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Tag Archives: spiritual battle

Thinking Like a Soldier

Whether you know it or not, the world is a spiritual battle zone right now. Unless you have the right mentality, you could become a casualty of this war. That’s why it’s so important to know how the Bible says for us to live.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:17-18

As I’ve posted in the past, this verse is talking about the authority and power of God. The Lord wants to work this through us.

My question is; if we know we’re in the battle zone, then how should we live? The last sentence of this passage literally reads attend to this with all persistence and petition. The fact of the matter is that there’s a battle zone mentality.

The first thing we’re told is that it requires us to be alert. The Greek word there means to be sleepless. We must be awake and alert in the battle zone.

We’re told in this same chapter of Ephesians that our enemy isn’t flesh and blood. They don’t take a day off. Does that mean we don’t need to rest or take a vacation? No, but we have to stay spiritually vigilant no matter what’s happening in our lives.

“There’s not much going on in my life right now. I don’t need to pray today.”

That kind of thinking can destroy you in this battle. Look at how Jesus put it to His disciples.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

Watching – staying spiritually alert – and prayer goes together. According to Jesus, it’s so that you will not enter into a test, a time of proving.

In the battle zone, there are traps and ambushes. You must be alert. Like someone who’s walking in the middle of a minefield. At that point, you’re in the test.

Did you know that many of the tests and temptations of life can be avoided? I wonder sometimes how many of these battles are of our own making. Or maybe we’ve just walked blindly into them.

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

This is how the enemy works. In the natural, it’s the oldest, weakest lion that does the roaring. The strong, young lions wait on the other side of the prey. When the prey hears the roar and runs away from it, they run right to the lions waiting for their dinner to arrive.

It’s the same with our spiritual enemy. He’s trying to get you to head into a trap. We have to keep spiritually alert at all times. That only happens as we watch and pray. It will help us to avoid many of the problems that are before us.

Stay alert!

Question: Can you think of a time that you were tested or tempted because you weren’t spiritually alert?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – Using the Sword of the Spirit

In my last post, I explained that the Sword of the Spirit is a special Word that you’ve received from God.  You get it by spending quality time in His presence.  The Holy Spirit trains you before giving you this gift.

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

This truth is hard for us to accept sometimes.  The true Word of God is alive and active.  It has a life and will of its own.  I can speak it, but I can’t control what it does.

We sometimes think that if God would speak through us, we’ll have such a great time.  That’s not always the case.

Think about Elijah.  He heard from God and then spoke to a king saying that it wouldn’t rain for a few years.  Because of that Word, Elijah had to live by a brook for his water.  Later, the brook dried up and he had to go to a widow for provision.

When God’s Word is invoked over a situation, that Word has its own plan.  Scripture makes it clear that it will accomplish what God ordained it to do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Even more than that, once God’s Word goes forth, nothing can be protected from it.  It can totally change every area of your life.  The writer of Hebrews continues with this thought.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13

When this verse says that everything is laid bare, it uses a special Greek word.  It literally means to expose the neck of a victim so that they can be killed.  This is a powerful spiritual weapon.

This is why the Holy Spirit must train us to use it.  God will never entrust it to an infant, the unapproved, or fools.  It can totally destroy the work of the enemy in someone’s life, in a city, or in a region.

As believers, we should desire to enter the spiritual battle.  Our goal should be to set the captives free from the influence and control of the enemy.

In speaking about those with God-given authority, Paul made an interesting observation.

For he is God’s servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

I know that in its context, this verse is talking about people in authority, such as the Police Department, who are authorized to keep the peace.  But there’s a greater application.

Are you God’s servant?  Do you desire to do good?  If so, then this verse could be applied to you in a spiritual sense.

This verse tells me that there’s a reason why the police carry a gun.  In the same way, the Lord doesn’t issue the Sword of the Spirit for no reason.  If you have no reason to bear the sword, you will not be issued the sword.

What’s the reason that we’re given this sword?  To explain it, I’m going to give a word by word translation of the last sentence of the above verse.  In essence, God’s servant is a punisher, who repeatedly carries out justice against evil, while motivated by a violent passion.

