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Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

Equipped by Prayer in the Spirit

In my last post, we saw that we receive the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit as we pray in the spirit.  In today’s post, I want to show that this is not just a singular occurrence in Scripture.

We are in a spiritual struggle against unseen forces.

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

Contrary to how some people act, our fight is not against people.  As followers of Christ, we’re not struggling against political parties, social issues, or those we see as “sinners”.  The real enemy is the spiritual kingdom that enslaves those in the world system.

We’re in this battle whether we want it or not.  So, we’re told that we need to be spiritually prepared for the struggle.  We’re given the explanation of the armor and Paul concludes in verse 18 by giving us the means by which we arm ourselves – prayer in the spirit.

However, this isn’t the only section of Scripture that talks about our warfare.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 3

Jude was one of the early leaders of the church.  He was a half-brother of Jesus who became a believer after the resurrection.

In this short letter, he explains that he simply wanted to write a brief word of encouragement.  He wanted to bless and uplift those who would receive it.

Instead, once he sat down to write, the Holy Spirit grabbed his attention and caused him to speak of the spiritual battle.  Jude felt the urgency to warn them to diligently contend for the faith.

In Ephesians, Paul was contending against demonic forces.  Jude is contending against false teachings.  But in both cases, they equipped themselves for battle the same way.

Look at Jude’s concluding remarks.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Jude 20

It’s important to note here that the word, “and”, does not appear in the original Greek text.  It should actually be translated, build yourselves up in your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit.

We face battles every day.  There are many directions that the attack may come from.  It could be our flesh, the world system, or the demonic kingdom.

In all cases, we prepare for this struggle in the same way.  Both Paul and Jude talked about their battles.  They were two different people in two different struggles.  Yet they both concluded that it was prayer in the spirit that would prepare them for victory.

I don’t know how anybody could read this and say that the gift of tongues is not for today.  We can’t win the victory without it.

They try to justify it by saying that they can pray in the spirit in English – or whatever their native language is.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:14

Paul makes it clear that praying in tongues is praying in the spirit.  If you’re using your mind to come up with the words, you’re not praying in the spirit.

Prepare for the battles you’re about to face.  Spend some quality time praying in the spirit.

Question: How much time are you spending in prayer for 2020?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Path to the Anointing

This is the last post in a series I’m writing to explain what walking in the anointing of God means.  It seems that the church is under the impression that just because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the same anointing as Jesus.

Hopefully, based upon my last few posts, you understand why that’s not the case unless you go through the same process He went through.  We need to seek God’s approval to walk in His power.

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

We’re now in a position to understand what Paul was telling Timothy in this verse.  Do your bestbe diligent – to present yourself to God as one anointed.  When you’re approved before God there’s no need to be ashamed.

This is a big problem among God’s people in our generation.  We’re full of boldness when we’re in praise and worship.  But on the job or at school it’s a different story.  We keep our faith inside, not wanting to “offend” anyone.  That’s foolishness since every other group will openly declare what they believe to be true.

It all comes down to power.  I want to say to those I work with, “God loves you.  He’ll change your life.  He’ll heal you and bless you.”  But I worry that if they let me pray with them, nothing will happen.

Furthermore, what if I’m not healed and my life isn’t blessed?  What if they ask me about that?  I’d rather just keep quiet and avoid the embarrassment.

The church needs to be on its knees seeking approval for ministry.  Then, when the anointing is upon us, we’ll not worry about what the world or our friends think.

I believe that the next great revival will involve the church coming to an understanding of this truth.  But we’ll have to attain a certain level of intimacy before the Lord will manifest His anointing in us.  This is probably going to be the hardest move for the church to enter into.

I don’t think it will come as a wave, but as individuals begin paying the price for God’s approval.  Then, they must show up at the place and time of their anointing.  It could be a big or small meeting.  It won’t matter as long as it’s God’s appointed place.

Do what it takes to secure your anointing.  Follow the example of Christ.  Seek intimacy with the Father.  Then, as the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, walk in obedience to His voice.

Understanding this truth gives us more insight into the spiritual battles we face.  We need this approval in order to wear the helmet and wield the sword.  Too many Christians are entering this struggle with no spiritual weapons.

It’s time for God’s people to submit under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  We need to allow Him to bring us through His training program.

It’s only when we can correctly handle God’s Word that we’ll be entrusted with true power.  Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about this in more detail.  My desire is to see the church rise to the level God is calling us to.

Question: What could happen if the whole church walked in the anointing of the Lord?

© 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 Helmet of Salvation

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

Before I talk about the helmet, there’s something I need to explain.  The Greek text has an interesting and important twist in this verse.  Up until this point, every piece of armor was taken with a unique word.  For instance, under bind your feet with the shoes or take up the shield.

