Fear of God and spiritual warfare

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Dear brothers and sisters, the moment we came to faith in Yeshua and were born again, we entered into spiritual warfare with Satan. The enemy of our souls is looking for every way to make us fail, to take us away from God, to take us back to our past or he uses believers to hurt one another and to destroy our unity. He knows the fleshly weaknesses we have and he uses them against us.

We need spiritual discernment in order to recognize the conspiracies of the enemy of our souls. It helps us to discern between good and evil, between the works of the spirit and the acts of the flash.

Spiritual discernment is necessary for us to be effective in spiritual warfare, it is God’s wisdom and it is given to those who fear God.   

“The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; all practicing it, have good understanding…” (Psalms 111:10). When we are acting in the fear of God, the angel of God stands beside us and saves us from the attack of satan.

“The Angel of Jehovah camps round about those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalms 34:7).

God-fearing believers – are those who are walking in a way of meekness

“By humility the fear of Jehovah brings wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). They depend on God and not on their own strength or wisdom. “…He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. Jehovah takes pleasure in those who fear Him, who hope in His mercy.” (Psalms 147:10,11). God fearing people are those who are easily convicted in meekness –  because they love God and don’t want to grieve His Spirit. “Do not reprove a scorner (proud one), lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man (God-fearing), and he will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8). The God-fearing – are those who are walking in the light of God, who love

His truth without compromise, and the result is that they obey His word.  

“But to this one I will look, to the afflicted and contrite spirit, and the one who trembles at My Word.” (Isaiah 66:2). They recognize satan’s conspiracies and stand against them by the grace of God.

By contrast, those who fear man, are those who walk in the ways of the world, in their pride: they cannot be convicted easily, they walk in darkness, hiding things from people and think God doesn’t see them, they compromise with the truth of God’s Word and do not obey Him. They might be attacked by the devil in spiritual warfare. In such a case, the devil who caused the attack can not be blamed. It is their responsibility to keep themselves humble, a position in which satan can not attack them. “Therefore submit yourselves to God

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We will overcome satan’s attacks only with meekness and with submission before Him. (Fear of God). We should learn from King David who proclaimed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if any wicked way is in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24).

One of satan’s traps for the believers is to tempt them to walk in the fear of man. He tempts them to hide their weaknesses and disadvantages, in order to appear perfect. They pretend to be “nice” on the outside in the presence of others, but this is hypocrisy. (Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees who were hypocrites). Sometimes there is a hidden sin in their lives and they want to cover it up by trying to impress people and to please them. All of this is in order to receive appreciation, admiration, honor and respect from others.

Their focus is on people and not on God who sees, hears and knows everything. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13).

Whoever claims to be a believer and behaves as if God does not see him, and conceals things in himself – in other words walks around with a mask on his face – doesn’t know God and God doesn’t know him. (The same principle applies to works with “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” or with “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine”). If God doesn’t know us, our situation is bleak ! “…I never knew you…” (Matt. 7:23) How sad and terrible!                 

God is light and when we are walking in darkness we don’t have fellowship with Him. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:6).

There are people who hide things from others but they forget that from God they cannot hide anything. God sees and knows the thoughts of our hearts even before we expressed them verbally. “… For Jehovah searches all hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts…” (1 Chro. 28:9).

The basis for our fellowship with God is: walking in light! Then Satan doesn’t have power over us, then Yeshua’s blood protects us.  We read: “…that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all… But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5,7). God wants us to be honest and sincere with Him. That is a necessary and critical condition for a healthy relationship between us and Him and also between us and other believers.

I met a lady in a conference abroad. She wanted to come closer to me through flattery.  I sensed that she was hiding something in her life. I talked to her about her past, and she began to share about it, but suddenly she stopped and closed the conversation. I could not help her, and I could not be in touch with her, because I sensed that she was hiding things in darkness. It is hard for me to be in contact with believers who are not honest and open with me..

Dear brothers and sisters, let us humble ourselves and be honest and sincere with ourselves and also one with another, like children. Yeshua gave the example of a little child and said: “… truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore whoever shall humble himself like this little child, this one is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven. And whoever shall receive one such little child in My name receives Me.” (Matt. 18:2-5). And why should we be like children? Because the features of children are: innocence, simplicity, honesty, transparency, truthfulness, direct openness and these are the qualities that God demands of us, His children.  We find these qualities in the life of the Apostle Peter throughout the New Testament.  

In the book of Luke 9:33, we learn something about his character. He said: “…And let us make three tabernacles, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah; not knowing what he said.” We understand that he said it out of the embarrassment, simplicity, spontaneity, sensitivity, and innocence, of a child, and especially out of his will to serve. He felt so small before this awesome sight of the Transfiguration, that he wanted immediately to serve them. Peter always said what he thought without thinking twice. He also failed several times through his own words. He did not care what people thought of him when he opened his mouth.  Actually, he was the mouthpiece of the other apostles, who may have been afraid to open their mouth in public. He was genuine and without any mask, like a child – he was himself, just as God had created him. We also are called to be genuine without masks, to be ourselves as God had created us.

