Breaking Free From Captivity

Here are my teaching notes for my Bible fellowship on Sunday on a fascinating topic “Breaking Free from Captivity!” Some profound truths. 

       Captivity and deliverance are two enormously important themes and truths in the Bible. Jesus Christ is our Liberty Bell and he is the Liberator who can free us from every form of captivity of heart, mind and soul. God has always heard the cry of the oppressed and he fervently cares about those in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual prisons. Since the days of Moses and Egypt and even earlier, God has been delivering people from the land and territory of bondage providing a promised land whereby they may live and breathe free. Yet why are so many Christians still in bondage? Why is there still a yoke of slavery strangling us and keeping us from the more than abundant life that Jesus Christ promised? Most Christians are prisoners of someone or something and do not even know it. We are burdened down with addictions, secret sins, harmful mindsets, greed, lust, idols, pride and misery that are shattering our lives and our witness for Christ. Christ made a promise in the first sermon he ever preached that fulfilled the sacred revelation given to the Prophet Isaiah that He has come to open the prison door, release the captives and proclaim freedom in every corner of our lives. Christians should not be in bondage or captive to anything as their Lord and Savior is the great rescuer of all those who are bound by the chains of captivity. But how many of us can say we have truly tasted of this complete freedom in Christ? How many of us have really experienced what it means to be free in Christ, free from every form of bondage and fully living in this freedom. This is not freedom to sin which will drive you back to the chains of the captivity of sin, as it is so much bigger than that. It is freedom to live, move and breathe in God without hindrance living righteously, honorably and holy in His presence. It is God bursting forth out of every cell of your body in glorious majesty and light bringing the beauty of God and His goodness in every word, work and motive. Or we can just stay in the crowd of the dead and disappointed under the power of the prince of this world in the land of abuses.  

Isaiah 61:1-4 (NIV): 

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners,
[a]

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn,

 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
       to bestow on them a crown of beauty
       instead of ashes,
       the oil of gladness
       instead of mourning,
       and a garment of praise
       instead of a spirit of despair.
       They will be called oaks of righteousness,
       a planting of the LORD
       for the display of his splendor.

 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
       and restore the places long devastated;
       they will renew the ruined cities
       that have been devastated for generations.

Brokenhearted in Hebrew means: to break in pieces, wreck, crush, rupture, shatter, rend violently, maimed, crippled and to be broken. 

Jesus Christ came to set us free from anything that will crush, rupture and shatter our lives. He is the restorer from ruin and devastation and the builder of our lives again. He mends, repairs, heals and restores.  This is so we can display the beauty of God’s splendor in every area of our lives.

Isaiah 9:2,4 (NIV):

  2 The people walking in darkness
       have seen a great light;
       on those living in the land of the shadow of death
[a]
       a light has dawned.

 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
       you have shattered
       the yoke that burdens them,
       the bar across their shoulders,
       the rod of their oppressor.

Acts 26:15-20 (NIV)‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

 19“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

The deliverance in Jesus Christ is so great there should not be one trace of captivity, one closet of darkness, one yoke of oppression or one shadow of bondage in our lives. This is the standard that we must strive for because where we have captivity in our lives we have a limitation to walking in the glorious freedom of the children of God. God is a God of liberty and where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.

Look at the effect of Jesus Christ on the Devil’s kingdom and the captivity of the powers of darkness. He can do what no earthly or legal power in the world can do.  

Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39

Here are parts of this section in Scripture:

1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

 18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

These people liked the man better in captivity then freed by Jesus Christ. Isn’t it so true of people that often they choose the darkness rather than the light and decide to remain in bondage? Most people want to hold onto their captivity as they would rather be in bondage in prison than to be freed by Jesus Christ.

Even the Devil cannot do what he wants to do when he is bound.

Mark 3:27 (Amplified):

27But no one can go into a strong man’s house and ransack his household goods right and left and seize them as plunder unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may [thoroughly] plunder his house.

God wants to do in your life what your mind and heart has never conceived, but areas of captivity can hinder the God-given purpose for your life and from enjoying His benefits for His children.

