Spiritual Warfare is Real: Know Your Enemy

 

In the early 2020s, people in San Francisco started putting signs in the windows of their cars saying things like “I have nothing of value in my car, please don’t break my windows.” Or, “My car doors are unlocked and there is nothing to take.” Why would they do this? Because a growing number of cars parked on the streets (even in populated and well-lit areas) were being robbed. Thieves were smashing windows to go through the car and take things. Many of these cars had nothing to steal, but their owners ended up paying more for car insurance and deductibles because of smashed windows. As they understood their enemy (local car burglars), they simply explained that their car had nothing to take and tried politely asking them to refrain from breaking the windows.

When we know a threat is imminent, when we understand the enemy, we can be prepared to fight back. Imagine you found out that termites or carpenter ants were ravaging the very structure of your home. You would learn about these tiny and subtle enemies and do what was necessary to fight them off.

Every Christian needs to recognize and understand the enemy of their soul. If we are going to fight back, we must be prepared to enter the battle. We are wise to study the tactics and ways of Satan and learn how to stand strong against him and his demonic workers. If we bury our head in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich, we don’t become safe because we can’t see the incoming attack. We just become a big target. Ignoring the enemy never makes him go away. Being afraid is natural but turning to run away just exposes our back. What we need to do is stand in the supernatural name of the resurrected Jesus Christ and fight back in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Step one: know your enemy. Let’s get started!

Satan is a spiritual being who tempts everyone, all the time, toward evil. He is the cause of all the evil in the world and rules over a horde of demonic beings.

TALK ABOUT IT

When you think of the devil, what images, pictures, and ideas come to your mind? If you were to talk openly about the reality and presence of Satan and demons with the average person on the street, how do you think they would respond?

Unless Jesus was a total liar and fraud, Satan is just as real as God.

WATCH VIDEO SESSION ONE

(Either use the DVD or your streaming video access on the inside front cover.)

Video Teaching Notes

Use the space provided below to write down notes, ideas, observations, or questions that hit you as you listen to Jim’s teaching:

The power, glory, and victory of God
Who is Satan and what is he doing?
Satan can’t compare to God

God is omnipresent, the devil is not.
God is omniscient, the devil is not.
God is omnipotent, the devil is not.

The devil’s approach…subtle and stealthy
God’s kingdom vs. Satan’s kingdom

The darkness of Satan’s kingdom was overcome by the light of Jesus Christ.

Satan has no feelings, no compassion, and shows no mercy
Never drop your guard
Darkness vs. light
A Story…God’s power can overcome the greatest of evil

VIDEO DISCUSSION

After watching this week’s video teaching on spiritual warfare, go deeper into this topic by talking with your group members using these questions and conversation prompters:

1. What are ways we can stand strong against the devil’s efforts to tempt and harm our lives and the lives of the people we love?

2. Read Ephesians 6:10-18. It is clear that the devil has tactics and schemes to tempt and attack God’s people (even Jesus). How does this make you feel and how does it wake you up to the need to be aware of his tactics and efforts?

3. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. The devil prowls like a roaring lion and disguises himself as an angel of light. He is deceptive and stealthy. What are ways we can identify the presence and work of the enemy when he is lurking and sneaking around our world and life?

4. The devil does not care what it takes to draw you away from God and distract you from standing strong in faith. What are some of the distractions, enticements, and lures Satan uses to draw you away from the God who protects and loves us?

A Christian cannot be inhabited by the Holy Spirit and at the same time by an evil spirit.

5. Jim mentions that we drop our guard when we “are not in the Word, not walking in Christian community, and not thinking about Jesus.” How have you seen spiritual attack increase in your life when you are drifting away from the patterns and behaviors that keep you closely connected to Jesus?

Satan looks for any weakness, any sign of a limp, any open door, and then he attacks without mercy.

6. What are decisions we can make each day that will move us into God’s kingdom of light and actually help his kingdom come where we live, eat, work, play, and go to church.

Satan is called the god of this world because he has influence over so much that happens around us.

7. What can you do to stay closer to Jesus and his people so that you are less of a target for the attacks and enticements of Satan? How can your group members support and help fortify you as you stand against the attacks of the enemy?

CLOSING PRAYER

Take time as a group to step into the battle as you…

• Lift up passionate and joy-filled prayers celebrating the victory of Jesus and the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit.

• Ask God to open your mind to understand the reality and tactics of the enemy against your life, family, church, and community.

• Ask the Spirit of the Living God to grant daily power to resist the enemy and fight any and every attack he brings against you.

• Thank God for past victories he has won on your behalf and for ways he has protected and provided for you in the midst of the battles.

When the light of Jesus enters our life, his very presence dispels darkness.

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Your Turn

Let us know your thoughts on Spiritual Warfare is Real. We’d love to hear from you!

 

Jim Cymbala has served as pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle for more than forty years. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, The Church God Blesses, When God’s People Pray, Fresh Faith, and Spirit Rising. He lives in New York City with his wife, Carol, who directs the Grammy Award–winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The Cymbalas have three children and eight grandchildren.

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