Please remember – I’m ONLY talking about attacking the devil’s kingdom IN THE SPIRIT.  I’m not talking about any physical attack.

With that in mind, if you have no intention of attacking the enemy’s kingdom with a violent passion, then you’ll have no reason to be given the Sword of the Spirit.  To put it another way, God will have no reason to give you a special Word from Him.

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to train us.  Our generation needs more believers who can handle this sword.

Question: How passionate are you about seeing God’s will done on earth?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – The Sword of the Spirit

Today I want to begin looking at the Sword of the Spirit.  It’s the second of the pieces that we receive.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

It goes without saying that the sword is an offensive weapon.  Everything so far has kept the enemy from hurting you.  This piece actually hurts the enemy and does damage to his kingdom.  If we’re going to walk in the victory that God has ordained for us, then we need to understand what this weapon is and how to use it.

First, we need to know what it’s not.  The Sword of the Spirit is not the Bible.  The Bible does not hurt the enemy.  As a matter of fact, the devil has the Bible memorized and he quotes it when it suits his purposes (Matthew 4:5-6).

The Sword of the Spirit is a rhema-word from God.  It’s a Word I need to receive directly from God.

We serve a God who speaks to His people.  But we need to be in a position to hear what He’s saying to us.  I must spend the time needed to be listening in His presence.

That’s why it’s important that we understand this is a received weapon, along with the helmet.  The fact is that the Holy Spirit has to train us to use this weapon.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

There are many Scriptures that talk about our need to be approved.  For the most part, we ignore them.  Then we wonder why the church seems to have no power.

The word approved means that there has been an inspection.  More than that, the inspection has been passed and the one tested has been certified.  There needs to be training.

The phrase that’s translated as correctly handles actually means to make a straight cut.  We need to be able to make a straight cut with the Word of truth.  This verse is talking about the logos-word of God.

It’s the logos-word that trains us to use the rhema-word.  For in-depth teaching on the differences between the logos, rhema, and graphe word of God, click here.

The fact is, if you can’t make a straight cut with the logos-word, then you’ll not be given permission to use the rhema-word.  We must be approved to use the sword.  It’s not some spiritual toy that we can take out and play with whenever we want.

The question is, how do I become approved to use this sword?

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:19-21

This verse tells us that anger, man’s passion, will never win the war against evil.  It’s the humble acceptance of the Word that rids us of evil.  At least that’s how it’s written in Greek.

James goes on to tell us how to prepare.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.
James 1:22

These verses from James are all talking about the logos-word.  If I can’t hear and obey God’s logos-word to me, then I’m not ready for His rhema.

If I want to walk in the greater things of God, then I first need to be faithful in what I’ve already received.  That’s the key to a victorious Christian walk.

Question: What’s the last thing you knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking to you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Armor – The Shield of Faith

In talking about God’s Armor, the next piece we’ll see is the Shield of Faith.  That’s probably one of the most preached about in our generation.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

There are some assumptions being made in this verse.  Paul says that this is in addition to the pieces already talked about. This assumes that you’re already standing firm in the Word, walking in righteousness, and prepared to do God’s will.

We can stand firm in just these.  What we have to realize is that when we take up the shield, we’re going from defense to offense in the spiritual battle.  Up until this point, your goal is to keep the enemy from harming you.

You add the shield so that you can now defeat the enemy.  You take up the Shield of Faith because you’re now going into the part of the battle where the arrows are flying.

Please understand that I’m not talking about saving faith.  You’ve already trusted Christ for that.  I’m also not talking about faith in the promises of God.  I’m looking at using faith in the middle of the battle as a shield.

It’s your protection against the flaming arrows of the evil one.  This means that there’s more than just one arrow headed in your direction.

That brings me to the word, shield, itself.  The Greek word used in this verse is not the little one that looks like a trashcan cover.  Get that picture out of your mind, even though most of the illustrations for the Christian armor look like that.

The word Paul uses comes from the word door.  That’s because this shield is as big as a door.  The soldier could hide behind it and be totally protected from these arrows as long as he stayed there.

