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Our enemies are more organized and methodical than we think. They attempt to penetrate as many areas as they can. They try to get in any place there is an opening.
We need to recognize who the enemy is and fight on the right front. Often we fight against people and not against the real enemy. We do not always recognize who the real enemy is. We are not fighting flesh and blood. Even though we understand that and know it to be true, we still direct our fight at people. But the enemy is the source here. If there is anything demeaning, degrading, anything humiliating a person, that is not from God.
We need to understand the voice of the enemy. The next time you get mad and upset at someone, you need to realize the enemy is not that person. Your fight is not against flesh and blood; it is against principalities and powers. It is against the kingdom of darkness -- that is your enemy. The enemy may manipulate a person, but to really fight that, do we fight the person? That is what we usually do, but it does not accomplish much.
I learned this lesson back in 1979, the weekend I was to be ordained. My parents were flying in. People that I loved lashed out at me and wounded me. I thought we were friends. I just could not understand why these people would turn on me like that. I was hurt. My felt like I wanted to rip them up. Who was whispering in my ear? Then I met my parents, who are very godly and full of great wisdom. They sat me down and said, "Rodney, you are going to find this in ministry. But they are not the source." I was still a little hurt, however, I forgave them.
I had to understand that my problem was not people who were giving me hard time. It was the evil force behind them. This is the lesson we need to learn. Even though you learn this, you still may not practice it. You know it in your head. All of a sudden, a person lashes out at you and you are fighting them again.
We must not address or try to fight everything in the physical realm. We must learn to address things on a spiritual level; we do not fight on the right front. We fight people and this is what happens: The demons whisper to one person and then to another person. These two people brutalize each other. The demons laugh and say, "Oh boy, we got them mad at each other." The people aren't the real problem, the demons are.
You have to direct your spiritual prayers and the word of God at the source that is behind others, or the source that is behind you -- the thoughts in your head. If you do not address the demons, and fight them, you are not going to make much progress. In your home, when everyone is fighting each other, what spirit is there? You yell and scream at each other. The demons laugh saying, "Boy, I got them." Go back the past six months and remember who you have had major issues with -- your spouse -- your work? Did you address the right enemy? No one who wears skin and is warm is your enemy.
Jesus knew this as He hung on the cross. He looked down and said, "Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). He knew that they were not His enemy; they were not the problem.
Think about the last three to six months and think about the fights you had with others. You may need to go ask forgiveness from some people. You may need to turn some over to God. If you have wounded someone, ask his or her forgiveness. That is your first step in fighting the right enemy. For others, you need to fight in prayer and address the enemy. Matt 18:18 tells us that whatever we bind on earth is already bound in Heaven. Be aware that "wrong thoughts" in other people are not their thoughts; the enemy put those thoughts there. Man is never your enemy. Satan is your enemy. Once you understand this, you can love everybody. Many people are filled with self-condemning thoughts. Those are not your thoughts. They are from the enemy.
Put On The Armor
The reality is that we have been drafted into God's army and we face real battles. Our enemy is not a flesh and blood enemy, so we can't use flesh and blood (or human means) to protect ourselves against him. Human resources and human reasoning will not protect us.
But, God has provided us with armor to protect us. That armor includes things like the assurance of salvation which protects our thoughts. it includes the righteousness of Christ, which protects our hearts form the enemy's condemnation. It also gives us confidence to approach God because we know that our sins are forgiven. In fact, God has given us protection from head to toe against the attacks of the enemy. He has made this protection available to us, but we must put it on. It will not do us any good if we leave it sitting in our bedroom.
Imagine this scenario: you wake up, look at the armor and say to yourself, "boy, I am glad I have this armor. It looks magnificent, bright and shiny. But I don't want to take a chance of getting it dirty, so I will leave it in my room." Or maybe you say, "Great armor, but it is heavy and hot. And it is going to be a real hot day today. So I think I will dress light and leave the armor off." Then you leave your bedroom, you leave your house and you drive across town. Suddenly you run into an enemy ambush, you find the forces of darkness are attacking you and you are engaged in a spiritual battle. You are missing your armor and that leaves you very vulnerable to attack. Your armor won't do you much good when it is sitting in your bedroom and you are across town. You did not know the attack was coming, or you would have put the armor on to prepare for it. But that is usually how it goes, you never know where or where the attack is coming, so you need to have your armor with you at all times. You need to put it on each day.
Let's put on the armor now. Say this prayer aloud:
"Dear Jesus, I put on the armor of God today. I put on my helmet of salvation. I am Your child. I put on the breastplate of righteousness. I declare I am righteous in You, Jesus. I put on the belt of truth. I stand in Your truth. I stand in Your word. I shod my feet today with the sandals of peace that come from the Gospel. I take on the shield of faith. I extinguish every dart the enemy throws at me. I take on the sword of the Spirit, which is the living Word of God that You will activate and flow through me to speak Your truth, and to minister to people. Thank You Jesus."
As you put it on, make the declaration with your mouth. I want you to commit yourself today to walk out as much as you know how to walk out. Get to know the armor. Equip yourself to put on every piece and to walk it out in your lives so you can live fully clothed. You will be protected, and you can stand against every scheme of darkness so that you can face every demon of hell that will come against you. You will not have to live in fear. You can live victoriously, and you will overcome.
Lord Jesus, I bless your people and I speak this blessing upon them; that they will stay firm and stand firm in You; that they will stand against every scheme of darkness; that they will be victorious. Thank You that we can fight the good fight of faith. Thank You that it is the good fight because we win, because You have already won. You are our victory. You have overcome the kingdom of darkness. You have overcome the devil and all his legions of demons. You have overcome this earth. You have overcome the world, sin, the flesh, and everything. You showed us that it could be done. You modeled it for us, playing by the rules of humanity. Jesus, we want to be like You. We want to walk in what You have done on our behalf. We thank You for that, in Jesus name."