Creflo Dollar - The Reality Of Spiritual Warfare, Part 1
Let's begin again in Ephesians chapter 6:10-12. I want to review a little bit. And then we want to go from there to Romans 12:2 and 3, and then 2 Corinthians 10:5, and then we'll get into today's message. We're talking about the reality of spiritual warfare, and we're talking about winning in spiritual warfare. The battle of the mind is where that battle is going to be taking place, and it's so very important for you to understand that we are fighting against opposing forces that want to kill, steal, and destroy. Look what he says. Ephesians 6 and 10, he says, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might". Verse 11, "Put on the whole armor of God", as we said before, that's the Word of God, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles," or the trickery, or the strategy, "of the devil".
So notice Satan is coming up with strategies to come against you. He's coming up with plans and strategies to try to kill, steal, and destroy where your life is concerned. That's amazing that you see this in the Scripture, that you put on the armor of God because there's a devil loose and he wants to kill, steal, and destroy. And God says if you can understand how to fight this battle, you will be able to stand against the strategy of the devil. Now I don't know about you, but I'm always interested in how to be effective in standing and overcoming the strategy that the devil has for my life. Everybody has a strategy that Satan has devised to come against you.
Now look at verse 12. He says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but, our fight, our war is against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places". Here you find the four classes of demonic spirits: principalities, powers, wicked spirits in this world, spiritual wickedness in high places. Those are the four headings or the four classes of demonic spirits. And so it's not just Satan coming against you, but his cohorts, those demons that are assigned to carry out the strategy, the wicked strategy to try to bring you down.
Please understand there's a battle going on. There's a battle for your soul, your mind, your will, and your emotions; and Satan's coming against you, and you don't want to get to the place where you don't recognize that there's an enemy coming against you. And it's not the person you go to work with, it's not the person you had a issue with; there are demonic spirits that work through people to try to kill, steal, and destroy in your life, try to oppress you, try to get you to feel, you know, depressed and guilty and all those kind of things. And we have got to understand the battle and to take the victory that has already been given us where this concern. Well, how do we do that? Romans chapter 12, verses 1 through 3. Look at what he says here.
Now this is important because he just directly tells us what to do. He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice". So he's talking about dedication here, to present your bodies a living sacrifice. You know, have you ever heard somebody say, "Well, I wasn't at church this morning, but I was there in spirit"? No, he wants the dedication of all of you: your spirit, soul, and body. He says, "By the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, present it holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". Now, the previous chapters talked about all of this mercy, and he's like, "In light of all of this mercy, come on, let's dedicate yourself to God".
And look at verse 2. Very valuable. Verse 2, "And be not conformed to this world". Don't be fashioned after this world. Don't start thinking like them, don't start acting like them. You know, we spent a lot of time last week talking about what it means to be conformed to this world, and one of the things that I want you guys to understand is that we don't have to be conformed to this world because the Bible gives us an option. He says, "But be ye transformed," how, "by the renewing of your mind". Another translation says, "Be changed by the renewing of your mind".
Now, I said this over and over and over again, and I'll continue to say it. As a human being, the most important thing you can do is get born again; but now once you get born again, as a Christian, the most important thing you can do is renew your mind because if you don't renew your mind you will remain conformed to the world. You will continue to think like the world thinks, you'll continue to act like the world acts, you'll continue to believe like the world believes if you don't renew your mind. Renewing the mind is not a one-time event. Renewing the mind is a lifetime process. Renewing the mind is exchanging that worldly way of thinking for that Word way of thinking. It's exchanging that worldly opinion with that Word opinion. It's taking your thinking and putting it on top of the Word. And if your thinking doesn't line up with the Word, then you don't try to change the Word. You allow the Word to change your thinking.
And so, please understand this, you get born again, now the most important thing you can do is renew your mind. And I still know Christians who are just refused to renew their minds. And, you know, of course the enemy is going to come up with every reason he can come up with to tell you that the Bible is not real, or the Bible was written by men, or the Bible this, the Bible that; anything to try to convince you not to renew your mind because he knows that's the most important thing that a Christian can do 'cause once they renew their mind he's powerless. What is he going to do with a Christian who no longer will conform their life and thinking with the Word? What is he going to do? He can't do anything. He says, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind". Why? "So you can prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God". And you're never going to be able to prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God until you renew your mind, all right?
