How to Win in Spiritual Warfare

Deuteronomy is the recounting of the Law and the works of God among the people of Israel. In DEUTERONOMY 11:1-8, Moses is talking to the older Israelites who were children 40 years earlier, when Israel refused to enter the land of Caanan. "But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did. Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments..." (Verses 7 and 8). Make that "every (word)". We are not just talking about the Ten Commandments, but about every word "which I command you this day, that ye may be strong". Write this in your Bible - We get strength by obedience. The greatest deterrent against satanic warfare is the knowledge of a life obedient to God. You can stand before God and say, "God, here I am, I'm clean before you." It makes you awesome!!

I'm giving some simple principles which will teach you how to win when all hell breaks loose and you are on the backside of the wilderness by yourself. About 27 years ago, I woke up with a fog over my mind and brain. It was like a cloud. I was oppressed. I could hardly get up. I could not function all day. I thought it would soon be gone. Little did I realise that I was starting on a seven month journey into the very pits of hell. I was told by the Devil that I had every kind of disease, that my children were young and I was going to die. The church would never take care of my family. I was destined for failure, my wife would become a beggar, and my children would grow up bitter against God. He lied to me in every way you can imagine. I was stomped into the ground by the Devil. I couldn't sleep; I was frightened of everybody. I even moved my church office to a place where I couldn't be found unless I wanted to be.

The only time I had any deliverance was in the prayer room or when I was preaching. I couldn't afford the luxury of giving up. One of the greatest ways to survive when difficult things come upon you is to get lost in service to others.

I would literally soar in God while preaching. But when I left the church and got in my car my hands would begin to shake. I wasn't doing anything wrong. I even repented of things I hadn't done. But out of that experience, I learned the power of the Word of God and of standing in obedience to God.

I got out the Bible, a large pad of paper, and the big Strong's Concordance and searched out all the scriptures that dealt with fear, anxiety, depression; any synonyms of those words. On the left side on my legal pad I wrote the scripture, then I would write what that scripture meant, and I would say, "Does this apply to me?"

About three weeks into the Word, where I was looking up all these words, I noticed that this "thing" was lifting off me. I didn't send to any of the great preachers for prayer. I just got into the Word and began to find the power of the Word of God when I applied it to my life.

About two years ago my wife almost died. The doctor told me to prepare myself, she might not live through the night. The Devil said, "She's going to die." I said, "She's not."

I was driving to the hospital, crying to God, when suddenly I prophesied from the Lord and began to prophesy to myself, "She shall not die, she shall live, and you will enjoy the fruits of your labour together." I entered her hospital room and started to pray for her. When the head nurse walked in I said, "Stop right there! I am going to pray for her. When I'm finished I'll call you and you can come in." (I found out later she was the wife of a Baptist preacher.) I told my wife, "Barbara, I'm going to pray for you. I'm burning with the fire of the anointing of God. When I lay hands upon you the fire of God is going to come upon you and God is going to burn out this thing and you are going to be well." She kind of moaned, "Okay."

The doctors had told me it would take 36 hours to turn her condition around. I prayed for her, quoted the Word of God to her, "We're going to enjoy the fruits of our labour together." Two hours thirty-five minutes later they took a blood test. Forty-five minutes after that, this head nurse came running to me saying, "Pastor Green, your wife is going to live." I said, "I know that." (Later she came to our church, bringing her husband to see that 'miracle woman' that everyone thought was going to die.) The Devil had done warfare against me, but the Word of the Lord had delivered my wife and set her free.

I learned these valuable lessons from that:

  1. What I preached, worked;
  2. What I believed was not a lie, it was true;
  3. If you walk with God in obedience, you don't have to waste time repenting and getting right - You can go straight to the heart of God.

The word war is derived from the phrase 'confusion leading to strife'.

Let confusion start in a church and it will break up the church. If it isn't dealt with, strife enters and people become the instruments of Satan, carrying out spiritual warfare with each other. JOHN 10:10, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy...". The Devil is trying to kill the spirit of God in us and our relationship with our brothers and sisters and with God. He is trying to destroy us so that he can win the battle.

Paul says in 1 CORINTHIANS 10:11, that the things which happened to Israel, "happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." When we begin to read the Old Testament, we aren't just reading the history of Israel or Judah. We are reading the natural things through which we learn spiritual methods that defeat and destroy the power of Satan.

