I'M A CHRISTIAN...NOW WHAT?
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Chapter 7: Spiritual Warfare 101… The Simplicity That Is In Christ…Begin at the Beginning.
We have learned in previous chapters that Salvation is assured through Christ…but God’s Blessings, His Miracles, including healing, prosperity and protection from the enemy are separate subjects…please refer to Chapter 5 and chapter 6 for Scriptural references.
In 2nd Corinthians 11:3 it says; “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”.
In other words our minds may be corrupted away from the simple solutions that God offers in regard to Spiritual Warfare and ALL challenges that face a Christian.
This and other Scriptures must be understood in order to understand Spiritual Warfare…The simplicity that is within Christ.
Another key Scripture is in John 17:14-15:
Jesus speaking to Father God in prayer: “I have given them (Christians) Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I pray that You should keep them (protect them) from the evil one”.
In John 15:19 He continues and this is Jesus speaking to us; “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you”.
Expect it folks…the world (satan) hates us Christians…and distracting us from God’s Will is the prime tactic in Spiritual warfare…and Spiritual warfare begins in the mind…as it has from the beginning with Adam and Eve. The mind is the boss of the brain and the brain is the boss of the body…where the mind wanders, the man will follow…free will.
We truly DO live “in the world”…even if we, as Christians are “no part of the world”…the world belongs to satan right now folks…and ‘worldly behavior’ grieves the Holy Spirit…so we live ‘surrounded by the world’ in our everyday modern lives…without partaking in its unrighteous ways. Please refer to the first six chapters of this book for Scriptural references.
Think about it…there is not one thing in this world that has not been influenced (corrupted) by the enemy.
What man-made institution has NOT YET been touched by corruption?
And NO WONDER…the enemy has had thousands of years to incrementally…in patient deliberate steps…corrupt every man-made institution you can name:
Rev. 12:9 is talking about when satan led the great rebellion in Heaven; “So the great dragon was cast out (of heaven) that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, he was cast out to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”.
*Note; There are Scriptures which say that a ‘group’ of unclean spirits, fallen angels, were cast into darkness, in chains waiting for judgment, 2nd Peter 2:4, Jude 6, because they did not stay in their domain… but the vast majority of the unclean spirits, demons, were cast to earth with satan after the rebellion in heaven (Rev. 12:9 above). A much more in depth study of the Millennium Period which is yet to come will be studied in subsequent chapters of this book.
Getting back to the main theme; Notice that in the Scripture above, in John 17:15, Jesus is praying for Father God to ‘protect us’ from the world…from satan, and He will! He promised! But we have to ask Him and we have to do our part…by not ACTING like the world…by not being part of the world…by living in a way that pleases our God. How easy is that? The simplicity that is in Christ!
After all…who are we trying to impress (please)…the world…or God?
If we please God, His Miracles will follow.
The enemy has corrupted even the very foundation of society…the institution of marriage…the destruction of families…and the murder of innocent, unborn souls…legalized abortion! MURDER!
The enemy has corrupted even the institution of marriage…it is now legal to murder your baby! Or divorce for no reason…or to have sex without responsibility…the most sacred act that a man and woman can perform together…that of creating life…has been diminished to a recreational activity…a sport…a drug…just look at the most popular advertisements in any media…Spiritual Warfare. Popular Culture is owned by the enemy.
Please note that salvation is available for anyone and everyone…even murderers…please read the previous chapters and study the Scriptural references for the answers regarding conviction and Salvation.
The enemy has known from the beginning that if he can destroy the family unit it radiates out from there…to neighborhoods, communities…nations and out to the entire world…just ask Adam and Eve…the enemy did a very clever job there…imagine, he is so clever that they didn’t even ask their selves how a snake can be as great as the Creator of the snake.
How could the enemy pull this off? It is because they were distracted…they were too busy thinking about being as great as God! (pride, ego)…go figure, how foolish is that? How prideful? How greedy?
They were too busy thinking about being as great as God to use mere logic!
