DEFINITION: Biblically, worldliness is defined as being devoted to or engrossed in things of the world that are opposed to spiritual concerns. It is also referred to in the Bible as carnality or being a carnal Christian.
FACTS ABOUT WORLDLINESS:
The worldly believer is characterized by spiritual indifference, instability, and lack of discipline. A worldly believer is sinful and rebellious against God (James 4:4) and is a lover of worldly pleasures more than a lover of God (2 Timothy 3:5).
You cannot love the world and love God. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
A spiritually-minded person is the opposite of one with a worldly mind-set. A spiritually-minded person is focused on eternal things instead of things of the world (Colossians 3:2). He seeks first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). His life is characterized by the manifestation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and spiritual discernment. He knows that to be spiritually-minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).
The things of the world will all pass away. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
DEALING WITH WORLDLINESS:
Confess the sin of worldliness and ask God to forgive you. Worldliness is sin because it is characterized by spiritual indifference, instability, ungodly conduct, and lack of discipline. The things of the world become an idol to you, and idolatry is sin.
Make a decision to serve God, and Him alone. Like Joshua, declare that you and your household will serve the Lord and live by godly standards (Joshua 24:15). This means you will not do things just because “everyone else is doing them.” Your standards will be biblical, not those accepted or dictated by the world.
Immerse yourself in prayer and the Word of God. The more you learn about God through prayer and His Word, the less worldly you will be and/or have the desire to be.
Establish a relationship with other believers who are seeking to live scripturally instead of worldly. Do not hang out with people who live by worldly values.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT WORLDLINESS:
…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25-33)
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)
What is highly valuable among men is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:15)
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-20)
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you…(Romans 8:6-9, NKJV)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)
And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.
(1 Corinthians 7:31, NKJV)
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. (2 Corinthians 5:16)
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14-15)
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:7-8)
… for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.
(2 Timothy 4:10)
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11-12)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?
Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. (James 5:5)
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
(1 John 2:15-17)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)
DEFINITION: Godly wisdom is the ability to understand what others cannot understand. It is knowledge of what is right, proper, and reasonable according to God’s Word. It is using good sense and judgment. Lack of Godly wisdom results in bad decisions and living a sinful lifestyle.
FACTS ABOUT WISDOM:
There are two types of wisdom. The wisdom of God that comes from above and the wisdom of this world. James explains: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:13-18)
Wisdom can be developed in three ways. Experience, observation, and revelation. Through your own experiences and by observing the experiences of others you can learn what to do and what not to do! The best way to learn, however, is through divine revelation from God and His written Word.
God is the one who gives wisdom. From the beginning of Old Testament record, God gave wisdom to His people to accomplish His purposes (Exodus 36:1-1; Deuteronomy 34:9; 1 Kings 4:19-30; Daniel 1:20; Acts 7:9-10.)
DEALING WITH WISDOM:
Repent of any unwise decisions you have made. This will give you a fresh start at living your life with the wisdom given by God instead of your own misguided wisdom or unsound guidance given by others.
Ask God for wisdom. Solomon asked for wisdom and received it (2 Chronicles 1:10-12).
James advised: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:4-8). Proverbs 2:1-6 chronicles the intensity with which you should seek God’s wisdom.
Learn from observation. You can learn from observing the experiences of others. In referring to the Old Testament record, the Apostle Paul said: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). He also advised: “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Philippians 3:17). It is better to learn from observing others than experiencing negative circumstances yourself.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT WISDOM:
It is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. (Job 32:8)
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalms 90:12)
Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord. (Psalm 107:43)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalms 111:10)
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. (Psalm 119:66)
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-6)
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. (Proverbs 2:12-15)
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her. (Proverbs 3:13-15)
Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7, NKJV)
For whoever finds me [Wisdom] finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death. (Proverbs 8:35-36)
The way of the fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)
Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips. (Proverbs 14:7)
How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! (Proverbs 16:16)
A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. (Proverbs 18:7)
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. (Proverbs 19:8)
Wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 24:14)
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom
preserves the life of its possessor. (Ecclesiastes 7:12)
Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city. (Ecclesiastes 7:19)
The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have? (Jeremiah 8:9)
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)
… but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:24-29)
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:13-16)
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”. (1 Corinthians 3:19)
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17)
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:4-8)
The wisdom of God that comes from above and the wisdom of this world: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18)
The book of Proverbs says more about wisdom than any other book in the Bible. That is the purpose of the book declared in Proverbs chapter 1. Read through Proverbs and mark all the references to “wise” and “wisdom.”
