As Joshua neared the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, "Are You friend or foe?" (Jos 5:13)
Not everyone who bears a weapon is an enemy and those without weapons are not always friends. As such, Joshua did not jump to any conclusion when he saw a man with a sword in his hand, but wisely asked, 'Are you friend or foe?'
"Neither," He replied. "I am the Commander of the Lord's army." At this, Joshua fell down in reverence on his face. "I am at Your command," he said. "What do You want of your servant?" (Jos 5:14)
Joshua was Israel's leader and subordinate to God, so he showed respect. We show respect for God by our attitudes and actions when we recognize his power, authority, and deep love for us. Respect for God is as important today as it was in Joshua's day, though we no longer remove our shoes to show it.
Commander of the Lord's host, the Prince of the Angels had come to lead Israel in the coming strife, and overthrow by heavenly might both God's and Israel's enemies.
Paul warned, we do not fight against flesh-and-blood but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Eph 6 12)
These are not "flesh-and-blood enemies" but demons over which the devil has control. They are not fantasies or vain imagingsthey are very real. This powerful army's goal is to defeat Christ's church. When we believe in Christ, these beings become our enemies, and try to turn us away from Christ and back to sin. But we must battle these unseen forces, using all the tools with which Christ has provided.
Born to Battle
Isaiah 14:12-15 refers to the "shining one" that is the devil, Lucifer who fell from heaven. When he fell, he took one third of the angels with him. We each, at some point, must make a decision we give our allegiance to God or to self. Lucifer chose self (Rev.12:7-9). When we choose Christ we are born to battle.
Lucifer is the adversary with the other fallen angels who rebelled and were cast out of heaven. Satan and his demons are in a state of war against the church and God's people individually and coporately. All believers must fight on all levels the evil spiritual forces in the unseen realm (Eph 6:10-15).
Demons are permitted by God to tempt and deceive us but in a very limited way. (1 Cor. 10:13) and they have limited control over certain natural phenomenon (Job 1:19).
Many Christians I have counselod live with fear, depression and anxiety daiily. When asked how often they read their Bible, the reply is often, "I need to get back into reading my Bible." Those who do cease to have these problems, or at least they no longer overwhelm thier lives because they are no longer deceived by Satan's lies.
Satan's main characteristics are also his weapons against the church: the accuser, the deceiver, the opposer but primarily is division. And the main sin at Satan's fall was pride, doubt, and rebellion, and in this order (Ezekiel 28:8-19; Rev12:7-10).
Some traits of demonic oppression include mental anguish, physical sickness, fear and anxiety, masochism, nakedness and the inability to hear or speak truth (Matt. 8:28-33; Mark 5:1-6; Luke 8:26-39; Matt. 9:32).
Satan's messengers are powerful and destructive, and will do everything they can and that we allow to distort and destroy our relationship with God. Demons and demon possession are very real. Believers must recognize the power of Satan but also that his demons are powerless over those who trust in Jesus. If we resist the devil, he will leave us alone (Jam 4:7).
Overcome Evil with good.
If you find yourself in a dry, wilderness situation, then the devil means to destroy you but the Spirit will use it to develop you. However, if you sit in front of TV, being mad at life or upset about anything, then the forces of darkness will dominate. On the other hand, if you say, "Lord, I know you brought me here. It may be hot, barren and dry, but I look to You in this desert so that it will do in me what it did in Jesus. Let it give me victory over the darkness." Then you will have the Commander of the Lord's army at your side and you will be blessed indeed. Whatever you do, you'll be in the same desert, but your outcome will make an astounding difference.
The greatest difference in my life comes when I focus on the Word of God and who I am in Christ rather than those of my friends and who I am to them in the world.
Jesus illustrated his power over Satan's demons and he passed this power on to his followers (you) (Mark 16:17; Rev. 12-11). But only you can pick up the sword of the Lord and use it for justice, and defeat the enemies of the Lord God.
The Unseen Realm.
Soldiersthat would be you and I--don't attack evil without some thought. We follow a plan designed by Almighty God who has all the wisdom, and power we need to defeat our enemies. God will lead us just as he led the Israelites, and consume the enemy.
We have orders but when we pray and bring our cares before the Lord, we receive more. Here is a summary of some truths about the unseen realm:
1. Satan's kingdom is a limited system with order, authority and a chain of command.
2. Principalities and powers (see Ephesians 6, seek to dominate certain cities, houses, and peoples etc. The closer to God we are, the more they fight against us.
3. Respect the power of these beings, but remember, we are commanded to take them captive, to bind the strong man, to plunder his goods and to tear down the rule, right and authority of the evil one. (Mark 3:27)
4. As believers, we have the authority to overcome the enemy through Jesus' victory.
5. We must apply God's discernment of the unseen realm using his power.
6. We need to overcome the enemy to prepare the way for God's power to move.
7. Jesus said " Every city or house divided against itself will not stand." (Matt 12:25).
Thus we must overcome all conflict in our home and marriage and not let Satan create division between spouses, neighbors, friends, coworkers. Anger, bitterness, resentment, not forgiving create division. Spiritual authority brings unity among believers, moving us together toward a common goal. So, bring down Satan's strongholds with God's mighty power!
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and deliverer, ... in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)
Bringing Down Strongholds:
2. Waiting on God
3. Intercession repentance
4. Speak and overcome evil with God's word and bless by prayer and praise
5. Invite the Holy Spirit to fill your home,, nation, house, person, workplace and house of worship.
Worship and Praise
"I will bring them to my Holy Mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer for all nations." (Isaiah 56:7)
Music cannot be separated from prayer for intercessors. As intercessors we maintain joy in prayer or the enemy will remove our strength. Neh.8:10 says: "For the joy of the Lord is your strength." Since prayer and praise are linked together in the Word of God, they lead us into the courts of God, into the Holy of Holies. Know your enemy then use the Scriptures to defeat him.
Here is a scripture, relating worship and prayer, leading into warfare.
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the saints . Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harpLet the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them the written judgment this honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord! Psalm 149:1,3,6-9.
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Biblical counselor since 1991, I received a master of education in guidance and counseling in 1993, because licsensed as a mental health counselor in Washington state in 2001 yet contined to counsel from the Holy Scriptures. In 2009 I completed a doctor of religious studies in biblical counseling.