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Spiritual Warfare #2

Fighting the Devil

Spiritual Warfare

by Daniel Difranco

     Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Have
you repented of your sins and made a commitment to walk a new way
of life? If you have answered "yes" to these two questions, then
you are in the middle of the greatest battle taking place on
earth right now. This battle is a spiritual battle, and you are
under attack. You are under attack because when you become a
Christian, Satan and his demon is forces place you at the top of
their hit list. First Peter 5:8 states, "Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour." (NKJV)
     Let's analyze two main aspects of this  spiritual war.

     First, we need to identify how Satan attacks us, and second,
we need to know what we can do to neutralize his attacks.

     In order for us to understand how Satan attacks, we must
first understand his character (or lack thereof) as well as his
mindset. Several biblical passages give indications of what makes
him tick: He is covetous and wants God's position: "For you  have
said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
throne above the stars of God; . . . I will ascend above the
heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High'" (Isaiah
14:13-14). He is a murderer, a liar, and incapable of telling the
truth: "...He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not
stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar
and the father of it" (John 8:44). 
     He has the ability to masquerade as a messenger from God:
"And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an
angel of light" (I Corinthians 11:14).

     When you analyze these components of  Satan's character, you
realize that rules are off limits to him. If he were a boxer, he
would hit you below the belt. He will do anything he can to take
you away from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
     Satan has almost unlimited avenues of how he can attack us.
All of them are centered in falsehood. Let's examine a few of 

The Lie

Genesis 3:1-5 states:

     Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field
     which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has
     God indeed said, You shall not eat of every tree of the
     garden?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the
     fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the
     tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You
     shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
     Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely
     die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes
     will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and

     The serpent in this passage of Scripture tells several lies,
but the one that is the most devious can be found in verse 5.
Satan tells Adam and Eve that they can be like, or be equal to,
God. In other words, they have no need for God and that they are
their own authority. This attitude has all but permeated our
society today. It is known as secular humanism. According to the
American Heritage Dictionary, secular humanism is defined as, "An
outlook or philosophy that advocates human rather than religious
values:" 1.  A person who holds this philosophy really has no
basis of how to live his life. If we only advocate human values,
then the only determining factor of those values are those which
each individual holds. It then becomes an "I'm right and you are
right" mindset, even though both positions may possess mutually
exclusive truth claims. The Christian faith has defined laws and
guidelines to follow. These laws help to maintain a decent and
civil society. Secular humanism, or "the lie," only leads to the
eventual death and destruction of the society that adheres to its

Secular Humanism:

     Secular humanism is defined as, "An outlook or philosophy
that advocates human rather than religious values."

Music and Entertainment

     Western civilization, and much of the rest of the world,
have become enamored with entertainment, to the point that the
average American spends between 5-6 hours a day on watching TV,
movies, internet, and listening to music every day. Entertainment
in itself is not a bad thing, but even if all of our
entertainment was wholesome and virtuous, immersing ourselves in
any form of escapism is not healthy. The problem with  our
entertainment is that it has become so perverse. The following
excerpt from Steve Bonta in The New American sums it up best:    

     "Little wonder that, after decades of having pro-abortion,
     pro-homosexuality, pro-sexual promiscuity, and anti-religion
     messages, among others, dinned into them on prime-time TV,
     in movies, and in popular music, Americans have largely
     acquiesced,  and in many cases openly embraced, conduct and
     beliefs that were taboo a couple of generations ago." 2

     To try and find entertainment that is godly or uplifting is
quite a challenge. So when you combine our addiction to
entertainment, with its increasing moral depravity, you begin to
see what a powerful indoctrination tool that Satan has at his

Direct Spiritual Attacks

     Hollywood portrays demonic activity differently than the
Bible. Hollywood often gives demons limitless power, making them
on an equal footing with God. However, based on personal
experience and what is written in the Bible, I believe there are
three main ways that we are directly attacked by the demonic

1)   Influence

     This appears to be the most common attack. It is something
that everyone experiences at one time or another. Have you ever
had a thought pop into your head and wonder, "Where did that come
from?" If we let our guard down, Satan does have the ability to
influence our minds. There are several examples of this in the
Bible (Acts 5:3; I Chronicles 21:1; John 13:2).

     His influence may actually manifest itself in a physical
form as well. I have talked to several people who have woken up
in the middle of the night with an "evil presence" that was on
their chest, making it hard for them to breathe. I have also
personally had the feeling of an evil spirit being in a room and
could almost "see" it.

2)   Demonized

     This idea is almost an intermediary step between being
influenced and possessed. It is where people hear voices and
begin to do things without knowing why. They still are somewhat
in control of their lives, but they tend to be in a constant
state of confusion, worry, and doubt. Several Christian
psychologists believe that most mental illnesses fall into this
category. Two excellent books that deal with this topic are "The
Bondage Breaker" and "Victory over Darkness" by Neil T. Anderson.

3)   Possession

     This attack apparently gives its victim very little control
over what they do. It is almost like they become a puppet to a
master. Several examples in the Bible are found in Matthew
9:32-33; 12:22; 17:18; Mark 5:1-20; 7:26-30; Luke 4:33-36; 22:3;
Acts 16:16-18.

Overcoming Satan

     Satan is a formidable foe for us. He is a being on a
different plane of existence and is capable of doing things that
we cannot imagine. How then can we defeat him? Here are several
things that will help:

1)   Have the correct means to fight him

     "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to
     stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle
     against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
     powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,
     against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly
     places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you
     may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done
     all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist
     with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
     and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel
     of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which
     you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked
     one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the
     Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:11-17).

     Ephesians 6:11-17 is almost always quoted when discussing
spiritual warfare, but let's make sure we do not diminish its
significance! It is God and His strength alone that will help us
defeat Satan. We are instructed to use aspects of our Christian
walk in the same manner that a soldier would use armaments to
protect himself in battle. Just as we wouldn't expect to walk out
and fight a Sherman tank in our pyjamas, we cannot expect to
fight Satan and his demons without effective Prayer, Bible study,
and Fasting.

     Remember, we would not need this armor if it weren't
possible for Satan to attack and injure us.

2)   Know the tactics of the enemy

     Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you out as
sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and
harmless as doves." In other words, we should understand how our
enemy works, but not be partakers in his behavior. We need to
remember that Satan is a deceiver, a murderer, speaks
half-truths, and does not follow rules. His pursuit of us will
never end until the end of days, so we need to be on guard and
understand how and where his attacks come from.

3)   Be careful of your surroundings

     I can recall reading a story of a preacher in the 1800s. He
went to New Orleans to help convert the drunks and the
prostitutes. He decided to live on Bourbon Street to be right in
the middle of all the action. Within several months, his behavior
had become just like those all around him. It is important for us
to realize that we cannot stay immersed in a sinful environment.
If your job, school, or even church is a place that is like that,
you may want to consider going elsewhere. As Christians, we
should want to help those who are lost and living in sin, but we
need to be careful that it does not overcome us. Since we are
constantly under attack by the tempter, we should not put
ourselves in a state of temptation.

     Much like ancient Israel, Christians need to learn to rely
upon the strength of God's hand. We can do nothing to stop the
onslaught of evil that is at our door everyday with our own
power. Satan and his demons hold sway over much of humanity. It
is possible for us to fall under that sway as well. Therefore, we
need to put God as our first and only line of defense. He will
fight these spiritual battles for us. If we encounter an evil
spirit, or a person possessed, we can command the evil spirit to
leave in the name of Jesus Christ. If we are having personal
encounters or are being influenced, we can pray for God to fight
the battle. This war that we are involved in will not stop until
Jesus Christ returns. Let us remember that we have nothing to
fear if we put God first and make Him our defense. It is in Him
and Him alone that we will be victorious in this spiritual fight.

Be on guard: 
Influence is the most common attack.

Know your enemy: 
By using the armor that God has provided stand prepared. Satan
tho' formidable can be defeated.

Let us Remember: 
We have nothing to fear if we put God first and make Him our


Daniel Difranco is a board member and licensed minister for
Pass-It-On-Ministries. Dan and his wife, Jennifer, along with
their twin daughters, Emma and Elena, attend the Springfield
Missouri Church of God 7th day congregation.
All scripture is from the New King James Version.

1.   "Secular Humanism." The American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language. Fourth ad. 2004

2.   Bonta, Steve. "Bread and Circuses." The New American 10 Feb.

Taken from ACTS Magazine, July/August 2007, a publication of the
General Churches of God, 7th Day, Meridian, ID, USA

Entered on this Website September 2007

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