Skip to main content

Overcoming the Darkness

805261_60983495

For Prayer Day today – let’s talk about the spiritual warfare we all face as believers in Christ.

How do we submit to Christ and resist the devil? James 4:1-9 provides great instructions for us!

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

We are either submitted to sin/Satan or we are submitted to Christ. This is an either/or thing. The fruit of our life can reveal to whom we are submitted – Satan or God.

I John 3:7-10

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin (live in habitual sin), because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

Is there sin in my heart, or righteousness in my heart? Galatians 5:13-26 is a fantastic test for that!  Let’s think about these verses in relationship to how we treat our husbands in our marriages:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  

  • (Am I doing ANY of these things in my marriage or my life? If so, I am living by the power of the sinful nature, not by God’s Spirit.)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • (Is this a description of what is generally flowing out of my heart in my marriage towards my husband? If so, God’s Spirit is controlling me, not my sinful nature)  

Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The best way to overcome oppression and the attacks of the enemy is to cling to God as our refuge, shield and fortress! If we are abiding in Christ, walking closely to Him, filled with His Spirit, living in His power, walking in obedience and holiness – Satan has no opportunity to gain entry into our lives. He may attack, but when we are completely submitted to God and have the armor of God on and we are not cherishing sin in our hearts, God gives us the power to resist the devil and he will flee.

Satan is a powerful enemy. On our own, we do not have the power to overcome him. The only power that is greater than that of Satan and his demons is the power of God that finished the work of Christ on Calvary. THAT is the power we must have and use in order to walk in victory over the powers of darkness that desire to steal, kill and destroy in our lives, in our husbands’ lives, in our marriages and in our families and churches – Jesus’ power.

David Platt:

We will either trust and obey and submit to Satan – or we will trust, obey and submit to God!

When I see that those are my only two choices – what an easy choice this is! How could I ever choose to trust Satan and refuse to trust God?? But that is what I did when I thought I was trusting myself and trying to be in charge of my own life instead of submitting to Christ. 🙁 How I mourn over the wicked sinfulness of my heart! How could I ever knowingly trust Satan and open my heart to him and shut out Jesus? That would be CRAZY!!!!!! But that is exactly what I have done – thousands and thousands of times in my life.  I embraced and trusted pride, idolatry of self, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, hatred and sin and rejected God’s way of life. 🙁 Never again, Lord!  May I never do that again, but my I stay constantly and fully submitted and yielded and open to You alone!

I took a class at my church about Spiritual Warfare. It was VERY helpful!  I hoped to be able to share the notes, but I do not have permission. So – I will paraphrase and summarize instead. And I will give you the link to the professor’s book. Encountering the Powers. It was the author of this book who was our teacher. WOW!  What an amazing man of God.

Here are some pearls of wisdom that I would like to share in my own paraphrasing:

  • Repent of ALL sin. Every trace of it.
  • Ask God to help you desire HIM more than ANYTHING else and to be content in Him alone. Surrender everything else to Him, sacrifice it all to Him in order to have Him. Hold everything but Jesus very loosely in your hands.
  • Be in constant fellowship and oneness with God through regular fervent prayer and daily Bible reading and study. This is our power source! We have no power apart from God to overcome sin and evil. If we slip away from God, we become easy targets for the enemy.
  • Ephesians 1, in Christ we are blessed in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing, chosen by God before the creation of the world, made holy and blameless in His sight by the power of Christ, predestined to be adopted as sons, redeemed (bought and fully paid for), forgiven, possessors of the lavish riches of God’s grace, receiving all godly wisdom and understanding, being conformed into the image of Christ and marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ work is complete and finished. He has achieved victory for us! We are fighting this battle from a position of victory and the outcome of the war is already decided. We do not approach spiritual warfare from a place of weakness when we are filled with Christ and we know His Word and His power and are walking in obedience to Him. The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead belongs to US now if we are in Christ!
  • Our only power is from the Holy Spirit.
  • Be sensitive to God’s Spirit, wait on Him. Obey Him. Don’t run ahead or lag behind.
  • Be alert to see the enemy’s lies and shoot those lies down with the truth of God’s Word in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
  • Worship God with all your heart!  Praise and thank Him all day long!
  • Pray without ceasing, being alert.
  • Focus on unity in the body of Christ.
  • Live out I Corinthians 13:4-8 love with fellow believers and love unbelievers with this love as well.
  • God’s truth and His Word set people free from bondage, sin, Satan and oppression.
  • Do not tolerate sin whatsoever in your life!
  • Continually remain absolutely and completely surrendered, yielded and submitted to Christ as LORD.
  • Once we are fully submitted to Christ, we can resist the devil and his lies and he must flee. I suggest writing down the thoughts in your mind and comparing them to scripture and reject the ones that are lies and of the enemy. Do not allow yourself to mediate on lies and attacks of evil. Especially watch out for that voice that accuses you or your husband of things – that voice that wants to destroy you and your marriage and your husband. It is not of God! Fill your mind and heart with the truth and power of God’s Word!

