RSS

Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

Spiritual Warfare – One in Spirit

What has to happen for the church to walk in unity against the devil’s kingdom?  I’ve been posting about it, and I think the answer will surprise you.

In my last installment, we saw that Jesus prayed to the Father, that He would make us one.  That means that it must be by the Spirit.  The church can never operate as one person in the natural; it’s a work that only can be performed in the spiritual realm.  In His prayer, the Lord gives an indication of how this process works.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:22-23

If the unity of the church is just like the unity shared by the Father and the Son, then we must ask; how are the Father and the Son one?  Simply put, they share the same Spirit.

It sounds to me as if this is one of the most important aspects of our spiritual battle.  It’s our unity that speaks to the world and lets them know the truth about Christ.

I don’t believe that this is what the world sees in this generation.  Right now many churches have no agreement or unity.  Agreement is good; it means that we’re all being taught the truth.  Our agreement lets the world hear the Good News with one voice.

Unity is better.  It allows the church to operate as a unit.  But the real place of power is a church that’s operating in both agreement and unity together.  This means that we not only believe the same and speak the same but also operate in one spirit.  How is that accomplished?

Let me illustrate how this truth works.  Picture yourself out in a field.  The wind is gently blowing and you can see the grass swaying in the breeze.  For the purpose of this illustration, the natural wind is the Holy Spirit.

Now I come into the picture.  Compared to the wind, I’m a little electric fan.  When I pray “in the Spirit,” I align my spirit with the Holy Spirit and start to blow my wind in the same direction as the natural wind.  When I’m in the spirit, I’ve lined myself up with God’s Spirit.

Being in the spirit allows my spiritual wind to blow in the same direction as the Holy Spirit.  If this scenario were happening in the natural – a fan in a field – would you be able to tell which part of the wind came from the fan and which came from the air?  No, it would be impossible to differentiate the two.

In the same way, you can’t differentiate my spirit versus the Holy Spirit.  The wind of the Holy Spirit completely envelops my wind, it’s all ONE.  The Holy Spirit and I are in unity.  This is what Paul wrote about to the Corinthian church.

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:17

We’re now starting to see the whole picture.  To be one with Him, I must unite myself with the Lord.  It’s interesting to note here that the word, unite is the word, glue, in the Greek.  According to Paul, being one with the Lord in spirit is being glued to Him.  This is the unity we share with the Lord.

In my next post, I’ll show how my unity with the Lord becomes unity in the church.

Question: Why is it important for us to be in unity with the Lord?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Spiritual Warfare – The Wind of the Spirit

In my last article, I talked about spiritual warfare and the need for unity and agreement.  Today, I want to share some things that Jesus taught about the move of the Spirit.

At one point a teacher of the law named Nicodemus asked Jesus some questions.  Jesus spent some quality time with this young man.  I think however that this teacher left with more questions than he started with.  During the conversation, Jesus said the following to Nicodemus:

“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:7-8

When you’re born of the Spirit, you can now live life on a new level.  It’s the level of the spiritual realm.

God describes it as the wind.  It blows wherever it pleases.  Just as in the case of the physical wind, we can see the effect, direction, and speed that it’s traveling.

This is the case even if we don’t know where it’s coming from or going to.  Maybe you’ve seen a weather map on TV.  Personally, the Weather Channel is one of my favorite places on Cable TV.  I’ve gotten many spiritual illustrations from its programs.

When you look at a weather map, sometimes it shows you the flow of the Jet Stream over the United States.  It could start flowing East over Washington state.  Then it dips down to Texas and takes a turn to flow directly up the East Coast.

This is how the flow of the wind operates.  You can’t tell where it’s been or where it’s going just because you know the direction where you’re standing.  In Washington, it flows east, in Colorado it flows south, and in Kentucky, it flows north, all at the same time.

The flow of the Holy Spirit is just as unpredictable; that’s why we must be sensitive.  The Spirit of God may be moving through prophecy in one church, healing in another, and weeping in a third.

I can’t say that because God is not moving in your church the way He moves in mine, that therefore you are out of His will.  It takes sensitivity to the Spirit to know just what He wants to do right here, right now.

It’s just like the wind.  It takes someone who’s born of the Spirit to understand the move of the Spirit.  That’s why it’s called the “flow” of the Spirit.  It’s my goal to get in on that flow which is the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

But what does the flow of the Spirit have to do with spiritual warfare and unity in the body of Christ?  As you’ll see, it has everything to do with it.

“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
John 17:20-21

Jesus is praying in this verse for the church to be one.  This is the same Greek word that’s translated as unity in the verses we looked at in my last post.  It literally means to be one.

This is not a word that means “I agree with you”.  According to the Lord, the way it works between the Father and Himself is that He is in the Father.  It’s Christ’s desire that we share this same degree of unity.  He wants us to be one in Him.

