Summary: Excerpt from the book, Living Forgiven
If we are going to live a life flowing with forgiveness to everyone with whom we come in contact, we must realize that
*The battles we fight are spiritual.
*They are not to be directed toward another human being.
*They should be directed against the forces of hell.
Because 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." (Ephesians 6:12)
When we fight against another we are not fighting against the one who is at the root of our fighting. The church throughout history has wasted time and energy with doctrinal battles and church splits-fighting against people rather than the root cause. There are even "Christian" radio talk shows that are directed at pointing out the faults and inconsistencies of other people and the weaknesses of their ministry.
*We can have the right doctrines and beliefs and still be wrong in how we "defend the faith."
*Fighting against one another will never help spread the message of the cross.
*It is only by living a life flowing in forgiveness that we will spread the message the world will be willing to hear.
*We shouldn’t spend our time fighting against the evil done by others
We must fight our real enemy, the evil one-Satan-who is at the heart of all evil.
Contrary to popular belief, Satan is alive and well. He is a real, personal being who, as a created cherub, sinned against God and subsequently fell from heaven.
He was "the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." He was with Adam and Eve "in Eden, the garden of God." He was adorned with "ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl [set in] mountings made of gold." He was anointed by God and walked "blameless" in his "ways from the day" he was created until wickedness was found in him. His heart "became proud on account of" his "beauty," and his wisdom was "corrupted" because of his "splendor." God "drove" him away "from the mount of God" and threw him "to the earth." (Ezekiel 28:12-19)
*The wisdom and beauty God gave Satan led to pride, the root of his downfall.
*Since his downfall, he has become the arch-enemy of God and God’s plan for us.
*The name Satan means "adversary, to lie in wait."
He is called the "tempter," (Matthew 4:3), the "evil one" (1 John 2:13), the great "deceiver" (Revelation 12:9), the father of lies, and a murderer. (See John 8:44) Jesus called him the "prince of this world." (See John 12:31)
Paul called him "the ruler of the kingdom of the air" and "the god of this world." He adds the thought that Satan is a "spirit" that "works" in the children of disobedience. The Greek meaning of the word "works" is energy.
*Satan energizes the unsaved to do his will.
Paul said the unsaved walk not only in the "ways of the world" but are directed by the "ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." (Ephesians 2:2)
*Every non-believer is actually under the control of Satan.
The "whole world is under the control of the evil one." (1 John 5:19)
The battles we fight should never be against the people of this world, but against Satan himself who has these people under his control.
*The unsaved people of this world are considered "spiritual" children of the devil.
They prove this by not doing what is right and by not loving Christians. Spiritual children of God are just the opposite in position and in practice.
*Christians will always do what is right in the eyes of God when they love their brothers and sisters in Christ.
John tells us that "this is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." (1 John 3:10)
Jesus told His opponents that if God had been their Father, they would have loved Him because He came from God. Like begets like. When we love and forgive, we prove we belong to God.
Jesus said to those who hated Him, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:42-44)
If God is our spiritual father, we will prove we are just like Him by living a life of forgiving love. However, if we don’t love and forgive, we prove that Satan is our spiritual father because we are behaving just like him.