That tells me that faith protects my whole life.  So far, the armor has protected my mind, my heart, and my will.  This piece protects everything else.

This shield protects me from evil.  What kind of evil?  I’m talking about the random evil that’s flying in the front lines.  The archers on the wall loose a volley of arrows against those who are advancing.  These are simply flying to take out whoever they can hit.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day…
Psalms 91:5

If the enemy can hit our flesh with evil, then our flesh will take us out of the fight.  We’ll end up battling our own sin nature instead of defeating the devil’s kingdom.

However, there’s one more purpose of the shield other than for protection.  In the Roman army, everybody’s shield was painted differently.  They did this because your shield identified your family.  Members of the same family had the same design on their shields.

But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house.  And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
Hebrews 3:6

The fact is that we’re now in God’s family.  This verse tells us that we can show it by our outspokenness.  When we walk in faith, we can boldly declare our expectation in Christ.  In that way, we show what family we belong to.

This is the shield that protects us from evil.  In my next post, I’ll talk about how to use and apply this piece of armor.

Question: How has God shielded you from the enemy’s attacks?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2019 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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The Start of Spiritual Warfare

For the past few posts I’ve been talking about the first spiritual battle between Adam and the devil.  We saw that Adam was given all the authority he needed to defeat the enemy.  Instead, he allowed the devil to use words in order to deceive him into disobeying God’s Word.

In that defeat, there were some important changes that happened.  First and foremost, Satan became the legal owner of planet earth and everything in it.  Mankind became slaves.

There was another event that most people don’t realize.  If you remember, Adam was given a bow and arrows as his spiritual weaponry (Revelation 6:1-2).  When he was defeated by the enemy, he was stripped of these weapons.  It’s clear from Scripture that they are now in the enemy’s hands.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

This verse is especially important knowing that these arrows originally belonged to Adam.

That tells me that in the garden, when Adam fell, mankind was stripped of all spiritual armor and weapons.  Humanity was defenseless against the spiritual forces of evil.

A third result of Adam’s defeat was the entrance of sin into the world system.  When Adam knowingly chose to disobey God, he picked that which was imperfect.  At that moment he stepped out of God’s perfect will for his life.

In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible the word, sin, literally means to miss the mark.  Perfection, what we were created for, is the bullseye.  No matter how hard we try, we miss the target.  That’s the word picture of what sin is.  It’s missing the mark of God’s will.

That brings me to the start of the ongoing spiritual war that we find ourselves in.  Our number one battle is not against the enemy, even though that’s a part of it.  The toughest battle we face is within our own being.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we’re at war against sin.  It’s that part of human nature that wants to do something other than God’s will.  Our flesh always seems to want to choose the imperfect.

This explains a lot about the Old Testament.  People often ask why there were so many sins that had the death penalty attached.  The answer is simple.  With no spiritual weapons, the only way to fight sin was in the natural.

How do you stop the spirit of adultery from spreading?  Under the Old Testament we would have no way to combat it in the spiritual realm.  The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to put to death the adulterer.

That also explains why whole nations had to be totally destroyed.  The nation of Amalek, for example, had sold itself out to the enemy.  In that case, their sin had to be eradicated by a physical war.

This is why we have to be careful in how we apply Old Testament Scriptures.  Things have changed since then.  That’s why I feel that God is leading me to talk about the history of spiritual warfare.

We need to understand where we are today.  There are some principles that we can learn from the Old Testament, but our battle is on a different level.

Over the next few posts I hope to explain not only where we’ve come from, but how we can walk in the victory Christ has won for us.

Question: What is your biggest difficulty in your battle against sin?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – A Strong Start

As I said in my last post, I’m beginning a series on the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in.  There are a number of things that we misunderstand about it.  Hopefully, I can help to clear up some of these issues.

To start this subject, I want to take us through the history of spiritual warfare, as recorded in Scripture.  To do that, I’m going to look at some verses that people don’t normally associate with this topic.  I just ask you to stick with me; it will become clear as we go along.

The first place I want to take you is to the throne room scene in Heaven.  In the book of Revelation, we see Christ (the Lamb) taking up a scroll that’s sealed with seven seals.  That’s found in Revelation, chapter 5.

I believe that this scroll is the title deed to planet earth.  Christ is given it as a call for Him to return as King since He paid for it with His blood on the cross.

As with any deed, it should record the major events of the property in question.  It would contain the owners, liens, and rights of way that have been enforced during its history.  The deed to earth is no exception.

That being said, in Revelation, chapter 6, we see the Lord breaking these seals and opening the scroll.  What’s recorded on it is very important to our discussion.

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.  Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”  I looked, and there before me was a white horse!  Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Revelation 6:1-2

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of conjecture about this verse.  Some say that it’s talking about Christ, the church, or the devil.  Unfortunately, if you read the description carefully, you’ll find that none of these will match perfectly.

There is one person, however, that fits all the requirements of this verse.  Look at the description.

He carries a bow.  In the ancient world, that was the “first-strike” capability of any army.  The archers could do a lot of damage before the enemy even got close.

He was also given a crown.  That’s talking about God-given authority.  Along with that, he had a destiny to conquer something.  And don’t forget that he rides a white horse – that stands for purity.

With all of these descriptions, I think that the single most important fact is that he’s the first person listed on the title deed to the earth.  As far as I can see, there’s only one person this could be.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Genesis 1:27-28

Here we see the start of it all.  Adam is created perfect, pure, and righteous.  He has authority to rule and is commissioned to subdue, or conquer, the entire earth.  He’s to bring everything on earth under the rulership of God, the Creator.

As the first created human, he’s also in a unique position.  Because of his authority under God, he can protect the earth from any invader.  He has been given “first-strike capability.”

In Adam, the human race was given a strong start.  Things looked very promising.  There’s no enemy that could defeat God’s anointed ruler.  At least that’s what it looked like in the beginning.

In my next post, we’ll see how that turns out.

Question: How are we like Adam, with the authority God has given us in Christ?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Battles – A New Direction

Now that I’ve finished going through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, I feel a change is coming.  At least for a while, I’m going to interrupt my walk through the New Testament.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is leading me to deal with some issues that the church of our generation needs to hear.  God is leading His people into a new level of ministry.  We need to prepare ourselves.  But if we don’t know what’s coming, how can we be ready?

God is also doing some new things in me, personally.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of these.  Hopefully, as you stick with me, this blog will continue to be a blessing to you.

The first topic I want to tackle is that of the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in.  I don’t think that we fully understand the scope of this struggle.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:12-13

We’re told in Scripture, that we’re in a spiritual battle.  The struggle is real.  Yet many believers choose to ignore this warning.

All too often we wait until the enemy knocks us down before we try and activate our spiritual weapons.  By that time it’s usually too late.  Then we fall to our knees, crying out to God, to save us from the situation we find ourselves in.

It’s time we realize that the kingdom of the enemy doesn’t take a holiday.  The devil doesn’t look at you and say, “Oh.  You’re on vacation.  I guess I’ll leave you alone this week.”

We need to be constantly aware of our spiritual life.  Serving God is a 24/7 activity.  Paul describes it perfectly to Timothy, his son in the ministry.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer.
2 Timothy 2:3-4

How often do we view our walk with the Lord in these terms?  When I bowed my knee to Christ, at that point, I was no longer a “civilian.”  I was now a part of a kingdom that is structured much like the military – only on a spiritual level.

Chasing after the world is the same as getting involved in civilian affairs.  It takes our focus off the marching orders that the Lord has given us.  We need to be under the command of the Holy Spirit.  That’s where our allegiance should attach itself to.

I believe that understanding the spiritual war we’re in is an important aspect of being a Christian.  Beginning with my next post, I’ll be talking about this subject.  I’m going to speak about this in great detail.  I’ll even deal with the history of this struggle from Adam to the church.

My desire is that you’ll be prepared for any attack that the enemy might bring against you.  Our victory is found in Jesus Christ alone.  Never forget that the battle has been won before you even step foot on the field.

Question: What spiritual battles have you faced in the past?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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