In my next post, we’ll see how this is accomplished.

Question: What would a church look like if it operated in true unity?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spiritual Warfare – The Need for Unity

I’m continuing to post about spiritual warfare.   It should be obvious that this type of battle takes place in the spiritual realm.  To understand it, we need to grasp life in the spirit.

One of the most common word pictures for the spirit is the wind.  As a matter of fact, both the Hebrew and Greek words for spirit are the English word, wind.

The only way that a translator knows whether to use “spirit” or “wind” is by the context in which it’s used.  The wind is a powerful picture of how our spirits operate in conjunction with the Spirit of God.

When you speak about wind, it implies motion.  Motion is determined by speed and direction.  We need to understand this aspect of the Spirit if we’re to talk about how to wage war in the spirit.

If you remember, I talked about the fact that a war is nation against nation.  That means this warfare is conducted by the body of Christ.  For any type of warfare, a kingdom must fight in unity.  It’s no different for the church.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3

In order to grasp this, we must first define some terms in the Scripture that are commonly misunderstood.  What we must understand is that there’s a big difference between unity and agreement.

Most Christians use these two terms interchangeably.  Actually, they’re two very different truths.  So, we must ask ourselves what’s the difference between unity and agreement?

The Word of God is clear that agreement is when we think and believe the same way.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 18:19

In this verse, the Greek word that’s translated, agree, is sumphoneo.  It’s where we get our English word symphony.  It literally means to sound together.

You agree on the facts, so you speak the same thing.  This means that if I believe Jesus is Healer, and you believe Jesus is Healer, we’ll sound the same when we speak.  In that case, we’re in agreement.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

In this passage, Paul makes it very clear.  Our agreement involves mind and thought.  These are functions of our soul.  If we believe the same thing, then we’ll also speak the same.  This is agreement – our thinking and our speaking.

Unity is a whole different thing.  Let’s look at the verse from Ephesians again.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3

In the same way, that agreement is a function of our soul, unity is a function of our spirits.  What we need to realize is that we’ve already been made one in Christ.  It’s now our job to keep or guard the unity of the spirit.

In the Greek, the phrase, make every effort, means to use prompt and earnest effort.  This tells me that it requires work on our part.  There’s something we need to do.  In order to keep this unity, it will require the “wind power” of the spirit.

In the next couple of posts, I’ll share how the power of the spirit brings unity in the church and havoc on the enemy’s kingdom.

Question: Why do you think that it’s so hard for churches to come into unity and agreement?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 19, 2020 in Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

Tags: , , , ,

Our Victory is in Christ

Now that we’ve seen the war against the flesh and the world, we’ll move on to the final battle.  We’re in a war against the spiritual forces of the kingdom of Satan.

As I’ve already written about, the people around us are not the enemy.  They’re prisoners of war in the spiritual battle.  They’re being held captive by the world system under the control of the devil.

It’s up to us, God’s people, to set them free and bring them to the cross.  That’s where they can find true salvation for their souls.

In order for that to happen, there are some things that we need to understand.  We can’t go into this battle with only half the information.

The first thing that we have to realize is that Christ has already won the war.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

Jesus Christ has once and for all won the victory over all the power of the enemy kingdom.  However, that doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped.

Just like in WWII, when the Axis powers collapsed, the Allied forces had to mop up the remaining troops.  They had to enter the concentration camps and free the surviving prisoners.  That’s where we are in the spiritual war today.

The trouble is that even in defeat, the enemy is dangerous.  He wants as few people as possible to be set free by the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just how do we thwart the devil’s plans?  The Lord already took care of this.  Look at what Christ said to His followers.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Luke 10:19

The same power over the enemy that the Lord walked in has been conferred upon us.  We have authority over the enemy’s kingdom.  Of course, the devil would like that to remain a carefully guarded secret.

As long as we look to the future for our victory, we’ll never see the enemy kingdom back down.  We must learn to walk in the authority of Christ that we’ve already been given.

We need to see a God’s-eye-view of the spiritual war.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:18b

We have to come to the realization that the gates of Hell don’t move.  They don’t attack the church.  These gates are fixed around what the enemy already possesses and he’s trying to keep hold of.

The gates of Hell are around our centers of education.  They surround our political systems.  They’re also around our entertainment industry.

What we need to see is that it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.  The gates of Hell – all the power of the enemy – cannot withstand an attack by God’s people walking in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Too often we try to infiltrate these areas of society using the rules of the world.  That’s why we only achieve limited success.  We need to learn to take this battle into the spiritual realm.

I’m going to take a few posts to talk about what God has given us in order to walk in the victory that Christ has already won for us.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re facing right now?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Fasting and Victory over the Flesh

I’m posting about how to win the war against the flesh.  There’s one more battleground that we need to talk about.  It’s illustrated in something that happened with Christ and His disciples.

