES OF DELIVERANCE AND VICTORY
The believer needs to have thorough knowledge and understanding of Satan's ways and works. We need to know the laws of the spirit. We should know how to keep in mastery of spirit in all the difficulties of life. There are degrees of deception, and degrees of possession and deliverance from possession. So there are also degrees of victory over the devil. There are degrees of temptation, and victory over temptation.
The believer delivered from deception and possession by the spirits of evil, must now learn to walk in personal victory over the devil at every point. This is how to have full victory over the powers of darkness. Beside knowing the Lord Yeshua Messiah in all the aspects of His Name and character, so the believer also must learn to know the adversary in his various workings. We learn much about our enemy by his names and character. We should be able to discern his presence, in attacks upon us, in others, or working as "world-rulers" of the darkness in the world.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS TEMPTER
Victory over the Devil as a Tempter must be learned by the believer in experimental reality. All "temptations" are not recognizable as temptations. They are not always visible. Half their power lies in their being hidden. Most of the children of God are only fighting a small proportion of the devil's workings. Most only fight the ones they are conscious of as supernatural workings of evil.
Many true children of God only recognize "temptation" when it is visibly evil, and according to their limited knowledge of evil. They do not recognize the Tempter when they come under the guise of natural or physical, or even apparent "good."
It is more dangerous when the prince of darkness and his emissaries come as angels of light. They clothe themselves in light. It is a "light" which is really darkness. They come in the guise of good. Darkness is opposed to light, ignorance is opposed to knowledge, falsehood is opposed to truth. Darkness is a term applied to evil morality and moral darkness. The apparently "good" may be really evil.
There needs to be a choice between good and evil all the time by every man. The priests of old were specially called to discern and teach the people the difference between "the holy and the common," the "unclean and the clean" (Ezek. 40:23). Is the Church today able to discern what is good, and what is evil? In the great apostasy of these last days she will continually fall into the snare of calling good evil, and evil good. God's people are not being taught to discern the difference between the "unclean and the clean." Most do not know how to decide for themselves what is of God, or what is of the devil. Even though they don't know it, they are compelled to make a choice every moment of the day. Most do not know that they have a choice between the lesser and the greater good. The devil often entangles them here.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "TEMPTATION" AND "ATTACKS."
There is a difference between the "temptations" and "attacks" of the Tempter. "Temptation" is a scheme or a plot, or compulsion on the part of the Tempter to cause another to do evil. An attack is an onslaught on the person, either in life, character, or circumstances. An attack is like when the devil made an onslaught on the Lord through the villagers, when they sought to hurl Him over the cliff (Luke 4:29). How about the attack when His family brought a charge of insanity against Him (Mark 3:21). He was charged with demon possession by His enemies (John 10:20; Matt. 12:24).
Temptation, also means suffering. We see this in the life of Christ where it is written, "He suffered being tempted" (Heb. 2:18). Believers must not think they will reach a period when they will not feel the suffering of temptation. This is a wrong conception, which gives ground to the enemy for tormenting and attacking them without cause.
PRAYER BRINGING HIDDEN TEMPTATIONS TO LIGHT
For constant victory, the believer must always be on guard against the Tempter. We are to pray without ceasing. Unceasing prayer for his hidden temptations to be revealed is a good practice. The degree of understanding his working will be determined by the degree of victory experienced. "In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird." We especially require power of discrimination between what is temptation from the Tempter working upon the uncrucified "old man." Is it tempting through the things of the world (1 John 2:15-16; 5:4-5)? Or is the temptation direct from the spirits of evil?
In temptation the crucial point is to know whether the temptation is the work of an evil spirit having gained access. Or, is the temptation from the evil nature? This can be discerned by the experimental knowledge of Romans 6 as the basis of the life. Temptation from the fallen nature should be dealt with on the foundation of "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11). AND practical obedience to the resulting command "Let not sin reign in your mortal body." In the hour of temptation to sin, visible, known sin, the believer should take his stand on Romans 6:6. That is his deliberate position of faith. According to Romans 6: 11 he declares his undeviating choice and attitude as DEATH TO SIN, in union with Christ. If this choice is the expression of his real will, and the temptation to sin does not cease, he should then deal with the spirits of evil. They may be seeking to awaken sinful desires (Jas. 1:14), or to counterfeit them. They can counterfeit the old nature in evil desire, evil thoughts, evil words, and evil presentations. Many honest believers think they are battling with the workings of the old nature, when these things are given by evil spirits. But if the believer is not standing actively on Romans 6, the "counterfeits" are not necessary. The old fallen creation is always open to be worked on by the powers of darkness.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS ACCUSER
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS AN ACCUSER: The difference between the accusation of the enemy and his temptations, is that the temptation is an effort to compel, or draw the man into sin. The accusation is a charge of transgression. Temptation is an effort to cause the man to transgress the law. Accusation is an effort to place the believer in the guilty position of having transgressed the law. Evil spirits want the man to be wrong, so that they may accuse and punish him for being wrong. "Accusation" can be a counterfeit of convicting work of the Spirit of God. It is important that the believer should know when the charge of transgression is made, whether it is a Divine conviction, or a Satanic accusation.
When the Holy Spirit convicts there is ALWAYS a note of hope and direction to clear or clean up the problem. When Satan accuses there is NEVER any hope and often confusion, depression and despair follows the accusation.
