Three Battlegrounds


 

 

 Three Battlegrounds

Excerpts from the book
by
Frances Frangipane

The Battleground of the Mind

The territory of the uncrucified thought-life is the beachhead of satanic assault in our lives.

The eternal darkness to which this Scripture refers is essentially a moral darkness, which does ultimately degenerate to a literal darkness.

Luke 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

Let us recognize, before we do warfare, that the areas we hide in darkness are the very areas of our future defeat.

Pride is the armor of darkness.  We should realize that the greatest defense we can have against the devil is to maintain an honest heart before God.

James 4:6 …God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Satan fears virtue. He is terrified by humility; he hates it.

To humble yourself is to refuse to defend: I defend. Your image.

A Demonic stronghold is any type of thinking that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, thereby giving the devil a secure place of influence in an individual’s thought-life.

Your rebellion toward God provides a place for the devil in your life.
You see, Satan feeds upon sin. Wherever there is a habit of sin in a believer’s life, expect to find demonic activity in that area. The sin-habit often becomes the dwelling place for a spirit that is robbing a believer of power and joy, and that habitation (or habit) is a stronghold.

REPENTANCE PRECEDES DELIVERANCE


 HOUSE MADE OF THOUGHTS

Wherever a stronghold exists, it is a demonically induced pattern of thinking.

Although the nature of an unclean spirit is, by definition spiritual and not physical, it still seeks a dwelling place, a “house” where it may “rest.”

The aspect of human nature which is most similar in substance and disposition to the nature of the evil one is the carnal thought-life, which is a dimension of the soul, or personality, of man. It is uniquely in our uncrucified thoughts and unsanctified attitudes that unclean spirits, masking themselves as our thoughts and hiding themselves in our attitudes, find access into our lives.

Before we were saved, you and I were the “undisturbed possessions” of the devil; Satan was like a fully armed “strong man” guarding the homestead of our souls. On the day of our salvation, however, a glorious “someone stronger,” the Lord Jesus Christ, attacked and overpowered Satan and stripped away his armor. Our born-again experience may be widely varied on a natural level, but in spirit-realm, a very similar war was waged and won for each of us.  If we could have seen into the invisible world, we would have observed the Holy Spirit working with the angels of God to destroy the enemy’s first line of defense, his “armor”.  What exactly was this armor that protected the devil and kept us from salvation? The armor upon which demons rely consists of our own thoughts, attitudes, and opinions which are in agreement with evil.

It is important to recognize that, when we speak of strongholds, we are not talking about random thoughts or occasional sins. Rather, the strongholds that affect us most,  are those which are so hidden in our thinking patterns that we do not recognize them nor identify them as evil. Remember, in our initial text, Jesus revealed that unclean spirits are seeking “rest.”  The sense of rest they seek originates from being in harmony with their environment.  In other words, when our thought life is in agreement with unbelief, fear, or habitual sin, the enemy has “rest.”

It is significant that the process of deliverance quite often involves a season of inner conflict and turmoil. This is a good sign, signifying the individual’s will desires to be free.

There will be a period of fighting involved the process of pulling down strongholds, for you are breaking your agreement with a foe who will fight to remain in your life.

While we may find comfort in being Christians, being a Christian has not made us perfect. There are still many strongholds within us. Therefore, let us identify some of these spiritual fortresses. Rare is the Christian who is not limited by at least one of the following strongholds: unbelief, cold love, fear, pride, unforgiveness, lust, greed, or any combination of these, as well as the possibility of many others.

Because we excuse ourselves so readily it is difficult to discern the areas of oppression in our lives.  After all, these are our thoughts, our attitudes, our perceptions—we justify and defend our thoughts with the same degree of intensity with which we justify and defend ourselves.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. (Proverbs 23:7)

The first stronghold to remove:

Therefore, before any deliverance can truly be accomplished, we must honestly recognize and confess our need. We must stop pretending everything is all right.  We must humble ourselves and seek help. Indeed, as previously mentioned, the first stronghold that God must remove is pride. For until one is willing to admit that he needs deliverance, he will never be free from strongholds.

We must make a way in us for the coming of the Lord.  We must allow the “the increase of his government” to expand until we are so absorbed into His spirit that we not only believe in Him, we believe like Him.