John 8:31-36 (Amplified):

          31So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.

    32And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.

    33They answered Him, We are Abraham’s offspring (descendants) and have never been in bondage to anybody. What do You mean by saying, You will be set free?

    34Jesus answered them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin.

    35Now a slave does not remain in a household permanently (forever); the son [of the house] does remain forever.

    36So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.

Ephesians 4:8: (Amplified): 8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Human freedom that in which man was originally created, is not liberty to do wrong or to indulge oneself, but in fact is liberty to obey God. As Vine says “Man is so constituted that only as he pleases God can he be happy in the higher, the spiritual, part of his nature, and efficient for the great ends for which he was created. The essence of the Fall lay in this, that man used his endowment of freedom against the Giver of it. Instead of enhancing and extending his freedom by his disobedience, however, man’s first exercise of his will apart from God brought him into bondage to a new master, sin (Ro 6:17, 18; 7:14), working through a threefold agency, the world, the flesh, and the devil (1Jn 2:16, 17; 3:8). Thus sin is not the true master of men, but a usurper, ruling with rigor, albeit the rule is disguised so that not even the wisest seems capable of recognizing it apart from the teaching of the Spirit of God.”

Freedom (eleutheria from eleutheros – that which is capable of movement, freedom to go wherever one likes, unfettered;) describes the state of being free and stands in opposition to slavery or bondage.

Slavery (douleia from doulos) means slavery, bondage, the condition of a slave, the opposite of freedom (see studies on this word group “free, freedom” = eleutheria, eleutheroo, eleutheros). Douleia describes that state of man in which he is prevented from freely possessing and enjoying his life, a state opposed to liberty. In the NT douleia is only used figuratively to describe a slavish spirit. The idea is that of an enslaved moral or spiritual condition characterized by fear of breaking rules and thus experiencing bondage and lack of freedom.

As A W Tozer said…

Freedom is liberty within bounds: liberty to obey holy laws, liberty to keep the commandments of Christ, to serve mankind, to develop to the full all the latent possibilities within our redeemed natures. True Christian liberty never sets us free to indulge our lusts or to follow our fallen impulses.

2 Timothy 2:26  and they may come to their senses  and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive  by him to do his will. (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: And that they may come to their senses [and] escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [henceforth] to do His [God’s] will. (Amplified Bible – Lockman)
KJV
:  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
NLT:  Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (NLT – Tyndale House)
Phillips:  They may come to their senses and be rescued from the power of the devil by the servant of the Lord and set to work for God’s purposes. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: and that they may return to soberness out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [returning to soberness so as to serve] the will of that One [God]. (Eerdmans
Young’s Literal: and they may awake out of the devil’s snare, having been caught by him at his will.

Come to…senses (ananepho from aná = again + nepho = be sober) is literally to become sober again, regaining one’s senses and describing one who comes out from a drunken stupor (in the present context spiritually speaking which in some ways is even worse than an alcoholic stupor).

Satan makes people drunk with his lies

Snare (pagis from pegnumi = set up, fix) is a trap (as that which is fixed or fastened by a noose or notch) and which can fall unexpectedly or suddenly (so that wild animals and birds are caught by surprise).

Pagis  was used in Greek for a “net” (a piece of equipment for a bird-catcher), a  “snare” or a  “mousetrap.” In short a pagis is that which causes one to be suddenly endangered or unexpectedly brought under control of a hostile force.

Pagis describes a trick or stratagem (temptation). It pictures that which comes unexpectedly, suddenly even as a snare entices birds or beasts who are caught unaware. This describes that which fastens or holds one fast.

Pagis stresses the crafty or destructive element of the trap and the emphasis is often on the suddenness of the destruction.

Held captive  (zogreo from zoós = alive + agreúo = catch or entrap) means literally to catch alive as hunters or fishermen do their game. The idea is to bring under control and to continue to restrain. Strong’s Lexicon says it means to make a prisoner of war, a good play on words since these poor individuals are indeed victims of a spiritual war in the heavenlies! It is used figuratively (or spiritually) to describe those who become live captives of the devil in a moral sense.

