I remember my pastor once said, a sure way to lose a battle is not being aware that we are at war. There is no chance for victory in any battle without an awareness and an intentional mindset of toughening up for the fight. Whether we are conscious or not, the reality is that our flesh and our enemy are in constant battle against our Spirit-birthed new nature. The scripture instructs us to put up a good fight by taking every thought captive, making each of our thought obedient to Christ [2 Corinthian 10:5]. Spiritual victory is to be attained not just moment by moment, but thought by thought. The most deadly battle strategy of the evil one is to lure us away from the Holy Spirit, effectively disarming us from the spiritual weapon of mass destruction against the kingdom of darkness. Once we disengage ourselves from the spiritual growing process of transformation through the renewing of our mind by the Holy Spirit, we will have little resistant to the thinking pattern of this world. We will lack spiritual discernment to test and approve what God’s good and perfect will is.
Being disarmed makes us spiritually vulnerable. But not being aware that we have been disarmed makes defeat domineering. The evil one often disarms us from our spiritual weapons using approaches that are subtle and gradual. Typical tactics used by the evil one include the following.
Build the Stronghold that Reject the Spirit
The epidemic of the stronghold in Spirit phobia has weaken the Church from exercising its full power and authority in Christ in the battle against the evil one. Leaders’ sin of pride leads to spiritual abuses over sheep that the Lord has entrusted to their care. Leaders using the name of the Holy Spirit in vain gives a foothold to the evil one to build strongholds among the congregation that reject and resist the Holy Spirit (More on the subject: Why I avoid the word Charismatic entirely).
Plant Lies against the Truth and the Knowledge of God
Over the years, I have collected a few common lies Christians often believe. For example, the lie that because God has richly blessed North America with abundance in training, education and resource, therefore, we have everything needed for ministries. Only the third world missions fields need the Holy Spirit because of so much lack. But North America is already “fully equipped”. I am amazed by how many Christians, including spiritual leaders, truly hold true to such a lie. But God’s Truth says, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts; His ways are higher than our ways [Isaiah 55:8,9], apart from Christ, we can do nothing [John 15:5]. That is why Jesus asked His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit before starting their ministries. Living in such lies makes us weak. Ministry without the Holy Spirit will only keep us busy but irrelevant for kingdom cause.
Another lie that a lot of Christians believe in that makes us weak spiritually: that is the belief that our God operates on a set of generic biblical principles that is impersonal by assumption. Yet the Truth is that our heavenly Father treasures our love and our intimate relationships with Him over our performance and over what we think we can do for Him. For the sake of such loving relationship, He chooses to walk in our shoes with us. That is why our heavenly Father sent Jesus in His human form because He will never just throw us over to a set of “ought-s” and “should-s”. There is no ministry apart from our relationship with God. But with our intimate loving relationship with our Heaven Father, He can use us to change the world around us.
It is only by the Spirit that we can spiritually discern the lies from the Truth, the irrelevant things from what is dear to the Father’s heart. Only then we can walk in spiritual victory the way that Jesus did.
Induce Fear and Shame that leads to Pretension and Arguments
The evil one is good at inducing fear and shame that leads us into pretension and arguments that go against the truth and the knowledge of God. Fear and shame often drive us to act worldly; irrationally; illogically. They shut down our spiritual perception to the point that we cannot hear His voice anymore.
Blow up our Pride and Ego
The evil one feeds our pride and ego that leads us to ungodly control, self reliance and self sufficiency instead of seeking the Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom. How do we know? What causes us stress exposes what fuels us and what is our real source of trust.
Cast Doubts and Unbelief
The evil one is also good at casting doubts and unbelief in our minds. Instead of pondering and treasuring in our hearts revelations from the Holy Spirit through many ways, we often dismiss these signs or still small voices as “co-incidence”, or questioning the validity of the actual happening. James [1:7,8] has called such attitude double-minded and unstable. As a consequence, such person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
Do you know of other subtle tactics that the evil one uses to disarm us without us even knowing? What other lies that Christians believe in about the Holy Spirit that we should be made aware of? Please share with us in your comments!