(1) The devil may accuse when the man is truly guilty; (2) he may accuse when the man is not guilty, and cause him to think, and believe that he is guilty; (3) he may try to pass on his accusations as a conviction, and cause the man to think that it comes from the evil nature, when he is not guilty at all.
Evil spirits are able to put in a sense of guilt. Sin itself comes from the evil nature within. However, sin is not forced into the personality from without. The person is always involved if it is really sin. How can the believer tell if evil spirits are at the back of involuntary sin? If the man is right with God, standing on Romans 6, with no deliberate yielding to known sin, then any manifestation of sin coming back again for no reason, may be dealt with as from evil spirits.
The believer must therefore NEVER accept an accusation, or a charge, supernaturally made, of having transgressed, unless he is fully convinced by intelligent knowledge and clear decision that he has done so. If he accepts the charge when innocent, he will suffer as much as if he had really transgressed. He must also be on guard to refuse any compulsory drive to "confession" of sin to others. This may be the forcing of the enemy to pass on his lying accusations.
BELIEVER SHOULD MAINTAIN NEUTRALITY TO ACCUSATIONS UNTIL SOURCE PROVED
The believer should maintain neutrality to accusations, until he is sure of their real source. If the man knows he is guilty, he should at once go to God on the ground of 1 John 1:9. He should refuse to be lashed by the devil. The devil is not the judge of God's children. The devil is not God's messenger to make the charge of wrong. The Holy Spirit alone is commissioned by God to convict of sin.
Recognize steps in the working of evil spirits in their accusations and false charges. Here is what happens when the believer accepts their accusations:
(1) The believer thinks and believes he is guilty;
(2) Evil spirits cause him to feel guilty;
(3) They cause him, then, to appear guilty;
(4) They cause him then to be actually guilty through believing their lies. It makes no difference whether he is guilty or not, if he thinks he is guilty.
Malicious spirits try to make the man feel guilty by their nagging accusations. They make him act, or appear guilty before others. At the same moment they flash or suggest to others the very things about which they are accusing him. There is not real cause. All such "feelings" should be investigated by the believer. Feeling wrong is not enough for a man to say he is wrong. "Feeling wrong," should not give ground to the Accuser to accuse him of being wrong. Feelings are wrong more often than they are right. The only way feelings ever get right more than wrong is by walking in the spirit. The man says he "feels" wrong. He should ask "Is the feeling right?" He may feel wrong, and be right; and "feel" right, and be wrong. He should investigate, and examine the question honestly, "Am I wrong?"
"FEELINGS" INJECTED BY EVIL SPIRITS
There are physical, soulish, and spiritual "feelings." Evil spirits can inject feelings into either of these departments. Their aim is to move the man by "feelings" to substitute these for the action of his mind. Evil spirits get great ground when they can get the believer to be governed by the deceiving spirits through his feelings. THINK! I say again, THINK. If the Holy Spirit is convicting, you think and see the hope, and the way to get it fixed. Evil spirits try to get believers to substitute feelings for the conscience in its recognition of right and wrong. If believers "feel" they can do a thing, they do it, without asking whether it be right or wrong, if it is not visibly sinful. For victory over the deceitful enemy, it is essential that the children of God cease to be guided by "feelings" in their actions. Think. Use the mind that God has renewed. Your renewed mind will tell you if the feelings line up with facts and TRUTH.
If believers in any course of action "feel relief," they think that sense of relief is a sign that they have been doing God's will. But a man gets rest when his work is done, not only in the spiritual, but in ordinary life. A "sense of relief" in any line of action, is no criterion that it is in the will of God. The action must be judged by itself, and not merely by its effects upon the doer of it. For instance, a believer says he "felt happy" after doing such and such a thing, and that it was "a proof that he was doing the will of God." However, peace and rest and relief are no proof at all of being in God's will. Believers also think that if they do some action that the devil wants them to do, they will "feel condemned" at once, but they overlook the fact that Satan can give pleasant feelings.
There are innumerable variations of feelings caused by evil spirits, from countless attacks, and countless false suggestions. These deceptions call forth all the spiritual discernment of the believer, and his understanding of spiritual things, to recognize them.
NEED OF DISCERNING ACCUSATION FROM TRUE CONVICTION
The devil as a Tempter very quickly becomes the Accuser, even if he does not succeed in getting the man to yield to his temptations. As we have seen, deceiving spirits can cause apparent "sin" to be manifested to the consciousness of a believer, and then lash and accuse the man for their own workings. They counterfeit some sin, which may be called with sadness, "my besetting sin." As long as it is believed to be sin from the evil nature, no "confessing" or seeking victory over it, will cause it to pass away. They can also hide behind real sin.
A sense of no guilt does not necessarily lead to absolute happiness, for even with the peace of conscious innocence there may be suffering. The suffering may have its source in some sin which is not known. Walking by known light, and measuring his guiltlessness by his knowledge of known sin, is very dangerous to him who desires perfect peace. It leads only to superficial rest, which may be disturbed at any moment by the attacks of the Accuser. He directs his darts to a joint in the armor of peace, hidden from the believer's view.
For obtaining victory over the Deceiver's accusing spirits, spiritual believers should, therefore, understand clearly whether any consciousness of sin, is the result of real transgression. Could it be caused by evil spirits? If the believer accepts the consciousness of sin, as from himself, when it is not, he at once leaves his position of death to sin, and reckons himself alive to it. This explains why many who have truly known victory over sin by the "reckon" of Romans 6:11, surrender their basis, and lose the position of victory. Because the Accuser has counterfeited some manifestation of "self" or "sin," and then accused the man of it, with the taunt that " Romans 6 does not work." By this trick the believer surrendered his basis of victory. This causes confusion, and condemnation, as into a pit of miry clay and darkness. Think. These are not the results of the Holy Spirit doing His convicting work. We do not go by feelings. We go by truth, facts, and clear thinking, TESTING, and proving the source of those feelings.