It is because satan makes it complex like a shell game…he is the opposite of the ‘simplicity that is in Christ’.
The simplicity that is in Christ…some things bear repeating…again in 2nd Corinthians 11:3 it says; “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”.
Taking advice from a reptile that tells you that God doesn’t want you to disobey Him because if you do, God knows you will be as great as Him…it never dawned on them that He could have built ‘automatic’ obedience into us like He did dogs? That He gave us free will for several good reasons? Please study all previous chapters of this book, in order of presentation, and the Scriptural references, prayerfully, for a deeper understanding.
So satan and his evil angels (unclean spirits, demons) were cast to earth, where they have been corrupting humans ever since.
As it was with Adam and Eve so it is today…the enemy easily seduces people into the trap of pride and greed.
Ask any con man…the first element in a scam is working off the greed of the victim. And satan is the ORIGINAL con man!
So has the world become corrupt under satan’s rule?
Is politics Corrupt???
How about Commerce?...Banks, retirement accounts.
How about Religion? Even the Christian Institutions…many of the churches are corrupt…in some very grievous ways. Just as prophesied…predictable and to be expected…false Christian religions are the harlot spoken of in Revelation and else where (more on this in subsequent chapters).
Does anyone argue that many Religious leaders have, in shockingly sad numbers, corrupted God’s Modern Day Temples?
Spiritual Warfare is a very real thing folks…and the enemy is very clever…but his tactics have not changed since he led the great rebellion in heaven.
Returning to 2nd Corinthians 11:3 it says; “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”…notice it says our MINDS may be corrupted…it starts in the human mind folks. The mind is the boss of the brain and the brain is the boss of the body…where the mind wanders…the man will follow.
Satan uses fear, anxiety, confusion, anger, sex and all other human emotions to make things seem complex so that we are distracted…like a shell game.
God’s Ways are simple and straight forward…all we have to do is ask for His Will…His Inspiration…His simple solutions to seemingly complex problems. Like the ultimate Parent that He is…He is more than happy to give us His advice…the ‘simplicity that is in Christ’…but we must be living in His Will to receive His Blessings and protection. He has a simple formula, please refer to chapters 5 and 6.
Just as the enemy can place corrupt ideas into our heads…so can God give us His Inspiration…it is our choice which thoughts we entertain and act on.
So if we understand the enemy’s tactics, we are better equipped to not just be ‘defensive’ against him…but actually engage him offensively…to keep him ‘off balance’ with God’s Power…His Will…this understanding will be studied Scripturally and the subject of ‘Spiritual Warfare’ will be woven throughout this book as a re-occurring theme just as it is in the Bible…but this chapter covers the basics.
Spiritual Warfare isn’t anything like the ever dramatic Holly Wood crowd would have us think that it is. Most of the enemy’s tactics are subtle and quiet…they have become so part of our culture, particularly in the Western World, that we just accept every day things…and ‘innocently’ become part of them…because it is ‘sociably acceptable’…and therefore ‘o.k.’
We often justify our little ‘misdeeds’ because relative to the world…’my little misdeeds aren’t so bad’…incrementally…corrupting and rotting slowly…over time.
For example, someone who pilfers from work…not much mind you…but they justify it by saying something like “So I stole $10 from the cash register at work…I could have stole $100 dollars!!! And since I didn’t steal as much as I could have…that makes me a pretty decent guy”.
The Scriptures tell us that ‘he who is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in that which is greater”…if we cheat God a ‘little’ how can we expect Him to trust us with ‘much’? If we grieve Him a little…how can we expect His miracles of prosperity, healing and protection from the enemy be much?
There is one basic tactic that we need to recognize immediately regarding the enemy; and that is the fact that the enemy can and does place thoughts in our heads…including the justification of the thought…and therefore the actions that follow…it is up to US as individuals to fall for the enemy’s tactics or not. If we fall for the tactic then it is because we failed to see the obvious principal (please study chapter 1, Talking To God’).