In this verse, there’s only one action for both pieces of armor.  We’re literally told to accept or receive the helmet and sword.  That leads me to believe that these two are an all or nothing combination.

In fact, once we understand these pieces, we’ll know why this is true.  I’ll talk about why they’re combined together in a future post.  For now, I simply want us to get to know them as individual pieces of armor.

So the question is; what is the Helmet of Salvation used for?  The obvious thing is that a helmet protects your head.  It’s also obvious what the head symbolizes in Scripture.

…and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:10

Christ is The Head.  He has the final power and authority over all of Creation.  But I am also a head under Christ.

First, I need to explain power and authority; they’re not the same thing.  Power is the ability to act.  We were told in Acts, chapters 2-3, that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us.  Do you have the Holy Spirit?  That answer is yes if you’re in Christ.  So you also have power.

Authority is something very different.  It is the right or permission to use that power.  Now I need to know where I can get this authority.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

All authority is given by God.  I can’t take it for myself.  There are 4 distinct authority structures ordained by God.  They are the church, the government, the home, and the workplace.

As we look at the pieces of armor, we find that there are groupings of items.  First, there’s the “standing armor”, which is truth, righteousness, and preparation.  Then there’s the “armor of approach”, which is faith so you can get near enough to strike the enemy.

The next two, the helmet and sword, are something else completely.  The word, take, in the Ephesians verse, literally means to accept or receive.  So these to pieces are the “issued armor”.

In the Roman army, the helmet told your birth country, your rank, what division you were in, and your place in the army.  It was the sign of how much authority you had in this army.

The Helmet of Salvation is the same for us. It’s the sign of our authority.  That’s important because if I haven’t received authority, then I can’t walk in authority.  Without authority, I have no ability to use power.

The key is that I can never take authority.  It can only be received when it’s given to me.

He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 10:1

Authority can only be given by someone who has it.  It flows from the top down.  It’s vital that I do what’s necessary to receive God’s authority in my life.

God’s authority is how I accomplish the Lord’s work.  It gives me the right to use the power of God against the enemy and his kingdom.

Question: Why is walking in both power and authority important for the church of our generation?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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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 Bootcamp – Armed and Ready

I’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 issues.  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 of vengeance and zeal, 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 found in Christ is so important.

The fact is that we’re 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 times you confess that you’re holding it.  It’s 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.  It’s not his first choice to mess with someone who’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 who thinks 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.

My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ once again rises up in the Lord’s strength.  Not just a few little groups here and there, but a majority of God’s people.  That’s why this blog exists.

Don’t be the enemy’s next victim.  Take your stand in the full armor of God.

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

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Bootcamp – Strength for the Battle

I’ve been posting about the spiritual battles that we find ourselves in.  We need to be prepared for them.  We’re going to face hardships whether we’re ready or not.

It’s unfortunate that many Christians wait until they’re in the middle of a spiritual firefight to learn how to be victorious.  You can’t wait for a fight and download the Karate program.  It doesn’t work like that.

How do we prepare for the challenges ahead?  The same way a soldier does.  Bootcamp consists of two aspects – knowledge and work.

For us, it’s knowledge of the Scripture and God’s voice.  Then we have to work at implementing what we know to do.

You may be thinking, “That’s not an easy thing to do.”  You’re right.  In most cases, it turns out to be beyond our ability.  But that’s why understanding the spiritual battle is so important.

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

I’m glad that we’re not told to psych ourselves up and power our way through the challenges.  I don’t want to have to rely on my willpower.  I’ve got an advantage that the world doesn’t have.

I’m told to be strong in the Lord.  Sometimes this goes against our nature.  We want the ability to brag about our accomplishments.  We want to say that our intelligence or strength was what it took to overcome the obstacles before us.

That’s why so often we make our plans then ask God to bless them.  Wouldn’t we be much better off if we asked the Lord for His plan right at the start?

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.
1 Peter 4:11

The fact is that it’s not about my glory, but His.  If I were able to lay hold of my own destiny, why would I need Christ?  The work before me is too much for me by myself.

When we finally learn to admit this truth, life gets so much more enjoyable.  Not that I can sit back and let God do all the work, but I know He’s there to cover my weaknesses.  I don’t have to worry about whether I can handle the problem or not.

If I’ll draw on His strength and listen to the Holy Spirit, then there’s nothing that can stop me.  We need to rest in God’s ability and not our own.

For a few posts, I’ll be going through the section of Ephesians, chapter 6, which talks about the armor of God.  The Apostle Paul understands what it takes to walk in victory.  We need to apply these principles to our lives.

We know that we’re going to face struggles.  The time to prepare is now.  Don’t let life take you by surprise and knock you down.  Do what it takes to get yourself ready for the road ahead.

Question: What are you going through right now that’s too big for you to handle?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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