NEED OF UNFLINCHING WARFARE AGAINST SIN
On the other hand, if the believer in the slightest degree is tempted to treat sin lightly, or attribute it to evil spirits when it is from himself, he is equally on false ground. Don't just reckon yourself dead to sin. Live dead to sin. Excusing real sin turns it into iniquity. Heaven will be full of forgiven sinners. There will be no workers of iniquity in heaven. Real unconfessed, excused, or rationalized sin, will lay one open to the old fallen nature regaining mastery over him with redoubled force. The warfare against Satan must be accompanied with a vigorous, unflinching warfare against sin. Any known sin must not be tolerated for a moment. Whether it be from the fallen nature, or from evil spirits forcing it into the man, it MUST BE CAST OFF AND PUT AWAY; on the basis of Rom. 6:6 and 12.
Two misconceptions which give great advantage to the watching enemy are the thoughts in many believers' minds, that if a Christian commits sin he will at once (1) know it himself, or (2) that God will tell him. They, therefore, expect God to tell them when they are right or wrong, instead of seeking light and knowledge according to John 3:21.
Believers seeking victory over all the deceptions of the enemy, must take an active part in dealing with sin. Based upon a wrong conception of "death" they may have thought that God would remove sin out of their lives for them. The result is that they have failed to actively co-work with Him in dealing with evil, within their environment, in others, and in the world.
For a life of constant and continual victory over Satan as Accuser, it is very important that the believer should understand, and detect any inconsistency between the attitude of the will and the actions in his life. He should read himself from his actions as well as from his will and motives. For instance, a person is charged with doing a certain thing, which he at once denies, because the action does not agree with his will-attitude. He says, it is impossible that he should have acted or spoken in the way stated. The believer judges himself by his own inner standpoint of will and motives, and not by his actions as well as his will. (1 Cor. 11:31).
The cleansing power of the Blood of Christ is needed (1 John 1:7) continuously for those who seek to walk in the light, cleansing themselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 7:1).
The devil as an Accuser also works indirectly through others. The devil incites them to make accusations which he wants the man to accept as true. This will open the door to him to make them true. It is not unusual for the devil to cause others to accuse the believer by "visions" or "revelations" about him. The devil can easily cause others to misjudge him. In any case, whatever may come to the believer from man or devil, LET HIM MAKE USE OF IT FOR PRAYER. By prayer turn all accusations into steps to victory.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS A LIAR
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A LIAR (John 8:44): "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." This does not mean that the enemy never tells the truth, but his truth has the objective of getting the believer involved in evil. For example, when the spirit of divination spoke the truth, that Paul and Silas were the servants of God. It was to suggest the lie that Paul and Silas derived their power from the same source as the girl under the evil spirit's power. The devil and his wicked spirits will speak, or use, ninety-nine parts of truth to float one lie. Paul was not deceived by the witness of a soothsaying prophetess acknowledging their divine authority. He discerned the wicked spirit and its purpose, exposed it, and cast it out.
The believer must be able to triumph over Satan as a liar. He should be able to recognize his lies, and those of lying spirits, in whatever form they are presented to him. This he does by knowing the truth, and using the weapon of truth.
VICTORY OVER FALSEHOOD BY TRUTH
There is no way of victory over falsehood but by truth. To have victory over the devil as a liar, and over his lies, the believer must be determined always to know the truth. He must speak the truth about everything, in himself, in others, and around him.
Satan the liar, through his lying spirits, persistently pours lies on the believer all day long. He pours lies into his thoughts about himself, his feelings, his condition, his environment. Satan's lies misinterpret everything in himself, and around him; about others with whom he is in contact. He spews lies about the past and the future, lies about God; and lies about himself, magnifying his power and his authority. To have victory over this persistent stream of lies, the believer must fight (1) with the weapon of God's truth in the written Word, and (2) truth about facts in himself, others, and circumstances. As the believer increasingly triumphs over the devil as a liar, he grows better able to discern his lies, and equipped to strip away the covering for others.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS A COUNTERFEITER
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A COUNTERFEITER, OR FALSE "ANGEL OF LIGHT": "Even Satan himself comes as an angel of light. 2 Cor 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 2 Cor 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Cor 11:15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
This aspect of victory over Satan is by the knowledge of truth, enabling the believer to recognize the lies of Satan, when he presents himself under the guise of light.
Light is the very nature of God Himself. To recognize darkness when clothed in light, supernatural light, needs deep knowledge of the true light. We need God's power to discern the innermost sources of things that in appearance look God-like and beautiful. How the Adversary counterfeits the very light of God, so as to appear as God, has been used already. The main attitude for this aspect of victory over the Adversary, is a settled position of neutrality to all supernatural workings, until the believer knows what is of God. If any experience is accepted without question, how can its Divine origin be guaranteed? The basis of acceptance or rejection must be knowledge. The believer must know, and he cannot know without examination, nor will he "examine" unless he maintains the attitude of "Believe not every spirit" until he has "tested" and proved what is of God.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS A HINDERER
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS HINDERER: "We would fain have come unto you . . . but Satan hindered us" (1 Thess. 2:18), wrote Paul, who was able to discern between the hindering of Satan, and the restraining of the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 16: 6). This again means knowledge, and power to discern Satan's workings and, the obstacles he places in the paths of the children of God. Some of the devil's obstacles which look so "natural," and so like "Providence," that numbers meekly bow their heads and allow the Hinderer to prevail.