The disciples had tried and failed, to cast a demon out of a young man.  After Jesus was able to do it, the disciples asked Him privately why they were unable to.

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17:20-21, NKJV

The disciples’ problem was unbelief.  Jesus explains to them that faith as small as a mustard seed, working all by itself, can move a mountain.  Nothing would be impossible for us if faith was the only issue.

If it were only about faith, then America should have the most miracles of any country on earth.  We know that faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  In America, we have access to more of the Word than in any other country.

The problem is that we have unbelief alongside that faith.  The U.S. is also one of the most flesh-driven countries on earth.

Just driving down the street I can see a billboard that feeds my flesh.  Standing in a checkout counter, listening to the news on the radio, almost everything I do causes me to access food for my flesh.  Even though I try to filter it by “taking every thought captive,” some of this trash still gets through.

So the stronger my spirit is built up by the Word of God, the more my flesh is built up just by living in this society.  It’s the presence of these two powerful forces in my life – faith and unbelief – side-by-side, that’s watering down my spiritual strength.  What can I do about it?

The key is the statement made by the boy’s father.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24

We have plenty of faith, but how do we overcome our unbelief?  There is a solution.  Jesus tells the disciples, “This kind only goes out by prayer and fasting.”

The question is; this kind of what?  Most people say He was talking about the demon.  I don’t believe it.  A demon couldn’t care less whether you’ve fasted or not.  Look at the emphasis of the verse.  It’s the disciples who were talking about the demon.

Jesus never once mentioned the demon.  He spent the whole time talking about the problem – unbelief.  What Jesus wants you to get rid of is unbelief.  It’s this kind of unbelief that blocks the working of your faith to the point where nothing happens, even though you believe the Word of God.

Where does fasting come into the picture?  Fasting is a way to forcefully and supernaturally win a major victory against your flesh.  You’re telling it, “I don’t care what you say – I’m not listening to you today.”

When you fast, it’s as if you’re turning down the volume control to the voice of your flesh.  This allows the faith that you have to effectively become stronger.  Without the voice of your flesh talking so loud, you will be better able to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to your spirit.

This is why I often tell believers that if they want to see a great change in their lives, they need to fast regularly and consistently.

Question: How well do you hear from God presently?  Would you like to increase your spiritual sensitivity?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Victory over the Old Self

In my last post, I talked about the spiritual, surgical attack that puts off the old man. We saw from Scripture that this is accomplished through prayer in the spirit.

This is one of the reasons why prayer in the spirit is so important. It’s also the reason why so few believers win the battle over their flesh. They don’t realize that it can only be won in the spirit by the power of the Word of God released in us. That’s why Paul could say…

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

This work is only accomplished in the spirit. The misdeeds of my body will never be put to death by any decision that I make – no matter how much I desire it. I can try and try in my own strength. The work is a spiritual breakthrough and only comes as I yield my spirit to the Holy Spirit.

The reality of this is apparent as I look back over recent history. I think about my grandparents’ generation. When I hear the testimonies of how they came to the Lord, I used to get frustrated. Their lives were totally turned around. Before Christ, their lives were characterized by drunkenness, gambling, and foul language.

When I came along, I only knew them as strong believers who told everyone they met about the power of Christ. They were humble examples of the life-changing work of God. Why did this frustrate me? Because I wanted my life to line up with the Word the way theirs did.

When I asked how I could become more like Christ, I was told that I needed to be more committed.

“When those old saints of God were saved, they really submitted themselves to God’s law.”

But it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t live like them. I was angry that God would change them so radically, while I was left trying on my own to overcome the flesh.

Now that I understand the work of the spirit, I can see what really happened in my grandparents’ lives. It was a spiritual work that changed them. Remembering back to what I saw in them, I now realize what made the difference. The main characteristic of their lives was prayer in the spirit.

They went to church meetings three days a week just to pray in the spirit. I remember hearing my grandmother (I lived with her) get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and begin praying in the spirit for hours. This was her daily routine.

I remember hearing people laughing at their commitment to this practice.

“That old Italian prayer meeting went on until midnight yesterday!”

Little did we know that it was the secret to the walk in the spirit that we could never attain on our own.  They had learned that the spiritual battle against the flesh could only be won in the spirit.

I also see the same thing happening in our generation. At one point our church began having a weekly meeting for the sole purpose of prayer in the spirit. This went on for about a year. During that year I remember commenting that those who came out and participated in the prayer were being radically changed.

At that time I didn’t know that they were putting off the old nature through prayer in the spirit. All I understood was that they were undergoing a rapid change in their spiritual walk.

The church needs to once again learn this truth. We need to submit to the Holy Spirit to perform the change in our hearts. Only then will the world see the difference that will draw them to the cross of Christ. Only then will we experience the revival that we so desperately hunger for.

Question: How committed are you to prayer in the spirit?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , ,