For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12
“You can’t defeat the enemy unless you identify the enemy.” Those are the very words I heard myself declaring in a dream I had several months ago. It was one of those morning dreams you recall just as you are waking up. All I could remember was the setting, a church, and I was preaching. Beyond that the only other fragment of the dream I retained was that phrase, and it was reverberating again and again in my soul. I wish I could have heard myself say more.
Being at a stage in life when I have kindly been classified as a senior, I have come to appreciate the scripture that says “your old men will dream dreams.” (Joel 2:28) It is a wonderful promise for any man whose hair is thinning, receding and/or turning gray. Check, check, check, yep, all the above. So when I dream, it could be God speaking and I’ve learned to listen.
As it turned out, it was indeed a very timely word from God for me and necessary reminder of an important spiritual principle. In the spiritual realm we have enemies and we are at war. And as in any natural war, unless we can clearly identify the enemy, we will always be vulnerable, under attack, on the run and ultimately defeated. That is rule #1 in spiritual warfare.
There are two key passages in the New Testament which unmask the enemies of our souls, both of which instantly came to mind as I was pondering the import of my morning alert. One of them, Ephesians 6:12, identifies demonic enemies that can lure, deceive, attack and destroy us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV)
The other, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, warns us that there are fleshly or soulish enemies that set up strongholds in our minds. They mislead and entrap us through fallacious thinking or reasoning about God, ourselves, people and the world around us. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)
Notice the clarion call in these verses to take up spiritual weaponry to fight spiritual battles.
The bottom line is that such enemies, demonic or soulish, must both be identified and then actively engaged with spiritual fire power. Since Jesus defeated the world, the flesh and the devil at the cross, it is though His name and His power that we must do the same.
Signs of being under attack by spiritual enemies are many and varied. They come in the form of temptations and entrapments to doubt, fear, lust, jealousy, anger, hatred, anxiety, self pity, discouragement and on and on, you name it. In many cases, as in Jesus’ day, there are actual demons by the same names hiding behind them and empowering them.
At the time “you can’t defeat the enemy unless you identify the enemy” came to me I “just” happened to be wallowing in defeat in several areas of my life. Talk about a wake-up call.
I immediately took courage and within minutes was downstairs so as not to wake my sleeping wife and actively doing battle against an enemy I could now identify. In the mighty name of Jesus I found myself rebuking and casting out or down every demon, soulish thought and imagination that I could think of and name related to my defeated condition. It was a good, old fashioned spiritual housecleaning. And you know what? Almost immediately the entire atmosphere around me changed. No sooner had I identified the enemy and declared, just like David battling his enemies in the Psalms, “in the name of the Lord I cut them off!” and I was spiritually, emotionally and mentally free. (Psalm 118:10-12) Just like that! And by the way, three months later I can testify that I am still free. Praise God!
You can do it too! Take some time at your next earliest convenience. Pray and ask God to help you identify the enemies of your soul. Using the name of Jesus and His Word take authority over them and command them to be silenced and leave. In the name of the Lord, be ruthless and cut them off in the Spirit. If you need some outside help defeating them, don’t be afraid to get it. Remember, you can’t defeat the enemy unless you identify the enemy.
Click Here for an email subscription to this blog.