Power to discern comes (1) by knowledge that Satan can hinder; (2) by observing the objective of the hindrances, and (3) close observation of his methods along this line. For example, is it God or Satan withholding money from missionaries preaching the true Gospel of Calvary. Is it God or Satan giving abundance to those who preach error, and teachings which are the outcome of the spirit of anti-Christ?
Is it God or Satan hindering a believer by "circumstances," or, "sickness," from vital service important to God? Is it God or Satan urging a family to remove their residence, without reasonable grounds, to another neighborhood, when it involves the removal of another member from a strategic vantage ground of service to God, with no other worker to take his place? Is it God or Satan leading Christians to put first their (1) health, (2) comfort, (3) social position, in their decisions, rather than the needs of the kingdom of God? Is it God or Satan who "hinders" service for God through members of a family making objections. Is it God or Satan causing troubles in business which give no time for such service, or through property losses? Knowledge of the Hinderer, means victory by prayer over his schemes, and workings. The believer should therefore know his wiles.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS MURDERER
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A MURDERER (John 8:44): Satan as the prince of death watches every occasion to take the life of the servants of God, if in any wise he can get them to fulfill conditions which enable him to do so. (1) By their willful insistence on going into danger without being sent of God; (2) by trapping them into danger through visions, or supernatural guidance. Satan draws them into actions which enable him to work behind the laws of nature for destroying their lives. This is what Satan tried to do with Christ in the wilderness temptation: "Throw Thyself down," he said; then quoting Scripture to show that the Lord had Scriptural warrant for believing that angel hands would bear Him up (Luke 4:11), and not allow Him to fall. But the Son of God recognized the Tempter and the Murderer. He knew that His life would end as a Man, were He to give occasion to the malignant hate of Satan, by one step out of God's will. He knew that the deceiver would not propose anything, however apparently innocent, or seemingly for God's glory, unless some great scheme for his own ends, was deeply hidden in his proposition.
Christ now holds the "keys of death and of Hell" (Rev. 1:18), and "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" (Heb. 2:14). He cannot exercise his power WITHOUT PERMISSION. But when the children of God, knowingly or unknowingly, fulfill the conditions which give Satan ground to attack their physical lives, the Lord with "the keys of death" works according to law, and does not save them, UNLESS BY THE WEAPON OF PRAYER they enable God to interpose. God gives them victory over the law of death, as well as the law of sin, through "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2).
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Death is therefore an enemy; to be recognized as an enemy; and to be resisted as an enemy. The believer may lawfully "desire to depart and be with Christ" (Phil. 1:23), but never to desire death merely as an end of "trouble," or to allow the lawful desire to be "with Christ," make him YIELD TO DEATH WHEN HE IS NEEDED FOR THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. "To abide in the flesh is needful for you," wrote the Apostle to the Philippians, therefore "I know that I shall abide" (Phil. 1:24-25).
BELIEVERS SHOULD RESIST DEATH AS AN ENEMY
The will of the believer "will"-ing physical death, gives the Adversary power of death over that one. No believer should yield to a "desire to die" until he knows beyond question that God has released him from further service to His people. That a believer is "ready to die" is a very small matter. He must be ready to live, until he is sure that his life work is finished. God does not harvest His corn until it is ripe, and His redeemed children should be "garnered as a shock of corn in its season."
It is oftentimes the prince of death as a Murderer, working through the ignorance of God's children, (1) as to his power, (2) the conditions by which they give him power, and (3) the victory of prayer by which they resist his power, who cuts off God's soldiers from the battlefield. It is Satan as a Murderer, who gives "visions of glory," "longings to die," to workers of value to the Church of God. Some yield to death, even in days of active service, and slowly fade away.
Believers who would have victory over Satan at every point, must resist his attack on the body, as well as on the spirit and mind. They must seek knowledge of God's laws for the body, so as to obey those laws, and give no occasion to Satan to slay them. They should know the place of the body in the spiritual life; (1) its prominence, and yet (2) its obscurity. Paul said, "I keep under my body." They must understand that the more knowledge they have of the devices and power of the Adversary, and of the fullness of the Calvary victory within their reach for complete victory over him. Understand that the more dangerous they become to Satan, the more he will plan to injure them. The whole of his schemes against God's children may be summed up: (1) To cause them to sin, as he tempted Christ in the wilderness; (2) To slander them, as Christ was slandered by family and foes; (3) To slay them, as Christ was slain at Calvary. Never forget Satan must get the direct permission of God to kill the true son of God. (Acts 2: 23).
As the believer gains victories over Satan, his strength of spirit to conquer them grows stronger; and he will become more and more equipped to give the truth of the finished work of Calvary as sufficient for victory over sin and Satan. He walks in greater and greater power and authority of Christ by the Holy Spirit, which will set others free from their power.
CONFLICT AND ATTACK
Victory over Satan in these aspects will not be without great onslaughts from him and sharp conflict. We are called to stand in "the evil day" (Eph. 6: 13). In these attacks and conflicts there are some points which need to be understood. First, that it is always essential to know whether the attack and conflict are because of ground in oneself or others. For one reason why believers get attacks, and do not get through the conflict into victory, is because the cause of the attack and conflict lies in themselves.
