Satan Is Not Omnipotent: A Philosophical Arguments (9)
Road To Personal Victory In Spiritual Warfare –James 4: 1-8
Satan and his demons are out to wage war with humankind. Satan’s ability to launch systematic, well-organized, and non-ending assaults against believers through his vast army of co-devil workers of evil spirits. Consequently, Jesus’s ministry on earth was principally attacking the dominion of Satan and delivering men and women from the power of evil – Col. 2: 15, 16.
Man has principally three significant sources of warfare. These are the three “S,” namely SATAN, SIN, AND SELF. As long as man lives on earth, he is exposed to these primary sources of warfare. The origin of these warfares’ significant source is highlighted in Revelation 12: 7 – 10, 12. In Revelation, John also said, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keeps the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The Lord’s Prayer illustrates what Jesus’ ministry on earth so clearly shows, that victory over evil is part of the kingdom’s Gospel and the establishment of God’s rule in the believers’ life. It is the liberation of people from Satan’s rule and power. It means to set free or release from Satan’s control or the power of darkness. This paper sets to critically examine the road to personal victory in spiritual warfare using as template James 4: 1-8.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have it because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive; you may spend what you get on your pleasures because you ask with the wrong motives. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace 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, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4: 1-8 (NIV)
Basis For Personal Victory:
The victory of Jesus Christ on the cross is the primary basis for our victory over spiritual and physical warfare:
- Out of death into life – John 5: 24
- Out of slavery to sin into freedom from sin – Rom 6: 5-7
- Out of fear into liberty – Heb. 2: 14
- Out of Satan’s power into God’s kingdom – Acts 26: 18; Luke 9: 1, 2; John 10: 10.
Degree Of Satan’s Control
There are three significant levels of degree of Satan’s control
- Obsession: trapped in any form of a bad habit, addiction or lust – John 2: 16.
- Oppression: characterized by living in constant fear or gloom. A general negative outlook on life. – Ps 9:9.
- Possession: Characterized by a total loss of control of the faculties of the Soul. Taken and controlled by demonic powers. Demonic control of the mind, will, and emotions. – Mark 5: 1 – 15.
Victory In Christ Jesus:
- Demons are defeated foes because Jesus Christ has rendered their master, the devil, powerless. – Heb. 2: 14.
- Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil – 1 John 3: 8.
- Jesus has triumphed over spiritual rulers and authorities – Col 2:15.
- Jesus delegated authority and power over demons to disciples – Luke 9:1.
- Jesus has given all believers the power to cast demons out – Mark 16:17.
Can Christians Have Demons?
The Greek New Testament speaks of people who “have a demon” (Matt. 11:18; Luke 7:33; 8:27; John 7:20; 8:48, 49, 52; 10:20) or people who are suffering from demonic influence (Gk. Daimonizomai). [i] The problem with the terms’ demon possession’ and ‘demonized’ is that they give the nuance of strong demonic influence that they seem to imply that the person under the demonic attack has no choice but to succumb to it. “Can a Christian be demon-possessed?” The answer depends on what that person means by “possessed.” People can define it to mean various things without having explicit authorization anchoring it to any verse of Scripture. It becomes difficult to say that one person’s definition is correct and another is wrong. If ” demon-possessed ” means that a person’s will is wholly dominated by a demon, so that a person has no power left to choose to do right and obey God, then the answer to whether a Christian could be demon-possessed would undoubtedly be ‘NO.’
The Scripture guarantees that sin shall have no dominion over believers since they have been raised with Christ (Romans 6:14, vv. 4, 11). On the other hand, most Christians would agree that there could be differing degrees of demonic attack or influence in believers’ lives (Luke 4:2; 2 Cor. 12:7; Eph. 6:12; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8). A believer may come under demonic attack from time to time in a mild or stronger sense – (Luke 13:16, 11). After Pentecost, Christians have a fuller power of the Holy Spirit working within them to enable them to triumph over demonic attacks.
Another question is, can a demon spirit dwell in the same body simultaneously as the Holy Spirit? Or how severe can demonic influence become in a Christian’s life after Pentecost when the Holy Spirit indwells? A similar question is “How much can a genuine Christian let his or her life be dominated by sin and remain a redeemed Christian?” The pertinent fact is that a demon spirit cannot dwell simultaneously with the Holy Spirit in a human body. But when born-again Christians are not living as they ought to, indulge in habitual sins, and do not benefit from regular fellowship with other Christians and regular Bible study and teachings, they can stray into carnality. But the situation is abnormal, which is not how Christians should live.
From the stories of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5) and Judas Iscariot, we may conclude that Christ has chosen for a particular ministry; if they consciously resist the spirit of God can fall into sin. The result of habitual sins without repentance can be that they succumb more and more to the devil’s influence until, in the end, he will bind them to himself or even possess them. There is nowhere in the Bible that a Christian can or cannot have a demon. But the Bible says “believers” could have demons.
Acts 5: 3 “But Peter said, Ananias why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the Land?” if the question is rephrased like “Can a Christian come under the quiet strong influence or attack by demons?” then the answer would be positive. In all cases, the remedy is to rebuke the demon in the name of Jesus and command it to leave. Jesus has given that power to his disciples (the Saints). The word diamonizomai, which at times translated as “under the demonic influence” or “to be demonized,[ii] occurs thirteen times in the New Testament, all in the Gospels: Matt. 4:24; 8:16, 28, 33;9:32; 12:22; 15:22; Mark 1:32; 5:15, 16, 18; Luke 8:36; and John 10:21. All of these instances indicate severe demonic influence. It is perhaps better to reserve the English word ‘demonized’ for more extreme or severe cases, such as those represented by the instances used in the Gospels. The word demonized in English seems to suggest powerful demonic influence or control. Cited in Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2015, 423
Satan’s Familiar Four Steps:
Satan is predictable. All Satan’s temptations follow familiar Four-step patterns:
Satan identifies a desire within you, like the legitimate desire to love and feel pleasure. Then he suggests you fulfill that desire in the wrong way. The truth is that if you don’t have desires, temptations can’t attract you. The Bible says, “there is a whole army of evil desires within you,” James 4:1b. You lose to Satan when you give in to temptations and those unhealthy desires.
Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about sin; is it wrong? How come others do it? And seem to get away with it? Doesn’t God want me to be happy? The book of Hebrews warns: “watch out! Don’t let evil thought or doubt make any of you turn away from the living God,” Hebrews 3:12.
Satan is incapable of telling the truth. “He is a liar and the father of all lies…” John 8:44. Anything he tells you will either be untrue or half-true. He whispers this into your hearts, e.g., “nobody will ever know; it’ll solve your problem; it’s only a little sin, or it’s not sinful.” Do not be deceived; the pleasure of sin is for a season.
If you conceive and carry a thought long enough, it will give birth to a behavior (an action) – Every addict starts with a fix, and every alcoholic with one drink. Shattered marriages begin with seemingly innocent flirtations. James warns, “But people are tempted when drawn away and trapped by their evil desires … do not be deceived…”
James 1:14-16. What’s the solution? The solution is to live closer to God, be regenerated, and you’ll be less vulnerable to temptation!
There are also four stages of progression into sin –
Sin always begins with sight. We see something either in our minds or our eyes. We must deal with this problem if we are serious about having a victory. We are not responsible for the first look, but we are responsible for the second. The first look is a mistake; the second is a sin.
If we fail to deal with the ‘eye gate’ problem, the problem will make its way into the heart, and we will begin to covet the desire.
At this stage, the act of sin is committed. Sin never happens; it has been thought about in the mind and heart. Victory, at this point, surrenders to defeat, and it becomes too late to do anything but for forgiveness in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sin always ends with fear and shame: Adam and Eve hid from the presence of God; Achan hid his stolen treasures (Joshua 7:20-21). The Sinner no longer wants to look God in the eyes, so he seeks to cover and darkness. If the person hides from God, his fellowship with God is broken. That is what Satan wants – for us to be cut off from God’s presence and power. We are then even more open to further temptations and sin.
Tips for Success in Fighting Daily Temptations:
- Ask God to strengthen you and show you the way out of any temptation you might face. 1 Corinthians 10:13
- Praise God. It can be singing a song, reading Scripture, or telling God how much you love Him. Praise helps connect you with God’s power that will help you overcome the temptations and any evil forces behind them.
- Commit to reading the Bible daily and praying and praising time. Pray that God will protect you from temptation throughout the day.
- Memorize some key temptation verses to recite when you feel it coming on. i.e., 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; Psalm 119: 9-11.
- When you fall, don’t give up, and don’t accept the devil’s condemnation. Instead, approach God with a repentant heart. Ask God to forgive you and strengthen you again. Jesus paid the price for your sin! Psalm 51 is an excellent passage to pray in this situation.
Hold on to your BTA
B – Be like Christ
T – Think like Christ
A – Act like Christ or ask yourself what Christ Jesus would do. God has promised victory and will deliver us if we seek Him. “But thanks be to God! He gives victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57.
Hebrews 12:2 (LB) “Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader, and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward, and now He sits in the place of honor by the throne” Jesus was motivated by the eternal rather than the temporal rewards. He forsook the immediate rewards for the eternal ones. We, as His followers, must also be motivated for the eternal ones. Regeneration is your Visa to ‘Upstairs” in Heaven. For the sake of your Soul, Be Regenerated today; tomorrow may be too late.
- [i] Ed, Murphy, The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare, (USA, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Revised and Updated Edition), 1996, 107
- [ii] Ed, Murphy, The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare, (USA, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Revised and Updated Edition), 1996, 107