By Dr. Richard Ing
July 4, 2005
In my recent newsletter entitled Winning the War, I explained that spiritual warfare is more than just casting out devils and binding up ruler spirits. Satan fights us on many fronts. He attacks not only the church as an organization but each individual member as well. The moment you became a Christian, you were placed on Satan’s “hit list.” Knowing that, the apostle Paul stated that we are all soldiers of Jesus Christ. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Ti. 2:3. Satan is attacking each one of us individually at this very moment. The question is - where? and how?
Some of the areas that Satan attacks in order to neutralize and defeat us are:
The Devil attacks us in our bodies. He tries to invade our bodies in order to kill us or neutralize us. He brings diseases whenever he has an opportunity to do so. But, not all diseases are caused by demons. Some are congenital; some are through accidents. Some are because of old age. Some are because of uncleanness, germs, pollution. Others are from bad habits - smoking, drinking, drugs, too much fast food, and lack of exercise. As we grow old, our eyesight and hearing diminish; we lose teeth. Some diseases are caused by wrong eating or excessive eating. Some are allowed by God as a form of judgment, or to test us. We see that with the “thorn” in Paul’s side and with Job.
The evangelist, Timothy, was often sick, especially with stomach ailments. In 1 Timothy 5:23, the apostle Paul advised him to, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”
You can’t blame Satan for all your illnesses. You bring some on yourself. Maybe that is why God doesn’t heal everyone. He wants you to take care of your own body and be responsible.
Some Christians think that God will heal all their diseases miraculously, but God will also heal you through doctors or your own change in diet and your own ability to care for your body. It’s true that God can heal any infirmity; but perhaps He wants us to be responsible for our own body.
The second way Satan attacks and neutralizes Christians is through persecution and fear of persecution. Persecution can take various forms. It could come from friends and family members who criticize you for preaching about Jesus. It could come from other churches. In Aspen, Colorado, the evangelical churches “blackballed” my spiritual warfare seminars because they did not believe Christians can have demons. Even today, many churches do not accept deliverance and spiritual warfare and persecution those who do.
Persecution can come from governments and societies such as some in the Middle East and China.
We will suffer from much persecution in the end times, so we need to get used to it. In a real sense, persecution tests your resolve and determination to serve and obey Christ. Even now, we try to avoid rejection and persecution and therefore are neutralized by Satan because we refuse to preach the gospel. Many Christians fear rejection. Rejection is a form of persecution.
A third way Satan wars against us is through oppression. Satan uses your mind and emotions to oppress you. He brings depression and heaviness to prevent you from coming to church. Many testify that the devil did things to prevent them from coming to church. Satan can let your car break down, use sickness in your family, problems at work. He uses fear, apprehension, and mental confusion. He can cause accidents to prevent you from coming to church. He can cause emergencies and other events to stop you. Your car breaks down, the dog gets sick, you suddenly feel tired or sick. You stay away from church.
A fourth way Satan wars against you is lethargy. He causes lethargy, laziness, lack of zeal, tiredness, to stop us from performing at our highest level. We don’t feel like coming to church. We find all kinds of excuses to stay home and not attend mid-week services and activities. Some saints stay up too late at night, eat too much and cannot wake up in the morning. We have not learned to crucify our night life.
You’re under attack. Whenever you stay away from church, you need to realize that you may be under demonic attack. You need to pray against lethargy, gird up your loins and get going. Many saints just sit around and do nothing. They are young old people.
Satan attacks us through false doctrines. The Devil has been very successful in introducing false doctrines to bring fear to the saints, get them to become unprepared, and to reject sound doctrines. The idea that Satan was an archangel second in power only to God, puts fear in the hearts of the saints who don’t want to challenge this powerful being. This “Lucifer” story re-enforces this idea. That’s why many churches do not want to cast out devils. They are afraid of the Devil. Perhaps 95% of the churches are like that.
The Pre-tribulation Rapture Doctrine has many Christians sitting around, convinced that all they have to do is keep going to church and they will be raptured up to heaven before tribulation. Christmas and Easter has the church accepting many pagan traditions and opens the door to an invasion of the church by pagan practices and witchcraft. The prosperity doctrine comes from the pit of hell and has neutralized millions of Christians in America and all over the world that are focused on big churches, much money and wealth. They become Laodicean to the max. Because they have many possessions and wealth, they think they have need for nothing. But they are poor, naked and blind.
There are two rules we use to accept or reject doctrines: (1) was it taught by the early apostles? (2) no indirect scriptures can overturn direct scriptures intended to answer the very question at hand.