POSSIBLE FRESH GROUND
The believer must understand that although he has been delivered from the deception and possession he fell into, there is a life of aggressive warfare against the powers of darkness. The warfare is not going to go away. It is to be understood that we can give new ground to the enemy. No matter how completely delivered we are we can give new ground through lack of knowledge, by accepting some lie from lying spirits, or by taking their misinterpretations of experiences. We don't arrive this side of glory.
It must never be forgotten that wrong interpretation of any experience gives new ground. GROUND IS ANYTHING IN A PERS0N WHEREBY EVIL SPIRITS GAIN. The believer may attribute the attack and conflict to a wrong cause, (1) to an outside cause, or (2) to the maliciousness of the devil, or (3) to "local" conflict; meaning the enemy's workings around him in his environment, or through others.
When attacks and conflict come, the believer must know why they come. In prayer ask God for light. In attacks, two or more may be in action simultaneously. He should at once set himself to understand, and watch and observe all the workings of the enemy in the new conflict. We need to be alert for anything that will throw light on the situation, and show him what to refuse, and how to pray.
POSSIBLE WRONG WEAPONS
When there is ground, or the cause of the conflict or attack is in the believer himself, if he takes the attack as pure conflict, as part of warfare for the Church, he will fight with the wrong weapons. He will not get through to victory until the true cause is discovered, and the ground given up, and refused. For what is thought to be an "attack" from outside, may be a symptom, or manifestation of an evil spirit inside, who has regained a footing unknown to the believer. It may have remained hidden, when thought to be totally gone. When the believer finds himself in conflict, he should at once question "Is there ground?" Are evil spirit's working:
(1) In attacks. Is there ground, or is it purely an attack?
(2) In conflict. Is there ground, or is it pure conflict?
(3) In communication. Is it suggestions, thoughts, whisperings of the enemy. "Is there ground?" Or is it purely from outside, as Satan communicated with Eve?
The believer should then declare his attitude in the three cases, as follows: "I refuse all ground, and the cause, or causes of it!"
The last word spoken, alters, ratifies, or nullifies previous ones. For instance, the believer may "refuse" in the present moment, what may be the product through evil spirits' workings of something he asked for in the past. He may say, "Although I asked for, believed in, and accepted such and such a thing in the past, I now refuse it." His present refusal nullifies his previous acceptance.
THE VALUE AND PURPOSE OF "REFUSING."
THE PRINCIPLE IN REFUSING: It is essential that believers should understand the value of the act of refusal, and expressing it. REFUSAL IS THE OPPOSITE OF ACCEPTANCE. Evil spirits have gained by the believer giving them (1) ground, (2) right of way, (3) use of their will, spirit, mind, or body. They lose when this is all withdrawn from them. What was given to the enemy by misconception and ignorance, and given WITH CONSENT OF THE WILL, stands as ground for them to work on and through. They are STOPPED by the SAME ACTION OF THE WILL. The "giving" is revoked, specifically and generally.
The will in the past was unknowingly put for evil, and it must now be put unceasingly against it.
Once understood, the principle is very simple. The choice of the will gives: the choice of the will withdraws or nullifies the previous giving. The value and purpose of refusing stands the same toward God and toward Satan. The man gives to God, or refuses to give. He takes from God, or refuses to take. He gives to evil spirits, unknowingly or not, and he refuses to give. He finds he has given to them without intelligent knowledge. He nullifies it by an act of withdrawal and refusal.
THE RELATION OF FRESH GROUND GIVEN, TO THE VICTORY IN CONFLICT
The aggressive warfare of freshly discovered "ground" given to deceiving spirits is vital. Every new ground discovered as given to them, and refused, means a renewed freedom of the spirit. It deepens the enmity to the foe as his subtle deceptions are increasingly exposed. He becomes more seasoned and a stronger veteran in the war upon Satan and his demons. It means more deliverance from their power, and less footing for their possession, or ground. As he realizes that "symptoms," "effects," and "manifestations" are not abstract "things." They are revelations of active personal demons against whom he must war persistently.
All growth in experience knowledge means increased protection against the deceiving enemy. As new ground is revealed, and fresh truth about the powers of darkness, and the way of victory over them, is understood. The truth delivers from their deceptions, and protects the believer up to the extent of his knowledge, from further deception. He finds in experience that if he lets the truth slip from him, or if he ceases use of the truth, he is open to attack from the watching foe. Truth is the principle weapon against a foe who ceaselessly plans against him. Pilot said what is TRUTH. Yeshua said, I am the TRUTH. The Word of God is the TRUTH personified.
Understand you are vulnerable even if you have been undeceived and dispossessed, if you stop using the truth of (1) the existence of evil spirits; (2) their persistent watching to deceive you again; (3) the need of perpetual resistance and fight against them; (4) the keeping of your spirit in purity and strength in co-operation with the Spirit of God. These and all other truths that pertain to life and godliness will be reinforced as you keep reading His word, the Authorized scriptures, every day. The Holy Spirit NEEDS THE BELIEVER'S USE OF TRUTH to work with, in energizing and strengthening him for conflict and victory. The Spirit of Truth does not guard him from the enemy apart from his co-operation in watching and prayer.
PERSISTENT REFUSAL OF GROUND TO EVIL SPIRITS
The way to refuse, and what to refuse, is very important in the hour of conflict. As we have seen, the believer needs to maintain an active attitude, and, when necessary, expression of refusal continually and persistently. Never forget the power of the Blood of Yeshua. That is your main and first line of defense.