We are not perfect, we need to bring to Him all of our burdens (difficulties, failures, sins, etc). “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”(Matt. 11:28-30). The key to be Yeshua’s real disciples, is to be meek and lowly in heart. He came to earth to teach us these qualities through His life. When we want to disciple new believers, we have to teach them first to be like Yeshua – meek and lowly in heart, (by confessing their sins) because we all were born with the sin of pride, since Adam and Eve failed into this sin by satan. Today satan wants to fail us into the same sin of pride that he himself failed and to separate us from God.

When we hide our sins, (because of pride or fear of man) the burden stays with us, it is terribly heavy and not Pleasant. But when we bring to Yeshua our burdens out of meekness and also confess our sins, we will have rest and peace in our hearts, because He will help us to deal with them.

All of us are struggling or should be struggling against sin, which works in us and against us through our sinful flesh. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

When we know who we really are, with all of our weaknesses and inabilities, and we bring them to the light, then we are free (like children), because we don’t have to make an effort and be somebody else (wear a mask). It is not easy to live as two personalities, because all the time we have to be on guard, so that our real faces will not be revealed. The mask brings a bondage while to walk sincerely and honestly brings freedom. Walking frankness is walking in the Spirit of the Lord. “And the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:17). Out of that freedom in the Lord we will be able to be transparent, which means we will be who we truly are (Like children). If we are stumble and fall down, we will openly ask for prayer and help from our brothers. When we hurt our brothers, we will come to them and humbly, confess it and ask for forgiveness and will fulfil God’s Word that says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).   

We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, while he convict us.We are in a spiritual war!  If we are not right with God in walking in the light, in loving the truth, in integrity, in honesty, and in transparency, we cannot claim Yeshua’s victory.

When we walk in darkness – satan has power over us. We act out of fear of man, pride, self-righteousness, lying, a desire to control others, manipulation, condemnation etc.  Then satan controls us. But on the other hand, when we walk in light, he doesn’t have any right over us, because the Lord is on our side. “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).

He helps us to fight with His weapons as are stated in Eph. 6:13-17 –  with truth, with righteousness, with peace, with faith, with the confidence in our salvation and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Without all of these we cannot be victorious (holding onto Yeshua’s victory) in spiritual warfare.

When we walk rightly before Him, He fills us with His joy and peace and that strengthens us and helps us stand firm against the enemy’s attempt to attack.

“Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:21).  

I went through a situation, in which a sister blamed me about something that was not my fault. I refused to receive the accusation and I declared this verse from 1 John 3:21, In doing so, I held up the shield of faith, so that the arrows of the evil one could not penetrate. The Lord filled me with His joy and peace. If I had received her accusation, the enemy would have used it to control me through her, and it would have caused me to be weak and defeated.            I had the victory of the Lord, because I used the armor of God. Hallelujah!

Dear brothers and sisters, we need one another. We need a brother or a sister to convict us when we fail, to stop us from falling into satan’s trap. “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” (Prov. 27:5). When there is a hidden sin in our lives like the lack of forgiveness, bitterness, pride, which we haven’t confessed – satan will trip us up and will also use us to hurt our brothers and sisters.  In the case of this sister she failed (pride) and the enemy tried to use her to hurt me, but I chose not to be hurt, because I was sure that it was not my fault. I convicted her that she was not right about me and finally she asked for forgiveness and I forgave her.                                                            

We have to be open to receive correction – it is to our benefit! If we really love God, then we will accept the conviction willingly, through His Word, through fellow believers or through events which happen to us. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6). God convicts us because He loves us. Therefore we too have to convict our brothers, out of love and care and concern for them. The other person has to accept it with the understanding that it is for his goodness, in order to confess and to repent to God in the right way.

Sometimes brothers  reject the rebuke claiming that it is judging or criticizing them. This is a fatal mistake – it is said out of pride or unwillingness to be convicted and then they stay in their sins and are cut off from connected with God. How sad and terrible it is!                                                              

James, in his epistle, encourages us to reprove one another: “Brothers, if anyone among you err from the truth, and if anyone turns him back, know that he who turns back the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19,20). The conviction should come always with both truth and love together.

Every one of us could fall and fail because of our sinful flesh. Even those who convict a brother or sister, who had fallen into sin and try to help them, should be careful not to fall themselves because of pride. “Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1).

Let us be united together in Yeshua, who is the right Way, the absolute truth and the abundant Life.

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in full knowledge and in all perception; that you may distinguish between things that differ, that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).  

Glory to God!