The passive voice indicates that the captivating influence or power comes from an source outside the one who is captivated, in this case the devil. Those who are in opposition to God’s work, whether they know it or not, are bound in a demonic deception, and are doing the devil’s work and need to be set free!

The perfect tense speaks of past completed action with continuing present effect or result. In other words, these individuals were captured alive at some point in time in the past and are still ensnared, held as a prisoner of spiritual warfare by the deceiver himself. This tense conveys the idea that the devil’s intention is to keep them permanently captive. The devil snares people through clever arguments, fear, and appeals to selfish pride and ambition (appealing to our fallen sin nature). Zogreo is used figuratively (spiritually) by Jesus in Luke’s gospel where it refers to catching men by preaching of gospel. After showing the disciples His miraculous ability to bring about an incredible catch of fish, He said to Simon,

Do not fear, from now on you will be catching (zogreo = winning people for God’s kingdom) men. (Luke 5:10)

Edwards notes that

God’s program is to catch men alive and turn them into fishers of men; Satan’s program is also to catch men alive, but then to turn them into destroyers of men. All of us are playing a part on the stage of human history, and our performance will promote either good or evil, light or darkness, Christ or Satan. There is no comfortable middle ground; no haven for the complacent and mediocre saint, though many would vainly imagine that there is.

To do (eis) is the preposition of motion into any place or thing. In this context into the devil’s will.

Will (thelema from thelo = to will with the “-ma” suffix indicating the result of the will = “a thing willed”) generally speaks of the result of what one has decided. One sees this root word in the feminine name “Thelma.” In its most basic form, thelema refers to a wish, a strong desire, and the willing of some event. (Note: See also the discussion of the preceding word boule for comments relating to thelema).

Zodhiates says that thelema is the…

Will, not to be conceived as a demand, but as an expression or inclination of pleasure towards that which is liked, that which pleases and creates joy.

When we are captive we are doing the devil’s will and giving him his heart’s desire. Even worse we are giving him pleasure and joy because of the chains of our captivity. That is amazing. Many churches preach captivity that it comes from God and accomplishes His will. Not according to Scripture. Captivity is always wrong and always fueled by the devil.

How were they captured? A trap? Yes a trap of sorts…absolutely ANY DEVIATION from the PLUMBLINE of God’s Holy Word results in WRONG THINKING & if not soon corrected will CORRUPT CHARACTER and result in WRONG BEHAVIOR. TRUTH (here EPIGNOSIS) RENEWS THEIR MIND, EXPOSING LIES & ERROR in one’s thinking and thus setting the captive free as God grants them the repentance so that they can even turn from their sin

The devil can actually snare and hold a person captive…to do his will (see Jn8:44, 59). The vessel of dishonor becomes a pawn of Satan to work his evil will within the body of Christ. Such is the terrible & tragic power of sin.

2 Peter 2:19  promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome by this he is enslaved  (NASB: Lockman)
NET: Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved.  (NET Bible)
NJB: They may promise freedom but are themselves slaves to corruption; because if anyone lets himself be dominated by anything, then he is a slave to it; (NJB)
NLT: They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. (NLT – Tyndale House)
Phillips:  They promise them liberty. Liberty! – when they themselves are bound hand and foot to utter depravity. For a man is the slave of whatever masters him. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: While they are promising them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption. For by whom a person has been overcome with the result that he is in a state of subjugation, to this one has he been enslaved with the result that he is in a state of slavery. (Eerdmans
Young’s Literal: liberty to them promising, themselves being servants of the corruption, for by whom any one hath been overcome, to this one also he hath been brought to servitude

You are a slave to whatever masters you. Are you mastered by anything? by any possession? by any person? Many believe that freedom means doing anything they want. But no one is ever completely free in that sense. The freedom Christ brings is freedom from sin, not freedom to do whatever we want. Too often freedom from rules, structure, or obedience leads to an addiction or preoccupation with the new pleasures freedom offers. But these actions can quickly enslave a person. If people refuse to follow God, their only option is to follow Satan and their own sinful desires and become enslaved to what their bodies want. Only Christ promises and delivers true freedom, for only those who surrender their lives to Christ as Savior and Lord are set free from slavery to sin.  True freedom from the bondage to sin is found in our enslavement to Christ, the Lord of all.

