And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” – Revelation 12:7-12
Earth has become the stage for the playing-out of a cosmic struggle between good and evil—between God and Satan. What is taking place on our planet right now is that by redeeming them to Himself, God is begetting a people who will join Him along with the two-thirds of the heavenly creatures who did not rebel.
The whole process of salvation is not to just to be forgiven of our sins; it’s to grow up a people like Jesus, who will ultimately join the Father in glory. The fallen angels and those who follow Satan’s plan--either by ignorance or consent--will join him forever, too, in his place of judgment. For those who overcome, through their surrender to the cross of Jesus by their acknowledgement of Him as Lord, there is eternal purpose. In the meanwhile, a great struggle goes on for what is at stake.
Victory is assured for every one who will participate in this conquest and not be passive about the issues of life (v. 11)—both eternal salvation and the temporal implications of conflict. The adversary knows he can’t get you to hell if you open your heart to Christ, so he would like to heap as much hell upon you as he can in this world. You need to declare war in the temporal affairs of this life. To stand your ground, be girded for battle, and use the resources available to you. You do that and you’ll overcome.
There are ongoing encounters that happen in the lives of believers who live in ignorance, supposing that they are just circumstantial. Behind many, but not all, of those situations is something we need to recognize, take a stand against, and move in spiritual warfare unto victory.
They loved not their lives unto death
Scripture says there are distinct limits (v. 11). No matter how great the victory, we will all die, barring the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the miracle of the translation that takes place at the Rapture (Hebrews 9:27). Death itself is the manifestation of the spiritual struggle because it reaches back to the fall of man in the garden when death entered the race through disobedience. That was the first onslaught of battle, and man lost.
Proof of your faith is not the perfection of victory in every part of your life. The Bible does teach that perfect health, perfect provision are available to us, but so is perfect sinlessness and none of us arrive at that though we grow in it. We need to keep growing in receiving the provisions of God, but it will not be without challenge and confrontation.
Some people have the mistaken notion that the proof of your understanding spiritual warfare is that you become virtually unimpeachable in every circumstance of life. That is defeating to most people. It creates an arrogant breed who seem to navigate with a reasonable amount of success and tell everyone else to do what they did and it will work.
But many of us will undergo trials in which we will not see the solution we sought. And God will heal, but we don’t seem to be able to appropriate the healing. The fact of those things should never bring us to a passive position that we do not contest the land. We’re always in jeopardy of falling into loss of balance--either of those who become arrogant in their supposition they found a magic key to every problem in life or the extreme of becoming passive and indifferent. Nothing should be surrendered without a fight. Seek God and His resources first, and don’t resort to human explanations or reasonings.
There is no victory without a battle
What happened with Israel being promised the land but possessing it in battle is a picture of what God has promised us but will not be realized without a contest.
There will never be victories and conquests without ongoing battle, and there will never be a time when the adversary lets up. Jesus said the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and that is the monotonous ongoing program of Satan. He never changes that strategy. Everything is bent on eroding what will be God’s purpose, God’s will, God’s fulfillment, God’s blessing in your life. It will be contested at every point. The Lord wants to continually work His grace toward us, but He calls us into the arena of warfare to learn how to overcome the enemy by walking in obedience to Jesus Christ and how to do battle
There is another realm and there are invisible creatures—both benevolent and hateful. The angels of God are focused to do battle in our interest. The demons of hell are doing everything possible to destroy man and God’s creative and redemptive purposes in him.
You need to declare war against weariness
The Bible specifically says that in the last days, Satan will seek to wear out the saints. You need to declare war against weariness – not by pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s wise to not talk much about it, and to say the Lord’s your strength, but you need to take a position against whatever work of darkness is wearying you. You need to declare war.
There are situations that Satan exploits, demonic enterprises far more nit-picky than those massive things that drive people to addiction or drunkenness. They are things that erode relationships, bring unsettledness and insecurity into homes. Things that irritate, frustrate and wear down.
Get in alignment to do battle effectively
You do not get saved by fighting for it. You get saved by receiving the gift of God in Jesus Christ. That’s your eternal provision of salvation.
