We face two of types of personal attack from the forces of evil
- false ideas
- Protection from false ideas.
- We need Christian friends who love us enough to honestly
challenge any false ideas that we are tempted to accept.
- We need elders to correct us if we seriously lose the
Protection from sickness and diseases.
- We each need friends who are full of faith, who can stand
with us and pray for our healing.
- We also need elders who can pray for the tough cases James
If we do sin, we need:
- a friend to challenge us
- an elder who will warn us if we don’t listen.
- A friend who will pray against deception
- Elders who can really do spiritual battle for us, if we get hooked.
This is all we need
We are involved in a spiritual battle. Our enemy is prowling
around like a lion, looking for someone to destroy. These risks
and dangers make spiritual protection an important issue for all
The modern church has doctrine of "covering". This
doctrine says that we are covered and protected from evil by
submitting to a pastor or being part of a church. However,
this doctrine is not taught explicitly in the scriptures, but is
based on an allegorical interpretation of the book of Ruth.
Trusting in a vague and ambiguous doctrine of spiritual protection is
dangerous. Not surprisingly, Christians everywhere are being
decimated by evil, because they do not understand the real truth
To understand spiritual protection, Christians must understand the real limitations on the powers of evil.
If we are in Christ and walking in the light and are not demon
possessed or under a curse, then there are just two
ways that the powers of evil forces can personally attack us. They have the
- put false ideas in our minds. Gen. 3:1,4
- afflict our bodies with pain and sickness. Job 2:7.
These are the only two ways that they can attack us.
Satan cannot force us to sin. God has created us as free agents
so we have control over our lives. Satan cannot force us to do
something we choose not to do. The only way he can get us to sin
is to influence our moral choices. Because his powers are limited,
Satan tries get us to sin by persuading us make wrong choices. He
uses his power to speak into our minds, to get us to believe lies
that will affect our behaviour. They are usually a justification
for negative thoughts or actions. They deceive us into thinking
that something evil is good or that something wrong is right. He
sometimes attempts to distort our view of God.
On other occasions he may use another person to speak the words to
us.Sometimes the thought will be a picture in our imagination.
Some examples are of the types of thoughts he can put in our
You deserve that.
No one will know
You are justified in hating him after what he has done
Just looking is not a sin
God would not do that
Deception is Satan's best weapon. He attacked Jesus
in this way by putting thoughts in his mind that were partly
true, but that would lead him to sin (Turn the stones into bread;
you are hungry). If Jesus was vulnerable to this kind of
attack, then no one is immune. The human heart is very deceitful (Jer 17:9). For example,
David was chosen to be king because God saw that he had a good
heart (1 Sam 16:7). Yet David persuaded himself that it was right
to kill Uriah the Hittite so that he could take his wife Bathsheba
(2 Sam 11:14). This should warn us that even mature Christians can
be deceived into believing false ideas about good and evil.
The sole purpose of putting these thoughts in our mind or
imagination is to make us more likely to sin. Satan’s goal is to
get us to harbour these thoughts and give them a home in out
hearts. If we take ownership of them, they will begin to affect
our behaviour and actions.
Negative thoughts are more effective if they are associated
with strong negative emotions like anger or fear. Therefore, they
will generally come into our minds at a time when we are
emotionally stressed. To produce this stress, the devil will often
use other people to attack us, eg persecution, opposition,
slander, robbery etc. Other people cannot make us sin, but their
negative attacks will often produce the negative emotions that
will make us susceptible the negative thoughts that are popped
into our minds.
When we constantly accept a pattern of false ideas, it becomes
a mental stronghold in our minds, which Satan can easily and
frequently exploit. If we listen to one of these false ideas a
number of times, they become part of our memory. This also happens
if we identify with it strongly or it is associated with strong
emotions. Once the thought is in our memory, Satan no longer needs
to put it into our mind. We will bring it out ourselves, whenever
we are in a similar situation or feel the same emotion. The
thought has become a mental stronghold that controls part of our
thinking and therefore influences our behaviour (2 Cor 10:4,5).
If we fall into sin, it becomes much easier for Satan to attack
us with sickness and with false ideas. If we sin frequently, he
can get control of part of our lives.
The other power that Satan seems to have over Christians is to
power inflict our physical bodies with sickness. He does not seem
to have to wait until we sin to have this power. Job was a
righteous man yet Satan had the power to touch him (Job 2:3).
However, there was a limit: he could not take Job’s life (Job
2:6,7). Satan tried to attack Epaphroditus to prevent him from
doing the Lord’s work (Phil 2:25-27).
Inflicting sickness is Satan’s best weapon against
Christians. It is the greatest power that he has. In the western
world it is even more effective, because Christians do not
associate sickness with him. Sickness weakens people and makes
them less effective in service of the Lord. Illness produces
negative emotions that make us vulnerable to false ideas (for more
Spiritual protection from the two types of personal attack
described above comes through relationships with other Christians
and with Christian elders.
1. Protection from Deception.
At a personal level there are three things we should do to
protect ourselves from false ideas.
- Guard our own mind by testing all thoughts, imaginings,
ideas and feelings against the scriptures, so that our mind
is renewed (Rom 12:2). Take every thought captive and
make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
- Remain in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, as the more we listen to him,
the harder it will be for Satan to speak.
- Refuse to listen to false ideas. Adam allowed Satan to
speak. Jesus refused to let Satan speak (Luke 4:35). If we
try to argue him we may lose the argument.
