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Spiritual Warfare – Know Your Enemy

I’m continuing to look at the conflict between Adam and the devil.  It’s recorded in the title deed to earth (Revelation 6:1-2).  In my last post, we saw that the objective of the enemy was to take peace from the earth.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.  To him was given a large sword.
Revelation 6:3-4

As I’ve said previously, red is the color of sin.  Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfect will.  This is the enemy’s mode of transportation.  Questioning God’s will is the way he does things.  That’s his way of fighting the war and we need to be ready for it.

The Scripture tells us that he has some weaponry.  It’s a large sword.  Throughout the Bible, we find that words are a sword.

Please understand that the enemy’s sword is NOT living and active.  It’s not the sword of the spirit.  It has no authority behind it to pull down strongholds.

All the enemy starts with is a large sword – big words.  All he has is words.  No power, no authority, just talk.  On the surface, it doesn’t sound like he has much to work with.

As a matter of fact, when you compare it with what Adam was given, spiritual bow and arrows, the devil should have no hope of victory.  Adam has the authority of God to shut down the enemy before he even gets started.

Think about it.  We have a contest between two warriors.  One has a bow and arrows.  The other is approaching from the distance with only a sword.  Who would you expect to come out on top?

Personally, I would put my money on the archer every time.  However, a quick look at Genesis, chapter 3, will show that things don’t always turn out as they should.

Adam foolishly let the enemy get close enough to use his words.  The Scripture makes it clear that Adam was with Eve when the enemy attacked (Genesis 3:6).  Yet during the entire exchange, he kept his bow out of sight.

The enemy went to work questioning God’s Word and will for mankind.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:2-5

At that moment, through Adam, mankind succumbed to the enemy’s lies.  We’ve been caught in the consequences of that act ever since.

Know your enemy.  Understand his way of attacking.  We’ve been given life and victory in Christ.  Don’t let him convince you otherwise.

If the devil can convince you that the blessings of God are not for you, then he can steal your peace and everything else that goes with it.  Find out what God says about you and meditate on that.  It will give you the strength you need to walk in victory.

Question: What lies has the enemy used to try and stop you from receiving God’s best?

©2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2019 in Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Battle for Peace

In my last post, we looked at the opening of the title deed to earth (Revelation 6:1-2).  According to the deed, Adam was the first owner.

We then saw how when Adam was created he was given authority to rule the earth.  He had a spiritual bow and arrows.  He could defeat any enemy from a comfortable distance.  He had the high ground, so to speak.

What happens next was totally off-script.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.  To him was given a large sword.
Revelation 6:3-4

There are those who don’t like my interpretation of the seals in Revelation.  They don’t like the fact that I say they’re already past – a compressed view of the earth’s history.

But simply reading this passage should be enough to convince you.  This person on a red horse has the power to take peace from the earth.  There’s only one point in the history of the world when that was possible – before the fall of Adam.

Ever since Cain killed Abel there has been no peace on earth.  Right now, at this moment, no one can take peace from the earth.  There’s no peace to take.  This seal could only be a picture of Satan entering the scene with Adam.

The color red always stands for sin in the Scripture.  The enemy is seen as the one bringing sin into God’s perfect creation.

What we need to understand is the objective of the enemy.  Notice that he didn’t come to steal money, health or joy away from Adam.  He came to steal PEACE.

We know from Scripture that one title of Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 6:7).  He’s the Ruler of Shalom-Peace.  If you have this peace, then you have everything you need.

The word, Shalom in the Old Testament is rich in meaning.  It includes health, growth, prosperity, safety, fulfillment, rest, peace, protection, and more.  It implies “nothing missing, nothing broken.”  It includes everything God has for you.

That’s the prize the enemy was after.  If he could steal peace, then he’s got everything else.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Luke 19:41-42

This is what the Messiah wanted to restore.  It broke His heart when they rejected His attempts to restore to them His peace.

But there’s good news.  The story doesn’t end there.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

When you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior you also receive His peace.  The peace of God, that passes all understanding, has been restored to us (Philippians 4:7).

The problem is that most Christians have no idea that this is the prize.  This is the objective that the enemy is trying to steal.  If he can rob your peace then he’s got everything else.

Once you know the enemy’s objective, it’s easier to fight the war.  Protect the peace that the Lord has given you.  Or…if you’ve already lost it, then stand your ground to get it back.  It’s God’s will that you walk in everything that Christ won for you on the cross.

Question: How active is the peace of God in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Are You Armed?