DEFINITION: Weakness is a condition of being fatigued, tired, and inadequate physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally to the extent that you cannot function effectively.
FACTS ABOUT WEAKNESS:
There are two main types of weakness. One is weakness (as defined above) that hinders you from functioning effectively. The other type of weakness is desiring something so much that you are unable to resist it. The latter meaning is dealt with as “Temptation” in this database.
Weakness is multi-faceted and interrelated. You can experience physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional weakness. One type of weakness can affect other areas of your life. For example, emotional weakness can also affect your physical body by causing stress.
What causes weakness. Spiritual weakness is caused by not spending time with God and in His Word and/or refusing to do God’s revealed will. Emotional weakness can result from not dealing properly with difficult circumstances and wrong emotional responses. Physical weakness results from sickness, lack of exercise, or lack of proper rest. Mental weakness results from not controlling your thought life. (Mental weakness, as defined here, does not mean mental illness. See “Mental Illness” in this database for coverage of this topic.) Weakness can also result from receiving the Lord’s Supper improperly (1 Corinthians 11:28-30).
DEALING WITH WEAKNESS:
Analyze your weakness. It is important to discover the root cause of your weakness so you can deal with it and not repeat behaviors that are causing it. Are you experiencing physical weakness resulting from an illness or not eating, resting, or exercising? Is it emotional weakness due to not handling negative circumstances properly? Is it spiritual weakness resulting from lack of time with God, in prayer, and in the Word? Are you losing the spiritual battle for you mind? Are you deliberately disobeying God and doing something that is causing spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical weakness?
Admit your weakness to God. The Apostle Paul admitted his weakness to God, and in so doing God gave him strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Sometimes God supernaturally eliminates your weakness, but at other times He gives you strength in the midst of it.
Accept and confess God’s provision for strength in your weakness. The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within you. Draw upon that strength. Claim promises like Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Correct root causes of your weakness. If your weakness is physical because of improper rest, exercise, or diet, correct these. If you have been losing the battle for your mind, study the topic of the “Mind and Thoughts” in this database. If you are emotionally weak, learn how to handle your emotions properly. Correct any sinful behaviors that may be causing weakness. For sure, spend time with God and His Word to strengthen yourself spiritually.
Spend time in God’s presence. “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV).
Recognize that when you are weak, you are strong spiritually. Weaknesses, handicaps, and inadequacies can be positive in that they make you recognize your dependence on God. This relieves you of trying to do God’s work in your own strength, and motivates you to function in the power of the Holy Spirit. It replaces pride with humbleness and provides a marvelous opportunity for the Lord to demonstrate what He can do through you. Weakness actually attracts God’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT WEAKNESS:
…You strength will equal your days. (Deuteronomy 33:25)
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7)
…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalms 18:2, NKJV)
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. (Psalm 18:16-17)
You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. (Psalm 18:35)
You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. (Psalms 18:39)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1, NKJV)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalms 28:7)
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalms 29:1)
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24)
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him. (Psalms 37:39-40, NKJV)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (Psalm 105:4)
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. (Psalm 118:14)
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14)
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy one of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength. But you would not, (Isaiah 30:15, AMP)
He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:29)
But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)
A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 11:28-30)
The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10, NKJV)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:29)
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. (Hebrews 11:32-34)
DEFINITION: Spiritual warfare refers to the battles waged by believers against our spiritual enemies–Satan, demons, and the spiritual forces of evil.
FACTS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
There are two spiritual kingdoms. The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:5-6). The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan himself, spiritual beings called demons, and all people who live in sin and rebellion against God. God’s Kingdom consists of the Trinity of God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), angels, and all people who live in loving submission to Him.
Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. There is no neutral ground (Matthew 12:30). You become a resident of God’s Kingdom by being born again and becoming a believer in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
Spiritual warfare began when Lucifer, who was originally a beautiful angel of prominence, rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:7-8).