The second stronghold to remove:

Consequently, when we seek to identify and destroy demonic strongholds, the second fortress that must be annihilated is the stronghold of unbelief.  It is this scheme of thinking that tells us Christlikeness is impossible—which holds all further spiritual growth hostage.  This lie and the chains it places upon our hearts must be stripped from our lives.

First, remember that a stronghold is a house made of thoughts. Therefore, in regard to this type of warfare, Paul explained that our success is based upon taking “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Capture the thought: “I am a failure!” Repent of it, asking God to forgive you of your unbelief. Let your mind be renewed by the Word of God which states, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (phil. 4: 13).

Arrest the thought: “I am just a sinner!”  Replace it with the confession of your faith which says, “Though I was sinner, now I am a beloved child of God and, though I occasionally still sin, the blood of Christ cleanses me of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1 :9).

Always remember: Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips; but it will not be consummated until the nature of Jesus is in our hearts. It is not enough to have your house… swept, and put in order” (Matt. 12:44); your thought-life must be occupied by the Person of Christ. But as you persist in yielding yourself to Christ, He will remove Satan’s armor from your mind. He will show you what you need to bring down. You will see that the weapons of your warfare are mighty, to the pulling down of strongholds! 

Three Sources of Strongholds

The first source of strongholds is the world.

The steady stream of information and experience that continually shaped our childhood perceptions is the greatest source of strongholds within us. The amount love (or lack of love) in our home, our cultural environment, peer values and pressures, as well as fears of rejection and exposure—even our physical appearance and intelligence, all combine to form our sense of identity and our view of life.

Our souls, wrought with insecurities, are highly sensitive to the criticisms and compliments of others. In the search to find oneself, such words are poured into young hearts like molten steel which, as they cool, are fused into our natures. How many of today’s adults believe they are mentally slow simply because, as children, they absorbed into their self-concept the negative, thoughtless scolding of a teacher or parent?

These concepts and limitations are structured into us from childhood, built into our thinking patterns through the words and ideas of others.  Indeed, many of our opiions about life are ours only because we know of no other way.  Yet, we defend and protect our ideas, justifying our opinions as though they were born in the womb of our own creativity!
 
Our goal must be conformity to Jesus Christ and Him only. Any teaching that does not support this singular purpose must not be allowed to rule us!

 Another manner through which strongholds are built into us is through our experiences and the conclusions we have drawn from them. These experiences, for better or worse, are what we call reality.  Let us realize that life, as we perceive it, based upon whatever network of thoughts and opinions we are currently allowing to govern our souls.  On the other hand, God defines reality as the “Truth” found in His Word.

To topple the “stronghold of our experiences” we must “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Rom. 3:4). The only One who has a right to shape our lives is Jesus Christ.  We must determine to allow nothing and no one to shape us, not even our personal experiences, unless they are consistent with the promises of God.

 A third source of strongholds comes from false church doctrines and teachings. Jesus warned, “See to it no one misleads you” (Matt. 24:4). We can be led by another person, but we must take responsibility that we are not misled by that individual.  Even true teachers can innocently communicate false doctrines.

Satan’s plan is make us somehow accept, either through our upbringing, our experiences or through church dogma, that certain portions of the life of Christ are untrue or not valid in every case. 

The father’s goal in deliverance is much more than simply seeing our burdens or the devil taken off our backs. Indeed, the specific purpose toward which God steers the working of all things in our lives is our conformity “to the image of His Son.”

THE GOD OF PEACE WILL CRUSH SATAN   

To wage effective spiritual warfare, we must understand spiritual authority. Spiritual authority is not forcing your will upon another. When you have spiritual authority, you have established God’s peace in an area that once was full of conflict and oppression. Therefore, to truly be able to move in authority, we must first have peace.

The God of Peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20).

We will never know Christ’s victory in its fullness until we stop reacting humanly to our circumstances. When you truly have authority over something you can look at that thing without worry, fear, or anxiety.  Your peace is the proof of your victory.

The first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances.  Only God’s peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle.

Rest precedes rule. Peace precedes power. Do not seek to rule over the devil until you are submitting to God’s rule over you. The focal point of all victory comes from seeking God until you find Him, and having found Him, allowing His Presence to fill your spirit with His peace. From full assurance at His right hand, as we rest in His victory, let us rule in the midst of our enemies. 

