The Essence of Spiritual Warfare
In our previous study (The Breath of Life and Light), we considered Elihu’s declaration that “the breath of the Almighty…makes” mankind understand (Job 32.8, ESV). Further, he declares that this “breath” is “the spirit in man” (author’s emphasis; Job 34.14-15; James 2.26). So, the spirit within man explains the knowledge we acquire from teachers and through our senses (Exodus 28.3). This is why children can demonstrate physics and calculus before they learn the rudiments, as in throwing a ball between them and steering their bicycles around objects. [Elihu’s use of “spirit” was that of man (Proverbs 20.27, Ecclesiastes 12.7, 1 Corinthians 2.11, 1 Thessalonians 5.23) as distinguished from the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit, Who was given by God to men individually in the Old Testament (Exodus 31.3) and is reserved for followers of Christ Jesus in the New Testament (John 3.6-7 & 14.26, Ephesians 1.13-14, Romans 8.14).]
Is this true in spiritual warfare, that the spirit in man is capable of engaging demons before we ever learn the principles of James 4.7 and Ephesians 6.10-18? Consider that Cain apparently understood what God meant in His instruction in Genesis 4.7, ESV: “‘[S]in is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (author’s emphasis). Cain understood “sin” and the picture of its pending attack. But, how was he to “rule over it”, as a human being? Ruling over it would occur in his spirit and be expressed by his words. Note that God expected Cain’s actions to be successful, seen in His use of the conjunction “but”.
Cain’s success would need to be directed by his spirit, of which he may have been aware. Perhaps, his verbal or intuitive conversation with God (Genesis 4.3-7) was a warning not to give in to the spirit of jealousy (Numbers 5.14, co-conspirator with a spirit of harlotry – Hosea 5.4) crouching at the door of Cain’s heart (contrast Revelation 3.20) that drove him to kill his brother, Abel (Genesis 4.8-10). The spirit of murder was too great for Cain to rule in his flesh. Apostle Paul writes about this in Romans 7.21-8.8. Be strengthened by 1 John 4.4!
How was Cain’s spirit to rule over the sin of jealousy? This is the same question that might be asked of the instruction in James 4.7: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Paul answers for us in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6 and Romans 10.8-10. So does Apostle John in Revelation 12.11, illustrated by Jesus’ disciples in Luke 10.17 (see Philippians 2.9-11, too). We are (author’s emphasis; Genesis 2.7) meant to rule over satan and sin by the words we speak!
So, God placed in Adam the capability to identify sin and to rule over the spirits promoting it. This may be latent within you. So, study 2 Timothy 1.6-7 for encouragement.
The Essence of Spiritual Warfare, 180211
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