He will be held with the cords of his sin. (Proverbs 5:22)

Wiersbe rightly warns us that…

The cords of sin get stronger the more we sin, yet sin deceives (Heb 3:13) us into thinking we’re free and can quit sinning whenever we please. As the invisible chains of habit are forged, we discover to our horror that we don’t have the strength to break them. Millions of people in our world today are in one kind of bondage or another and are seeking for deliverance, but the only One who can set them free is Jesus Christ. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, NKJV).

II Peter 2:20 Phillips:  If men have escaped from the world’s contaminations through knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and then become entangled and defeated all over again, their last position is far worse than their first.

Entangled (empleko from en = in + pléko = tie, braid, twist – pléko is used of the Roman soldiers “weaving a crown of thorns” to mock Jesus in Mt 27:29) means in general to interconnect closely and so to wrap or twist together and thus entwine, intertwine, braid, entangle and finally to be caught in. Figuratively empleko means to become involved in an activity to the point of interference with other activities or objectives.

BDAG’s lexicon has a picturesque definition of empleko stating that it means

to be involuntarily interlaced to the point of immobility” and was used “literally of sheep whose wool is caught in thorns” and of the “hares (rabbits) who are caught in thorns; Aesop’s Fables (Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)

The picture of a sheep whose wool has been caught in thorns illustrates the difference between involvement and entanglement – one is entangled when he is not free to get loose! When the affairs of this life hem us in so tightly that we can’t get loose to fulfill our Captain’s commands then we have become entangled in the “thorns” of non-eternal pursuits. The world’s pleasures can easily entwine us especially in hedonistic America!

Empleko refers to the act of getting so involved in something that one becomes restricted and controlled, no longer free to do what one should do.

Liddell and Scott write that empleko was used in secular writing meaning…

to entwine one’s hand in another’s clothes, so as to hold him.”

Empleko is used only once in the (non-apocryphal) LXX in Proverbs where the translation of the Greek is

He that walks justly is assisted: but he that walks in crooked ways shall be entangled therein.

In the present context, Peter pictures these individuals as intertwined and intimately blended with the defilements of the world, hopelessly trapped like fish within a net. So this is not a picture of accidental or subtle touching but an intimate interweaving with the forces of this world that bring about spiritual pollution of one’s soul and which makes separation difficult.

The picture of this verb is to be so involved as to experience severe restrictions as to what one can do. Paul reminded Timothy in II Timothy 2:4 that

no soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier

Empleko was also used of weaving or braiding the hair. This latter picture reminds us of Samson, a strong soldier, who lost his power because he got entangled with Delilah at first lying to her saying that

If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man. (Judges 16:13)

Lot was a lot like Samson, for he LOOKED at Sodom (Ge 13:10), then pitched his tent “TOWARD Sodom” (NIV “near Sodom” Ge 13:12), and finally was “LIVING IN Sodom” (Ge 14:12). Little by little, Sodom began to move INTO Lot and entangle him to the point that he did not please the Lord, eventually costing him dearly. (Ge 19:15ff).

Empleko pictures a soldier’s sword becoming so entangled in his cloak that he is unable to defend himself in battle! The position of the soldier demands detachment from all that would hinder his wholehearted obedience to the call of His commander. James would call a soldier who entangles himself “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8) Like a single-minded soldier, we should respond to the orders of our commanding officer, the Lord Jesus, with unquestioning and immediate obedience.

