The topics of spiritual discernment and spiritual warfare are so closely related that we will cover them both in this series of lessons. Spiritual warfare is about learning how to react to your spiritual enemies in ways that will benefit your soul. Well, before you can react wisely to your enemies, you have to be able to recognize them. That’s where spiritual discernment comes in.
THE CHURCH’S EMPHASIS ON WAR
Now in the Church, you hear a lot about spiritual warfare. This is viewed as a very dramatic, exciting topic and you’ll find a whole lot of fatheaded fools running around calling themselves things like intercessors, prayer warriors, and exorcists. These people consider themselves to be very hot stuff when it comes to spiritual warfare. They want you to view them as the spiritually elite. But for all of their blathering, you aren’t going to hear much wisdom from these people. Instead, they’ll get you viewing the Bible like a book of magic spells that you can use to ward off demons. They’ll teach you to view yourself as a mover and shaker in the spiritual realms, and they’ll diagnose every problem in your life as having a demonic origin, hence your life could be perfect if you just hopped to it with those magic Christian spells—things like confessing your sins till you’re blue in the face and rebuking every experience you don’t like in the Name of Jesus. Don’t listen to people who are strutting about like proud peacocks and giving themselves titles like “intercessor” and “warrior”. These people are fools. Anyone who says “Listen to me! I’m an expert on demons!” is just proving how blinded they’ve become. Do you want a blind man to lead you across a busy highway? Don’t listen to pompous fools on the subject of spiritual warfare because you’ll only end up getting hurt.
THE SOURCE OF DISCERNMENT
The Church talks far more about the dramas of war than she does about the principles of discernment. You need to do the opposite and focus on discernment. Discernment is built on wisdom which only the Holy Spirit can give you. In this series, we will present you with many key principles, but only the Holy Spirit can give you understanding about these things and teach you how to apply them in everyday life. It is always God, not humans, who should be getting the credit for instructing you on spiritual issues. If God uses a human to speak through, so what? The person is irrelevant. You need to stay focused on God and give Him the credit for teaching you. We do not praise and admire and form dependencies on humans when it comes to spiritual matters. We praise, admire, and depend only on God. Before you continue reading this lesson, make sure you have asked the Holy Spirit to show you what, if anything, is useful to you in this series. We don’t just sit around like sponges believing anything in print. We always check with the Holy Spirit. Now since the Holy Spirit is such a key Figure in all of this for you, you need to have some understanding of who He is. Many Christian denominations virtually ignore the Holy Spirit, or else they tell you He’s the Bible. Well, no, He’s not a book, He is God Almighty. He is one of three magnificent Creators who made everything that exists, and as a Christian, He is your primary Guide in this life. Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to us as the One who would teach us truth in this world, so you need to get comfortable with the idea that you have a personal relationship with Him, as well as with Jesus and Yahweh (God the Father).
THE PARTIES INVOLVED
Discernment begins with you being able to tell the difference between you and something or someone that is not you. Now when you’re hanging out on earth with friends, this seems obvious. If you go out with your two friends Mary and John, you know that you are not Mary and you are not John. It’s very easy for you to distinguish yourself from other people.
But when we start talking about spiritual matters, things get more complicated, because YOU are not the person you see in the mirror. What you see in the mirror is just your earthsuit or flesh—it is a physical machine that you are using to get around in this physical dimension we call earth. Your earthsuit is like the car a man drives down the highway. Is a man the same as the car he drives? Certainly not, and YOU are not your earthsuit. The real YOU is the spirit being dwelling inside your earthsuit. On this site, we call this your soul, and we refer to you as a soul because that is what you are. Now when you listen to other teachers in the Church, you’ll find that they use the term “soul” to refer to different things. Some people use the term soul to refer to certain elements of your earthsuit, such as your emotions. Some say you have flesh AND a soul AND a spirit. On this site, we use the terms soul and spirit synonymously to refer to the spirit being who is the real you that is driving around in this world in a physical earthsuit (your flesh). Definitions are important, so make sure you understand how someone is using the terms flesh and soul and spirit in their teachings, because there is a lot of variation.
Okay, so let’s get very clear on the difference between you (your soul) and your earthsuit (your body). Just as a car has seats and an engine and tires, so also your earthsuit is a wonderfully complex machine that has multiple parts. Here is a breakdown of those parts:
As we can see above, when we talk about who you are from a spiritual perspective, we are only talking about your soul. We aren’t talking about your brain, your body, or your emotions. All of these things certainly affect you, but they are not what Jesus died for on the cross, and they are not what is going to be taken on to Heaven when you die. Only YOU are going to leave this earth and go on to eternity—your earthsuit with all of its components is going to stay behind and rot away. Only YOU are an eternal being, built to last forever. Your earthsuit is a temporary thing that probably won’t even last for 100 years before it totally shuts down on you. It is vital that you learn to start thinking of yourself as a spiritual being who is cruising around in a complex earthsuit, because this is how God, angels, and demons see you.
SOUL VS. EARTHSUIT: HOW GOD WILL JUDGE YOU
Now you are a spiritual being with an independent will. Your earthsuit also has its own will—it’s like a smart car. Because your earthsuit has its own will, your life is very complicated. Suppose you try to dial a number on your cellphone using voice commands. You tell your phone to “Call Mary at home”. But instead, your phone decides to call John at work. Naturally you find this very frustrating. In real life, your soul is also very frustrated by how often your earthsuit ignores its commands. Your soul tells your earthsuit “Stop looking at those dirty pictures on the internet.” But your earthsuit tells your soul, “Shut up, I’m busy.” Your soul tells your earthsuit, “Stop drinking—you’ve had enough.” But your earthsuit tells your soul, “Beat it, I’m having fun.” When you sincerely want to please God, yet you find yourself falling into temptation and then feeling awful about it, what’s happening is that your earthsuit is exercising its independent will and refusing to do what your soul tells it to do.