In the hour of conflict, in case there has been new ground given to evil spirits unknowingly. It is NEVER out of place to plead the power of the Blood of Yeshua. It is so easy and natural to accept something from demons, or believing some lie they have put into the mind. The believer should refuse all the things that may have gained a new footing. Meet the conflict, or attack, immediately. Go after your enemy with the powerful weapon of the Blood of Yeshua. Let no time pass before stopping the attack. Take back ground quickly and nuke that demon with the power of the Blood of Yeshua. This is done by being armed with your love of the TRUTH and knowledge of the truth. Let the enemy regain NO ground. Deal with it immediately.
The believer himself will know, from his past experience, most of the ways by which the deceiving spirits have gained advantage over him. He will instinctively turn to the points of refusal which have been of the most service to him in his fight to freedom. The refusing in this way takes ground from them in many directions. The widest scope covered by the act and attitude of refusal, the more thoroughly the believer separating himself, BY HIS CHOICE, from the deceiving spirits. They can only hold their ground by the consent of his will. By refusing all he once accepted from them, he can become clear of ground to them. It is his choice and attitude that gives ground.
REFUSAL AN AGGRESSIVE WEAPON IN CONFLICT
In the hour of conflict, when the forces of darkness are pressing upon the believer, the expression of his active refusal becomes an aggressive warfare upon them. It is not just a defensive weapon. Instead of sinking down in fear and despair when the enemy assaults the city, he rises to stand in aggressive resistance against the foe, by declaring his attitude against them. The battle turns upon the choice of the will in the citadel being maintained, in unshaken refusal to yield to, or admit any one of the attacking spirits of evil. The whole power of God, by the Holy Spirit, will be at the back of the active resistance of the man in his attitude of refusal to the enemy.
It is important to understand the effectiveness of this refusal of the will, on the part of the undeceived believer, as a barrier against the foe. The outer man, in "feelings," and nervous system, bears the scars long after his deliverance from the pit of deception. When once the wall of the outer man has been broken into by supernatural forces of evil, it is not quickly rebuilt so that they cease to have any effect upon it in times of severe conflict. Believers who are emerging from deception and possession, should know the power of an aggressive turning upon the enemy in the moment of his attacking them. Use an active expression of choice and will in regard to them. In such a way the aggressive becomes a defensive action as well.
"I refuse ALL the authority of evil spirits over me: their right to me: their claims upon me: their power in me: their influence in or upon me." "I am going to heaven by the power of the Blood of Yeshua!" Satan and every one of his followers is going to hell by the power of the Blood of Yeshua! I have been given authority in the Name of Yeshua, over ALL the Power of the enemy! Alleluia Yeshua!"
The same weapon of refusing works in many phases of the conflict. It works in speaking or writing. If the believer is conscious of difficulties, obstacles, or interference in what he is doing, he should at once refuse all ideas, thoughts, suggestions, visions, pictures to the mind, words, impressions, the spirits of evil may be seeking to insert. Shout, Blood of Yeshua! Alleluia for the power of the Blood of Yeshua! Quickly get back and co-operate and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. Keep a clear mind for the carrying out of God's will.
The believer by his refusal, and resistance of all supernatural attempts to interfere with his outer man, is actively to resist the powers of darkness. While at the same time he seeks to co-work with the Holy Spirit within his spirit. At first this means much conflict. But as he maintains active resistance, and increasingly closes his whole being to the spirits of evil, and is on the alert to recognize, and refuse their workings, his union with the Risen Lord deepens. His spirit grows strong, his vision stays pure, his mental faculties clear to realize a perpetual victory over the foes who once had him in their power.
He is on special guard against, what may be described as, the "double counterfeits" of the deceiving spirits. That is, the counterfeits by the enemy in connection with attacks upon himself. For example, the devil attacks him visibly, so that he clearly knows it to be an onslaught of the spirit beings of evil. He prays, resists, gets through to victory in his will and spirit. Then comes a great "feeling" of peace, and rest, which may be as much an "attack" as the onslaught, but more subtle and liable to mislead the believer if he is not on guard. The enemy suddenly retreating and ceasing the furious attack, hopes to gain the advantage for a second more subtle attack. Keep refusing the devil, praising God, reading the scriptures, and proclaiming the power of the Blood of Yeshua!
FIGHTING FROM PRINCIPLE
Understand how to "fight in cold blood." Know how to fight wholly apart from feelings of any kind. The believer may "feel" it is "victory" when it is defeat, and vice versa. All dependence upon feeling, and acting from "impulse" must be put aside in this warfare. Before the man received the Baptism of the Spirit, he acted from principle in the natural realm. He must now come back to that same position as a spiritual man. Some can only recognize "conflict" when they are conscious of it. They fight spasmodically, or by accident, when forced to it by necessity. But, now the "fight" must be permanent and part of life. There is a ceaseless recognition of the forces of darkness in "cold blood," because of knowledge of what they are, and a consequent "fight" from principle. A fight against the unseen foes when there is nothing to be seen of their presence, or workings, remembering that they do not always attack when they can. If they were to attack on some occasions, they would lose by it, because it would reveal the character of the thing and the source.
