Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
The Bible indicates there are various ways to effectively counter evil besides employing the usual weapons. For a few examples: by fasting and prayer (Mark 9:29), by rebuking Satan with the Word of God (Luke 4:1-13), and by getting out of Dodge, as it were (Proverbs 22:3).
But sometimes, the “warfare” is in the mind, at least starts there, requiring a very different kind of “weapon”. Consider:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
What “power” do THEY have?
I mean, even in the old Bible stories they brought real weapons to the real battle grounds, right?
But, if you think about it, sometimes, the mind (where the emotions that fuel destruction start to foment) is where the wall of protection is first breached by our real adversary (as in he who “prowls about seeking whom he may devour”).
And if we can stop “him” (and his minions) there, by resisting the call to the kind of weapons and conflagrations that he desires in order to “feed” his lust for destruction, we have won the battle, starved out the enemy, and overcome evil before it starts, in a real sense, with good.
He will just have to prowl somewhere else: no crisis, no opportunity.
(I am here reminded of an old war-protest slogan from the sixties: “What if they started a war and nobody came?”)
But, still, how is keeping our minds on “whatever is of good repute” a weapon? And how does it, “starve evil”?
What inspires this particular post is the news, of late, right before election day 2016, from the latest round of leaked emails and documents about various forms of Satanism that might be practiced in certain circles of power, although those in the circles and their apologists are quick to mock and dismiss the news. You can look this up if you want to, but be warned: it’s sickening and the normalcy bias will be so strong many will automatically reject it as nonsense/political ploys/lies.
If not for exposure to the reality of Satanism by way of my long-ago job in a ministry that helped people come out of religious cults (and my decades-long study of the Bible), I, too, would doubt and deny this shocking news, at the very least, remain seated atop my cynical fence hoping it keeps me safe.
I mean, people who seem so nice and have families and look good and have college degrees from fancy universities, and all, don’t do such things, right? They would never do the kinds of horrible things you hear about involving Satanic worship, right?
And few people have access to the police files on such investigations due, for one thing, to their shock nature…
But whether or not any of this is true, or just another distraction, one thing is for sure: we all know that FEAR is real, however ginned up, and most are aware that fear of this or that boogeyman–or boogeymen–is often what causes enough panic and mayhem to serve the needs, of, say, just for example, those who engineer what wars they want (against said boogeymen) for what profits and power they crave while all of us cry out for, and readily submit to, what “protection” they provide…
I mean, who would have thought just 16 years ago, for example, we would all so willingly submit to being wanded, groped, searched, and x-rayed before boarding a plane…allowing even our babies and the elderly in wheelchairs to be so (mis)handled…for fear…? Just for an example…
But why I think we especially need the “weapons of the mind” today has to do with something even more insidious–and effective–when it comes to instigating destruction by the Destroyer (and his minions).
Fear and chaos and bloodshed and hatred and distractions and strife play directly into the hand of evil. Such things “feed” it, you might say; provide fuel for the fire, grist for the mill, victims for the predators…crises to exploit…
And it all starts with suggestions…fear mongering…which can now even be done electronically and from afar due to advancements in technological warfare. Here is an interesting video clip with some insight into that.
Okay. Enough about fear!
On to the antidote!
On to the power of what I call the “armor” of Philippians 4:8.
Just suppose that if fear, any fear, whether ginned up by “false flags” or real attacks, by ordinary danger or demonic, makes us willing to submit to anything to make it stop, and suppose this is the start of making us also submit to, as previously noted, being manhandled in airports, or some other destruction of our rights and our peace, then fear is the enemy, or the front guard that “lets in the others”.
You might say that fear is the vanguard that seeks out the “enemy”* and “secures ground” in advance of the main force. *By enemy, here, I refer to you and me, those of us who resist.
By resisting the enemy that sends out fear in the front lines, we “starve” it of its ability to intimidate which is the first step in softening our resolve.
If we resist fear (rebuke it, battle it with conventional weapons, or to my topic, guard against it with spiritual power and mental discipline a la Phil. 4:8) ), we are harder to convince, corral, then conquer.
By employing resistance at first threat, we allow no breach in our wall of defense–our mind–thus, we are better able to maintain our peace, which keeps us healthy and stable, to better resist the “bigger guns” to come, or perhaps it actually stops the whole conflagration before it starts…
After all, fear has power to induce stress which breaks us down physically and mentally, and thus “they” have softened the prey a bit for the kill…as it were…
In other words, if we resist fear (here I am reminded of another wartime slogan, ” We have nothing to fear but fear, itself”), another “war” may be starved out by a lack of participation and its potential victims can get back to the business of life and love and productivity.
If we resist the destruction by first resisting the fear, the would-be kings and queens who want it all, get no drama today, no fear-induced submission, no inroads to ultimate control…
If we resist the game, stay away from the chaos, maintain peace of mind, strength of body, and resolve of spirit, we maintain a strong defense.
Which reminds me of yet more Scriptures and practical “war-time advice,” so to speak, to combat the real Evil-monger who conjures behind the scenes, beneath the surface, and in the dark realm seeking whom he might destroy. Brethren, keep your mind on these things, as well:
Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 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 Cor. 10:3-5
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. 1 Pet. 5:8-9
No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord. Is. 54:17
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. Eph. 6:11-17
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thess. 3:3
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13
Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12:21
…the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8
But they who wait for 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. Is. 40:31
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Rom. 8:31
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Josh. 1:9
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart… Ps. 91:1-4
This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chron. 20:15
But how does this really work?
Here’s something else about evil, true evil, the Evil One, the generator and source of all chaos: He knows that God’s Word spoken by born-again believers defeats him.
Consider how Jesus caused him to flee that time. In the desert. When Satan thought he caught the Son of God at His weakest and most vulnerable. How did Jesus do it? He began His response to temptation by saying, “It is written….” and proceeded to quote the appropriate–and effective–retaliatory truths from the Word of God.
The same source we can draw from today.
(Side note: did you ever wonder why the Bible is the only “religious text” that conquering despots ever want to destroy?)
Be of good cheer.
Keep your mind stayed on Christ, and, as much as possible, your heart, on peace.
It has always been and continues to be a remarkably effective “weapon”.
Otherwise, if evil were more powerful than good, how long do you think God’s creation would have lasted?