TLP 363: The Spiritual War in Your Home, Part 9 | how your family is to engage demonic forces in general
What does the Bible say about resisting Satan and confronting demonic forces? Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents apply biblical Truth to their parenting so they can help their children have success in their spiritual warfare.
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Help Your Children Discover God’s Will for Their Lives” series (starts in episode 158)
“Parenting Strategies You Need in Your Home” (episode 336)
“How to Integrate Parables into Your Parenting | Parabolic Parenting” (episode 337)
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I think this and our next show may be two of the most anticipated episodes in awhile. I know many of you are curious how the Bible teaches us to confront demonic forces.
Exorcisms, holy water, crosses — garlic maybe?
Well, today, I hope will be practical and valuable as we consider how the Lord would have us engage the frontline spiritual enemy of Satan and his demons.
But before we dive into that, if you use social media at all, I’d invite you to like, follow, and otherwise patronize TLP. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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Alright, today we’re going to talk about engaging demonic forces in general.
I promise we will talk all about exorcisms next time. I will share with you the time demons intruded into my daughter’s life and discuss how the Bible would have us think about demonic possession, freedom, and exorcism.
But I want to deal with the more practical items first. The vast majority of the people who listen to this podcast may not ever interact with a demon possessed individual, and I pray that the Lord would protect all of your family members.
However, each and every person in your home is going to experience external temptation to sin every single day, and many times it will be as a direct result of demonic influence.
So, we’re going to look at 4 guiding principles when it comes to engaging demonic forces, spend a good amount of time fleshing out the last one, and then I’ll share a personal example from my own life of what this looks like.
1. Christians are commanded to draw near to God.
Hebrews 7:25, “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
We engage demonic forces by intentionally moving toward Christ-likeness. Retreating from sin by running to Christ is always the best course of action in Spiritual Warfare.
When we try to move away from what we view as unacceptable behavior, but we do so without moving toward God, we’re still in sin. We’re still following our own orders with our own best interest in mind. God’s will must be our destination.
So, the inverse of that is . . .
2. Christians are commanded to flee from evil.
This is like the two directions of volume nob. You can’t turn it up without turning the nob away from down.
I Corinthians 10:4 commands us to “Flee from idolatry.” I Corinthians 6:18 includes “Flee immorality.” And I Timothy 2:22 tells us to “Flee youthful lusts.”
In our “Help Your Children Discover God’s Will for Their Lives” series — which will be linked in the description — we talk about some of these in detail. God’s will for our lives is that we engage demonic forces by retreating from sin.
Joseph was a perfect example that retreat is always the best course of action when it means retreating from thoughts and words and actions that displease the Lord.
However, don’t forget the first point. In order to truly flee the Lust of the Flesh and the Eyes and the Pride of Life, we need to be running toward God. God is the destination and sin is what we leave behind.
You can’t successfully do one without the other.
And this is how we accomplish the third general command.
3. Christians are commanded to resist Satan.
James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
II Peter 5:8-9, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
Does God expect us to fight demons in hand to hand combat? Are we to engage in jihad against those whom Satan is possessing? Are we to hide ourselves away behind a circle of salt so Satan can’t touch us physically?
No. We do not resist Satan in any of these ways. My friends, if we’ve learned anything, it’s this . . . this battle is not physical. It’s spiritual.
What is the spirit? Where is our spirit located?
The spiritual realm is lived out through our thoughts. The spiritual war is a war of the mind. This is not to say it’s “all in our heads.” It’s just that we don’t have to over fantasize this. The spiritual war is lost and won in the knowledge, understanding, and beliefs that guide all of our words, actions, feelings, and desires.
It’s a war of Truth. The spiritual war is a war of philosophy. It’s a war of ideology and worldview.
We’ll talk about this more over the next few episodes, I don’t want discuss it all here, but I’m saying this so that when we encounter Scriptures that command us to resist Satan, I don’t want us getting a bunch of extra-biblical ideas.
When we draw near to God, we will be moving away from sin, and therefore . . . we will actively be resisting Satan because we’ll be doing the exact opposite thing he wants us to do. And James tells us that the Devil will actually flee from us as we enter into the light of God.