THE BATTLEGROUND OF THE CHURCH

Where there is persistent and hardened unforgiveness in a person or church, the demonic world (known in Matthew 18:34 as “torturers”) has unhindered access.  The Scriptures warn that even a little root of bitterness in a person’s life can spring up and defile many (Heb. 2:1S).  Bitterness is unfulfilled revenge.

As you embrace God’s love and begin to walk in forgiveness, you are actually pulling down the stronghold of bitterness and its manifestation of cold love in your life.

People do not stumble over boulders but over stones—little things. To stumble is to stop walking and fall.  Have you stumbled over someone’s weakness or sin lately?  These minor things are quickly pumped up by the enemy into great big problems.

You cannot form a negative opinion of someone (even though they may deserve it!) and allow that opinion to crystallize into an attitude. 

We need to overcome our hang-ups about commitment, for no one will attain the fullness of God’s purposes on earth without being committed to imperfect people along the way.  The people who possess the Kingdom of God in its reality are people who overcome the obstacles of each other‘s faults.

TO DISCERN, YOU CANNOT JUDGE 

The beginning of true discernment will not come until we crucify our instincts to judge.

I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).

If we do not move in divine forgiveness, we will walk in  much deception. We will presume we have discernment when, in truth, we are seeing through the veil of a critical spirit.” We must know our weaknesses, for if we are blind to our sins, what we assume we discern in men will merely be the reflection of ourselves.

Repentance is the removal of the “logs” within our vision; it is the true beginning of seeing clearly.  The judgmental carnal mind always sees the image of itself in others.

All true discernment comes through a heart that has ceased striving.  There is a false discernment that is based on mistrust, suspicion, and fear.  You can recognize false discernment by the coldness around it.  False discernment may be packaged in a type of love, but it does not originate in love; it comes out of criticism.  Without love and peace in your heart, your judgment will be overly harsh.

The enemy has easy access to the soul that is not protected by true worship of God!  You see, what comes out of our hearts during times of pressure was in us, but hidden, during times of ease.

THE BATTLEGROUND OF HEAVENLY PLACES

The last frontier of battle is the heavenly places, the dimension known today as the spirit realm. It is here that angels and demons wage their war for our cities. But let the reader take note: this dimension is currently enemy territory! Only according to the measure that our heart is  like Christ’s do we have authority in the heavenlies; only a citywide, Christ-centered church can displace the powers of darkness from the spirit realm.

Created in the image of God, man was given limited, yet distinct, inherent powers. He was granted the power to imagine, as well as the faculty to define and then establish reality. And, operating within the boundaries preset by God, man does this, for better or worse, according to the free selection of his will. As we understand this, we see that the essence of spiritual warfare is in whom shall define reality: the Word of God or the illusion of this present age.

 The principle of displacement:

Rev12: 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

Notice it says, “there was no place . . . for them in heaven.” The war against principalities involves displacement: Christ filling the spiritual territories once held by Satan.

This event is difficult for us to comprehend. How do angels and demons, beings that do not die from wounds wage war? With what do they do battle? And how do they conquer one another’?

All spiritual warfare is waged over one essential question: Who will control reality on earth; Heaven or hell?

You see, as the body of Christ on earth agrees with its Head in Heaven, the Spirit of Christ Himself displaces the powers of darkness in the heavenly places.  In other words,  when the church on earth is aggressive in its agreement with the will and Word of God, then the Presence of God increases in the spiritual realm, proportionately displacing the influence of hell on earth.

THE DEVIL IS A LIAR

Satan is unmasked in Scripture as “a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). His realm of operation is the spirit world that immediately surrounds and blankets the consciousness of mankind. This realm is known as the heavenly places” in the Bible (Eph. 6: 12). From this spiritual realm Satan works to corrupt and control the mind of man through illusions built from mankind’s carnal desires and fears. But the power of the lie is not merely the speaking falsehoods, nor is it that this world is an illusion. The lie of the enemy appears most powerfully when men believe that this world, as it is, is the only world we can live in. The truth is, of course, that God is establishing His Kingdom, and ultimately every other reality will submit to and be ruled by that Kingdom! (Heb. 12:26-28; Rev. 11:15)

This point is essential: in our war over who controls man’s world, the singular weapon God has given the church is His Spirit-empowered Word. The Living Word of the Spirit is the truth. Paul taught that spiritual warfare deals specifically with the “pulling down of strongholds.” But what are those strongholds?  They are lies the devil has sown into our thought processes which, as we accepted and believed them, became reality to us. We do not fall in sin as much as we are seduced by it; every sin is cloaked in some measure of deception. But as these lies are uncovered and destroyed, as our thought-processes are freed from illusions, we will discover the blamelessness, perfection, and truth of Christ in  us, the hope of glory (Col. 1 :27).