SwordI’ve been talking about the spiritual battle that we’re involved in. The problems we face and the people who annoy us are not the issue. The real fight is with the unseen world around us.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:11

We’re told to put on the armor. I’ve heard many believers talk about it, but do we understand what this means? Do we even know what the armor really is?

First and foremost we need to realize that this is the armor of God. It’s not my armor; it belongs to God. Actually, it’s God’s personal suit of armor. It was talked about back in the Old Testament.

At one point Isaiah got a prophetic picture of God getting himself ready for battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

Because of the Lord’s outer garments, Isaiah could only see the helmet and breastplate. But that’s enough to know who the armor belongs to. The point is this – it’s not made to fit us, but God. That’s why being in Christ is so important.

The fact is that we are told to put on the full armor of God. If I have to put it on, then I’m not automatically fully clothed. Putting on the armor is something I need to do.

I also believe that “confessing the armor on” or “praying it on” is not enough. While I do believe in confessing and praying the Word of God, there’s more involved here.

For instance, if you’re not walking in faith, you haven’t picked up your shield no matter how many time you confess that you’re holding it. The same with truth. If you’re not walking in the truth of the Word of God, then no amount of praying will put the belt on you.

In order to be protected, we need to be using the armor daily. We need to be walking in truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Only through practice can a warrior get good at using his armor and weaponry.

There are no overnight successes. We either use it or there’s no victory for us. The devil is playing for keeps. He’s not going to back down simply because we claim to have armor.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8-9

The enemy’s looking for an easy victim. Not one that’s fully armed. This verse literally says that he’s looking for someone he can gulp down in one bite.

Given the choice, do you think he’d rather take on a naked believer thinking that their armed or a spiritual warrior fully clothed and trained for battle? The answer is clear. Don’t be a meal for the enemy’s kingdom.

Take your stand in the full armor of God.

Question: What’s the greatest challenge that you’re facing right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Do You Know the Enemy’s Power Source?

BatteryIn my last post I talked about power and authority.  Power is the ability to produce change.  Authority is the permission to use power.

Jesus told us that we had authority over all the power of the enemy.  This causes me to question our current church experience.  If what the Lord said is true, then why does the enemy seem to be winning?

To understand this you must realize that just like electricity, there are two forms of spiritual power.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

These were some of the last words of Jesus before He was taken up into Heaven.  We must realize that our power comes from God Himself through the Holy Spirit in us.  This means that the two sources of spiritual power are the Holy Spirit and sin.

This is a very important fact to know if we’re to grow in our spiritual walk.  Our goal should be to only receive our power from the Holy Spirit.

We must be certain that we’re not powered by the same thing that powers the enemy’s kingdom.  To have this assurance, we need to ask a very important question.  If sin is a power source, then what is the power of sin?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57

That should be an eye opener.  Most Christians have no idea that the power of sin is the law. We seem to have missed this fact even though it’s plainly taught in the Scripture.  This means that without the law, sin would have no power.

As a matter of fact, Satan’s power is derived totally from sin.  So if there were no law, then the enemy would have no power.  Everything that Satan is able to do is powered by the law.  Whether you realize this or not, every accusation and attack that he makes is all based upon the law.  The problem we have is that just knowing this truth isn’t enough to defeat him.

Like AC and DC, both forms are very powerful.  AC is the type of electricity that powers your house.  DC is the type that starts your car in the morning as well as supplying power for the lightning we see in a thunderstorm.  In the same way, the two forms of spiritual power can be very potent.

We, as believers, need to understand the differences so that we’ll not fall into the trap of trying to use the enemy’s power to defeat sin in our lives.

Question: How do we sometimes try to use our sinful nature to defeat sin in our lives?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Scripture, the Truth, and the Word of God

We live in an age where people are using the Bible to support what they’re doing or teaching.  How do I know if I’m truly hearing God’s Word?  Just because someone quotes the Scripture – is it really God’s Word they’re proclaiming?

In my last post we saw that Jesus didn’t accept the scriptural declaration of the devil.  He knew that the enemy was not speaking God’s Word to Him.

BibleHere is a surprising fact you may not know.  Throughout the entire Bible, the Scripture never calls itself the Word of God.  That’s something we have done.

At this point you’re probably ready to stone me as a heretic.  Please wait.  I’m not saying that the Bible is not the Word of God. All I’m saying is that the Bible doesn’t call itself the Word of God.

There is an important reason for that, which Christ Himself will testify to.  You need to let His words speak to you to understand the true nature of Scripture and the Word of God.

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
John 17:17

Jesus is very clear in this passage.  God’s Word is not just truthful.  It doesn’t only contain truth.  It is, by its very nature, TRUTH.