The spiritual battle was manifested on earth when Adam and Eve yielded to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
All the battles that you face in life, whether spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, or relational are outward manifestations of a direct or indirect spiritual cause. Although in the natural world things often appear to be simply “circumstances” of life, the basis of these natural events originate in the spiritual world. Spiritual warfare is a spiritual battle which is manifested in the natural world.
Spiritual warfare is not against flesh and blood. The battle is against the evil forces that would hinder your walk with God, the Word of God manifested in your life, your worship of God, and your work for Him.
DEALING WITH SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
Prepare for effective spiritual battle by arming yourself with spiritual weapons. These include:
-The belt of truth by gaining knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 6:14).
-The breastplate of righteousness–spiritual protection that comes by living the way the Word mandates (Ephesians 6:14).
-Spiritual shoes–protection that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:15).
-The shield of faith which stops the fiery darts from the enemy (Ephesians 6:16).
-The helmet of salvation, which protects your mind, soul, and spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
-The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).
-Prayer (Ephesians 6:18).
-The blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
-Your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
-The name of Jesus (Mark 16:17).
-Praise and worship (Psalm 59:16-17).
-Fasting (the books of Esther and Jonah).
Use these biblical strategies to win spiritual battles.
Submit and resist. If you submit yourself to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you (James 4:7). To resist means to “stand firm against and oppose the enemy at every point.”
Do not give place to the devil. Do not leave room for Satan to operate (Ephesians 4:27).
Giving “place” to the devil is providing him a foothold from where he can operate in your life–for examples through alcohol, drugs, pornography, immorality, witchcraft, cults, rebellion, etc.
Recover yourself from the devil. You have a responsibility to recover yourself from Satan’s snare. You must cooperate with God for deliverance (2 Timothy 2:26).
Abstain from fleshly lusts. To “abstain” means “to deliberately refrain evil practices. The lusts of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as conduct from which you must abstain. Fleshly lusts war against your spirit (1 Peter 2:11).
Try the spirits. Be alert for the deceptions of the enemy (2 Peter 3:l7; 1 Timothy 4:1).
Reject false teachers. A false teacher is one who teaches incorrect doctrines and fails to live up to the mandates of God’s Word (2 John l0-11).
Lay aside worldly entanglements. To be a good solider for Jesus, you must lay aside worldly affairs (2 Timothy 2:4).
Arm yourself with the mind of Christ. The mind of Jesus is not automatically developed in you. You must “let” or “permit” it to be developed (1 Peter 4:l; Philippians 2:5-8; Romans l2:1-2).
Pull and cast down strongholds. One of the goals of offensive warfare is to pull and cast down the strongholds of the enemy (2 Corinthians l0:4-5). To “pull down” means “to take down by effort or force.” To “cast” means “to throw or hurl.” You are told to cast off the works of darkness (Romans l3:l2) and cast out demon powers (Matthew l0:8). You are to demolish arguments and pretensions and to take captive any thought that is contrary to the thoughts of Christ.
Bind and loose. You have the power to bind the forces of evil and loose the forces of good (Matthew 16:19). For example, you can bind the spirit of iniquity at work in the life of a lost loved one and release the spirit of adoption (a ministry of the Holy Spirit) to work in that person’s life.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15) See also Ezekiel 28:12-19.
“He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18)
Read about the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13. Note that strategies used by Satan and how Jesus met each one with the Word of God.
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18-19)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)
…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
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. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
…and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude… (1 Peter 4:1)
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (2 John 1:11)
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)
Read the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:8-22 for further insights into spiritual warfare.
(For detailed instruction on spiritual warfare, obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Spiritual Strategies: A Manual Of Spiritual Warfare” available at http://www.harvestime.org)
(Guidance And Decision-Making)
DEFINITION: In Greek there are two terms used for the word “will” in reference to the will of God. One word is “boulema,” which refers to God’s sovereign will. This is His predetermined plan for everything that happens in the universe. This type of “God’s will” is fulfilled regardless of decisions made by man. The “boulema” will of God is written in His Word. There is no need to seek this will of God because it is revealed in the Bible. The other word “thelema” refers to God’s desire for man to experience and live in His will. It refers to His individual plan for each believer. You have the power to choose whether or not you will walk in the “thelema” or individual will of God for your life. It is this “thelema” will, or God’s will for you as an individual, to which we refer when we speak of seeking God’s will.
FACTS ABOUT GOD’S WILL:
Seeking God’s will for your life assumes several things. That you acknowledge there is a God, that He communicates with man, that you can recognize His voice, and that He has something to say. All of these are true according to the revelation in God’s Word. It also assumes you have received Christ as Savior and are a believer (John 10:27).
Never seek guidance through the occult–witchcraft, tarot cards, tea leaves, fortune telling, horoscopes, etc. These are all satanic methods of guidance.
Do not use methods of chance to determine God’s will. These include casting lots or fleeces. These methods were only used prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit in a new dimension where He came to live within believers (Acts 2). A fleece is only mentioned once in the Bible. It was used by Gideon at a time of great national crisis and was for confirmation of God’s will, not for direction. Casting lots was a method similar to rolling dice to make a decision. These methods of guidance were never again mentioned after the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
Every voice you hear is not God’s voice. The Bible reveals that Satan speaks (Genesis 3). He lies, deceives, and attempts to lead you away from God. Satan even spoke to Jesus (Matthew 4:1-13). Evil spirits have voices (Acts 8:7; Luke 4:33-34). There are also the voice of self– examples of which are found in Luke 16:3 and 18:4 and in Jonah 4:8–and the voices of others who would give you advice. Then there is the voice of God, the voice that as a believer, you want to hear and follow.
God speaks through both the written and revealed Word. The first is called the “logos” Word of God. The second is called the “Rhema” word. The “logos” or written Word always agrees with the “rhema” or spoken, life-giving Word. A “rhema” Word from God usually applies to a specific situation, meets a personal need, and provides individual guidance. A “rhema” Word may be communicated through a sermon or a verse from the Bible which suddenly strikes you with great meaning. It may be spoken to you by God through the use of spiritual gifts. It may also be spoken in your inner spirit by the Lord. God will never guide you through a “rhema” personal word from God to do anything that conflicts with His written Word.
God reveals His will through the written Word of God, through counselors, through circumstances, and through open and closed doors of opportunity. God also gives supernatural guidance through angels, miracles, dreams, visions, or prophetic words spoken into your life. God sometimes speaks with an audible voice, but most often He communicates through a voice in your spirit. One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is to guide believers into God’s will: “When He, the Spirit of truth is come (the Holy Spirit), He will guide you into all truth. . . and He will show you things to come and He shall receive of mine (God’s will) and show it to you” (John 16:13-14, KJV).
DEALING WITH GOD’S WILL:
Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Many questions regarding guidance are answered in God’s Word. For example, the question of whether or not a believer should marry an unbeliever is addressed clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:14. There is no need to seek additional guidance or pray about something that is already revealed in God’s Word.
Pray for God’s will to be done. Jesus prayed: “…yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Make this your prayer also. Ask God to teach you to do His will and to lead you by His Spirit (Psalm 143:10). If you do not know God’s will in a certain situation, allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you because He intercedes according to the will of God (Romans 8:26).
Seek Godly counsel. Never go to a secular counselor, as they do not offer advice based on God’s Word. As a believer, you cannot find God’s purposes and plans for your life through advice from someone who does not know God and His Word (Proverbs 12:15).
Fulfill God’s will for each day. If you obey the Word of God and His direction for each day, someday you will look back over your lifetime and realize you have walked in His will for a lifetime.
Expect God to open and close doors of opportunity. The Apostle Paul experienced both closed and open doors of opportunity–and so will you (1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 16:6). Step through the open doors and stop at the closed doors, recognizing that closed doors are also used to direct your life. Never try to open a door that God has closed.
Trust God to guide you even when you do not understand. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Use the Biblical keys for guidance given in Proverbs 34:5-6 and Romans 12:1-2.
Remember that the individual will of God for you will never conflict with the moral will of God revealed in His Word.
Ask these questions when making decisions regarding questionable practices–things not mentioned in the Bible as being either right or wrong:
-Does it glorify God?
-What is your motivation for wanting to do this?
-Is it necessary?
-Does it promote spiritual growth?
-Is it an enslaving habit?
-Is it a compromise?
-Will it lead to temptation?
-Does it give the appearance of evil?
-Does it violate your conscience?
-How will it affect others?
Recognize that the peace of the Holy Spirit is your guide. For decisions not specifically dealt with by Biblical command, principle, or example, the peace of the Holy Spirit is your guide. When you make a decision regarding a questionable practice or life situation and you do not have peace in your spirit, continue to seek the Lord. Do not act until you have the peace of God confirming your choice.
Make wise decisions. Ask God for wisdom to make good decisions each day, and He will give it (James 1:5).
If you make a bad decision, do not give up in despair. Many people in the Bible strayed from the will of God but returned to fulfill their destinies: The prophet Jonah; the Apostle Peter; John Mark; and King David are some key examples. If this happens to you, admit your failure, repent, determine where you got off course, and correct your errors. Then seek God for new direction and act upon it.
Always remember that decisions determine destiny. Even your eternal destiny is determined by the decision you make regarding Jesus Christ.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT GOD’S WILL:
At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. (Numbers 9:23)
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me. (Psalm 5:8)
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Psalm 25:9)
Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. (Psalm 27:11)
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalm 37:5)
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23)
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)
I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8)
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. (Psalm 43:3)
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:24, NKJV)
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. (Psalm 86:11)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Psalm 119:133)
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure. (Proverbs 11:14)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15, NKJV)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2, NKJV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
Who are my mother and my brothers? he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. (Mark 3:33-35)
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42)
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7:17)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
When He, the Spirit of truth is come (the Holy Spirit), He will guide you into all truth. . . and He will show you things to come and He shall receive of mine (God’s will) and show it to you. (John 16:13-14, KJV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:26)
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:17)
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Hebrews 3:7-1, NKJV)
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)
May the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.(James 1:5-8)
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17)
(For a detailed study regarding scriptural guidance, obtain the Harvestime International Network course entitled “Knowing God’s Voice” available at http://www.harvestime.org)
ANXIETY AND WORRY
DEFINITION: Anxiety is the state of being troubled with fearful, distressing thoughts and worrying about real or imagined problems.
FACTS ABOUT ANXIETY AND WORRY:
Anxiety and worry express unbelief. Anxiety and worry are manifestations of a carnal nature expressing doubts in the ability of God to handle situations.
Anxiety and worry do not change anything. Through fretful thoughts you cannot add one hour to your life, so why worry? (Luke 12:25-26).
Anxiety and worry affect your health. Anxious, worried people may suffer nervousness, sleeplessness, headaches, and panic attacks–the long-term effects of which can affect vital organs.
Anxiety causes you to lose spiritual focus. Anxiety changes your focus from the eternal to the temporal. Your focus is to be on the Kingdom of God, not the things of the world (Matthew 6:28-34). The Bible warns, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap” (Luke 21:34). “That day” is speaking of end-time events and return of the Lord.
DEALING WITH ANXIETY AND WORRY:
Ask God for forgiveness. Anxiety and worry reflect unbelief that God is able to handle the situations in your life. Ask forgiveness for unbelief.
Address why you are anxious and worried. Like David, question yourself: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” Then, whatever the reason for your concern, tell yourself by faith: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you …” (Psalm 42:5-6)
Boldly declare that the Lord will help in any situation causing worry. He is your source of strength (Philippians 4:13). “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be seized with alarm-I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:6, TAB).
Cast your cares on God. The Bible says to cast your cares on the Lord (Psalm 55:22). The word “cast” implies a continuous action. You may cast your cares on God, yet anxious thoughts return. When they do, cast again!
Pray and praise God instead of thinking anxious thoughts. The Word says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Turn every anxious thought into a prayer, then praise God for the answer.
Do not worry. This is a command, not an option (Luke 12:22-23). Worry is focused on the future, and Jesus said not to think about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). God designed the world to run on a 24 hour schedule. Don’t violate this principle by worrying about the future.
Replace worry with the Word. The Word of God is effective in dealing with worry and anxiety. Following are some excerpts to get you started. In addition, go through your Bible and mark all of the promises of God and His faithfulness. Review these when you are tempted to worry.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ANXIETY AND WORRY:
Do not fret–it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you … (Psalm 42:5-6)
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19)
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.(Proverbs 28:1)
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:28-34)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23)
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)