If we are to walk in the Spirit, live by faith, and prevail against our enemy, it is essential that we understand the constant collision and integration of the two worlds we simultaneously live in. We are told to “walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh,” (Eph. 5:16). The flesh, made up of the body and the soul, mind, will, and emotions, “lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Eph. 5:17).
From these few passages it is clear that there is a war going on right inside of us, so powerful that it disables us and keeps us from doing the things we want to do. (See Rom. 7:15-2). The Word of God also makes it clear that, “We do not wrestle against ‘flesh and blood’ but against ‘principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12).
If this is a correct description of the playing field, then life is not a game, and we are in a duel to the death with an unseen enemy that permeates and presides in every place we must dwell. This enemy is invisible, a definite advantage. He is organized and intellectually superior to us. He is ancient and unending. He is evil and sinister. He is many. He is a disembodied, diabolical personality that dwells all around us.
If this were the limit of his dominion we might still have a chance, if we as humans, would unite. But this is only our first, geographical obstacle. In addition to his global dominion, he also has another agenda. Since the Fall, he has access to our internal systems; our minds, our hearts, and our physical bodies, including all of our vital life supporting systems. This means he can become an insidious internal part of every part of us.
And where is the war for any nation more effectively and easily won if not from within? Dividing the house, the family, the nation and the individual brings sure destruction to the structure and a collapsing of the resistance. How fitting were the words of Jesus in His warning against the strongman in Matthew 12 and Luke 11 and Mark 3. “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that, ‘seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing, they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them’”. (Mark 4:11-12).
Isaiah adds another aspect to this passage saying, “Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” (Is. 6:10).
How much more effective for satan to internally invade the thoughts and feelings of his enemy, (us), than to merely shoot fiery darts at them from the outside. So, how does he do that? How does he invade and pervert, (twist), our thoughts and feelings around until he convinces us that WE are the evil we seek to destroy and the thing we hate? If I am my own worst enemy, where do I go for comfort or victory?
If I am the things I hate, because I believe I am the things I see myself thinking, feeling, saying, and doing, what can I do but come into agreement with his plan and desire to destroy myself? And how convenient and necessary it is for him, to get me to cooperate with the thoughts of suicidal ideation, self-hatred and self-destruction!! Whether they present themselves as vanity or self-contempt is of little consequence to him. His work of disarmament in me has begun. I am confused, disarmed, and the strongman begins to plunder my house.
The schemes of Darkness work so well because we are not fully convinced that:
The Devil really exists
That he is the hideous disembodied presence of evil
That his only objective is to bring us to Hell
That he is as deliberate in everything he does, as we are complacent
That we are ignorant of the truth
Because we walk in more rebellion than we realize
Which makes us more of a target for spiritual blindness than we think
Because we walk in our human reason and therefore under the counsel of demons
Therefore we do not perceive the danger we are in or
Understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
That we do not understand the dual existence of the spiritual and natural worlds
That what we perceive to be reality takes precedence over truth.
Which causes us to live in ambivalence and uncertainty about the love and trustworthiness of God,
Which isolates the sheep from the Shepherd,
Which can lead to death and destruction,
If it were not for the great love of the Good Shepherd.
All of this adds up to being ignorant of the enemy’s devices. Living in reality is not the same as living in the Spirit, (truth), and not understanding the difference is not only hurtful, it is deadly.
So what is reality and why must we understand the difference between it and the truth if we are to overcome the enemy?
Mental clarity and cleanness of heart are rare these days, even among the holy ones. So much garbage has been dumped into our minds through our eye and ear gates. The filth of the world, its values, its pursuits, its comforts, its vanity has become so co-mingled with the truth of the Kingdom of God that we have nothing but fuzz and fog in our minds and confusion in our resolve to serve God.
The worst confusion comes when we cannot sort out what happens from what we think should happen, or the truth from our perceptions. Our defenses go up. Our prayers go unanswered. What we get, or don’t get, is not what we asked for, and when we cannot make sense out of what God is doing, we begin to believe what appears to be true; that God is not be good, and His word unreliable. We are gripped by the hand of doubt and left hanging in the town square of public opinion, tarred and feathered as a laughing stock for the faith we profess.
God said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts,” (Is. 55:8). Who do you “think” has it right? And if He has it “right”, why are so reluctant to submit to His workmanship in our lives?
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, deliver me from myself, all those things I have come to believe are me, simply because I have believed they were the truth, when, in fact, they are only my opinion of me, based on experience and gathered by fear. Let your Holy Spirit teach me to understand Your heart and Your ways and show me who I am according to Your Word. Then I will walk in the counsel of Your wisdom and agree with Your thoughts.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ( Jer. 29:11)