So I like what he says in this version. He says, "And be changed by the renewing of your mind". So, you know, when you got born again, your soul, mind, will, thinking, that didn't get born again. Your body didn't get born again. Your spirit got born again. So you can get born again and still be doing some of the same stuff you were doing before you got born again. Why? Because even though you have a new root and a new spirit, you know, there are two parts of you, there are three parts. You are a spirit, you are a soul. you are a body. But there are two parts of you that don't yet line up with the Word if you don't renew your mind. You see, your spirit's born again, but in life you'll continue to do some of the same things because you're thinking the same way.
So when you get born again, you got to renew your mind. You want to see things change in your life in this physical body? You got to renew your mind. Nothing changes until you accept the vitalness of renewing your mind with the Word of God, be changed. How? By renewing your mind so you can prove what is that good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God. There are some people that get born again, live all their lives and never understand the purpose for why they are living. And I'm telling you right now the most important thing that a Christian can do is renew his mind, renew his mind, and I'm talking about renew his mind to a point where you know you accurately renew your mind.
You see, the way you think is the way you live. Your thinking is going to determine your living. So wrong thinking is going to determine wrong believing, which is going to determine wrong living. Right thinking is going to determine right believing, which is going to determine right living. See, there's a reason why you're the way you are, and the Bible is trying to get every Christian to understand the importance of renewing your mind with the Word of God. And in these days there's a challenge because you got to get under the right teaching so you can renew your mind right. You got to get under the right teaching so you can renew your mind right. You don't want to renew your mind to the Law of Moses. Why? If you renew your mind to the Law of Moses, you know what the production's going to be? Guilt, shame, condemnation, and sin consciousness. That's what we're renewing our mind from.
We're renewing our mind from the Law of Moses that produces guilt, shame, condemnation, fear, all of those things. That's what we're renewing it from, but there are some Christians who are still trying to renew their mind in the Law of Moses which produces those things that Jesus died so you can be free from. So you'll stay stuck in condemnation, guilt, shame, if you don't renew your mind away from the law that produce condemnation, guilt, shame, fear, and all those things. I'll talk a little bit more about that as we move forward.
Now let's go to one more Scripture, and we'll get started today. 2 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 4 through 5, and let's just read that in the King James. 2 Corinthians 10:4 through 5 he says, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they're mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)" Fortified thoughts in your mind that create addictive behaviors. He says that you can pull those down, and he says, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity," watch this, "every thought to the obedience of Christ". So he's saying your thinking is responsible for all of this, and you're going to have to become a good custodian over your thought life.
And so when you're thinking in line with the world, the Bible clearly states that you have the authority to capture that thought, cast it down by placing the Word of God in your mouth, really, to create the thought. See, you don't fight thoughts with thoughts, you fight thoughts with the Word of God. And when you are understanding the Word enough, and it's simple and you know how to use it in your life, you can take the Word of God and say... you know, the devil's saying, "Well, you're going to die, you're going to die, you're going to die, you're going to die". And then you open your mouth up and say, "No, the Bible says I'm going to live and not die. The Bible says", and you start quoting out loud what the Bible says. That will pull that negative thought down and bring it into the obedience of Christ. So that's how that works.
Now, I'm excited about this morning because this is something that, you know, I'm not trying to start a big fight, but I'm just saying this is something that just makes so much sense to me and this is something you're going to have to chew on, something that you're really going to have to think about. What I think we need to get a hold of is becoming more precise about the things of God, and I think that our lives have been riddled with a lot of religious thinking, okay, and not accurate thinking from the Word of God. And people will say things because that's what they've heard all their lives, and then when you get right into the Word you find out, "Oh my God, the Bible says this".
You know, one of the things that I got a hold of years ago where I used to say like everybody, like every Christian I met, "God is in control". I said that all the time, "God is in control". And then this man of God said to me one time, "Brother Dollar, that's not exactly true". And I'm thinking like, "You've got to be out your mind. What do you mean that's not exactly true? God is in control". And then he got really precise with me. He says, "Well, if you read the Scripture in the Book of Genesis," he said that, "God gave all of the authority and control to mankind for a period of time". And I'm like, "Whoa". I said, "Are you kidding me"? He said, "Yeah, if you'll go over here and look at it, it's in the Book of Genesis," he said, "God gave authority to man over all of the earth". And I thought, "Wait a minute". And so I had to really go and to look at this.
And he said in Genesis chapter 1, verse 26, "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion or authority over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.'" He gave us authority and control over everything except one another.
