The one frustration the girls had in my county jail Bible study was not being able to withstand the temptations to return to their old friends and lifestyle. Why? Not being able to stand firm in our faith involves many factors. One factor is to understand the spirit world and the unseen spiritual battles that wage war against our soul. Knowing the truth about the spirit world will help us be mindful of their influence. When I shared the following four spiritual realities, the inmates all said it was very helpful, and I hope you find it helpful too.
Reality one: We are spiritual beings in a physical body living in a spirit world within a physical world. The following scriptures prove this reality:
- James 2:26 “The body apart from the spirit is dead,…”
- Luke 23:46 “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit!” And having said this, he breathed his last.”
- Acts 7:59 “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
- 2Timothy 4:22 “The Lord be with your spirit.”
?? What happens to our spirits when we die? Read the story of Lazareth and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31.
?? Where did Lazareth go after he died, and where was the rich man go after he died?
?? Why could the rich man see, hear, speak, and feel thirsty if he was dead?
This account explains another reality that there is a heaven and a hell.
?? If you were to die today, where will you spend eternity?
Reality two: God is an eternal Spirit being, which means He always existed. He is also an all-powerful Spirit-being that is present everywhere. Revelations 1:8 states, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty.‘” Read the book of Exodus to get a better understanding of the power of God. The following scriptures also confirm this reality.
- 1Corinthians 2:11 “For who knows a person’s thoughts except for the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (Our Spirit communicates with God through prayer. And God, who is a Spirit, reveals His thoughts to our spirit and gives us an understanding of His Word found in the Holy Bible.)
- John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.“
- 2Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
God’s desire from the beginning of time is to be in a loving fellowship with mankind. Fellowship also means companionship, and some call it a relationship. Look up the following verses in different versions.
- 1Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- 1John 1:3 “that which we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
- Isaiah 41:10-13 tells us that God holds our hand, through our spiritual being.
The following are examples of Old Testament men who walked and fellowshipped with God.
- Genesis 5:24 “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”
- Genesis 6:9 “These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”
?? When you walk with someone, do you talk to them? So, if God is a spirit, how do you think they walked with God?
Reality three: The devil and demons are evil spirits, who are fallen angels. These evil spirits want to keep us from being in fellowship with God. And they will deceive and tempt us to please our sinful fleshly desires and live independent of God.
The devil is a created spirit being also called Satan. He is the great enemy of man and of goodness; usually identified with Lucifer, the chief of the fallen angels. Lucifer became prideful and wanted to set himself above his creator, God. However, God threw him down to earth along with a third of the angels who followed him (see Is. 14:12-14). He is also called the deceiver (see Rev. 12:9-12), father of lies and murderer (see John 8:44), and the destroyer or Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek, which is translated as “destroyer or to destroy” (see Rev. 9:11 and John 10:10a). Webster defines “devil” as the slanderer; the chief evil spirit, a supernatural being subordinate to, and the foe of God. He is also the foe and tempter of man. To be evil is to be morally bad or wrong; wicked; depraved. Someone who is evil causes pain or trouble and does harm. Satan and demons are not present in all places nor do they know all things, and they do not know our thoughts as God does (see Ps. 139:1-10). The Bible also says the following about Satan.
- John 10:10 “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- 1Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9) Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” Note: Jesus also suffered.
- Hebrews 2:18 “For because he himself (Jesus) has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Jesus was tempted by the devil to sin (see Matthew chapter 4). We too are being tempted every day to think wrong thoughts and to sin. But, Jesus did not give in to the temptation and He never sinned. Because He was victorious over the devil’s temptations, He will help us not to give in, but only if we have invited Him into our lives to be with us (see Revelations 3:20). When we are being tempted to sin, all we need to do is to take the thought captive and turn it into a prayer for help (see Hebrews 4:15-16).
The Bible says the following in James 4:7-8; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.“ The result will be that the devil will flee; which is to run away or escape from danger; disappear; vanish.
?? What are some situations in your life that you would like to see the devil flee?
Therefore, if we are to stand firm against temptations and send the devil running, we need to do three actions: 1) Humble ourselves by putting aside our desire for self-fulfillment, self-sufficiency, and independence from God. 2) Submit to God; which is, to surrender control of our lives to Him. 3) Draw near to God. But first, we need to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts by confessing and repenting of any sins of the flesh and the spirit. Then seek forgiveness for our sins; 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (purifies us from all unrighteousness; NIV).” We cannot approach a Holy God in prayer if there is sin in our lives. The pages on my website on the right-hand margin will help you to identify many types of sins.
You see, sin happens when we give in to the temptation to be prideful and live independent of God and His good and perfect instructions. Our sin separates our spirit from the Spirit of God. Isaiah 59:1-3 states, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2) but your iniquities [wickedness; sins] have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that he does not hear. 3) For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.”
Reality four: God the Holy Spirit replaces our sin-corrupted spirits and gives us a new life and we become born again spiritually (see 1Peter 1:3 & 1 Cor 6:17). We get this new life when we believe with our heart and confess out loud that Jesus Christ is God the Son, who died to pay the debt for sin; forgives our sins and frees us from sins control (see John 1:29; 1 John 4:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Colossians 1:14; & Galatians 5:1). The Bible says the following about the role of the Holy Spirit.
- John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
- John 16:13 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
- 1Corinthians 2:10-12 “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11) For who knows a person’s thoughts except for the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”
- 1Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (Also see 1Corinthians 6:19.)
?? What is our responsibility? Do you think the Holy Spirit just takes over and we are instantly changed?
First, we must renew our minds with the truth of God’s Word (the Bible), which is outlined in my website (see Rom. 12:2). Second, we are to set our minds on the things of the Spirit through prayer and pondering Scriptures (see Colossians 3:1-2). The following verses explain this principle.
- Romans 8:5-6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6) For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
- Romans 8:9-10 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10) But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
- Romans 8:13-16 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!“ (Also see Gal 4:6. ) 16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
- Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17) For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
- Galatians 6:8 “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
- 2Corinthians 7:1 “Once we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
?? According to these verses, what are we responsible for doing to remain (abide) in fellowship with God?
In conclusion, the spiritual battle for our souls is fought in the spiritual world through prayer. Prayer is our spirit communicating with the Spirit of God. Understanding these four realities of the Spirit world will help us stand firm in prayer against the destructive influences of evil spirits in the unseen spirit world that is all around us.
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P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).