The believer knows that the devil, as a Tempter, is always tempting, and therefore, he resists from principle. He who wants continual victory, must understand that it is a question of principle versus feeling, and consciousness. It can only be intermittent victory if the warfare is governed by feeling. For instance, when the enemy attacks the believer, he will find a strong, primary weapon of victory in declaring deliberately, his basic position toward sin and Satan, as power of the Blood of Yeshua. The ground of the believer is the Calvary ground of Rom. 6:6-11. The man reckoning himself in the present moment "dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God," refuses to yield to sin and Satan, in any, or all of the points, or cause, or causes, of the attack or conflict.
As the believer thus declares his position in the hour of conflict and onslaught from the foe, he will often find himself obliged to wrestle in real combat with the invisible enemy. Standing on the finished work of Christ in death to sin, the spirit of the man becomes liberated for action. He is energized to stand against the hosts of Satan, the principalities and powers, the world-rulers of the darkness and the hosts of wicked spirits in the heavenly (or spiritual) realm.
WRESTLING AND WHAT IT MEANS
It is only possible to wrestle against the powers of darkness, by the spirit. It is a spiritual warfare, and can only be understood by the spiritual man. The spiritual man lives by and is governed by his spirit. Evil spirits attack, wrestle with, and resist the believer. He must fight them, wrestle with them, and resist them. This wrestling is not with soul or body, but with the spirit. The lesser cannot wrestle with the higher. Body wrestles with body in the physical realm. In the intellectual realm, soul with soul. In the spiritual realm, spirit with spirit. But the powers of darkness attack the three-fold nature of man, and through body or soul seek to reach the spirit of man. If the fight is a mental one, the will should be used in decisive action, quietly and steadily. If it is a spirit fight, all the forces of the spirit should be brought to join the mind. If the spirit is pressed down and unable to resist, then there should be a steady mental fight when the mind stretches out its hand to lift up the spirit.
The objective of evil spirits is to get the spirit down. When the spirit is down the believer is powerless to take the aggressive against them. Or else they seek to push the spirit beyond its due poise and measure, into an effervescence which carries the believer beyond the control of his will and mind. Then he is off guard against the subtle foe, or incapable of exercising due balance of speech, action, thought, discrimination. Under cover they may regain ground, or some advantage for themselves.
A GREAT VICTORY MEANS GREAT DANGER, because when the believer is occupied with it, the devil is scheming how to rob him of it. The hour of victory therefore calls for soberness of mind, and watching unto prayer, for a little over-elation may mean its loss and a long sore fight back to full victory.
When the spirit triumphs in the wrestling and gains the victory, there breaks out, as it were, a stream from the spirit, of triumph and resistance against the invisible, but very real foe. Sometimes in the conflict the enemy succeeds in blocking the spirit through his attack on body or soul.
The spirit needs soul and body for expression. The enemy's attacks to close the spirit up, to render the man unable to act in resistance against him. When this takes place the believer thinks that he is "reserved," because he feels "shut up," or he has "no voice to refuse." His audible prayer the "words seem empty," he "feels no effect," it seems a "mockery," but in truth it is that the spirit is closing up through the wrestling enemy gripping, holding and binding it. The believer must now insist on EXPRESSING HIMSELF IN VOICE, until the spirit breaks through into freedom. This is "the word of testimony" which is said, in Rev. 12:11, to be part of the overcoming power over the dragon. The wrestling believer stands on the (1) ground of the Blood of the Lamb, which includes all that the finished work of Calvary means in victory over sin and Satan; (2) he gives the word of his testimony in affirming his attitude to sin and Satan, and the sure, certain victory through Christ; and (3) he lives in the Calvary spirit, with his life surrendered to do the will of God, even unto death.
PRAYER AND PERSONAL CONFLICT
Closely bound up with the wrestling of the spirit is the necessity of prayer. Not so much the prayer of petition to a Father, as the prayer of one joined in Spirit with the Son of God, with the will set to do the will of God. He knows that God is with him in declaring to the enemy the authority of Christ over all their power (Ephes. 1:20-23).
Sometimes the believer has to "wrestle" in order to pray. At other times to pray in order to wrestle. If he cannot "fight" he must pray, and if he cannot pray he must "fight." For example, if the believer is conscious of a weight on his spirit, he must get rid of the weight by refusing all the "causes" of the weight. For it is necessary to keep the spirit unburdened to fight, and to retain power of detection. The delicate spirit-sense becomes dull under "weights," or pressure upon it. This is the reason for the enemy's ceaseless tactics to get "burdens" or pressure on the spirit, unrecognized as from the foe, or else recognized and allowed to remain.
The man may feel "bound up" and the cause be (1) no open spirit or open mind in another believer to receive from the spirit and mind of the one who feels bound up; (2) no capacity in the other to receive any message of truth; (3) some thought in the mind of the other, checking the flow from the spirit.
If in the morning the believer finds a "weight" or heaviness on his spirit, and it is not dealt with, he is sure to lose the position of victory through the day. In dealing with weight on the spirit, the moment it is recognized, the believer must at once act in spirit, and (1) stand (Eph. 6:14); (2) withstand (Eph. 6:13); and resist (Jas. 4:7) the powers of darkness. Each of these positions means spirit-action, for these words do not describe a "state," or an "attitude" (which is mainly an attitude of the will), or an act by mind or body.
To "stand" is a spirit-action repelling an aggressive move of the enemy; to "withstand" is to make an aggressive move against them; and to "resist" is actively to fight with the spirit, as a man "resists" with his body another who is physically attacking him.
THE WILES OF THE DEVIL
The word "wiles" in the original means "methods," and bears in its varied forms, the thought of "craft." Wiles means "work by method," to over-reach, to outwit, to go in pursuit; also the thought of system, or a way, or a method of doing things.