Just as the enemy can place corrupt ideas into our heads…so can God give us His Inspiration…it is our choice which thoughts we entertain and act on.
The mind is the boss of the brain and the brain is the boss of the body…where the mind travels, the man will follow. Please study the first 6 chapters of this book for Scriptural references and deeper insight.
God would never put a thought in our heads to steal…or do ANYTHING that is displeasing to Him…so if the thought is not coming from God…it is coming from the enemy.
Expand that principle to any scenario in the human condition. There are only two powers…God and satan…the tactic satan always uses is to suggest something that obviously is not from God…but he will do it incrementally, slowly and patiently, in small steps.
The enemy will use anything and everything to build on our pride…our egos…it is because he will do anything, devise any plan…to distract us from God and to keep us from simply asking; “God, what would You have me do”?
Think of how simple that process of staying protected by God is compared to the time and complexity of the enemy’s plan? Satan’s plans are complex in order to divert us, confuse and distract us from God’s simple plan for us…just like a shell game.
Under the New Covenant, God wants all of us to be part of His Kingdom…and to share in His Blessings and Miracles…now and into eternity.
The enemy has to take a lie or some other form of Spiritually destructive behavior and trick us into thinking it is ‘no big deal’ to go against God’s Will…the ‘little white lie, for example.
Once he has planted the seed…either directly or through ‘confirmation’ from someone else whom the enemy is also manipulating…then he will begin the ‘flattery’ stage, the ‘pride’ stage in the process.
Keep in mind…he has to set you up to do something that you KNOW is wrong…because the conscience hurts in the beginning…but he will set you up into thinking that it was justified only because you could have ‘sinned’ so much more…and didn’t…so that makes it ‘better’.
The truth is that the only thing that can make any situation better is to go to God, through Christ as our mediator….’the simplicity that is in Christ’.
As one of my favorite Pastors sums up redemption and restoring our relationship with God: Go to Him through our Mediator Christ and confess…”Admit it, quit it and then forget it”. Don’t even think of our past sins…it is trash for the mind…just refer to Lot’s wife (Genesis 19).
I know this is true because of my own studies in human nature…including my OWN sinful nature…I have watched others both mature and fail to mature…Spiritually and in every other way.
Free will is always the deciding factor but the every day details of Spiritual Warfare…the enemy at work in the battlefield of the human mind…can be very distracting…you see, if we allow the enemy in…it is at those times we are distracted from God’s Will…just refer to the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul…or Job, Eve, Cain, Lot’s Wife, Judas…the list is endless of those who allowed the enemy in. these examples and the Scriptural references can be found in detail in previous chapters of this book.
Some who have allowed themselves to be seduced by the enemy have reconciled with God…others did not…their choices…their free wills at work.
Job is the oldest book in the Bible…the very first Biblical book written…the very first message God delivered to us in the Bible…it is our model as imperfect humans for faith and endurance.
Job lost everything and everyone! Yet his faith was matured as a result…everything was restored twice over…Job was the epitome of being under attack by the enemy…Spiritual warfare and all of its elements…so the basis for this study begins there:
Job was written about 850 years before Christ.
Job, remember, was a mortal man. He wasn’t an angel and he certainly was not Christ, the perfect man…Job was a mortal, imperfect, man…our model on what a mortal man can do when living in God’s Will…a model that still holds true about 2,859 years later in modern times.
The good news for us is that the enemy has not changed his basic tactics…in all that time…and we have God’s discernment and can detect the enemy’s patterns and tactics.
The enemy used the very same tactics on Jesus while Jesus was being tempted on the mountain…to the point that He needed comfort and Ministry from angels. More on that later in this book.
By knowing the enemy’s tactics we have the ability to, in a sense, forecast his behavior...but it is only through personal prayer and study of the Scriptures that we can gain the understanding of God’s Will and develop a personal relationship with Him. I am only a mentor, a guide, someone who can point you in the right direction…God drew the map and created everything on it…I’m just a tour guide.
