If we’re going to win a battle we must know our enemy – not as well as we know God, of course, but we must not be ignorant. Our purpose is not to glorify Satan, but to expose him. Every time he’s exposed, his position is weakened.
We must know our enemy and be good at dealing with him, but we must also stay balanced – for our own sake and for the sake of the people to whom we minister. A number of ministries over the years over-emphasized the ministry of deliverance and many were hurt in the end. They became lopsided and lost focus. Some lost reality.
Jesus spent only about a third of His public ministry dealing with demons. Furthermore, in His private ministry He dealt very little with the devil. He concentrated on His time with His disciples: mentoring and developing them, and raising them up as leaders. Then, in His private life, Jesus spent much time with His Father. Jesus spent considerably more time with His Father than He did involved with the devil.
The Christian life is about the Lord Jesus.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
It is not about the devil. Fellowship with God must be the foundation of our lives and ministries, not involvement with Satan. We need to be obsessed with God, not with Satan. We must be fascinated with God, not preoccupied with the enemy.
On the other hand, we do have a great need for knowledge concerning demons:
lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Cor. 2:11, NKJV)
According to Paul, if we are ignorant of Satan and his “devices,” he will be able to “take advantage” of us.
Therefore, while our ministries should not “specialize” in demons, we must be equipped to deal with them. Part of our calling as Christians involves dealing directly with the powers of darkness. We are commanded in Scripture to:
- Cast out demon spirits (Matt. 10:7-8; Mark 16:17).
- Pull down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-4).
- Not give the devil a “foothold” (Eph. 4:27).
- Be good soldiers and wage a good warfare (1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12).
- Resist the devil (Jam. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). We are not to ignore Satan, but resist him.
We are in a war fighting against a highly organized and powerful foe. Yet, large portions of the Church in the Western world aren’t sure if the enemy even truly exists! Moreover, many churches who do believe in Satan have no significant knowledge of his ways or how to deal with him.
Could you imagine one nation going into battle with another nation and doing so with no understanding of the enemy or its weapons or tactics? Even worse, could you imagine a nation going into a war without training its own troops? Of course, that is foolishness. We would not conceive of one nation fighting another without as much knowledge as it can get and without as much training and discipline of its troops as possible. Yet, the Church does just this.
Some churches are quite knowledgeable about the enemy, but even then they are not always where they should be – in the battle.
As representatives of the Kingdom of God, we should be fighting against spiritual darkness for our families, our churches, our cities, and whatever regions that God has placed before us.
If you’re not in the battle you’re probably living a defeated life. Many Christians are living in defeat, many marriages and families are in confusion, and many churches are defeated, when victory lies within our grasp. It’s not that hard!
However, just as a nation would not go into battle without extensive training of its troops and gaining information of the enemy’s position, tactics, and weaponry, so the Church cannot be successful without knowledge of its adversary, and training in how to overcome him.
We must know:
- Our God – who He is and what He has commanded us to do.
- Ourselves – our position and authority in Christ, our weapons and tactics.
- Our enemy – who he is, his weapons and tactics.
Then God commands us to fight:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)
If we do this, we will win. If we fight, we will win. We may lose a battle or two on the way, but we will win the war. The outcome is as certain as God’s Word!
So, in order to be effective Christians, and in order to fulfill our purposes on this earth and in the Church, we must be knowledgeable about Satan and about his devices (his ways and means).
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