Paul’s description of the Christian soldier who is not entangled so that he might please his Lord could be summed up with terms like…

Single minded
Whole hearted
Undivided heart
A man of one mind
Singleness of purpose

Barnes adds that a good soldier’s

great object is to approve himself to (his Commander). It is not to pursue his own plans, or to have his own will, or to accumulate property or fame for himself. His will is absorbed in the will of his commander, and his purpose is accomplished if he meet with his approbation. Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one becomes lost in that of another, as in the case of the soldier. In an army it is contemplated that there shall be but one mind, one heart, one purpose – that of the commander; and that the whole army shall be as obedient to that as the members of the human body are to the one will that controls all. The application of this is obvious. The grand purpose of the minister of the gospel is to please Christ. He is to pursue no separate plans, and to have no separate will, of his own; and it is contemplated that the whole “Corps” of Christian ministers and members of the churches shall be as entirely subordinate to the will of Christ, as an army is to the orders of its chief. (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 William Barclay writes that

The soldier is conditioned to obedience. The early training of a soldier is designed to make him unquestioningly obey the word of command There may come a time when such instinctive obedience will save his life and the lives of others. There is a sense in which it is no part of the soldier’s duty “to know the reason why.” Involved as he is in the midst of the battle, he cannot see the over-all picture. The decisions he must leave to the commander who sees the whole field. The first Christian duty is obedience to the voice of God, and acceptance even of that which he cannot understand. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press or Logos)

A fortress or stronghold is a mind-set that holds you hostage

SIN IS LIKE
A BOA CONSTRICTOR!

Are you being deceived by sin and tolerating it like a pet? If you are, then you need to remember the fate of the man with the pet boa constrictor. After 15 years of living with his owner, one day the “pet boa” would not let its “owner” out of its grip resulting in the owner’s tragic death. Wild animals remain wild and so does Sin. Do not be deceived (Stop being deceived)!

No Small Deviations in God’s Economy! – In St. Louis there is a railroad switchyard. One particular switch begins with just the thinnest piece of steel to direct a train away from one main track to another. If you were to follow those two tracks, however, you would find that one ends in San Francisco, the other in New York. Sin is like that. Just a small deviation from God’s standards can place us far afield from our intended destination. Don’t be deceived by the world, flesh or devil who say “It’s no big deal!” Wrong!

Entanglement by the Cords of one’s own Sin – Not long after a wealthy contractor had finished building the Tombs prison in New York, he was found guilty of forgery and sentenced to several years in the prison he had built! As he was escorted into a cell of his own making, the contractor said, “I never dreamed when I built this prison that I would be an inmate one day.” (cp Num 32:23, Prv 5:22)

Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray!
Cost you more than you ever dreamed you would pay!
Keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay!

Sin  (hamartia) in simple terms is missing the mark, specifically missing God’s will for us, a will which is good and acceptable and perfect (Ro 12:2bnote). Sin is what you do when you obey your fallen flesh, instead of obeying God’s spirit (cp Gal 5:16, Gal 5:17). The apostle John has a good “working” definition of sin writing that sin is lawlessness (anomia > a = without + nomos = law – behaving as if one had no supreme, divine law ruling their flesh, cp Jdg 21:25note) (1John 3:4). In Romans 5 and 6 Paul explains that Sin refers to the inherent propensity to commit specific sins a propensity that entered the human heart of Adam and as a result constituted or made him a sinner by nature. Adam then passed the inherent sinful nature (the “sin virus”) he possessed to all of his offspring (which is every person ever born) (Ro 5:12, Ge 5:3 = “in his own likeness”, not God’s as in Ge 1:26!). This same “Adamic” nature which always seeks to satisfy self will (cp “lovers of self” –2Ti 3:2) rather than God’s will is present in every person at the moment of conception when the “sin virus” is passed to the fertilized ovum (Ps 51:5, Ps 58:3, Job 25:4).

This sin nature which is still present in believers (some subtle, “snake-like” teachers falsely teach that the sin nature is no longer present in believers! Wrong!) is personified as an active power which continually seeks to seduce, deceive, delude and destroy (our fellowship with God).

Sin appears to be fair (“you deserve this little treat”!), but is in fact filthy. It appears pleasant (“it will make you feel so good”), but belies its pernicious character and finally it promises much pleasure (“you’ll be better for having done this”, cp “passing pleasures” He 11:25), but performs nothing good, in the end bringing only death (to our fellowship with God if we are believers, eternal death/separation if unbelievers).

