Temptation comes to attack us all. It doesn't matter who you are and it doesn't matter how close you are with God. Even Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan himself and no one was closer to God than Jesus. Many times temptation, when unchecked will lead in to addiction. I'm about to share with you a revelation that I got from the Holy Spirit that really helped change the way I was doing spiritual warfare in regards to temptation.
Let me start by giving you a little background info. A few weeks back I was beginning to return to not watching T.V. programs that were not honoring God, cleaning up my speech so that I could speak only Holy righteous words and not curse, complain, or make jokes. This is not an easy task. Being from a state where cussing is typically just a part of life it is easy for someone to justify that 'because this is how I was raised, then this is what justifies my right to use cuss words despite what the bible says.'
What is temptation? When most people think of temptation they think of something coming from the enemy in order to cause them to sin against God. This is absolutely right. I do not quote Wikipedia very often, but I do like their definition of temptation, "Temptation is a desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals. In the context of some religions, temptation is the inclination to sin."
I understand that what I am tempted to do is not as severe as what others see as temptation, but I am not here to make you feel like you're a worse sinner or make you think I'm a super saint or something like that. I am sharing this warfare tactic because it will help you in any area with any sin or temptation that comes your way. This will help you to win the battle and to become closer to God's heart in the process.
My temptations are not as drastic as another's, but the principal I am about to share will work regardless. One day I was being tempted to watch some old TV shows that I used to enjoy. One such was a zombie action show that is largely popular. They have the latest season on Netflix. For whatever reason, even though I hadn't watched that show in a long while, I was feeling the insatiable urge to watch. This was one of those 'If you don't have it now you're gonna die' lies the enemy was coming at me with. I started to pray and rebuke my flesh for trying to overpower my spirit. It took a while of resisting, but eventually, I pulled through unscathed, intact, and alive. I know, It's a miracle...
After this battle, I asked the Holy Spirit what He would say to me that would help me win a battle easier, and would allow me to share with others to help them win? He said audibly, "Your battle is not with your flesh." At the utterance of his word I was suddenly reminded of Ephesians 6:12, " 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."
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood...This is why so many people fail against temptation. You make yourself think and believe that you are weak, and you are incapable of resisting and you try to fight your flesh. Then the enemy turns around and tries to feed you lies like, 'Welp, you're already sinning; might as well go all in,' or 'you're such a mess up. You can't even resist one thing.' The enemy will try to put shame on you, guilt, and condemnation in order to make you feel worthless and by doing this it keeps you outside of the mind of Christ which makes you more susceptible to the next attack that is coming your way. When you are in Christ, in your armor, then you are untouchable.
Galatians 3:12 tells us that we have been clothed in Christ. In Ephesians 6:11 we are told to put on the full armor of God and this is how we resist that enemy and his schemes. The Greek word for schemes is methodeias. It means a predictable predetermined scheme or method used in organized evil doing. It is a plan or trap set by the enemy to cause you to fall into sin. Since God already knew that the enemy had laid a trap for you, he also provided a way to get out of it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 literally says that with the temptation God will provide the escape.
Putting on the armor of God is not only suiting up to defend yourself, but it is also operating in the mind and image of Christ. Since we are told to put on the image of Christ, Christ is love and love binds the whole armor together, then it's safe to deduce that Christ is the armor of God. When we are wearing our armor (operating in the image and mind of Christ) the enemy will only be seeing Christ standing before them. That's why the enemy tries to get you focusing on things that that are not Godly, not pure, not righteous, lovely, or praiseworthy. When we stop focusing on those things then our old self is visible and we are now vulnerable to attack in some area of our lives.
Remaining in Christ, rather than just running to Christ, is the escape. The enemy wants to lure you out of Christ because that is how he can attack you. If he can see the old man the sinful man, then he has power over you. Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak. Don't fight in the flesh, but rather, remain in Christ!
My friend, God said you are priceless. God said that you are worth dying for, and furthermore, he demonstrated it at the cross. My temptation, your temptation, anyone's temptation is not a battle against your flesh or anyone else's. If we will realize that temptation is spiritual warfare, then we will be able to fight the good fight and actually win. You will be able to resist the enemy in a way that will manifest the kingdom and utterly destroy the work of the enemy.
Let me show you some things that will help you understand more adequately that this is really a spiritual battle. First of all, we know that the enemy (be it Satan or a demon) is who tempts people in order to try to make them sin (Matthew 4:1-11). God does not tempt anyone because God can't be tempted (James 1:13). Since we know that that the enemy of God is the one that is tempting then this automatically becomes a spiritual battle. If you'll notice, When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness he didn't rebuke his flesh or try to distract his mind or whatever people do to try to resist temptation. He addressed the enemy head-on, face to face. Jesus rebuked the tempter/ the temptation with the word of God in its proper context.