These things will help, but they will not totally protect us
from deception. On our own, we will not be able to stand against a
concerted attack. If someone like David was vulnerable, no one is
Friends and Elders
Full protection comes through relationships with other
Christians. This should be in place at two levels.
The support of Christian friends will be adequate to deal with
most attacks. However,
we may need the intervention of mature elders to assist
against really serious attacks.
If we begin to accept false ideas from the devil, they will
begin to affect our behaviour and influence our decisions. If we
are being deceived we will not notice ourselves. The first people
to notice will be our friends, because they will need to
be close enough to see the change in behaviour. Hopefully, they
will love us enough to honestly challenge any false ideas that we
are tempted to accept. As they challenge the false ideas, they
will also resist the devil in prayer and release the Holy Spirit
to speak the truth. However, we will only listen to them if we
already trust them.
We all need to give one or two of our Christian friends the right to challenge us
if we are being deceived or making wrong decisions. This is what
it means to "submit to one another" (Eph 5:21). The more
we share about what is happening in our lives, the safer we will
be. The best spiritual protection comes from relationships with
other honest and caring Christians (see
We also need elders to correct us if we seriously lose the
plot. In some situations, we may listen to an elder, when we will not listen to a
friend. Elders may have greater discernment than other Christians.
When operating in unity, they may also have greater power in
prayer against deception. Elders can really do spiritual battle
for us. Between them, they should have the full range of giftings
needed to deal with any situation.
2. Protection from Sickness and Diseases
When the forces of evil attack us with sickness, we must resist
them. However, we will usually need others to stand and resist
with us as it is hard to resist when we are unwell. We do not have
the energy for spiritual battle. Our faith tends to weaken, when
we are burdened with sickness. In this situation we need Christian
friends who are full of faith, who can stand against the evil
attack with us and pray for our healing.
The paralysed man had friends with faith in the power of Jesus
to heal (Luke 5:18). That was a good situation to be in. In
contrast, the man beside the pool had no friends to press in for
his healing (John 5:5-7). Spiritual protection from sickness comes
from being in relationship with Christian friends, who will take
action against attack. A couple of Christians should make a
commitment, that they will go into battle for each other, whenever
either is attacked by sickness. Having friends who have made this
commitment is the best protection against sickness.
We also need elders who can pray for us in tough cases of
sickness (James 5:14). Elders should have real power and authority
to blow sickness away.
The Pattern of James 5 as it applies to spiritual protection is set out
in the following table.
confess your sins to each other.
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and
someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns
a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death
and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:16,19)
for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of
a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it
would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three
and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave
rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:16-18)
the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be
any one of you sick? He should call the elders of
the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in
the name of the Lord.(James 5:14)
The Armour of God
We put on the armour of God so
that we can stand against the devil's schemes (Eph
6). One way of approaching the armour of God is to see as protection against these two
forms of attack: deception and sickness. The first three protect
against deception. The second three protect against sickness. The
key to this is understanding the nature of the the "flaming
arrows of the evil one". In Psalm 38:1-8, flaming arrows
O Lord , do not rebuke me
in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
For your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down upon me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin….
My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly……
My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body.
David described his sickness as
arrows that destroyed his flesh. Job also described his sickness as
arrows in his flesh (Job 6:5). Therefore, the flaming arrows of
the evil one are attacks of sickness and disease.
Belt of Truth
Walking in the truth of the
word of God is the best protection against deception.
Shield Of Faith
Faith is essential for
defeating sickness. The promises are received by faith
righteousness in Christ protects from lies that would push
us down into condemnation.
Helmet of Healing
In Greek, salvation =
healing). We need a revelation in our mind that the cross bought
salvation from sickness
Gospel of Peace
Meditating on the cross and
the gospel is
the best antidote to the deception of pride.
Sword of the Spirit
We can use the word of God
to fight sickness, claiming its promises
The two worst forms of deception
are pride and condemnation. Satan tries to either puff us up or
drag us down. The second and third pieces of armour deal with
Submission is Essential
Submission is very important for the effective of the spiritual
armour. When we submit to each other, we are giving other
Christians the authority to act on our behalf against evil. This
is a key to getting victory. God has made me free, so another
person can only have authority in my life, if I give it to them. I
give another person authority in my life by submitting to them. If
I submit to the elders in my church, they have authority to resist
evil on my behalf. The more I submit to them, the greater
spiritual authority they will have to resist any evil that is
attacking me.This relationship between spiritual authority and
submission is not well understood. We often ask other Christians
to pray for us, but it does not have much affect. The reason is
that they have very little authority in our lives; but they cannot
have authority, if we have not given it to them.
We often assume that if we have a large number of people
praying for us, their prayers will be more effective against the
attacks of the enemy. This is not correct. When resisting evil,
two or three Christians who have real authority in our lives,
because we have submitted to them, will be much more effective.
Spiritual armour is only effective when we are resisting
together in submission to each other. The meaning of the word
"submit" is to "place ourselves under".
Therefore we must stand under authority before we stand against
the devil. Submission and authority go together.
When Paul said that elders watch over or care for us (1 Tim
5:17), he used the Greek word “pro-histemi”, which means “stand
before”. When we submit to elders, they are standing before
us.According to the pattern in 1 Peter 5:5-9, submission and
protection go together.Submit to one another
- Submit to your elders
- Submit to God
- Be vigilant
- Resist the devil
- Stand in the faith