Lord,

You are sovereign. You are omnipotent. You are holy. You are love. You are the Wonderful Counselor. You are the Great Physician. You are the Alpha and Omega. You are the Bright and Morning Star. You hold the universe in the palm of Your mighty hand. You know all things. You are not limited by time. You are the Creator. You are the Sustainer. You are our Provider. You are our Protector. You are our Shield and Refuge. We trust in You alone!

We are in the middle of a spiritual war that most of us cannot begin to fathom or understand. THANK YOU that You have provided victory for us in Christ in this battle!  Thank You that Christ completely defeated Satan and the powers of darkness at Calvary and that we approach this war from a position of victory not weakness or defeat! WE PRAISE YOU for this! We have no strength against this adversary on our own. We are 100% completely dependent on Your power, Your victory, Your Spirit, Your truth and Your Word to engage in this battle for ourselves and our husbands’ and children’s hearts, minds and souls. We have an enemy who wants to destroy us and wants to keep us from trusting You and from obeying You and from impacting the world for the gospel of Christ. Open our eyes to the weapons and strategies of our enemy, Lord! Open our blind spiritual eyes!

I pray that You might show us every trace of sin in our hearts. Let us GRIEVE, repent and mourn over our sins. Let us turn away from our sin and receive the forgiveness, mercy and grace available to us through the blood of Christ! Let us joyfully and gratefully accept Your payment for our massive sin debt. And let us move towards You, desiring to obey and love and abide in You more than anything else in all the world! Let us completely and totally surrender ourselves to Your Spirit. We open our hearts wide for You to examine our hearts and to cleanse us from our sin. We lay down our dreams, desires, plans, goals, possessions, health and future on the altar at Your feet. We pick up our cross and die to ourselves and our desires and our worldly, sinful wisdom. We pick up Your desires, Your plans, Your wisdom, Your goals, Your priorities, Your perspective, Your love, Your power, Your riches of heaven, Your spiritual treasures and Your abundant life! We don’t seek worldly gain. We don’t seek health, wealth and prosperity. We don’t seek fame or power in this world. We seek only Jesus and Your will and Your glory! If we have You, we have EVERYTHING!

Tear down every stronghold of sin and the enemy in our lives and our husbands’ and children’s lives and in the hearts of everyone who is in Your church! Let us have GREAT FAITH in You, Lord! I don’t know what the biggest possible size of faith is that a human heart can hold, but I beg You to give each of us the greatest possible faith in You! Send Your Spirit among us and around us to every person in every church of Yours around the world and bring a Great Awakening!  let us turn from our wicked ways and turn wholeheartedly, unreservedly to You! Make us holy as You are holy. Let us have great passion for You. Let us have a deep hunger and thirst for You! Fill us with Your power to go into the world and proclaim Your salvation, Your gospel, Your freedom, Your mercy and grace and use us to set the captives free and to bring good news of great joy to all people!  Use us and our marriages and our families to shine brightly for You in this dark world and to bring many to salvation and to the kingdom of heaven! Let Your will alone be done in our lives. Bring glory to yourself through us!

In the Name, power and will of Christ,

Amen!

RELATED:

Please watch all 4 parts of David Platt’s series Angels, Demons and Spiritual Warfare  – “This is WARTIME right now NOT peacetime. Peacetime is coming. But right now we are in a war.” And we have an enemy who is hell-bent on stealing the gifts, joy and peace God has given to us to treasure and who is determined to kill and destroy us, our husbands, our marriages, our children, our families and our churches. Let’s wake up and ben prepared and armed for battle! God can and will give us victory if we will listen and seek Him!