When you expose and confess your sins, they no longer are in darkness (secrecy).  Each time you speak your faith, you are establishing your freedom as a true reality.

EXPOSING THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST

There exists a ruler of darkness, a principality of the deadliest order, that has been tolerated by believers for so long that its influence is considered normal for the church. This diabolical entity is the spirit of Antichrist. While this spirit manifests itself wherever true Christianity is openly persecuted, it is a demon whose nature is primarily religious. His spirit stands firmly in opposition against the unfolding restoration of the church of Jesus Christ.

As this demon’s name is, so is he. He is simply “anti” or against Christ. This principality uses the power-demons of Jealousy, Fear, Unforgiveness, and Ambition-whatever is necessary to keep independent, local churches from becoming the “armed and dangerous,” united body of Christ.

This spirit of Antichrist has been prevalent in the church since the first century. In fact, the apostle John plainly states that there were “many antichrists” in the first century. He wrote, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen” (1 John 2: 18). When we compare this verse with 2 Thess. 2:4, we see that our understanding of the term “anti Christ” has been too narrow when limited to one man in the future. John said, “even now many antichrists have arisen.”

It is important to grasp that John is actually speaking of people who once seemed to be members of the united Christian community. The apostle tells us that they went out from us.” He said “if they had been of us, they would have remained with us” (1 John 2: 19). 

What motivated these misled souls? Later in John’s’ epistle, the apostle reveals it was the Antichrist spirit. He wrote in chapter four, “Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (l John 4:3). John makes a distinct reference here to the spirit of Antichrist, which he stated was already in the world.

THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT

To understand the spirit of Jezebel, we must understand the genesis of this personality in the Bible. The first mention of Jezebel is seen in the rebellious, manipulative wife of King Ahab. Jezebel is fiercely independent and intensely ambitious for pre-eminence and control.  It is noteworthy that the name Jezebel, literally translated, means ‘’without cohabitation.  This simply means she refuses “to live together” or “cohabit” with anyone. Jezebel will not dwell with anyone unless she can control and dominate the relationship. When she seems submissive or “servant-like,” it is only for the sake of gaining some strategic advantage.  From her heart, she yields to no one. Although we refer to  Jezebel as “she,” this spirit is without gender.  However, it is important to note that, while men in leadership are the main targets of most principalities, Jezebel is more attracted to the uniqueness of the female psyche in its sophisticated ability to manipulate without physical force.

Look for Jezebel to target women who are embittered against men, either through neglect or misuse of authority. This spirit operates through women who, because of insecurity, jealousy, or vanity, desire to control and dominate others. Jezebel is there behind the woman who publicly humiliates her husband with her tongue, and then thereafter controls him by his fear of public embarrassment.

There are good women who come to church seeking God, but this spirit has them fantasizing about the men in the assembly; lamenting that their husbands are not as “spiritual” as other husbands.

Jezebel’s worst enemies are the prophets; her worst fear is that the people will embrace repentance. Jezebel hates repentance and humility.

Since we are the church, let us realize that we are still in the church when we are home.  If a husband is afraid of his strong-willed wife or unable to serve as the head of his household, although he is not in the worship building, he is still in the church tolerating Jezebel.

There is a spirit which works with Jezebel. The effect of this demon is that it floods the soul of a man with weakness and fear. Its name is Ahab; his nature is “one who gives his authority to Jezebel.”

The Ahab spirit occupies the areas of tolerance within a man’s mind. The man feels almost drugged in his struggle against Jezebel.  To win against Jezebel, one must conquer the nature of Ahab.

The man married to a domineering wife will exhibit one of two responses: he will either be fearful in other relationships in his life or he will tend to resent women in general.

The essence of Ahab is a title, “husband,” and a position, “head,” but the man has no real authority. When Ahab was king Jezebel ruled. The man who cannot govern his household in godly, protective authority will not exercise his spiritual authority elsewhere. Such a man needs to repent of his fears and firmly, with gentleness, set his home in order.

I strongly recommend that you consider reading the whole book by Frances Frangipane—it is very informative.

 




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