Delivered from the Lion (Part 1)
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Tim. 4:17 NKJV).
Satan goes about like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Jesus said that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy, like a wolf with sheep (John 10:10). He is a predator and intensely focused on his target.
Daniel, David, and Samson were physically delivered from the lion. In our verse above, Paul was referring to Satan, the lion who sought to kill him. We must see ourselves as fighting a real, ruthless enemy that we have power to conquer: “You will tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot” (Ps. 91:13 ESV).
Satan has three major weapons he uses against us: strongholds, curses, and arguments.
Strongholds: The Attack on Our Minds
The mind is the battleground, and a stronghold is a reinforced, negative thought. It occurs when we pay attention to a wrong thought and meditate on it until it becomes a “high thought” that is fortified. Here are a few strongholds that try to control our minds:
Fear (thoughts of anxiety)
Pride (thoughts of arrogance)
Lust (thoughts of passion)
Hatred (thoughts of anger, bitterness, revenge)
Doubt (thoughts that deny God)
Religion (thoughts that deny God’s grace and goodness)
Poverty (thoughts of lack)
Greed (thoughts of possessions)
Witchcraft (thoughts of spiritual manipulation)
Depression (thoughts of hopelessness, suicide)
Thoughts are the code of the enemy’s work, a counterfeit idea to a truth of God’s Word. Eve in the garden is a good example of this.
Spiritual warfare is the process of discovering the lie and removing the spirits that have built their stronghold upon that lie.
Curses: Spoken Words That Release Spiritual Powers of Evil
“Curses cannot hurt you unless you deserve them. They are like birds that fly by and never settle” (Prov. 26:2 GNT). A curse cannot hurt you unless there is an “open door” that allows it to enter your life. Some open doors are listed below:
An open door can come from a generational stronghold that passes down in a family for at least four generations (Ex. 20:5).
An open door can also result from a broken vow, covenant, or treaty (Mal. 3:9; Josh. 6:26, which was fulfilled in 1 Kings 16:34, over 500 years later).
An open door can come from words of rejection, disaster, witchcraft, etc., spoken over someone.
Arguments: A Legal Access for Satan to Enter
“So if you forgive him, I forgive him. Don’t think I’m carrying around a list of personal grudges. The fact is that I’m joining in with your forgiveness, as Christ is with us, guiding us. After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!” (2 Cor. 2:10–11, Message).
Satan operates like a prosecuting attorney, constantly accusing us before God (Rev. 12:10). He uses arguments, evidence of disobedience to God’s Word, in his prosecution to bring judgment. Here are a few arguments that Satan loves to use against us:
An argument can be a hidden sin that gives access to Satan and brings judgment (Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:3–10).
An argument can result from rebellion in our lives in the areas of marriage, parents, church, finances, etc.
An argument can stem from any relationship that has become bitter and words that have been spoken in anger and hatred (Eph. 4:26–31).
Breaking the Chains
1. First, there must be repentance (godly sorrow), not just remorse over consequences (2 Cor. 7:10).
2. Second, there must be a renouncing of the wrong thinking and behavior on our part that has contributed to Satan’s stronghold (2 Cor. 4:2).
3. Third, there must be a restoration of order, goods, integrity, justice, and mercy (Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8).