Years ago when I was a newly committed Christian, I asked my friend who we were battling against. It’s commonly thought to be other people. But no, she said, “Demons, not people” (EPH. 6:12). How then do we fight an invisible, spiritual opponent?
The battlefield is in the mind, and the fiery darts of the wicked one are sinful and fruitless thoughts (EPH. 6:16). We have to take every thought captive (II COR. 10:5) before they come out through our mouths as sinful words, or from our hands and bodies as sinful actions. Other people are not our problem unless to warn, counsel, instruct, or pray for as led by YHWH’s Spirit.
For instance, I drop things. It annoys me. Before I was a committed Christian I would probably have uttered a swear word when I got annoyed after dropping something. When I was at Bible College I noticed my friend Ruth would cheerfully say, “Praise God,” when she dropped something. I liked that and aspired to it. As a Christian I stopped swearing and started saying various other words, the latest being, “Shoot!” when the wretched things hit the deck. My son said I needed to stop that as it sounded like I was saying something else. Do you know how long it took me to transform ‘Shoot!’ and whatever it was I used to say into ‘Praise YHWH!’ or ‘Thank You, Father’ WITHOUT grinding my teeth angrily? (Of course you wouldn’t.) TWENTY YEARS! It’s only been recently. That’s a 20-year battle, one of the numberless areas in which I have fought my demons. Beats the Hundred Year War they had in Europe once, I guess.
Another one was my fight against caffeine. As Christians, NOTHING should have control over us. Addictions therefore are definitely out. In 1999 I was buying my usual sugarless black coffee at Macs when Father said, “You won’t be needing that anymore,” meaning the coffee. Okay, Father.
I cut down a little, but reasoned I needed an occasional tea or caffeinated soft drink sometimes when I was driving to keep me awake. Anyone know reasoning is often from the devil? While living for three months in Western Australia, I lay down on the floor one night (only my daughter had a mattress, the boys and I had blankets spread on the wooden floor until some kind Christian friend lent us some for the short while we were there), and noticed my heart beating erratically. Called Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia (PAT), this is common in even young people and caused by stimulants such as caffeine and smoking. I had given up smoking just before Bible College when Father gave me a severe dose of PAT palpitations that I thought were never going to end. Usually a minute’s rest stops them.
Anyway, in Western Australia, on the floor, I thought I was going to die. I’d better STOP drinking coffee. I mean, GET SERIOUS about it. I did, and it got a lot better. But I continued drinking other stuff like chai lattes until just recently. That’s what? A 13-year battle. Once I cut all coffee out of my life except for one cup a week. I found I was still addicted to that ONE CUP A WEEK. It’s hard to give up something you really like, even if it’s the Almighty telling you to.
My battles against caffeine addiction and saying ‘Shoot’ when I dropped something are minor skirmishes. The battles we face in life will be as numberless as the stars, as ongoing as the tide, and range in size from a tiny eddy to a tidal wave that seems to engulf us. In some of these battles it will seem at times we take a step forward and two steps back. That thought is from Satan and it means we are WINNING! What is that expression? ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way.’
Determine you will do it, ask Father for help, rebuke the demons unceasingly, and remember: Yahshua Messiah already won the victory for us. It’s the only war fought in which we already know the Victor before the enemy is engaged. A major part of the battle is RECOGNIZING when the enemy is whispering his lies into our spiritual ears (mind). If we can do this we rapidly advance.
By the way, it took me only 6 months to give up smoking (after 20 years – I had my first cigarette at age 11) with some stern chastisement from Father. However, the CRAVING to smoke lasted another FIVE YEARS. I envy those people who are immediately delivered from such things with a single prayer of repentance.