Spiritual Warfare

Some thoughts on James 4:7-8

BY: Cheryl Richman

Spiritual warfare is such an important and relevant topic in these times.  We know that Satan is using every scheme he knows to destroy lives of Christians. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He wants to destroy our lives; bring havoc to our families and marriages, divide the members of churches with lies and offenses, sour relationships so we lose out on vital Christian fellowship, and cause turmoil at our places of employment. We all have a sin nature and Satan has studied us; he knows how to attack us where he can do the most damage.  He wants to steal the peace and joy that we have with our Father God.

I would like to share some thoughts on James 4:7-8 which reads “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you doubleminded.”

These two verses give us several important steps in spiritual warfare. First, Submit to God. Submit means “accept or yield to a superior force or authority” (Google dictionary).  As an example: if you were to enlist in the military you would go through boot camp  in order to learn the rules of military life and discover what is expected of you as a soldier under the authority of the leadership.  As Christians we must get into “boot camp” to learn about our life in Jesus—study the Bible, read books written by good Christian authors, attend church and actively listen to the messages from the pastor, participate in worship, and join in fellowship with other believers, gleaning from them the wisdom for Christian living.  These are ways to learn submission to God and draw close to Him.

Secondly, Resist the devil. Through the first step of submission to God we grow in the knowledge of what God’s Word says, so we then will be able to stand firm against the lies of Satan and his evil forces.  Satan wants to take our focus off of God and cause us to forget the strength and power which we have in the Holy Spirit. Therefore we must be strongly grounded in God’s word, planted and rooted in God’s power and strength. First Corinthians 16:13 says “Be on you guard: stand firm in the faith; be of courage; be strong.”  Knowledge of God’s word is so essential for our faith.  God gave us His word so that we can know Him and learn about His great love and compassion He has for us. Having knowledge of His word in our hearts helps us refute the lies which Satan throws us.  Scripture says, “We are then able to 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 Corinthians 10:5).

Thirdly, Come near to God and He will come near to you. Knowledge alone is wonderful but growing close to the Lord requires getting with Him intimately in study of His word, in worship, and through times of prayer. There is no sweeter place than to be with Our Father Who loves us.  In His presence we will find the Joy of the Lord; Nehemiah 8:10b states, “The Joy of the LORD is your strength.” He is a wonderful Father who delights in having you as part of His family and wants only the best for you. As we draw close to God and meditate on His word we grow in His power to stand firm against Satan’s attacks. Also, prayer is essential to your Christian life and prayer is a powerful spiritual weapon in the battle against Satan .Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “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.”  God hears our prayers and activates the angels to wage war with the evil forces on our behalf.

Fourthly, Wash your hands!  Washing our hands is a sign of repentance. All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). Repentance is knowing what you have done is wrong, facing your guilt and expressing remorse before God. He will forgive you. Once you are forgiven it requires strength and discipline to stay free of those sins. There are strategies to help you continue living a holy life in God’s Word. James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another; this should be with a trusted Christian friend or pastor, someone that you are able to confide in and also can be accountable to. You need someone who will pray with you, and for you, as you strive to live a holy life.  First Corinthians 10:13 encourages us that God won’t allow us to be tempted by more than we can handle and will give us a way of escape!  A way of escape may be joining an organization like NA or AA.  Also it’s important to avoid going to the places or with the people who may trigger the desires to sin. It takes Godly discipline to turn off computers and the media that would pull you back into sin. Keep in mind that sin always has consequences. These can destroy not only your own life but the lives of your family and possibly friends. In Matthew 5:23 Jesus tells us to go and reconcile with your brother; we must make things right, and in humility apologize to those whom we have hurt.

Fifthly, Purify your hearts you double-minded. A double-minded person is one who is undecided and vacillating like waves blowing here and there (James 1:8). He is a doubter, someone who tries to serve two masters (Matt 6:24); a person who is unsteady in both his character and feelings. He will never be able to place all his confidence in God. So this person must purify his mind—set it straight on his belief and trust in God. He must place all of his reliance in God’s strength and faithfulness.  He must set his hope on God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

These are only a few thoughts on the study of spiritual warfare. There is so much more to learn in order to stand firm and trust God, and allow God to guide and direct your life each day. 

Cheryl Richman

Prepare

Prepare

Recently when listening to a teaching on 2nd Chronicles, a verse caught my attention that I have apparently passed over before – actually part of a verse. Second Chronicles 12 gives God’s perspective on Rehoboam, King David’s grandson by Solomon. The verse that caught my attention was verse 14 in that chapter. It says, “And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.” I imagine in the past I have noticed the word “seek” and this was what I meditated on or studied. But in this season of revival, praise God, He drew my attention to the fact that Rehoboam did evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.

The Greatest Freedom

The Greatest Freedom

He cares when we are heart broken and He is close to us in those moments. He has blessed us with abilities and gifts that we can use to provide for our families and bless each other. God does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our imperfections that are passed down to us through family lines. He completely forgives us for our careless blunders as well as our intentional choices to disregard what is right. He has compassion on his children, compassion on those who revere Him and believe Him. Forever, the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him.

Show 'Em Whatcha Got

Show 'Em Whatcha Got

I am a big fan of TV talent shows. I watch them live and often I follow up and watch them again (and again) on YouTube. I'm a sucker for the headline "Best performers from season 18!"

If we are talking about “America’s Got Talent” or “The Voice”, I love that the contestants have such a passion for what they do. Whether they have loads of talent or hardly any talent at all, these people put their hopes and dreams (and sometimes careers) on the line to perform for the world and showcase their talents. They would risk getting a buzzer or not having a chair turn for them - all for the sake of pursuing their dreams.

What talents do you possess and what passion are you pursuing?

Joy to the World!

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We are so excited to announce our Christmas 2016 Production: Joy to the World! The team has been working hard on this and we think it will be the best one yet!

It has been on all of our hearts this year that we should celebrate the cultures of the world and come together with a unified purpose. With all the fear and fighting among the nations, cultures, states and so on, this is the moment to rise up and join hands in celebration of Jesus as we celebrate each other. 

So join us on December 22nd or 23rd at 7pm and bring your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors or even strangers to see this beautiful production. Get your free tickets today at www.zionchristmas.com

What A Beautiful Name

It seems like every week, our favorite worship bands have been releasing new albums. Nothing excites me more than to open up Spotify and see a new release from Hillsong or Bethel. This week here in the Zion office, we've been blasting Hillsong's new album "Let There Be Light". 

There are so many songs that have been resonating with me personally, such as "Behold (Then Sings My Soul)" and "Let There Be Light", but the song that has brought me to my knees this week has been "What A Beautiful Name". We've been worshipping for the past couple of weeks in service to this song, and I've been playing it on repeat, at home, in my office, in my car and just about everywhere else. 

"You have no rival, You have no equal. Now and forever God you Reign. "

This week has been so chaotic with all the political fights between everyone everywhere you look. This song has given me such a peace in this time. Jesus has no rival, no equal. He holds us and is our champion in every situation. Today I am choosing to worship Him and place my trust fully in Him. He has us, he has this nation and he has you. Look up "What A Beautiful Name" on youtube, Spotify, Apple Music or however else you stream your music and worship with me. Choose to trust Jesus today.