What about Christ the Living Word?  Didn’t He say, “I am the Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life.”?  There’s no getting around it – God’s Word is truth.

It’s unfortunate, but people can take the words of Scripture and twist them around for their own ends.  That’s why we need a daily walk with the Holy Spirit.  There’s a reason He’s called the Spirit of Truth.  The Spirit of God gives us the discernment we need when reading or hearing the Scripture.

Christ needed to discern the “word” He heard from the devil.  He was mature enough to see that even though Satan was quoting Scripture, his intent was evil.  In that case, the verse that the devil spoke was not the Word of God to Jesus.

We’re running into the same type of problems in the church today.  It grieves me that there are ministers whose only reason for studying the Bible, is to find passages that will convince you to put your money into their wallets.  They’ll tell you, based upon a Bible verse, that you will be blessed if you send them an offering of your month’s salary.

They’ll tell you that it’s God’s Word to you that if you’ll send them the money, then you’ll be out of debt and in a new house by the end of the year.  Of course, when it doesn’t come to pass you’ll blame God.  “I stood on God’s Word and He failed to keep it.”

Unfortunately, it was not God’s Word that failed.  What happened was that some preacher’s faulty use of the Scripture failed.  Then again, it got him the money he wanted, so it didn’t fail to bring in what he was after – your money.

Question: Have you ever seen the Scripture used to promote a lie?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Recognizing the Truth and the Lie

AppleThe Word of God is Truth.  Do we really understand how absolute this truth is?

The opposite of truth is lie.  Being able to recognize the lie is an important part of serving God.

Christ could see through the lies of the enemy and did so on many occasions.  Once, when upset by the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Jesus said the following.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
John 8:44

Here Jesus clearly teaches about the devil and his relationship to the truth.  Is there a little bit of truth in the devil?  Absolutely not!  “He does not hold to the truth, for there is no truth in him.”

While studying this, I was convicted and had to repent of some things that I never thought of as sin.  Satan makes true statements from time to time if it suits his purposes.  But, according to this verse, saying true statements and speaking the truth are two different things in the Lord’s eyes.

The above passage implies that if you make a true statement, in order to get someone to believe a lie, then you are in fact lying.  That’s what got to me.

For instance, if I was heading out of the house on an errand, my wife might say to me, “Honey, there are some important bills that need to be mailed.”

Being the wonderful husband that I am, I would tell her that I’d be glad to do it.  So, with the best of intentions, I take the letters.  I go through the day and complete my errands without ever giving the letters a second thought.

Then when I arrive home, the first thing my wife asks is, “Did you mail my letters for me?”

Not wanting to get in trouble I reply, “Oh, I took those with me first thing this morning.”  My hope is that my true statement would lead her to believe that I had mailed the letters, when in fact I hadn’t.  I always thought I was speaking truth – at least in part.

According to Jesus, this isn’t the case.  The devil uses true statements to get us to believe lies.  Jesus said that he cannot hold the truth and there is NO truth in him.  So that when Satan speaks it’s a lie, even if his statement happens to be true at the moment.  Because of this, I had to repent of all the true statements I’ve made, trying to cover my tracks.

Of course my wife can usually see through it and immediately says, “I didn’t ask if you took the letters, I asked if you had mailed the letters.”  So, in most cases, I was caught anyway.  But the fact is that making true statements with the intent to deceive is the same as telling a lie.

Question: Have you ever experienced this type of lie?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Bears

1 Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I have learned many valuable spiritual lessons as I have been hiking.  One of those lessons has to do with bears.

I praise God that I live on the East Coast.  When I hike, I don’t have to contend with grizzly, Kodiak, or polar bears.  Only cute, little (comparatively), vegetarian, black bears.  Well, as many people are aware of, even black bears can be nuisances.  Usually it’s the fault of a human.  When we leave our food and trash out, we encourage them to hang around.  They will then prowl around looking for something to devour.  Hmm…sounds familiar.

A lot of the time we encourage the enemy to attack us.  We do it by trying to live in both kingdoms.  We try to get God’s blessing using the world’s methods.  Or we try to use God’s power to satisfy our lust for material gain.  These things signal the enemy to hang around hoping for a free handout.

It is time for us to “clean up our camp.”  Seek God today.  Is there anything that needs to be put back in order in your life?  Christ will give you the wisdom, strength, and courage you need to overcome in this area.  Turn it over to Him.  Don’t give the enemy a free handout.  Use this time to take back any foothold that you have given him in your life.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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