A. God’s will for you is victory.
1. Because of Christ’s victory at Calvary over sin, death, and the devil, every believer has the right and ability to walk victoriously in life, free from guilt, condemnation, fear, bondage, and defeat (I Corinthians 15:57). God always leads you to triumph in Christ. (II Corinthians 2:14), and He never leads you to defeat.
2. According to II Peter 1:3, God has given you everything you need for life and godliness. Before you were saved, the devil was your master, controlling your life (Galatians 4:8). Now that you have been “born again,” Jesus gives you whatever you need to face life and live godly.
B. You can overcome the devil.
1. As a believer you can now resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Believers in the Bible overcame Satan, and so can you (Revelation 12:11). God will crush Satan’s power under your feet (Romans 16:19-20).
2. The Bible says in I John 4:4 that He that is in you (Jesus) is greater than he that is in the world (the devil). This should give you confidence to face life’s difficulties, knowing God is on your side.
C. You must know the devices, or tricks, of the enemy.
1. To wage spiritual warfare effectively you must know the tactics of your enemy. It is essential that you become aware of his schemes (Ephesians 6:11), not just the fact that he exists.
2. You will find that Satan assumes three basic roles in his attacks and uses three basic weapons with which he hopes to defeat you:
- As the tempter he entices with temptation
- As the accuser he seeks to bring condemnation
- As the destroyer he attacks with destruction
I. How to be victorious over temptation
In Matthew 4:3 and I Thessalonians 3:5, the Bible calls the devil the tempter. Satan has no power to make you do anything. He cannot force you to sin or to give up your faith. However, he does have a “bag of tricks” that he uses to get you to act independently of God and to go against His will. The strongest weapon that Satan has is temptation.
A. How temptation works
From James 1:12-15 we learn how temptation works.
1. The devil looks for an area of your life where you are weak.
2. He then entices you in that area. Temptation is not sin-only yielding to it is.
3. If you give in to the temptation, sin is conceived.
4. After sin gets a “hook” in you, it becomes stronger and stronger (if you do not repent) until it controls you and finally destroys you.
B. Three areas where believers are tempted (I John 2:16).
1. The lust of the flesh -This area deals with the appetites of the flesh and includes such sins as sexual immorality, gluttony, drunkenness, drug abuse, and laziness.
2. The lust of the eyes -This area has to do with man’s relationship to money and possessions. It includes such sins as greed, covetousness, stealing, and lying.
3. The pride of life-This area involves putting self at the center of all things and relationships. It includes such sins as pride, vanity, strife, anger, envy, idolatry, and murder.
C. How to successfully overcome temptation:
1. Use a balanced approach to spiritual warfare by daily putting on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
2. Build yourself up spiritually through prayer, and Bible study. The importance of this cannot be overestimated!
3. Stay away from evil influences (I Corinthians 15:33; I Timothy 6:11; II Timothy 2:22; I John 2:15). This may mean changing friends, entertainment, jobs, or anything else that could pull you back into the world and your old way of life.
4. Use the Word as a sword against temptation and the devil’s lies (Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 4:1-11).
5. Repent of all known sin in your life, especially unforgiveness, bitterness, rebellion, or occult involvement, as these left alone can allow access to Satan to build strongholds in your life.
6. Be sure to stay in close fellowship with other believers through your local church (Hebrews 10:25).
7. Stand on the promise of God that He will not allow Satan to tempt you beyond what you can handle but will give you a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13).
8. After you have submitted yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
II. How to overcome the accuser’s condemnation
In Revelation 12:10-11, Satan is referred to as “the accuser of our brothers.” One very effective weapon of the devil is to keep believers looking inwardly at their own shortcomings and failures instead of upwardly to the mercy and help from their Heavenly Father (Hebrews 4:16). This serves to divert them from the work of God they are called to do. It is similar to trying to drive with your eyes always fixed on the rear-view mirror instead of on the road ahead.
A. Satan wants you to quit.
The devil does all he can through accusations and condemnation to get you to give up and quit spiritually. If he can convince you that you are not changed, that God does not love you, or that you will never get victory, then what usually results is discouragement, depression, and dejection, all of which can lead to spiritual shipwreck.
B. Three areas of protection-Revelation 12:11 tells how the accuser of the brethren was overcome by believers.
1. The Blood – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” When the devil accuses you of past failures, inadequacies, shortcomings, and sins, you are to point him to the blood of Jesus. The Bible says in I John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Your sins are gone because Christ took them away; therefore, the devil has no case against you before God.
2. The spoken Word -“They overcame him by… the Word of their testimony.” This simply means that you are to speak (or testify) what the Word says about you and your sins. When the devil attacks you with condemnation, speak the Word to the thoughts and accusations coming against you.
3. Absolute surrender to the Lord -“They overcame him… and they loved not their lives unto the death.” They were so sold out to the Lord that not even death could make them turn back. When your commitment to God is sure, the devil’s darts of accusation fall harmlessly off without hurting you.
III. How to turn back the enemy’s destruction
Satan is called the “destroyer” in I Corinthians 5:5 and I Corinthians 10:10. From I Peter 5:8, we learn the devil is like a “roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour.” John 10:10 speaks of the enemy as the one who comes “to steal, to kill, and to destroy.” From these passages and others, you can know that Satan is intent upon bringing devastation and ruin to God’s people.
A. Satan’s major areas of destruction
1. Physical sickness
2. Bondage-especially to alcohol, drugs, or sexual sins
3. Mental and emotional attacks
4. Financial problems
5. Family problems
B. Scriptural ways to resist the devil
1. Stand on God’s promises. Find out what God’s promises are regarding your particular area of need, and claim them for your own life. For example, if the devil is hitting you with sickness, study what the Bible says about healing and believe that for your life.
2. Speak the Word. Speak God’s Word to the need and to Satan when he attacks. This is what Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4.
3. Obey God. Make sure you are walking in obedience to the known will of God. In the book of Malachi, the people of God were seeing their finances devoured, and they did not understand why. God told them it was because they were not paying their tithes. In Malachi 3:10-11, He said that He would rebuke the devourer if they would obey Him.
4. Bind and loose. Bind the devil in the name of Jesus and loose the blessings of God from Satan’s grasp (Matthew 12:28-29; 16:19). You act as God’s delegated authority in this, and it allows you to enforce the victory that Christ has already won for you over the devil and his power (Luke 10:19).
5. Walk in faith. Without faith it is impossible for you to please God or to defeat the devil. Faith is a shield that is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16; I John 5:4).
6. Stand. Finally, stand your ground, and don’t give up. “Stand against the schemes of the devil …, and having done all … stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13). There is no room for cowardice in God’s army. If you are afraid of the enemy and try to run from him, he will devour you, but if you stand against him using your weapons of spiritual warfare, he will flee from you.