Exercising our spiritual authority
1 John 3:8 ESV … The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Daniel 7:27 ESV And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
Victory over spiritual darkness
God’s law requires that every spiritual being must bow at the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus has authority over all of creation, including the power of Satan.
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Praise God that there is absolute victory in Jesus Christ over spiritual darkness all the time. We just need to know how to identify and refute the enemy’s schemes in Jesus’ name. As described in Proverbs 2 below, we are to rely on God’s spiritual wisdom, knowledge, discretion and understanding.
Proverbs 2:6-15 ESV For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.
On the other hand, Proverbs 2 also describes how those who lack godly wisdom can stray into ways of darkness. Spiritual darkness keeps us from fully experiencing God, the Light of the world.
1. Spiritual oppression and enslavement to sin
Hebrews 2:14-15 ESV Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
2. Mental strongholds
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 ESV We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Galatians 3:13 ESV Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”
Micah 5:12 ESV …and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes;
Many people, Christians alike, walk in spiritual darkness without knowing it. But the good news is that Jesus came to set those who have been under spiritual darkness (the oppressed) free! He promised that if we follow him, we will no longer have to walk in darkness.
Luke 4:18 ESV “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Ignorance about spiritual darkness
Satan cannot defeat us but he will try to deceive us, distract us, tempt us, accuse us and shame us into turning away from God, and forfeit our authority to him.
Satan’s game plan is always to:
- Stop faith and belief in Jesus Christ
- Separate Christians from a full relationship with Father God
- Deprive believers of our spiritual inheritance
- Deceive us into a position of defeat
- Rob us of our rightful joy and blessings
- Murder our hope
One sure sign of someone who is trapped in some form of spiritual darkness is the lack of the Fruit of the Spirit. In particular, such persons lack joy, peace and love.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Countering spiritual darkness
Once we are aware of Satan’s works, we can stand up against the enemy’s schemes in Jesus’ name. After all, God says that no spiritual weapon formed against us can succeed! We have everything we need to rebuke and expel spiritual darkness.
Isaiah 54:17 ESV no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”
Here are some principles we need to remember when praying to break Satan’s strongholds that seem to keep people from experiencing God’s love, joy and peace to the fullest.
1. Know our spiritual rights
All creation is bound by the very same spiritual laws that have been set out by God for billions of years. Satan too has to “play by the rules of the game” found in the Law of Moses. When we know God’s spiritual laws well, we are able to discern Satan’s lies.
Deuteronomy 6:13 ESV It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
2. Know our enemy’s tactics
Satan may be referred to as the god of this world but his powers are limited. His main tactic is to play mind games and try to blind us to God’s perfect will. See Recognising and resisting spiritual attacks.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
3. Put on our armour of God
God’s armour is a figurative description of the different aspects of faith that we must grow strong in.
- Belt of truth – Our spiritual inheritance as God’s children holds everything together
- Breastplate of righteousness – Jesus’ righteousness is our covering
- Sandals of peace of the gospel – Our testimony and the gospel should be advancing in our lives
- Shield of faith – Our faith protects us against Satan’s deceptions, distractions, temptations and accusations
- Helmet of salvation – Our identity as adopted children of God should cover all our thoughts
- Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word – Our Bible knowledge helps us refute any weapon formed against us
Ephesians 6:14-17 ESV Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
4. Renew our minds
How we think determines how we choose to live – as victors or as victims. That’s why the Bible says we need to renew our minds based on God’s Word, so we are able to stand up to our enemy.
Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
5. Resist the enemy
We must stay alert and resist falling back into spiritual darkness at all times.
James 4:7 ESV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
6. Use God’s Word
We are to fend off Satan’s schemes against our thoughts, with the mightiest weapon in our hands, the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
7. Protect our spiritual inheritance
God’s abundant spiritual blessings are too precious to give up. Let us be determined to hold on to our inheritance and not let Satan steal it from us.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
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