25 thoughts on “Overcoming the Darkness

  1. “We are fighting this battle from a position of victory and the outcome of the war is already decided. We do not approach spiritual warfare from a place of weakness when we are filled with Christ and we know His Word and His power and are walking in obedience to Him. The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead belongs to US now if we are in Christ!”

    I had never thought of it this way. We are on the ‘right side’ and if we follow Gods Word, the outcome is victory! That perspective makes all the difference! Bring on all the trials and difficulties, difficult husband, difficult ex spouse, difficult children, and I will be victorious in handling and loving them with the help of Gods word!

    1. Senterwife,

      Yes! The war is already won! Satan is already defeated. He has power in this world right now, but his condemnation is sure and his defeat is certain. We can’t overcome him in our own power, but when we stand in the power of our Lord Jesus – He is able to grant us great victory! 🙂

  2. Kelly,

    When we don’t recognize the enemy or see his strategies, we embrace his words, lies, hatred, temptation and deception. I’m glad you are seeing the enemy and pray for God’s victory in your life!

  3. April,
    I was so down on Tues as I had had not only a nasty argument w/ my husband on Sunday, but it had been the same ol’ struggle we have gone through so many times over the years and yet no progress.
    I was so down, I just did not want to get up again
    I had Ladies’ Bible Study at my church to go to Tues and talked myself into going. Sure enough we began w/ James 4: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
    I thought, well God, You couldn’t be more direct, could you? And saw immediately how wrong I had been.
    I had only been looking at my husband’s treatment of me and how frustrated I was, yet again and how much I did not want to go through it all even one more time.
    The Scripture cleared it all up for me in a moment and I have sanity again, Thank You Lord.
    Isn’t He good?

  4. Just heard this part of David Platt’s sermon on Angels and Demons and have to add it!
    David Platt:

    “We will either trust and obey and submit to Satan – or we will trust, obey and submit to God!”

    When I see that those are my only two choices – what an easy choice this is! How could I ever choose to trust Satan and refuse to trust God?? But that is what I did when I thought I was trusting myself and trying to be in charge of my own life instead of submitting to Christ. 🙁 How I mourn over the wicked sinfulness of my heart! How could I ever trust Satan and distrust God? That is insane!

  5. Thank you for this post and prayer. I have been on this journey for just over a year (well more like 18 months, but the first 2-3 month I was grasping at straws). I have stumbled and then fallen and then the strength is given to me to get back up (praise God for that strength!). I started this journey to better my relationship with my spouse, but along the way I have discovered that this is all about me and God – what a revelation that was! I cast out the sin and demons surrounding my life as each of my sins was shown to me (pride being the biggest for sure) this was not something that happened over night or over a few weeks or even months – I am talking baby steps – baby crawling shuffle is more like it, lol. Those of you still working this all out- do not be discouraged Iif your path is more twisted or has more hills that others walking this path – here is one take on why:

    The evil one constantly finds new ways to battle us…. so Inc he knows that he can not keep breaking you down with his voice in your head, he will move one to finding another way to try and get you to stumble. Once he sees that he can not get you stumble as you once would, then he will try and break up your time and fellowship with God (this is where the evil one is currently attacking me) – I have been kept from church and Bible study the last 2 weeks (illness, car ran out of gas, mandatory overtime at work, and now I had an ovarian cyst burst)…. i sure do look forward to showing the evil one that he can not keep me from learning and growing – so here I lay, in bed – still learning and growing and praying. While I look forward to the evil one realizing he can not cause me to slip up by keeping me from church or bible study, I do wonder what the next way he will try and attack me will be? These are not just isolated battles, this is the war – and today’s post was such a great reminder that that the war already has a victor – and I am on His side.

  6. This morning I was reading Ephesians 1, which is about this very same subject, (hmmm… Is God trying to tell me something?). I ran across Ephesians 1:13, where Paul says, “…and having believed, you were marked with a seal – the promised Holy Spirit…” And I started to wonder about that little, small voice that sometimes reminds me about good things – but it’s so quiet, and it seems to come from inside me; almost just like my own thoughts. I started wondering about it – is that the Holy Spirit talking, or is it just my mind thinking? I would hate to start relying on something that wasn’t God, or that could be used to deceive me!!

