Kingdom Warfare Part 1

As we seek to live under the Rule of God, we are introduced to an arena of vicious spiritual warfare.  We have an enemy that is hell-bent (literally) on reducing our lives down to something other than what the King has in mind.  How do we respond?

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As he outlines the conflict in which we are engaged, Peter tells us how we should respond to the enemy as God’s people.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  1st Peter 5:8 – 9
There are four things here that Peter exhorts us to do:
  • Be sober.  In other words, recognize the seriousness of the situation.
  • Be watchful.  While he is not advocating for us to see a demon behind every bush, he does encourage us to keep an eye out for the enemy,
  • Resist him.  More about this in a moment.
  • Know that others are suffering the same kind of conflict.  It is encouraging to know we are not alone.
Resist Him
Peter tells us we do not have to lay down and play dead when the enemy comes around.  He tells us to resist him, firm in our faith.  What does that look like?  I believe James tells us.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7 
The word resist means “to stand against.”  All my life I have heard various interpretations of what that would look like.  Some say we are supposed to rebuke the devil, telling him to get lost in the Name of Jesus (that’s a rather interesting spin on things in light of Jude 8 – 9).  Others say the way to resist the devil is to quote the Bible to him.  They get this from Jesus’ encounter on the mount of temptation (more about this in a moment).  Truthfully, though, I have found that the most powerful resistance to the devil is a positive submission to Jesus.
Think about it.  The enemy comes against you with some form of temptation.  In response, you look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I submit this to You.”  What is the enemy going to do with that?  Nothing!  Instead, because you have drawn near to God and He has drawn near to you (James 4:8) the temptation is over!  I have proven this out time after time in my own experience.
The Example of Jesus
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”  Matthew 4:1 – 10 
Right here someone may pipe up and say,
“See there?  Jesus is showing us we are supposed to quote the Bible to the devil!”
Actually, I’m not sure that is what is happening here.  The way I read it, Jesus is not quoting the Scriptures to the enemy as much as He is declaring His absolute submission to the Father.  He only directly addresses the devil once.  Yet because He remained in complete submission to His Heavenly Father, the devil eventually had to leave Him until a more opportune time (Luke 4:13).
Powerful Things Happen
There are some very powerful things that happen when we respond the enemy by submitting to Jesus.  We reckon ourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God (Romans 6:11).  We effectively put to death the deeds of the body so we can continue to walk in the way of life (Romans 8:12 – 13).  We also effectively put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10 – 17), because Jesus is our truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the living Word that insulates us from every trick of the enemy.
The Way of Victory
The battle rages around us daily.  It will continue to do so until the Kingdom of God comes in fullness.  Until that day, we may successfully deflect the attacks of the evil one by continually seeking to live in the Reign.
M
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

2 comments

  1. Thank you for your encouraging words in this post. Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – just ashe declared His absolute submission to the Father I used to live bound by fear, including re spiritual warfare, among everything else. The day Jesus freed me – my eyes turned from off of me and my failures and the what ifs … I may have gone too far the other way, like Paul says, ‘my conscience may be clear but that doesn’t mean I am innocent’… ‘In the midst of ‘ whatever I’m facing, I can fix my eyes on Jesus. Ha, not that I have it down perfect by any means, but even there – when I confess and repent, I can experience full forgiveness and freedom to take another step, to avail myself of the grace and mercy that is new every morning. All that to say, thank you for sharing your post today. 🙂 God bless you as you continue your walk with Him. Violet

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