Saturday, October 17, 2020 -
It is very evident that in prison many are oppressed by demonic forces. But this is also very true of many in the general population and even within our churches. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
In Ephesians 6, Paul goes on to provide the key to victory over these demonic forces that constantly attack us. It is to put on the whole armor of God - - the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We cannot fight this battle without this armor.
When a believer’s oppressed or attacked by evil spiritual forces, the first thing we must do is check our armor. I am currently reading Kenneth Copley’s book, The Great Deceiver: Unmasking the Lies of Satan. Copley is the director of the Biblical Counseling Center of Indiana. He notes, “Almost every client I have counseled did not know who God truly is. The enemy had distorted their perception of who God is; he still does that. In fact, every lie of the enemy is a distortion of either God’s Word or His person. Furthermore, most clients I’ve counseled did not have a prayer life. People who drift away from God are never prayer warriors. They have replaced dependence on God with self-sufficiency, thinking they are masters of their own destinies - - a big lie of the enemy that leads to prayerlessness.
“To counteract such lies, I try to help counselees build into their lives two resources: (1) a knowledge of Who God truly is, and (2) a dynamic prayer life. As we lay this two-fold foundation, God fortifies us for the day of battle.
“The harsh situation you may be in may not be your choice, but your response is. The truth is that we have a choice about how we react in every situation. We can choose to trust God or blame Him; we can go His way or our way. But we are never ‘forced by circumstances’ into some action. We can and must choose to trust God.” Copley also notes something I myself have realized. Those who struggle against the attacks of Satan to the point where they can’t cope, turn to addictions, anger, fear, suicidal thoughts, or sinful behaviors, to the point where they must seek counseling. They rarely if ever open the Bible, let alone spend time meditating on it. Copley declares, “When we not only submit to Christ’s commands but make Him the leader of our lives, real intimacy with Christ develops. With this submission and intimacy come many resources for the battle; renewed faith, which dispels our fear; humility, which conquers our pride; self-sacrificing love, which overturns selfishness; and a greater willingness to please the Lord, which helps us overcome the power of the flesh.” We cannot expect to defeat the devil and his demons unless we put on the whole armor of God, which includes the only offensive weapon provided to us - - God’s Word. Jesus Himself, when tempted by Satan, used solely the authority of God’s Word to resist and refute his lies and deception. And so we should follow His example.