ILLUSTRATION OF THE DECEITFUL CORRUPTING EFFECT OF SIN: What happened to the great city of Ephesus? Often mentioned in the New Testament, it was one of the cultural and commercial centers of its day. Located at the mouth of the Cayster River, it was noted for its bustling harbors, its broad avenues, its gymnasiums, its baths, its huge amphitheater, and especially its magnificent Temple of Diana. What happened to bring about its gradual decline until its harbor was no longer crowded with ships and the city was no longer a flourishing metropolis? Was it smitten by plagues, destroyed by enemies, or demolished by earthquakes? No, silt was the reason for its downfall—silent and non-violent silt. Over the years, fine sedimentary particles slowly filled up the harbor, separating the city from the economic life of the sea traders. Little evil practices, little acts of disobedience may seem harmless. (Song 2:15) But let the silt of sin gradually accumulate, and we will find ourselves far from God. Life will become a spiritual ruin. In the book of Hebrews we are warned of the danger of “the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb 3:13). James said that the attractive pleasures of sin are really a mask covering death (Jas 1:15note).God forbid that we let the “silt of sin” accumulate in our lives!

THE CHRIST BUILT SOLDIER (ERIC LUDY)

The first priority is to protect the covenant life of God within you given at the new birth where the character of God is evidenced in your attitude, behavior and lifestyle. It is the power of Christ in you alive and active in your heart and is the Devil’s greatest threat.

PATHS TO CAPTIVITY-THE ENEMIES STRATEGY

Enemy Tactic #1-To Drug Us-for example-television, computer games, money, music, movies-things we are prone to idolize and worship- seems harmless in and of themselves, but they can allow self to get back on the throne as not realize the shrinking of God in our hearts.

Enemy Tactic #2-To Defile Us-for example pornography, lust-driven fascination; stealing, bitterness, lies-yielding to temptation to these addictive stimulants that stain our hearts.

Enemy Tactic #3-To Delude Us-fortune hunting claims; get rich quick schemes; drive for success; being married to your job; quest for beauty; Devil subtly alters truth to where sounds right, but produces an opposite result. Think we are serving God, but actually serving self.

Enemy Tactic #4-To Distract Us-so busy with life or ministry that our time with God begins to vanish. If Satan can keep us busy, focused on everything but God, our lives will fall into disrepair. This is one of Satan’s favorite techniques on Christians.

Seven Key Military Maneuvers to Take the Offensive Against These Attacks

Military Maneuver #1-Get to Know Our Commander-intimacy; trust; leaning on His strength; lifelong adventure of discovery and beauty getting to know our God. Spend time with Him!

Military Maneuver #2-Map Out Our Battle Strategy-Where does Satan like to attack me? Next target a POW-a non-Christian. Then when he attacks you start praying for your non-Christian friend. You just hit devil below the belt. Also get Scripture along the line of temptation and meditate and hide in your heart until it comes a part of you. “It is written”  battle strategy.

Military Maneuver #3-Resolve to Die: death to self; letting Christ live and self die; it is God’s life in you; the exchanged life; refusing to listen to the voice of self but rather the voice of God.

Military Maneuver #4-Take out Enemy Communications and Command Posts-Satan must not be allowed to set up a command post or stronghold in our lives. We must ruthlessly remove any stronghold. Don’t allow anything into your life that feeds your point of weakness.

Military Maneuver #5-Join the Fellowship-We must surround ourselves with other believers, battle companions, a sacred league of men and women who will challenge and help you pursue God and live in Christ. We fight, encourage and help each other in spiritual warfare.

Military Maneuver #6-Be Devoted to Persistent Prayer-You cannot be successful in battle without this. It is life changing; it is circumstance changing; it is world changing.

Military Maneuver #7-Walk by the spirit of God rather than the flesh-Only way to please our commander.  Follow the promptings of the new nature instead of the sin nature.  

Romans 8:37(Amplified): 37Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

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