And so I had to think about that. I said, "In actuality, if God gave the controls to us, then how can we go and blame him for something"? In fact, heaven could say, "Wait a minute. I turned the dominion of the earth over to you". Oh, that's precision. Now see, I could have stayed caught up with everybody just 'cause everybody was saying, "God is in control. God is in control". And I understand what they're saying, but the precise accuracy of that is that God has given control over to those of us who've accepted him, that mankind has control over what's going on. And then he turns around and says that you can choose life or death, blessings or cursings, and he says, "You choose". And then he gave a hint: "Choose life so that you and your seed". So you have this authority to make a choice. I'm thinking, "Wow".
But see, religion will say something in general and you just get caught up with that and you stop searching for the accuracy of what's going on in the Scripture. So here's what I want to talk about right now: the need for precision, the need for precision. I think that a lot of Christians are not getting results in their life is because of a lack of precision. Now, before I move into this, we're talking about warfare, we're talking about battle in the mind. Now in a battle in the natural, one of the things that you want to do is you want to find key areas, key places where you want to destroy that may have a big impact on the rest of the war. So you'll pick out targets, that's the word I'm looking for, key targets. And once you decide if we can destroy these key targets, that will put us ahead in the battle.
And, you know, you have to locate those targets and you have to be precise in order to attack it and to destroy it because if you miss the target, then, you know, you don't accomplish what you're trying to accomplish. And I began to think, "Wait a minute. There are some key targets in my life that I need to make sure that I destroy, that I blow up, that I bomb. I've got to recognize that fear is a key target. I got to recognize that condemnation is a key target, and shame is a key target, and guilt is a key target. And if I can hit those key targets, then I can accomplish a lot".
And so what happens is if you're going to be on target or hit those targets, it's going to require precision. It's going to require precision to make sure you don't miss the targets. And so what happens, you know, in church, we go around and we blame all this other stuff, you know, especially in marriage. "You know, this is the problem, this is the problem, you're the problem, that's the problem; if you would've did that". And the real problem is you're having a fear dance. You need to destroy that fear target. Or you're going around and saying, "Well, you know, I just feel bad or I feel suicidal, and nobody likes me". And you need to destroy that condemnation target or that guilt target. You see?
And so that's what religion does. It has us to ignore those major targets that can cause great progress in our life, and we're just, you know, it's like a shotgun. We're just firing all over the place instead of precision that's needed to hit the target. I hope I'm making than plain. I need to calm down. I'm really excited about you getting this. So how would I define precision? Because I believe that's going to be the key in the life of a believer in New Testament living. So in every battle, precision is the key to winning the whole war. I believe that. I believe that so much.
I can remember at the time when I first got saved, there was no precision. It was just religious things that I heard somebody else say, but it wasn't precision. I didn't know the targets that were causing the most issues, and yet I didn't release an attack or plan an attack to destroy those targets. And so in every battle precision is the key to winning the whole war, and so we've got to get precise. We got to get rid of the religious language that just sounds like God, but it doesn't have any precision. Precision is defined as exactness. Precision is accuracy; being exactly that, neither more or less, that's what precision means. It's exactly that, neither more or less. It's not that more or less. No, it's exactly that, neither more or less, precision.
Let me give you an illustration. 2 Timothy 2:15, I want to look at it in the Amplified and then the NASB. 2 Timothy 2:15 in the Amplified and then the NASB version, and I want to show you what the Bible talks about when it talks about studying the Scripture. He says, "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved, tested by trial, a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing, accurately", accurately, that's precision, "Accurately dividing, [rightly handling, skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth". Did you hear what he says? That when we get to the Word it's got to be accurately divided, and I don't know if I've ever really had that a lot in my Christian life. I've had a general presentation of the Word, but it lacked precision. And I believe the more precise you can get about this battle in the mind, the more victory you're going to have. Look at it in the NASB translation. He says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth".
What is he saying? Handle the Word with precision. Handle the Word with precision. See, even that phrase, the Word of God, needs some precision with it. Are we talking about the Word of God that was under the old covenant when God was operating as a judge, or are we talking about the Word of God which is the Word of grace operating under the new covenant as God was operating as Father? You see, if you just say Word of God, then I'm thinking, "Well, you know, is this the Word of God that I should be renewing my mind with over in the old covenant, or is this the Word of God I need to be renewing my mind with under the covenant of grace"? Are you following what I'm saying?
It is so important that we become precise and accurate about Word of God and how we're handling the Word of God. So whatever you give your attention to will frame your thinking and ultimately it will frame your life. We do know that. Whatever you give yourself attention to, it'll frame your thinking and then it will ultimately frame your life. So now my next issue here is, what are you attending to the most? What are you giving your attention to the most? What are you doing every day, what has your attention the most, okay? Whatever has your attention the most is ultimately going to determine your life.