Resisting Satan is nothing more nor less than a battle of wits — a war of clarity versus delusion. We either believe the great deceiver or we believe the Way the Truth and the Life.
But what is practically involved in drawing near to God, fleeing evil, and resisting Satan? What does it look like in our daily lives? This is where our 4th guiding principle comes in.
4. Christians are commanded to employ The Spiritual Weapon against Satan.
We will always experience victory over Satan and his forces when we utilize our Spiritual Weapon.
A. We must be born again to escape possession. We must also be born again to have access to the weapons we need to fight this battle.
II Corinthians 6:14-18 “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be MY people. 17 ‘Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 ‘And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says the Lord Almighty.”
Entering into a relationship with God cuts the ties of Belial (one of the names of Satan). I love how idols are destroyed in the presence of God. I love how demons tremble before the Lord.
I John 4:4 is so powerful, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
And Matthew 12:43-45 illustrates that if a demon is cast out of a man, he may reenter as long as the man is empty. The clear idea is that if the man were to be filled with the Holy Spirit, there is no way the demon would even want to be there let alone actually be able to have any claim in the man’s life.
B. We must pray.
Consider the Disciple’s Prayer from Matthew 6. One of the things Jesus invited them to pray was, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
We cannot hope to gain the power we need to fight our spiritual battle without prayer.
C. We must search, know, understand, and believe the Scriptures.
In Matthew 4 we have three examples of Jesus — standing face to face with Satan — resisting all of his temptation by saying, “It is written . . . .”
Anything and everything Jesus said would have been perfect and the very Word of God, and yet He chose to quote from the Old Testament Scriptures in His rejection of Satan.
How foolish we are to try to resist temptation in any other way.
Satan is going to lie to us. He lied to himself, to God, to Eve, to Jesus . . . we need to accept that the greatest deceiver to ever live is going to lie to us. And — since our hearts are already so easily deceived — we would be universal fools to think that Satan won’t overcome us.
This is why . . .
D. We must bathe ourselves in Truth.
John 8:44-47, Jesus — speaking to the pharisees — said: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.””
Again, my friends, I need to repeat the chorus: you will never find the answers your family needs anywhere but in God’s Word.
I don’t often quote anyone other than God on this show, so when I do, I do so only because the quote is exceptionally biblical.
I follow Dustin Benge on Twitter, and recently he posted: “Every issue we face, Every question we have, Every doctrine we believe, Every ideology we entertain, Every relevant position we consider, We must always ask one question: ‘What do the Scriptures say?’"
Nothing else matters. Listen, I don’t want to sound callous or unloving. The unloving thing would be to lie to everyone and tell them to follow their hearts. But reality doesn’t really care about our feelings. What’s true is true. Only the Truth will set us free.
This is why I’m compelled to remind you that it doesn’t matter what the most respected parenting expert says and it doesn’t matter what you feel if those things contradict the Bible.
And how will we know what is true and what is false if all we do is fill our minds with Satan’s propaganda machine and neglect to consume the Scriptures?
When I see an individual or a family losing in their spiritual war, I see an individual or a family failing to know, understand, and believe the Bible.
Moving on . . .
E. We must see life through the lens of the Gospel.
In I Timothy 6, after listing a bunch of sinful responses, Paul write in verses 11-16, “11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
That’s a great summation of all the points we’ve made so far, but listen in what he grounds all of these commands: “13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”
Our ability to flee sin and pursue righteousness is rooted in Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Who invites us to live with Him forever in unapproachable Light!
That is the Gospel. That is our power to overcome sin.
F. We must have faith that God will keep His promises.
I’m looking forward to an upcoming episode called “The Counter-Intuitive Nature of Parenting in Christ.” The Christian life really does require faith in everything. It’s not just believing that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection saves us from sin and to God, it’s having faith that how He commands us to live — as counter-intuitive as it may feel — is, in fact, the best way.
And the only way we can have this faith is through the power of the Holy Spirit Who indwells all believers.
John 14:26, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
And what will this lifestyle look like?
G. We must speak and live righteously.
I Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
It’s amazing to me that so many people believe that a person can become a Christian but remain in their sin.
Yes, we’re invited to come to Christ as we are, but we’re not allowed to stay as we were. Just like being possessed by demons makes us more sinful, being filled by the Holy Spirit will make us more righteous.
We need to exercise our spirits so that we may attain conformity to Christ. We must flee sin, we must pursue righteousness. Anything else is a lie of Satan.
So, let me now give you a practical example of how I use this in my parenting.
Last week my daughter informed me — after receiving some wise counsel from her grandmother mother — that she wanted to stop deliberately annoying her brother.
I told her that was a wonderful goal, and then I asked her how she planned to achieve that goal. She looked at me with a quizzical expression and said, “I’m not going to annoy my brother.”
So, I asked again, “How do you plan to do that?”
She was confused.
Now, the actual conversation went much longer, but let me give you the highlights of what came next.
I said, “What if you saw me heading to the garage and asked what I was doing, and I said ‘the car’s broken. It needs to be fixed.’ And then you asked me, ‘What are you going to do to fix it?’ And I said, ‘I’m going to fix it.’ So, you ask again, ‘Yes, but what are you to actually fix?’ And then I got all flustered and said, ‘I don’t know! I’m just going to fix it!’ What are the chances the car is actually going to get fixed?”
She saw the problem.
By the way, if you’re interested in learning how to use better illustrations and parables and metaphors in your parenting, check out episodes 336 and 337.
Anyway, I then explained that she’s always known that deliberately annoying her brother was a sin, and she’d often recognized that she needed to stop, but lately — despite all of that — it’s been getting worse
Now, she’s telling me that it’s going to be different this time, but she doesn’t have a different plan for achieving it.
I then quoted Einstein and explained that when we do the same thing over and over expecting different results, we’re being insane.
So as not to fall into another lunatic cycle, I explained the the Bible gives us the answer for how to mature out of sin into righteousness. Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young [person] keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” And just two verses later in that same chapter it says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You."
So, I took her to Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” I had her write that verse out on a card and keep it with her — I armed her with Scripture — and I gave her a new strategy.
She was to review that card and ask the Lord’s help in living it out throughout the day with the goal that the next time she was tempted from Satan, the World, or the Flesh, because she’d been working on hiding God’s Word in her heart, the Holy Spirit would bring it to mind and remind her how she was supposed to be fleeing from sin and drawing near to God.
Her new goal was to show her brother more honor than he showed her.
Simple as that may sound . . . that really is the biblical strategy. Draw near to God, pray, search the Scriptures, meditate on Truth, remember from what God has saved you, and live righteously in faith as you flee from evil and resist Satan.
That’s a practical example from my life and parenting, and I use similar tactics with my counselees.
But let’s end off our time listening to some passages that really beautifully encapsulate this whole process for us.
Romans 11:14, "Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
Ephesians 2:1-10, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
II Corinthians 10:4-6, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."
And, lastly, I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
God will always give His children access to the Spiritual Weapon so that they may defeat temptation every single time it comes from Demonic Forces, the World System, or the Flesh.
Our problem is not that the Spiritual Weapon is impotent to defeat Satan, our problem is that we do not choose to pick it up and use it the way it was designed.
Those are the general principles for resisting Satan. Next time we’ll dig into the specifics. How do we respond when Satan attacks our physical lives? How do we respond when he tempts us through others? How do we respond when we or someone we love is being controlled by his demonic forces?
And, again, I want to invite you to reach out to us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com, through our website, or at (828) 423-0894 so that the TLP Counselors and I can assist you through God’s Word to overcome the spiritual attack in your life.
And, don’t forget, all TLP Family members, you can access more in-depth material concerning spiritual warfare under the TLP Family Resources tab. Just make sure you have your login. If you don’t have that yet, just send an email to TeamTLP@TruthLoveParent.com or message us on Facebook.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love. We need to equip them with the Truth about spiritual warfare and the glorious Spiritual Weapon God provides for our victory.
To that end, join us next time as we look at how your family is to engage demonic forces in cases of possession.
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