Remember the base meaning of warfare is confusion. Warfare is coming. Satan's strategy is to bring us into confusion about God, His Word, His promises, the church, our leaders, our own expectations, and about Satan, himself. If this strategy is successful, Satan is beginning to win the battle. If, when the Devil drops on our lives and starts warfare, we begin running towards natural answers and don't go to the Word immediately, we know we are in confusion. Take the normal precautions, but confess what the Word of God says.

The Devil told me I would die and there would be no one to take care of my children. HE LIED!! I am still alive. My son, now 36 years old, is a preacher and singer. My daughter is my secretary, and her husband is a preacher. THE DEVIL IS A LIAR! If we believe him we will go through the hell of spiritual warfare, not in the heavenlies, but within our minds, right here on earth.

Satan wants to replace our love, respect, and faith in God with confusion and strife. Our defence against his strategy is to understand clearly what are Satan's intentions toward us and what are Jesus Christ's intentions toward us.

The Devil's work is "to steal, kill, and destroy".

Jesus' intentions toward us are that we might have life more abundantly. We must remember this each time conflict / battle begins. Any time we begin to feel torment we know that Satan is attacking us.

We Learn How to Win

In DEUTERONOMY 11:1-8, God tells Israel how to be overcomers and "possess their possessions". Notice, He does not start by telling them how to fight the devil. He says in verse 1, (1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and (2) constantly live a life of obedience before God. That is the two greatest secrets to spiritual warfare. It isn't easy, but that is where it starts. If you aren't living right, the Devil can come and condemn you, but if you have the proper foundation in God you can be fearless!

The first step in pulling down Satan's "strongholds" is to start with a right relationship with God.

Notice the progression of God's instruction to Israel in DEUTERONOMY 11:1, "Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway." He then reminds them of His past faithfulness to them (verses 2-7). Past performance inspires faith for the future! God is telling them, "I did it before, and I can do it again." We need to know that God has done it before. In every generation those who truly loved and served God found out that He is faithful. We are tied into something that never fails!

The Road Map to Blessing and Victory

"Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it." (DEUTERONOMY 11:8)

  1. "Keep every commandment (word)". This means obedience.
  2. "...that ye may be strong." This speaks of attitude. Strength and success are attitudes.The main attribute of people that achieve great things in the world is not their intellectual ability, not their academic achievement, not the amount of money with which they start their pursuit, it is their determination that says, "Come what may, I will not quit."
  3. "...and go in." This is action!
  4. "...and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it." This is the ultimate result.

DEUTERONOMY 31:6-8 deals with the attitude that produces victory. Moses said to Israel: "Be strong and of a good courage." You can't adequately prepare to come against the Devil until you make the decision that God wants you to win. God has not made us to be losers! We are His children. The Devil might trouble us, but we are going to win.

How is All this Victory Possible?

"...for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (DEUTERONOMY 31:6)

Joshua's Part: "Thou shall cause them to inherit it." As a leader we have to inspire our people to believe they can live in victory. Our people have to face the Devil every week at work or in the home. They can't afford to leave the church defeated. We are winners!

As the natural, so the spiritual: good leadership and an obedient lifestyle will produce quicker victories in our times of spiritual warfare. Have faith, God is not going to forsake us. Do not become dismayed (agitated). In the Greek language of the New Testament, the word 'dismayed' means 'agitated'. The Devil wants us to be agitated.

Jesus is our example: In His contest with Satan, Jesus did not exercise the power of deity.

  1. He used that which is our weapon, the Word of God (LUKE 4:1-13).
  2. He cast out demons "by the Spirit of God". (MATTHEW 12:28)

Notice the divine combination of the Word and the Spirit. That is the way creation took place in the beginning - the Spirit brooded over the face of the deep, but nothing happened until God spoke the Word.

The power of the Holy Spirit in our lives (1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5). Paul did not depend upon words of wisdom, intellect, or academic achievement. He depended upon the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit. We, too, must have the person, power, and revelation of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, our power over Satan begins with our relationship with Jesus! Jesus said to His disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore..." (MATTHEW 28:18,19). They could "go" and win disciples out of Satan's kingdom because they had a relationship with Him who has all authority in Heaven and earth - and over Satan! God is ready to punish "...all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-6)

by Charles E. Green

The Reverend Dr. Charles E. Green is senior pastor of Word of Faith Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also serves on the Executive Board of "Church Growth International".

Source: 'Church Growth', Spring 1991