Spiritual Warfare 1: HOW TO DISCERN THE TRUTH

When you think of spiritual warfare, what do you think of? One thing is for sure, we all face assaults from unseen demonic spirits. One of those assaults is deception, which is why we need to know the truth. What is truth? Some people say truth is relative to what you want to believe. One of Satan’s greatest offensive tactics is to deceive us because he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan began his deception in the Garden of Eden. The Apostle Paul said in 2Corinthinas 11:3, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Have you known Christians who walked away from their devotion to Jesus Christ because of a false belief? One clue you are believing a lie is when you are mentally struggling with an issue.

We need the belt of truth to discern the truth from falsehood and unhealthy beliefs. You hire a detective to find the clues that lead to the facts. But what facts do you want to believe? Would you trust the facts presented by journalists, entertainers, friends, or the Bible? Our personal detective is the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 states, “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.” We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to understand the truth in God’s Word. If the Bible makes little sense to you, then you may not have the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit dwells in us when we believe and ask Jesus into our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Remember, the Holy Spirit is one part of the Trinity nature of God. The three parts of God are the Son, Father, and Holy Spirit. So, to ask Jesus into your heart, you get all three parts in one Spirit. For example, Romans 8:9-11 states, “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. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” With the help of the Spirit, we can know the truth. John 14:26 states, “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.”

Discerning the Truth

The best way to increase your ability to discern truth is to apply God’s Word to your life. Putting on the belt of truth secures your beliefs, so you are stable and not easily influenced by empty philosophy (James 1:8). So, if you doubt God’s Word is the truth, then you will be unstable and tempted to believe all kinds of false teachings and philosophies. Being devoid of truth leaves you feeling empty and despairing. So, learning and applying biblical truth is crucial for victory over the evil spirit rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers over this present darkness (Eph. 6:12). We quickly forget so we need to meditate on His Word day and night. Joshua 1:8 states, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Also, read James 1:22-25.

Through prayer, I humbly ask God to reveal my false beliefs. Then, I yield my mind to the truth of God’s Word and resist the devil’s devious enticement to please my deceitful, corrupt desires. Jeremiah 17:9-10 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Ask God to search your heart and mind for false beliefs or corrupt desires and to transform them with the truth, so your efforts will produce good fruit. Psalm 119:11 states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Reading your Bible every day, memorizing scriptures, participating in Bible studies, and attending Church services all strengthen the belt of truth.

Truth Sets You Free

Not only does the belt of truth secure godly beliefs in your mind, but it also sets you free. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him,If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Abide means to dwell, remain, or stay. So when we stay in God’s Word, we will know the truth and become free from our old nature based on false, unhealthy beliefs.

Truth Sanctifies You

Another function of truth is to sanctify us. John 17:17 states, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” According to Webster’s dictionary, sanctify means to be made holy or set apart as holy and made free from sin. Jesus Christ sanctified us when we believed (2Cor. 1:2). Sanctification is the process of putting off your old sinful thoughts and putting on a new way of thinking and behaving (Rom. 6:19). Ephesians 4:21-24 states, “Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Evidence You Have ON The Belt of Truth

Do you practice the truth? 1Jonn 1:6 states, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.John. 8:12 states, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” How do we know if we walk in darkness? Ephesians 5:8-9 states, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” If you do what is right, practice the truth, and your heart wants to please God, you know you are in the light and not in darkness. 

The Bible also says to put on the armor of light and walk in the light of Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Believers in Rome to put on Jesus Christ, the “armor of light.” Romans 13:12–14 states the following:

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off [loose, let go] the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

When you put on the armor of light, it protects you from evil. The light also exposes your sinful desires (the works of darkness), so you can repent and put your mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5–8). Remember, the devil accesses your mind through the weakness of your flesh. Satan also gains access through our resentment from offenses, forgiveness closes that door.

Proverbs 4:19 states, “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” Ask God to search your mind and show you the sins or resentments waging war against your soul (1Pet. 2:11). The soul is the origin of our thoughts and will, which determines all behavior. And the soul is considered the moral or emotional nature of man. So, the unseen battleground is for your soul.

John 3:20 states, “For everyone who does wicked [evil] things hates the light, and does not come to the light for fear that his works [deeds] will be exposed.” When God shines His light on your sin, then pray and verbally put off what He has shown you, in Jesus’ name. If He exposes resentment, forgive those who caused the resentment and loose the painful emotions in Jesus’ name, and then be thankful for something to transform the memory. Jesus set you free from the control of sin (Rom. 6:14, 18), but you still need to take captive the thoughts that lure you to sin or to be resentful (2Cor. 10:5).

The second evidence you have the belt of truth on is loving others in deed and truth? 1John 3:18-19 states, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him [God].”

The third evidence is keeping the commandments of God. 1John 2:4-6 states, “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

Conclusion

The truth is the opposite of deceit or falsehood. If you doubt the truth of God’s Word, then you will be unstable and influenced by any false doctrine. You need the Holy Spirit to dwell in you and help you know the truth so you can be set free from the bondage of demonic deception. The belt of truth helps secure healthy beliefs about yourself, others, the world, and God. The truth also changes us from the inside out, so we can love from a pure heart and do what is right. You know you have the belt of truth on when you desire to meditate on Scripture and please God. The belt of truth is necessary to have on if you are to remain secure in godly beliefs and not be deceived by the devil.

Pray:I put on the BELT OF TRUTH and will ponder scriptural truths day and night so I don’t sin against You and to succeed in all I do. I will depend on the Holy Spirit to lead me in truth, so I am not deceived. I humbly yield my mind to the truth of God’s Word and resist the devil’s temptation to sin through my deceitful, corrupt desires. (Josh. 1:8; Ps.119:11; James 4:7-8; Jer. 17:9-10; Eph. 4:22.)

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Author: Joyce Holzman Hanscom

I teach incarcerated women in the county jail about how to discover a new reality for their lives. Discovering a new reality is achieved when you heal emotions from painful memories and transform negative heart issues. When false beliefs are transformed by truth, then you can love from a pure heart and make wise decisions.

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