Satan's war on the saints can be summed up in the one word "Wiles of the devil." He does not work in the open but always behind cover. The methods of the deceiving spirits are adapted to each one, with a skill and cunning gained by years of experience. Generally the wiles are primarily directed against the mind, or "thoughts," and apart from yielding to known sin. Most of the workings of Satan in a believer's life may be traced back to a wrong thought or belief. These wrong thoughts or beliefs are admitted into the mind, and not recognized to be from deceiving spirits. If a believer only thinks and believes that all that Satan does is manifestly bad, Satan simply has to clothe himself with "good" to gain full self-assurance with that man. The war, therefore, is a war of deceit and counterfeit. Only those can stand against all the wiles of the deceiver, who seek the fullest truth from God, about God, Satan and themselves.
KNOWING THE WILES OF THE DEVIL
The Apostle said that the believer was to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, and that he was to put on the whole armor for doing this. How can a man stand against a wile, if he does not know what the wile is? There is a difference between temptation and wiles. There is a difference between the principles, and working of Satan and his emissaries, and their wiles. They themselves are tempters. Temptation is not a wile. A wile is the way they scheme to tempt. Paul did not say that the believer must stand against "temptations" or lies, or mention any other specific characteristic of evil spirits. But he must be "able to stand" against their wiles.
The spiritual man is to be on guard lest he is caught by their wiles. If they can be detected, then their objective can be frustrated and destroyed. The spiritual man needs the fullest concentration, and insight of mind for reading quickly his spirit sense. He must be quick detecting the active operations of the foe. He also requires alertness in using the message his spirit conveys to him. A spiritual believer ought to be able to read the sense of his spirit. He should have the same instinctive ability, as a person recognizes the physical sense of cold. Like when he feels a draught, and immediately uses his mental intelligence for actively protecting himself from it. So the spiritual man needs to use his spirit sense in locating and dislodging the foe by prayer.
Again, an "objective" and a "wile" are quite distinct. The wile is a means used by the foe to gain an objective. The evil spirits must use "wiles" to carry out their objective. Their objective is possession, but their "wiles" will be counterfeits. They are liars, but how can they succeed in getting their lies into the mind of a man? They do not need wiles to make themselves liars, but they need the wile to get the lie accepted by the believer.
The wiles of the devil and his emissaries are countless, and fitted to the believer. If he is to be moved by suffering from any course of action detrimental to their interests, they will play upon his sympathies by the suffering they cause to one near and dear to him. Or if he shrinks from suffering in himself, they will work upon this to make him change his course. To those who are NATURALLY SYMPATHETIC, they will use the COUNTERFEIT OF LOVE. Those who can be attracted by intellectual things will be drawn from the spiritual realm by being driven to over study. Or they may be given mental attractions of many kinds. While others, who are over sensitive and conscientious, may be constantly charged with blame for apparently continuous failure. The lying spirits lash the person for what they themselves do. But if the believer understands how to refuse all blame from them, he can use their very doings as a weapon against them.
THE ARMOR FOR THE CONFLICT
For this conflict with the powers of darkness the believer must learn experimentally how to take and use the armor for the battle, described by the apostle in Ephes. 6. The objective in Ephesians 6 is clearly not victory over sin. The armor is for VICTORY OVER SATAN. The call is not to the world, but to the Church. A call to stand in armor; to stand in the evil day. The call is to stand against the powers of darkness. We are to stand after accomplishing the work of overthrowing them, "having overcome all," verse 13, by the strength given of God.
The armor in detail, as set forth in Ephes. 6 is provided that the child of God should be "ABLE to stand" against the wiles of the devil. This clearly shows that a believer can be made able to conquer all the principalities and powers of hell, IF he fulfills the necessary conditions, and uses the armor provided for him.
It must be a REAL ARMOR if it is provided for meeting a REAL FOE, and it must demand a REAL KNOWLEDGE of it on the part of the believer. We know the FACT of the provision, the FACT of the foe, and the FACT of the fight. These must be as REAL FACTS as any other facts declared in the Scriptures. The armored and non-armored believer may be briefly contrasted as follows:
The armored Christian. --------- The non-armored Christian
Armored with truth. ------------- Open to lies, through ignorance.
Righteousness of life. -----------Unrighteousness through ignorance.
Making and keeping peace. --- Divisions and quarrels.
Self-preservation and self-control. - Reckless and unwatchful.
Faith as a shield. ----------------- Doubt and unbelief.
Scriptures in the hand. ---------- Relying on reason instead God's Word.
Prayer without ceasing. --------- Relying on work without prayer.
The believer who takes up the whole armor of God as a covering and protection against the foe, must himself walk in victory over the enemy. He must have (1) his spirit indwelt by the Holy Spirit, so that he is strengthened with the might of God to stand unshaken. He must be given continuously a "supply of the Spirit of Jesus" to keep his spirit sweet and pure; (2) his mind renewed (Rom. 12:2) so that he has his understanding filled with the light of truth (Eph. 1:18). That displaces Satan's lies, and destroys the veil with which Satan covered his wiles. The mind is clarified so that we finally understand what the will of the Lord is. (3) Our body subservient to the Spirit (1 Cor. 9:25), and obedient to the will of God in life and service.
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Alleluia Yeshua! When in doubt, SHOUT, Blood of Yeshua! Blood of Yeshua! Blood of Yeshua! Praise God for the power of the Blood of Yeshua! Alleluia Yeshua!
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