I want to take the time to break down the different types of attacks in Ephesians 6:12. Keep in mind each one of these is a counterfeit version what God has set up in Heaven and in the Kingdom of believers. The very first word he uses to describe the types of spiritual forces is Archas. This means the Chief, preeminent, or highest ruler or magistrate in an area. These are what we might call principalities of the area, the same principalities that are mentioned in Romans 8. They are designated as the highest power over a geographical area, It's similar to when a kingdom is very large and sends out rulers to govern areas as the highest power in that area. They still answer to Satan, but they rule in his stead because Satan can't be in all places at once.
The next is exousias which means authorities, or spiritual authorities (false authorities in dreams). These are what we see as the evil police in dreams or crooked cops of the spirit realm.
They are just looking for a way to set you up so they can persecute you. This type of false authority is the enforcer type of demon. These are typically the ones that are trying to entice you to sin. They enforce obedience. If you are being forced to be obedient to something demonic then you know that it must be sin. You see evidence of this in Romans 6:16, " Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"
Then the next tier of the demonic realm is the Kosmokratoras, this is an interesting one. Kosmokratoras means ruler of this world, that is, of the world as asserting its independence of God; used of the angelic or demonic powers controlling the sublunary world (this is anything under the sun that is in darkness). This word is only used on time in the bible and it is specifically referring to demons that operate in darkness and rule over that darkness. These are the leaders of darkness. Subsequently, these are the ones that are sending out the terrestrial bound delegates that cause us to be tempted by certain things. They are sent with a certain purpose by these ruling officials of darkness.
Next, we see pneumatikas. This spiritual dynamic is a direct counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. These are the spirits that manifest their false signs and wonders in order to trick people into serving Satan. We see this root word pneumatiko used through the new testament to describe the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In one instance, that is here in Ephesians 6:12, is it used to describe the demonic realm. These are the familiar spirits that psychics and mediums use to fool people, they are the familiar spirits that manifest as dead loved ones (ghost as most know them), and they are the ones that are manifesting their power in some way that is designed to make you turn from God and towards Satan. These are also the spirits that are manifesting in such a way as to attack you through friends, family, and loved ones as well.
As you can see, the pattern here is a pattern of delegation. If you are interceding for an area like your city, your state, or your country etc, then you are engaging in a higher level of warfare and thus there will be retaliation in accordance to how hard you fight back.
In the same manner when you are being tempted the enemy is revealing that there is a stronghold in your heart that they are trying to reinforce, build up, and attack you through. It's an area that Jesus isn't allowed to enter into your life because you haven't let him. Jesus wants to comes in and tear down those walls, move out the idols that exalted themselves over the knowledge of God, and move in making a home in that area of your heart.
Strongholds are high places in your heart that are akin to idol worship. God demonstrates this in the old testament in verses such as, "Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.’
“Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!" Ezekiel 14:3-6. "He walked in the way of his father Asa and did not depart from it, doing right in the sight of the LORD. The high places, however, were not removed; the people had not yet directed their hearts to the God of their fathers." - 2 Chronicles 20:32-33.
These idols that were set up are a spiritual representation of what happens in the natural when people commit idolatry. For instance, when you manifest the Holy Spirit you are manifesting spiritual reality into natural reality. When a person's heart is filled with idols then they manifest and worship those idols in some manner. In Israel's case, it was literal idols.
God wants every high place. Strategically, high places are harder to overtake and limit ways the enemy could attack you. This is why Kings typically built their castles on hills, and near cliffs, and with high towers. God has strongholds as we have seen in verses such as, "He makes my feet like hinds' feet, And sets me upon my high places." -Psalms 18:33, or, " The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet And makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments. " -Habakkuk 3:8. He wants us to tear down strongholds for him, or high places that have overtaken areas of your heart that he wants to inhabit. "You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve." -Deuteronomy 12:2.
A hind is a type of deer. It is a doe. When a deer is walking in high places this is a representation of what we call operating above the snake line. It shows that when we seek after God he lifts us up to a level where our enemy, the predatory spirit that is the devil, cannot reach us. This allows us to walk boldly, gracefully, and without fear of being overtaken by something that wants to destroy us.
Remember, if you are being tempted it means the enemy sees a stronghold he wants to reinforce in order to have control over you, or he wants to build one in that area. Your battle is not against your flesh, but it is against the spiritual realm that is attacking you. It's time to turn your heart back to God and tear down that ungodly stronghold in order to allow God to bring you back up to the high place where he is Lord over all for all to see.