LUSTS OF THE FLESH
We can’t blame Satan for everything. Our flesh is bad enough with all of its lusts.
A fifth way Satan attacks us is through the lusts of the flesh. Walk in the flesh and it leads to death; walk in the Spirit and it leads to life. Ro. 8:1-5. The Devil knows this too and he tries his best to give us many temptations. Temptations include anything that appeals to the four main lusts: Food, shelter, clothing and adornments, sex. He uses hobbies, porno, automobiles, gambling, and all kinds of entertainments to sidetrack us.
We need to be aware that the Devil seeks to neutralize us through the lusts of the flesh. Many pastors have fallen because of this.
Diseases, persecution, oppression, lethargy, false doctrines, lusts of the flesh, are all part of our spiritual warfare. If you are not aware that Satan is attacking you, you don’t fight back and will lose.
THE PULL OF THE WORLD
We all know about the pull of the world, attachment to worldly things that take away our time and commitment to serve God. Hobbies, sexual pursuits such as pornography, desire for riches, possessions, etc. pull us away from God. We have no desire to sacrifice these things to serve God. We are being attacked. I know people who don’t want to become Christians until the last minutes so that they can enjoy their worldly things as long as possible.
LACK OF ENDURANCE
One of Satan’s most deadly areas of attack is to wear down the saints. Da. 7:25 says, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High.” (underlining added) Satan strives to wear you down, to take away your ability to endure, especially in these end times. He wants you out of the battle, neutralized and in prison - inactive. Maybe that is why the Bible says that the latter shall come before the former. Many saints give up the battle as the years go by. They fade away and some never come to church or come only on Sundays and when they have to show up, and some stop praying in the morning, reading the Bible, preaching the Gospel of Salvation and serving God. They have been neutralized. They are no longer fighting. Some will give up altogether in the end. Instead of moving forward in spiritual maturity, they actually slide backwards.
Matthew 24:13 says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Also, Mk. 13:13. If you have faded away already, how can you endure when persecution comes? Your spiritual senses will have been dulled.
When hard times come, we need to endure. Anyone can hang around when things are easy. When times get hard, all the fair-weather friends will disappear.
TO TEST US
God uses hard times to test us. Sometimes, he uses boredom, or disagreements in church, or disunity and discouragement. Joseph was sold as a slave, tossed into prison after being falsely accused; yet, he never gave up. David was chased for years by King Saul who wanted to kill him. He spent years sleeping in ditches and caves, wondering where he was going to find his next meal. Yet, David endured.
Paul knew that God’s leaders must endure hard times and trials and tribulation for the sake of others. 2 Ti. 2:10: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” He that endures hardships, boredom, and other obstacles will triumph in the end. James 5:11says, “Behold, we count them happy which endure.”
Endurance is an important characteristic for all soldiers. If you become weary of good works, you will give up and fall on the battlefield. Ga. 6:9: “And let us not be weary in well doing.” 2 Th. 3:13: “… brethren, be not weary in well doing.” Well doing is not just helping others, but doing well in church. We need to realize that Satan is attacking our ability to endure. Pick yourself up and go.
God uses hard times and tragedies, trials and tribulations to perfect us.
EXPECT TRIALS AND HARDSHIPS
Life is trials. 1 Pet. 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.” Know that trials are to test you and perfect you. When you fail to endure, you fail the test. Satan loves it.
CONSIDER IT ALL JOY
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, by brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (underlining added) Trials and tribulation are neither funny nor joyous. But we are to consider it joy because of what it can produce in us. Endurance or lack of endurance exposes the amount of faith you possess. “(Y)our faith produces endurance;” therefore, if you have little faith, you have little endurance. The amount of your endurance is related to the amount of your faith. To endure often requires that your have faith that God is going to provide for your needs and will help you solve all your problems. The testing of your faith is precious to God.
Jesus endured far more than any of us will. He learned obedience and was made perfect by the sufferings He endured. Heb. 5:8-9. We need only endure and let endurance have its perfect result. Quit and you lose.
Romans 5:1-3 says, “ … And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations; knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out within our heats through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (underlining added) Perseverance is a word that is close to endurance. There is no greater witness in the world than that of a Christian who endures.
God is humbling you, perfecting you, if only you endure. Satan doesn’t want you to be perfected. He wants you to quit.
ARE YOU ENDURING?
Have you lost your first love? Are you doing the things you promised to do? like praying in the morning, reading the Bible daily, attending as many church functions as possible? Or are you slacking off?
Make no mistake, becoming mature in Christ, a true saint, is a difficult job. We are constantly being tested and perfected. If you find yourself fading away, gird up your loins and determine to go all the way with God.