Job was a wealthy man with thousands of head of live stock…dozens, perhaps hundreds of personal servants. He was a man who was faithful to God in every way…in his love for God, his faith in God, his works for God…he had all of the elements that evoke God’s miracles and blessings…God’s Truly Magic Ways (please study chapter 5 and 6 of this book for Scriptural references and in depth study).
The Book of Job was the very first message God committed to writing…so we will begin there in order to understand God’s Will from the beginning.
Keep in mind that the Book of Job has all of the elements of Spiritual Warfare…and as this book progresses we will see how satan has incrementally corrupted all facets of society…more importantly we will learn God’s Solutions to these dilemmas.
Satan’s mission is the same as it has always been…to usurp God’s Power…to steal as many human souls as possible just as he deceived one third of the angels who rebelled with him, of their own free will…some 50 million plus…who are on earth today doing his work. More in depth Scriptures on this in subsequent chapters.
Please read and study all 42 chapters of Job for the deepest understanding…but here, for now, is a poem about the Book of Job:
THE BOOK OF JOB
(Faith, patience, pride. humility, repentance, redemption and blessings. He never cursed or blamed God)
A man of wealth who cherished God
His wealth was beyond measure
Ultimately his faith was more
Than any earthly treasure
Satan mocked our God one day
And challenged that Job would curse Him
The only reason Job loved God
Was for wealth that God had given
God allowed for Satan’s curse
To prove Job’s love was real
That a mortal man of faith
Satan could not steal
God allowed for precedence
In the oldest Bible Book
For us to see in coming times
Job’s love and faith weren’t shook
Attacked suddenly by Sabean thieves
His cattle and donkeys were taken
Fire consumed all his sheep
Job’s faith was still not shaken
The Chaldeans came and stole his camels
By now most servants were dead
Satan drew blood upon Job’s wealth
With a blood thirst blood was shed
Then the news came to Job
That all ten children were killed
The winds had destroyed the house
Job’s faith was still not chilled
He ripped his garments and cut his hair
On the dirt in his grief he laid
His love and faith for our God
Remained ever staid
Satan cast boils on that mere man
From his soles to his head
Job scraped the boils with pottery
Wealth’s ashes were his bed
Job’s wife then came and said to him
“Curse God and then go die!!!”
“You senseless woman who has no faith”
Was Job’s faithful reply
“It is easy when all is well
To show our patience and faith”
From his lips he did not curse God
Satan’s vile he did not taste
False friends then came to visit Job
To turn him from our God
In his painful near death state
His course he chose to plod
He argued with these three false friends
To whom he showed false pride
In his weakest moments
Humility had died
Job spoke of his self righteousness
Of good deeds he had done
He bragged about generosity
To him the poor would come
A fourth man named Elihu
Younger than the rest
Came to join the older men
He came on God’s behest
Elihu came respectfully
To teach and to reprove
He spoke of all creation
God’s Spirit always moves
At God’s will every thing exists
From nothing he made it all
He knows each creation
The largest and the small
Each molecule and planet
And everything between
It’s all God’s creation
God wastes not anything
Job humbled himself before our God
Repented of false pride
He never cursed our loving God
Who for us later died
In the end God favored Job
All things to him restored
Job’s blessings all were multiplied
God’s blessings to Job were poured
COPYRIGHT 2009 MARK DIAZ
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
NOT TO BE USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PUPOSE
BUT PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS FREELY
As thousands of years past and societies came and went, the human population has grown until, as of this writing, there are about 7 billion people currently living on planet earth. Satan has had all this time, thousands of years, to incrementally corrupt the world and most of those who live here.
Talk about a narrow gate! Out of all the people who live here only about ten percent currently claim to be Christians. That’s about seven hundred million people and with about fifty million unclean spirits (demons) here, there is about one demon for every 14 Christians.
And since demons are very powerful, they don’t need sleep or food etc. they can influence, by thought processes, many, many people…especially the non-believers who are close to and part of the lives of Christian believers…often times people are manipulated by the enemy without even knowing it…if their morals, ethics and values are OF THIS WORLD…Spiritual Warfare folks.