Temporal realization of ongoing victory in Jesus Christ will not be without growth, a major point of which is learning to align yourself in the troops. The Greek word for submission has to do with the alignment of troops—everyone in their right position to move effectively in battle. The reason for many people’s discouragement and defeat is because at some point, they are not in right alignment with the Lord’s ways—either because of they don’t realize it or due to outright disobedience. Learning how to align in God’s ways is essential to establishing a life that is efficient in moving on in the victory Jesus has for us.
The following three episodes in the ministry of Jesus show us how even the sinless Son of God faced battles.
1. The demoniac of Gadara (Mark 5:1-20)
The man from Gadara wanted deliverance (v. 6). He cried with a loud voice, but another personage was speaking, using his vocal cords. A key word here is “For” (v. 8) because it tells us that the demon spoke to Jesus because of something Jesus had just said to him. Jesus had just told him to “Come out.” The significance of that is that the spirit did not instantly flee.
Even in Jesus’ ministry, things did not happen without confrontation. It wasn’t a tame issue. Jesus was down beside the man, taking his hands, looking into his eyes and challenging the spirit. The spirit argues back; Jesus confronts him and works the deliverance. Even with Jesus, it’s a battle. Make no mistake, there are confrontations.
The nature of the adversary is defined when the demons who have ruined this man’s life have the nerve to say to Jesus, Why do you torment us? We’re dealing with a sinister power of darkness, epitomized and personified in Satan himself, advanced through a host of fallen angels, demons and an entire power structure.
You don’t have to move in fear of it (John 4:4). But he that is in the world is there, and if you let him, he’ll walk all over you. Sometimes he engages in long-term maneuverings to lure you into a temptation trap—a relationship with someone that “seems so right.” Why it must be God! But it’s the lie of the adversary who wants to destroy you. There are promotions that come from the Lord, the Bible says, but there are confusions that come from the adversary that some people think are promotion.
Sometimes things start to gang up around you and all of a sudden you find yourself driven by circumstance. And the day comes you say, everything’s crazy. And it’s not that you’ve taken leave of your senses, but it seems everything around you would drive you that direction. As was the case with the demoniac of Gardara, the adversary will do everything he can to drive people to a place of distraction and frustration where they are compelled by circumstance and situations that bring them to despair, despondency, depression and bondage. The message of the demoniac of Gadara is not just a report of what Jesus was able to do with one man, but a report of a style of workings of Satan. You address them by declaring war on them.
2. Jesus casts out a devil (Luke 11:14-26)
People made accusations against Jesus in His time, and some people today say it’s not biblical for the Church to talk about deliverance. There are people who get weird on both ends of the spectrum—those who overplay it and those who totally neglect it. You find a middle ground by looking at Jesus and living according to the principles shown in the Bible on the whole subject of resisting the devil (James 4:7).
People are to stand in authority against the adversary without becoming arrogant; all that does is play into the adversary’s hand. The Lord wants us to move with wisdom, humility, worshipfulness, and a dependence upon Him, but at the same time with an assertiveness born out of the recognition that there are things you face that call for confrontation. When God wants to kick a demon out, all he does is use one finger (v. 20).
The instance of the dumb man having his speech restored is about more than Jesus healing a mute. It has to do with the fact that there is nothing more destructive to relationships than lost communication--speechlessness. There are spirits whose sole tasks are to limit and hinder communication because thereby you hinder relationships. There are marriages and business relationships that founder because of lost communication.
Satan will do what he can to silence the gospel. Communication is of the Spirit of God. Speechlessness and silence that lead to broken relationships are of Satan and we need to declare war against them.
3. Jesus heals a woman (Luke 13:11-17)
The woman wasn’t just sick; there was a spirit behind it. All sickness isn’t satanic, but this infirmity was. There is such a thing as a spirit of infirmity. Sickness can go through a whole family for days. Then the car breaks down. Then the garbage disposal goes out, and you’re being drained of patience and resource and strength. You can make up your mind those things are just “happening” and just back off passively, refusing to acknowledge the reality of the spiritual. Or you declare war against an adversary that’s trying to drain you.
You need to declare war
Life or death, health or sickness, poverty or provision, communication and healthy relationships or division and strife—all have to do with more than circumstance. We are on a planet where the cosmic struggle is being played out. You and I are not pawns; we’ve been made priests and kings unto our God. You determine whether as a king in the kingdom under King Jesus, you are going to declare war against the adversary or you’re going to take it lying down.
Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
Copyright © 2015 Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries