Using the Sword of the Spirit for Spiritual Warfare
Your mind is where the spiritual battle is fought. The more you come to know God the more you trust Him and are willing to give Him all of yourself -- mind included. But this surrender is not easy. It means that you are jumping straight into the battle. So how do you fight?
Sin and temptation are based on lies. Emotional bondage is based on lies. Satan is the great deceiver, and he’s very good at it. The battle, then, is fought by believing and keeping one’s mind fixed on the truth in God’s Word.
When thoughts come to you, weigh every each one of them to see if they are thoughts God wants you to have. This takes a lot of time at first, but it does get easier. The following verses give you an idea of thoughts that are God-approved:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-- meditate on these things.” Phil 4:8.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
Find the strongholds. Find the lie. If a thought comes to you and you recognize it as a lie from Satan, a temptation, a negative thought, or any thought that disturbs your peace (a good key), it’s time to use the Sword of the Spirit. Truth will always dispel an attack from Satan.
If you have fallen into a behavioral sin, certainly confess and repent, but also ask God for the lie that is underneath the sin. Why does your mind or emotions believe you must do this behavior? What is the stronghold that has you bound? Here is a good prayer:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” Psa 139:23-24.
Once you know the lie, you can go to the Bible and search for what it says about that lie. What is the truth that will counteract it? Sometimes it will be obvious to you:
You may be tempted to feel unloved, but the Bible definitely says you are very loved (see Jer 31:3; 1 John 3:1, and many more).
You may be tempted to engage in a coping mechanism, something that will make you feel better, but the truth of the Bible says the only way to feel peace and joy and love is to be in relationship with God (see what the Bible says about being loved, also Isa 26:3 for peace, and Ps 16:11 for joy).
You may be tempted to feel that you deserve to hate someone, or deserve to indulge in a sinful behavior because you’ve been “good” or whatever, but God says we must forgive (see Matt 6:14,15), and throughout the Bible God says that we don’t deserve anything on our own merits, but only on those of Jesus -- and He would not have us sin for any reason.
You may be tempted to feel that something will elevate you, but God says you have been chosen by Him and adopted as His son/daughter (see Eph 1:3-5), and that you sit in heavenly places (see Eph 2:4-7). That’s as high as you can get!
Other times you will need to pray for help to find the truth that speaks to your situation. You may find it quickly, or you may need to search for awhile. Don’t give up! God will show you in His time and when you’re ready to receive it.
When you find a verse(s) that speaks to the truth you need, it’s best to write it down in whatever way works for you. You may end up with several verses for each truth.
Write it as a sticky note on the computer if that’s where you look often through the day
Write it on a 3x5 card and carry it with you
Write it in your cell phone or day planner that goes with you through the day
Read your verse(s) out loud as soon as you find it. Pray it back to God, and exercise faith to believe it. Keep it (them) in easy reach all day.
When Satan attacks you with a lie or a negative thought or behavior, stop what you’re doing and repeat this verse(s) several times if necessary, until the lie subsides. While you’re repeating the verse, focus on God and His truth with all your mental power. You may have to do this often throughout the day as you begin, but as you win victories the struggle will become less.
Recognize that Satan doesn’t give up, however, so make a battle plan, such as reading through your verse(s) three times at certain times of the day to get your mind saturated with God’s truth. Repeat it until it is memorized and the words are burned into your mind. Develop the habit of repeating this verse(s) every time that specific lie comes into your mind. Repeating the verse(s) out loud or whispered is better than just saying it in your mind.
THIS is the spiritual battle you are engaged in, and it’s how you become free.