Let’s look at a modern day example of how the enemy operates…and how our God moves:
Michael Lee Washington’s Testimony is just one of dozens, perhaps hundreds that I have witnessed over the decades. His testimony is being used here because we are limited in time and space and he is a prime example of God’s Grace, Mercy and Salvation through Christ. I could write for several lifetimes and still not be able to write about all that I have seen of God’s Work.
Mike’s Testimony has all of the elements of modern day Spiritual Warfare…but the basic elements, since Job’s day, are still there…and it is by understanding the enemy’s tactics, and with God’s Will for us to know these things, that the enemy is thwarted in our every day lives.
Michael Lee Washington – Testimonial/Praise Report
As of this writing, in July of 2009, at age 51 Mike Washington is a Christian man of deep and abiding faith. He has given his life over to God and his life is serving humanity. He attends to the most broken of souls…those who have been Spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially broken since childhood. Our hope is that Mike maintains his garden with God into eternity…it is a bountiful garden with many fine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9).
I know Mike Washington very well. I lived with him and about 40 other homeless men for nearly 3 months, while I was homeless at the Great Falls Christian Rescue Mission in Great Falls Montana.
Mike is a ‘man’s man’…he can be very gruff…he knows how to be a tough guy…no one would ever mistake him as a weakling…a softy…but when Mike talks about God his eyes get misty…God saved him through Christ.
When I originally asked Mike if I could write and publish his Testimony he immediately replied; “You know what Jesus said…’If you are ashamed of Me before the world, I will be ashamed of you to my Father’. Mike didn’t hesitate to give his full name and permission to let the world know how indebted we all are to God through Christ.
Today Mike is the Emergency Shelter Coordinator at Great Falls Rescue Mission in Great Falls Montana. He has been in this position since 2005.
Mike’s life was not always so fulfilled. At age 12, as Mike pus it: “Something was missing”. He turned to alcohol to fill this void.
Mike was eventually healed by God of major things such as cirrhosis of the liver (beyond any hope), the effects of a series of brain strokes caused by alcohol, abscessed teeth, malnutrition and a variety of other ailments resultant from a weakened immune system.
He has been saved and blessed by God through his faith as a Christian…an adopted brother of Christ. Mike’s journey took some 32 years…and he will tell you himself that it was not God who was slow…it was Mike who fought God tooth and nail, as many of us do, before he accepted God’s Love, Grace, Promise of Salvation and God’s Calling in Mike’s life.
Through the various common stories of broken relationships, lost jobs, brushes with the law and an all around miserable existence…Mike met a moment of desperation where he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself. This broken from childhood life was the result of the enemy working in the lives of those around Mike as a child and Mike making decisions based on the enemy’s false teaching…the battlefield of the human mind…Spiritual Warfare…battles from all sides…constantly…down and dirty trench warfare.
It was the enemy Mike was listening to all along…including the day Mike tried to kill himself by hanging. The attempt failed, thank You God…and the legal authorities became involved.
It was almost time for Mike to choose Salvation through Christ.
This was in December of 1999. Mike was given a choice to either go to MCDC (Montana Chemical Dependency Center) or to the Great Falls Rescue Mission. He chose the Mission.
Mike went to the Mission and joined the Christian Discipleship Program. A 6 month program which includes daily service to the Mission (chores), evening chapel services, a strict set of behavioral rules, Bible classes twice a day and a very regimented schedule. It also provides Spiritual and physical sustenance, a clean place to live, a comfortable bed in a dorm setting, personal improvement and all the necessities of life.
After 3 months in the program things began to look up for Mike…or so it seemed. He was only half way through the program when he was offered his old job back and came into a financial windfall in the form of an inheritance.
Mike decided he could “handle it” on his own so he moved out of the Mission, resumed his old secular job and began a new life…but he had not yet turned himself over to God, through Jesus.
Mike promptly went back to drinking and his old ways.
He lost his job, blew through the money and began to die again…physically, emotionally and Spiritually.
By this time Mike was beginning to have alcohol induced brain strokes and seizures. His liver was shot and he began developing abscesses in his teeth on a regular basis.
In April of 2002 Mike’s Doctors told him his liver had been completely destroyed. The seizures had taken their toll. As he puts it, “It was like living in a constant fog…like an intense marijuana high”. His short term memory, spatial reasoning ability and his abstract thinking abilities were all shot.
His brain was destroyed by chemical drugs and his body was decaying from the inside out.
Like many men who have lived this life style from childhood, Mike had no one in his life and no where to go…so he returned to the Rescue Mission in Great Falls…not to sober up and get on his feet…but to die…The Mission (and God) was all he had left.
His Doctors had already told him there was no medical hope. There was nothing any man could do for him…he would be dead by the end of summer.
Everyone had given up on Mike…even Mike himself…everyone that is but Abba, Daddy God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…our God Jehovah.
One night Mike found himself on his knees. He was in tears of desperation…they were the tears of a truly contrite man. A certain Scripture kept running through his mind:
(2nd Corinthians 12:9) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly “I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…”
Mike prayed to God…the prayer of a truly contrite man. Mike also listened to God and felt God. He felt the healing warmth of God’s grace and mercy. Mike felt the confidence and security of God’s love.
His tears of desperation and pain and misery were replaced with God’s tears of joy and hope and redemption. The feeling of being renewed by God’s ultimate love…Mike knew God’s Will had been done.
Mike was healed in every respect. The alcohol and chemical dependency was completely gone…no cravings at all. His liver had been completely restored, the effects of the brain seizures and strokes had disappeared…except that there is a minor numbness in his arm. Mike says it is a gentle reminder to always be thankful and grateful and to give God the credit and glory. Even the abscess in his teeth disappeared without medication or root canals.
Mike completed the Christian Discipleship Program at the Great Falls Rescue Mission where he interned for 2 years. He also attended The Association of Gospel Rescue Mission’s College where he received his Certificate in Rescue Ministry work. Mike was then hired as The Emergency Shelter Coordinator at the Great Falls Rescue Mission…and as they say…the rest is history. THANKS GOD!!!
Well folks this concludes chapter 7 of the book ‘I’m A Christian…Now What?
We have received thousands of emails and other messages since September 10th 2008 when this Ministry was born…the numbers run about ten to one in favor of blessings. I can tell you that we will get a few hateful emails…just a few from Legalists who will accuse ME of being a Legalist…imagine that…when the contrary is true.
Imagine that…if the worst that the enemy can throw at me are words like a recent email stated, “Mark you are a Bible thumper who is going to hit me over the head and submit me to God’s Will”…the truth is that God does not operate that way and neither do I.
The truth is that your salvation and your blessings come from God through Christ…and that is strictly between you and God. Neither I nor any man can intervene in that process. If you want to steal from your employer, commit sexual immorality or do ANYTHING that Father does not find pleasing then that is none of my business unless it affects me personally.
I’m just a witness and a reporter on His Work…watching Him at work…witnessing and reporting on what pleases Him…and what does NOT please Him…the rest of it is up to us and our own personal responsibilities to Him.
So what’s the point Mark? Is Mike Washington like Job?
The answer is that Job got the message early in life…and so he prospered in every way…for some of us it takes longer…we are all works in progress…It took Mike Washington 32 years to ‘get it’…but he did ‘get it’…and he did it in time…he did it before God closes the door to Salvation.
The time will come when God closes the hatch just as He did in Noah’s time.
Our prime directive as Christians is to deliver this very message…the message of the New Covenant…the message of God’s Salvation through Christ…and how to garner God’s miracles, Blessings and Protection from the enemy…NOW and into eternity.
After all…who are we trying to impress…(please)…the world? Or God…Spiritual Warfare folks…
The simplicity that is in Christ.