    Now, I’m not Pentecostal, but sometimes the accounts I hear about conversion in that church, and “receiving the Holy Spirit” sound quite flashy. Then there are the people that say God speaks to them through people, sermons, and the bible, which I have certainly experienced, and is not really “flashy”. I’ve never really had anything “flashy”. My husband was discouraged one morning while driving to work, and saw some natural marks in the shape of a cross, and it reminded him of God’s love. Another night, I asked God to show me if I should sleep or spend time with my husband, by giving me a sign from my husband… My husband immediately got up from his “sleep” and asked me what I was up to. That’s as flashy as it’s gotten for me, anyway – and I don’t believe it has to be “flashy” for everyone. But now and then I read stories or hear people say things like, “God told me to go and give this stranger some milk, and it turns out he had a starving baby at home”, or “God told me to get up and go read the bible”, or things like that. Those are pretty concrete directions. So what do you think? Is the quiet little voice I am hearing – me thinking? Or is it, in fact, God telling me things?

    Here are some examples:

    Example 1:

    So here are my thoughts as I am reading the verse I was talking about, above, this morning:
    Me: “Do I really have the Holy Spirit in me?”
    Little (almost nothing) voice: “Yes”
    Me: “But how do I tell?”
    Little voice: silence.
    Me: “I wonder how people hear the Holy Spirit and listen to it.”
    Little voice: “…My sheep hear my voice and they know me…”
    Me: “Hey, is that you Lord? Do you speak to me as though I’m just thinking or remembering bible verses? Is that what your Holy Spirit sounds like?”
    Little voice: silence.

    Lol. Hmmmm…

    Example 2:

    Little voice: “You really should stop reading now and go downstairs.”
    Me: “But I’m so tired, and this is really interesting, and I’m so warm and comfortable.”
    Little voice: “It’s what your husband would want, so it’s what God would want.”
    Me (or is it my demon): “A couple more minutes…”
    Me (or is it the little voice?): “I’d better not give myself any more time to think about this.”
    Me: “Ok. I’m going downstairs.”

    Example 3:
    Standing at the stove this morning:
    Me: “It must be neat to hear instructions directly from the Holy Spirit. Why doesn’t everyone hear them?”
    Me? Or little voice?: “But would you obey the instructions?”
    Me:”Oh no! What if I was too afraid, or too selfish to obey?”
    Me? Or little voice?: “Then that would be pretty sinful, wouldn’t it?”
    Me: “Wow. Maybe I don’t hear directions from God because I don’t have enough faith to follow them, and He knows this, and He doesn’t want me to sin! I need to pray for more faith. But I’m scared! What if I had to go through something terrible, or cause someone close to me to suffer?”
    Little voice (later, as I am writing this): “Remember how April talked about giving up your fears, and letting go of your idols?”
    Me: “Oh right, yes. Oh dear… I need to pray more.”

    Example 4:
    My husband (out loud): “What are you doing? How come you’re not ready yet? We’re never on time!”
    Me (or is it my demon?), silently: “Here we go again… Why can’t he just help me instead of complaining… How can I possibly get ready when I’m busy cooking breakfast, feeding the kids, and dressing them up? Doesn’t he realize I have 50 things to do, while all he has responsibility for is himself?”
    Me, out loud: “Can’t you see I’ve been running around doing EVERYTHING all morning? How could I possibly get ready?? Come on, kids, go help Daddy get your shoes on. I’m coming as fast as I can.”
    Me (silently, or is it my demon?): “He’s always complaining about everything. Remember how he keeps getting at [me] for every little thing? It’s so frustrating to live with him!…”
    Little voice: “…get rid of anger, malice, slander… …and do everything without complaining, that you may be blameless and pure…”
    Me: “Ugh. Sorry Lord, I did it again…”

    Hmmm… I wonder if I’ve just answered my own question.

    Now here’s the little voice: “I can do nothing without God. ”

    So anyone who is reading this, do you mind if I ask you… Do you hear the Holy Spirit? What does he sound like? How do you know it’s really Him?

    Thanks.

      1. Ladies,
        Keep in mind that if you are cherishing Unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, pride, self righteousness, hatred, etc… You will not hear God’s voice well. Or if you don’t take time to really slow down and seek Him, it is very hard to hear Him. And sometimes, there are dry times, as well.

        But if you are mostly hearing that voice that accuses your husband of evil motives and you dwell on how bad things are and all of your husband’s faults and think about being upset and wanting to hold on to anger, it is time to repent of any sin and yield fully to God and get in His Word and prayer. As you submit fully to God, and resist the enemy and take each thought captive and replace the lies and negative thoughts with God’s truth and soak in scripture, you will learn to recognize the enemy’s voice usually and also to recognize The Spirit’s voice. Invite Him to fill you to overflowing like Niagra Falls!!!!!!

      1. Thanks, April. How reassuring – and amazing! – it is to know that God is really, intimately with us, every step of the way.

        1. To be His Clay,

          I had a simliar conversation with a friend this morning and we ended with the same conclusion. That the God of the universe wants us to know Him and be in a intimate relationship with us and he speaks to each of us individually. I love how He always confirms things

  7. I am one of those “boring” people at the doctors’ offices that says “no” to every type of ailment or disease one might have had in the past. However, I’ve been feeling pretty “off” this week (thankfully I have my annual physical scheduled next week already) and the part about not seeking our health above God spoke to me. I try very hard not to complain when something is bothering me physically, and I don’t think I’ve been complaining this week, but it’s certainly been a concern on my mind, and I wonder if it’s been on my mind more than God has.

    I know the post in its entirety was about spiritual warfare, and I needed to hear all of that, but I am grateful that there were other bits and pieces that spoke to me about the “sin crouching at the door” so that I can come against it in Jesus’ name!

  8. Lovely post today, April. What a blessing! 🙂

    Just to add: Despite what the world says to “follow your heart” because it will lead you to what you need to do or to be or to have, we, as children of God, should NOT follow it. At least not initially.

    Jeremiah 17: 9-10

    9The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?
    10“I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
    to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.”

    We should only “follow” our heart after thorough self-examination of motives, certainty that no sin is residing in it and after humble placement of our dreams, desires and goals to God. Following our heart on the first instance leads to impulsive, worldly decisions, since we are by nature, emotional and perhaps even carnal.

    The way to allow God to work in our lives is to listen to that still, small voice in the silence of our hearts to “speak” to us. We can hear His Voice but we really have to be in a place of constant prayer and throwing away of idols and repentance for hidden and apparent sins.

    Otherwise, that “still, small voice” may be the devil in disguise. So let us always be wary.

    1. Thanks for your insight, Nikka. That’s a nice reminder to keep guarding the heart. Now that you mention about the devil in disguise, this post is great about mentioning that we should weigh everything against scripture – I think that would be a great way to figure out the origin of any voices, “signs”, thoughts, or urges we may hear/have. How right you are about always being on guard.

  9. What a timing of this post…

    I’ve been having crazy busy schedule before me, behind me and everywhere… I have so many many pending things to be taken care of.. At this juncture, I have my husband who is busy with his Passion choir for the coming palm Sunday, traveling each Saturday to one State for recruitment.. And in one of our conversations he accused me of not taking care of my baby. I’ve been absolutely busy with work in the last week.. Some very important projects to be delivered… Both of us are busy with work, we have no time to connect….. We are so disconnected… We are weak and we are bound to sin… I was very hurt with his comment about me – which led me to accuse him, bring back all the record of wrongs… And I began to hear the voices in my head again!

    I loved the passage of James Truly the word of God is the sword that pierces into our darkness I’m reminded of the song Word is alive by Casting crowns (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukMix2pUpPo&feature=kp)

    I’ve been trying to get back to the word of God and prayer, but its so impossible…:( Being too busy is not good at all….

    I thank all of you who prayed for me.. I’ve definitely not made a mess in this situation and I’ve humiliated Satan!

    1. Vinodhini,
      I think busyness is a great tool of the enemy to keep us from God and the things that are most important in life. Praying you will all be able to slow down soon!!!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

%d bloggers like this: