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Tag Archives: spiritual struggle

The World at War

I’ve been talking about the spiritual war that we find ourselves in.  The first battleground was internal.  It’s the war against the flesh.  Having talked about that for a few posts, I now want to move on to the next area of conflict.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4

Our next area of struggle is against the world.  But, just saying that means different things to different people.  Before I can talk about this battle, I need to explain what exactly is meant by the world.

The word that’s translated, world, is usually the Greek word, cosmos.  This word is NOT talking about the planet earth.

As a matter of fact, we’re not even talking about the people on the earth.  The Bible is clear that our fight is not against fellow human beings.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…
Ephesians 6:12a

As Christians, we can’t look at any group of people and label them the enemy.  Many believers are against certain groups.  Let me be clear.  According to Scripture, abortionists, the LGBT community, Democrats and Republicans are NOT our enemies.

We need to understand clearly that the world we struggle against is not the people around us.  Then what does the Bible mean by the world?

The Greek word, cosmos, is about the world system.  It’s the way the world operates.  It’s how the people of the earth relate to each other.  It’s how they go about pursuing life and happiness.  It’s how our society works.

The problem with this world system is that it’s broken.  It was messed up when Adam and Eve fell from grace.

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
1 John 5:19

When Adam fell, control of the system passed into the hands of the devil.  He now sets the rules for how society operates.

That’s why many get frustrated by the outcomes of certain situations.  It’s not about what’s fair or right or just.  In most cases, things turn out according to the agenda set by the devil.

If that’s the case, then where does mankind fit into the equation?

But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 3:22

Our society operates according to the rules set by the enemy.  The people in this system try to live the best that they can as they follow those rules.  In effect, they’re prisoners of this system.  It’s a system where sin, missing the mark of perfection, is the main goal.

That’s the place that we find ourselves as believers.  We’re in this system.  But, the Good News is that we’re not a part of the system.  In Christ, we’re not subject to the same rules and constraints as the rest of the population.

Over the next few posts, I’ll explain how our victory over the world system works.

Question: How do you see this world system working in the lives of those around you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2020 in Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Spiritual Bootcamp – The Unseen Enemy

I’m continuing to post about the spiritual battle we’re in.  I think that the church gets in trouble when it loses sight of this.  If we don’t understand the battle, then we’ll never walk in victory.

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.
Ephesians 6:12

The Scripture is clear.  The battle takes place in the unseen world.  My fight is not against people or even the issues that I can see with my eyes.

The people around me are the casualties – prisoners of war held captive in unseen detention centers.  Sometimes they don’t even want to be set free because the deception feels so good at the moment.  My job is not to try and convince them to join me.

The role of the church is to fight the unseen enemy.  Tear down the invisible walls.  Then turn the light on in the prison cells so that the captives can see the truth of their situation.  Only then will they run to Christ the Savior.

But this seems to be the hardest thing to get believers to understand.  Our struggle is not in the physical world, but the spiritual.  It’s not us vs. the world.  I’m not trying to get them to change sides.  That will never bring about the desired results.

I want the same mindset that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8b

We need to know that there’s a spiritual world, and that’s where our battle is being fought right now.  But how many of us really understand what that means?  While many believers can quote 2 Corinthians 10:4the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world – we don’t seem to get the whole picture.

We don’t use physical weapons, but does that mean that the war itself is any different than a natural war?  The enemy’s kingdom is very organized.  The verse I started with talked about many levels of authority in their ranks.  It’s time that the church gets organized for battle as well.

Do you realize that Satan has never personally attacked you?  He has probably never even planned anything to come against you.  We only face the lower levels of the dark forces; the rulers and authorities.

That’s why when you step up in ministry there’s a shift to a more intense battle.  You find yourself moving up the ranks and facing tougher opponents in the spirit.

That’s also why I started this series.  In one of the first posts, I said that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years.  Here’s what I meant.  In all that time there’s been no organized attack by the church on the territory of the enemy, especially in the USA.

It’s time for the church to wake up.  Not just a few local congregations here and there who are making a little headway.

We need a revival.

Question: What needs to take place for the church as a whole to wake up?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Changes

In talking about how spiritual warfare has progressed throughout history, we need to see the change from the Old to the New Testament.  Most Christians are misinformed about our battle.  They’re trying to use Old Testament principles to fight their present warfare.

Reviewing what we know so far…before Christ, God’s people had no spiritual weaponry.  The battles had to be fought in the natural.  Even as far as their walk with God.  It was all about following the rules, not the ability to change themselves permanently.

Spiritually speaking, the enemy held all the cards.  That’s why the only way to fight the battle was to follow God’s plan and let Him fight for you and protect you.

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem!  This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”
2 Chronicles 20:15

The problem is that many believers have picked up this attitude.  “I’m going to let the Lord fight my battles.”  We even sing songs to that effect such as the old chorus The Victory is Mine when the Battle is the Lord’s.

You might get mad at me for speaking this truth.  But the simple fact is that there’s no place in the New Testament where we’re told that God fights our battles for us.  On the contrary, over and over again we’re exhorted to fight the good fight.

Why is that?  How did such a change take place?  It’s all because of the work that Jesus Christ accomplished for us.  He even told His disciples what He was going to do.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

Jesus made it clear that part of His work on earth was to give God’s people a powerful weapon.  Because of His victory on the cross, Christ put a spiritual weapon in the hands of the church.  It’s the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

What we need to hear is that we can no longer sit back and tell God to fight our battles for us.  That’s not going to happen.  The Lord has placed everything we need for victory firmly in our grasp…if we’re willing to use it.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

It’s crystal clear from the Scripture.  We wage war.  We fight.  God has already accomplished everything we need for victory.  It’s now up to us to walk in it.

Many of us may need to be retrained with this new information.  Over the next few posts, I’m going to be talking about the New Testament concept of spiritual warfare.  Especially if you were one of those who thought that God fights your battles, you need to keep reading these articles.

If this resonates with you, you may want to subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss any of these important posts.  My hope is that all who read them will walk in the blessing and victory that the Lord has won for them.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re currently facing in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Fight or Flight

We’ve been looking at Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His trial.  Now, He’s about to be arrested.  You may want to read Mark 14:42-51 before continuing with the rest of this article.

The Lord knew that His captors were approaching.  He woke up His disciples and went to meet the officials.  It’s interesting to see how the disciples reacted.

Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
Mark 14:47

We know from the other Gospels that this verse is referring to Peter.  A fisherman wielding a sword.  I’m surprised that he didn’t hurt himself!  The best he could do was to cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.

When the other disciples saw the futility of resisting, they all ran away.  One of them, when he was grabbed, left without any clothing.  It was the normal, human fight or flight reaction.

The Lord knew where He was headed.  He was looking forward to the victory He was going to accomplish on the cross.  So, instead, I want to talk about what was happening with the disciples.

What they did was the normal reaction that’s built into all of us.  When we see trouble coming, our entire being begins to prepare to either fight or run away.  God placed that in our DNA in order for us to protect ourselves in emergency situations.

The problem is that there’s a spiritual side that many of us fail to grasp.  In the spiritual battles that we face, there are times that we need to apply the lessons of “fight or flight”.

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 6:13

I think Scripture is clear that the first choice is to stand your ground.  We need to prepare ourselves spiritually so that we don’t fall back into our old ways.  If you’re strong in the Lord and understand your place in Christ, then stand and fight that spiritual battle.

But what about those who aren’t in that position?  They’ve tried to fight the enemy and merely “cut off a servant’s ear”.  They haven’t put on their holy armor.

Many believers find themselves in spiritual struggles with no hope of victory.  They’ve resigned themselves to falling backward for the rest of their lives.  There is another choice.

Look at what Paul advised a young pastor who he was mentoring.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22

Some of the worst problems we face are when the old man tries to reassert itself.  The sins that we thought were long gone are suddenly calling to us again.

This is especially true of addictive sins.  Drug, alcohol, and sexual addictions are a few areas that never seem to let up on their assaults.  What do you do if your spiritual strength is not enough to overcome?  Should you just give in?  Absolutely not!

There is a time to flee.  Get out of the situation that’s causing the temptation.  You must leave the environment that weakens your defenses.  There’s nothing shameful about a strategic retreat.  It gives you the ability to strengthen your position for the next battle.

Question: When have you needed to flee from an overpowering situation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Don’t Let Go

SwordI’ve been sharing about David’s mighty men from the Old Testament. They’re an example to us of the warrior spirit that we need in order to fight our spiritual battle.

The next person I want to talk about is a man named Eleazar.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
2 Samuel 23:9-10

Apparently there was a time when David’s army started making fun of the Philistines. Israel decided that it wasn’t a good idea to provoke them and they took off. David and his men stayed. In the course of the battle, Eleazar’s hand froze to his sword.

Think about what happens in the body of Christ today. It’s easy to taunt the enemy while we’re safe in church with other believers. What about in the middle of the attack when we’re on our own?

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

We’ve been given the most powerful spiritual weapon anyone can use – the Word of God. It’s the sword we need to defeat the enemy. Does your hand freeze to the sword in the spiritual struggle?

Remember the early church. At one point they were commanded not to speak in Jesus’ name anymore. What did they do? Run and hide? Did they compromise to as not to offend?

They had a prayer meeting, praying in the spirit.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

The middle of the battle is when you cling more tightly to the sword. Only then can the victory be assured.

You need to realize that I’m not just talking about reading the Bible. Even though that’s important to our spiritual growth, it’s the Word we hear from God in our prayer time that makes the difference. Even David understood this.

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Psalms 138:3

There’s a boldness that only comes when we’ve heard God’s voice speaking to us. Then we know that there’s no weapon that can defeat us. It’s time for the church to press in and hear from Heaven. Then we must walk in obedience to the Lord’s will.

Question: When have you been made bold as a result of being in prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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The Challenge

ClimberIf you’re not facing any challenges, then you’re not living up to your full potential in Christ. That statement is true, whether we want to hear it or not. As much as we’d like a nice easy road, that’s not what the Lord promised us.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Many Christians would rather bury their heads in the sand than face the truth. We’re in a battle. We’re fighting for the souls of the men and women around us. Most of them are not even aware of what’s really going on in the spirit.

The good news is that Christ has already won the victory. We’re simply a part of the clean-up crew. We’re here to enforce the Lord’s victory on the enemy’s kingdom. We’re to open up the prisons and bring healing to the scarred and hurting – spiritually speaking.

It’s not all about my agenda and what I want to accomplish. I need to yield my life to the will of Christ. After all, He’s the Commander and Chief. He’s the one who gives us our marching orders.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I might be dating myself, but one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies is The Matrix. It had an interesting concept. Because they lived in a virtual world, if they needed to know Karate, they could just download it into their brain. If they needed to fly a helicopter, they could download that knowledge.

It’s too bad that doesn’t work for us – even though some Christians try that technique in their spiritual lives. We sometimes think that we can do our own thing, then when we get into trouble, we can pray.

Many people find out too late that this strategy doesn’t work very well. I can’t wait for the enemy’s attack, then suddenly learn to resist him. The time to prepare is before the problem.

The “secret” to overcoming is in knowing where our strength comes from. We’re told to be strong in the Lord. That’s where we prepare for the struggle.

That’s why it’s so important to remain in Christ. We need to be a people of prayer, even when everything seems to be going smoothly along. It’s when we’re spending time in the Spirit that we’re downloading the weaponry needed to overcome our future challenges.

I’m only ready for the problems of life if I am resting in the Lord. It’s His mighty power that will sustain me. Take the time to draw from the Lord’s ability. Be strong in His mighty power.

Question: How can God’s power help you in the challenge you’re facing right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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