The following article comes from my outline and notes from a study I did, and class I taught in 2001, on Spiritual Warfare. I point this out, because I have the luxury of looking at our history over the past 12 years since I conducted my study, and, through the lens of my life over the past seven plus decades. I can clearly see how we as Christians are under an ever increasing attack. From my perspective, the war seems to be reaching a fever pitch. I have called this new article ATTACK/COUNTERATTACK. The first part is my analysis of the Attack.
Johnsobo 100, Editor-at-Large
Part 1- Attack
I am not one to suggest that there is a demon behind every bush, and that Satan is attacking us individually. We know that Satan and his followers are not omnipresent, however I think it is clear what his strategy is.
2Co 10:2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
From Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, we get a snapshot of Satan’s tactics. This is a Spiritual War, not a Fleshly War. From the text above we know that it is a war in and for our minds. Strong holds, imaginations, and knowledge are all thoughts of our mind. When Satan attacks our mind, he starts building what Paul calls “strong holds”. I like what Tony Evans said about strong holds: “A strong hold is a mind-set that accepts a situation as unchangeable even though that situation is contrary to the will of God.”
From my understanding, the “casting down imaginations and every high thing” is Satan trying to build a partition or wall in our mind. This is what James 1:8, refers to as “double minded”
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
We can go to church with our problems, or sins, hear the word of God preached, and DO NOTHING!
We are attacked on many fronts, but I think there are four major arenas of our lives that come under attack:
- The Individual Front– Satan is after you. It doesn’t matter who you are, man, woman, or child.
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
- The Family Front –This is evident from Satan’s attack in the GARDEN. Satan waited till Eve was created. He wanted the entire family and all generations thereafter. If he can disrupt the family, sin becomes a generational issue. Satan loves to see husbands and wives fighting. If he gets us to fighting over disagreements, preferences, and personality conflicts, we miss the big picture. We lose sight of who the enemy really is. We must fight for the family, whoever controls the family, controls the future.
- The Church Front– Satan understands something that many Christians do not. God does not work in a context of disunity. Satan promotes disunity, division, discrimination, power struggles, and doctrinal error.
“We are not very good about making the distinction between membership and fellowship.”
Ephesians 4:3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- The Society Front- This is revealed as far back as Old Testament times. (See Daniels 10:13-14) for just one example. I think this is certainly true of today’s society as well.
Before I go further, let me state that I think that we are tempted by our own evil desires. This is clearly taught in the book of James.
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
With that said, being tempted is not a sin, only when we act on the temptation that is put before us, is it a sin. We can escape Satan’s temptations.
1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
As most Christians know, Satan is the “great deceiver”. We know this to be true, but somehow we tend to forget just how good he is at the subtle game of deception. We have so many counterfeit views on truth that come at us from all sides.
There are all the ism’s out there:
There are others, but I think these are all best described in the term: The “New Age Movement”.
I think that this is perhaps the most dangerous counterfeit views on truth that Satan has come up with. What makes this movement so dangerous is that it looks so good on the surface.
The New Age Movement is not new at all. It is basically a Far Eastern world view.
This world view came to the U.S. during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s as part of the “Age of Aquarius”. This was an age in which the young people were dissatisfied with almost everything. Much of this view was combined in a movement that has been called “secular humanism”.
“Secular humanists are generally non-theists. They typically describe themselves as nonreligious. They hail from widely divergent philosophical and religious backgrounds.
Thus, secular humanists do not rely upon gods or other supernatural forces to solve their problems or provide guidance for their conduct. They rely instead upon the application of reason, the lessons of history, and personal experience to form an ethical/moral foundation and to create meaning in life. Secular humanists look to the methodology of science as the most reliable source of information about what is factual or true about the universe we all share, acknowledging that new discoveries will always alter and expand our understanding of it and perhaps change our approach to ethical issues as well. In any case their cosmic outlook draws primarily from human experiences and scientific knowledge.” (from the Council for Secular Humanism- Are Secular Humanists Atheists?)
As this movement swept across the U.S., it was helped along by various laws that were introduced and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. It outlawed the teaching of the Biblical creation in our public schools, school sponsored prayer and the reading of the Bible. It also created the women’s rights movement, and the right of abortion for women. I am not suggesting that all the rights that women gained were wrong. For those women who need or have to work, much inequity was needed. However, that movement has created many problems that I fear were not seen at that time. But, that is a discussion for another time.
Suffice it to say, the void left by this era of free thinking was filled by the creation of what we now call “The New Age Movement”, or as some would call “The New World Order”.
Following are some of the characteristics of New Age Thinking:
- There is Reincarnation. If we don’t get it right the first time, just wait. I believe this explains in-part why abortion is so acceptable to so many of the “New Agers”.
- There is extreme mysticism. “Godhood is obtained by mystical experiences” a quote from actress Shirley MacLaine.
- God is nature and nature is God. God is the water, the whale, the trees. Nature becomes a religion.
- There is optimism. There is a new day coming where the entire world will be one.
(Notes from my study- 2001)
I find it interesting that a Gallop Poll taken in 1982, revealed the following:
- 1/3 of all Americans believe in reincarnation.
- 2/3 of all Americans read astrology reports.
- 1/2 of those who read these reports believe them.
- 2/3 of all Americans claim to have extra sensory perceptions.
- 4 out of 10 people claimed to have had contact with the dead.
These are all beliefs of the “New Age” movement, and much, if not all have come to this present age with many additions. I believe that the media has played a big part in teaching and promoting this new theology. It covers all forms of media, from movies, television, radio, and the print media, not to forget, the internet.
Because this “New Age” thinking is wrapped in such an attractive package to so many people, we must be very careful! Scripture warns us in 1st John:
1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
1Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
One way to “try the spirits” is given inPhilippians4:8
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I believe that one of the biggest problems to come out of this so called “New Age” thinking is that we do not take sin for what it really is, that being SIN. We tend to take the good things that God created and stretch them beyond the boundaries of His will.
Many people, as well as Christians would not be tempted to commit obvious sins such as murder, robbery, or rape. Satan knows that we would recognize the sin, and know that it is wrong. Satan is much too clever for that, he takes good things that God has created, deceives us into thinking that we can go beyond the boundary of God’s will until it becomes sin.
Following is a list taken from Neal T. Anderson’s book: The Bondage Breaker, Pg 127-128
- Physical rest becomes laziness.
- Quietness becomes non-communication.
- Ability to profit avarice and greed.
- Enjoyment of life becomes intemperance.
- Physical pleasure becomes sensuality.
- Interest in the possessions of others becomes covetousness.
- Enjoyment of food becomes gluttony.
- Self-care becomes selfishness.
- Self-respect becomes conceit.
- Communication becomes gossip.
- Cautiousness becomes unbelief.
- Positiveness becomes insensitivity.
- Anger becomes rage and bad temper.
- Loving kindness becomes overprotection.
- Judgment becomes criticism.
- Same-sex friend becomes homosexuality.
- Conscientiousness becomes perfectionism.
- Generosity becomes wastefulness.
- Self-protection becomes dishonesty.
- Carefulness becomes fear.
We have had many decades of false teachings, and people becoming intolerant of sin. We now have a “new normal”, and it is very dangerous. God warned us about this “new normal: when He inspired Paul to write the following to young Timothy.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; …
As I close the first part of this article, let me state with all certainty, The war has been won, however there are numerous battles yet to be fought, with the final battle yet to come.
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