As a human being, can you drive down a road without a car? No, you can’t. You aren’t a metal machine with tires and an engine. You can’t drive. Cars drive. Now suppose you’re driving your car one day and you run over a pedestrian who is crossing the street. The police come and take you to court. Why do they take you to court? Because now the government wants to determine what your intentions were as the driver. You didn’t personally run the man over in the street—your car did. But now the question becomes, did you purposely drive into the man or did you hit him by accident? Your intentions have a lot to do with how you will be punished for what you did. If we decide that you ran the man down on purpose, then we will charge you with murder and we might even kill you for your crime. If we decide that you hit him by accident, then we might put you in prison or fine you, but the punishment will be far less severe because you didn’t mean to do what you did.
When you get to Heaven, God isn’t going to judge you by what your earthsuit did, He’s going to judge you by the intentions of your soul. When your earthsuit told a lie, what was your soul doing? Was it snickering at the idea of getting away with doing wrong or was it trying to protect someone’s feelings? When your earthsuit spent time helping out at the homeless shelter, was your soul pompously thinking it was better than those losers? Or was it trying to bless God by being kind to others? God understands that in this life, your earthsuit often spins out of control like a car without brakes. Your earthsuit goes careening off into things that your soul doesn’t want to do. Other times, your earthsuit puts on a pretty impressive show of righteousness while inwardly your soul is rebelling against God. In eternity, God is going to judge you by the intentions of your soul. You will be rewarded for the times your soul wanted to do right, and you will experience consequences for the times that your soul wanted to do wrong. God will only focus on your soul. It’s not going to be about what your earthsuit did or didn’t do because God understands that you don’t have total control over your earthsuit, and He also understands that you often use your control of your earthsuit to intentionally deceive people. The prophet who gets up and delivers a false prophecy in God’s Name just so he can draw attention to himself is going to be disciplined for his soul’s rebellion. The preacher who really cares about speaking God’s messages accurately, yet he trips and fumbles all over his words is going to be rewarded for his faithfulness. The counselor who sincerely wants to honor God yet gives out wrong advice is going to be rewarded for his obedience, while the missionary who goes on and on about his trials in the field just to get glory for himself is going to be disciplined. It’s all about soul intentions, because God is a fair Judge and He understands that your soul is the only thing you have total control over. On good days, your soul can make your earthsuit do what it tells it to do. On bad days, your earthsuit runs away like a rebellious child and your soul is left feeling defeated and powerless. But once you understand how God is going to judge you, there is great hope, for you realize that you are not going to be punished for things that you did not want to do, nor is all of your sincere desire to please God going to be overlooked. Heaven is going to be such a fabulous experience for those who sincerely desired to please God on earth because they will be shocked to learn that God really was paying attention to the desires of their hearts. Of course the Church gets this all wrong, and teaches you that in Heaven you’re going to be judged by the actions of your earthsuit. But no, your earthsuit is going to be rotting in the ground on earth. Only your soul is going to stand before God in Heaven, and it is only your soul’s choices and intentions that He will be judging you by.
THE ELEMENTS OF WAR
Unlike you, demons never get confused about the difference between you and your earthsuit. They know that your soul is who God loves and that your soul’s choices are all that matter to Him. So demons go after your soul. Everything demons do to you is about trying to negatively impact your soul. But while demons are trying to drag your soul down, your three Creators are also interacting with your soul, inviting it closer to Them. Your soul now finds itself caught between two groups who are constantly vying for its attention: God and demons.
While this image captures our bottom line struggle, in real life, the battlefield is much more complex. On earth, your soul is surrounded by beings with independent wills who are all trying to influence it. Your soul is also trapped inside a very smart machine—your earthsuit—which also has a will of its own. Let’s now look at all the different influences your soul has to contend with.
With all of these parties bombarding your soul at the same time it’s very easy to get overwhelmed, and so you do. When a person is screaming in your face, you have a hard time thinking about anything else. When your earthsuit is screaming in pain because you just rammed your toe into the furniture, your soul has a hard time thinking about anything else. When demons bombard you with condemning thoughts or your earthsuit is craving sex, or your wife is nagging you or the Holy Spirit is pounding you with conviction, your little soul is going to start panicking with system overload. How do you find peace in the midst of the chaos? By turning your focus onto God and aligning with His truth.
KEYS TO VICTORY
Contrary to what many in the Church will tell you, spiritual victory is not found through chanting Bible verses, rebuking demons, confessing random sins, and trying to control the activity of the spiritual realm through prayers. Spiritual victory is gained by clinging to God. Whenever you are feeling stressed out and upset, you need to be like the little child who goes running over to grab a hold of his parent’s leg. Proper visualizations are important here, for the Church is sending you into a land of delusion when she encourages you to visualize yourself like this:
Or like this:
Or like this:
And last but not least, like this:
What’s wrong with these approaches to spiritual warfare? They’re full of self-exaltation, arrogance, and idiocy. You are not a mighty warrior compared to demons. You are a powerless speck. If you were a bunny, demons would be a military tank—one blast from their gun and there would be bunny pieces everywhere. Or they could just mow you down and turn you into a bunny pancake. You really need to get a firm grip on the fact that you are totally powerless when it comes to direct combat with demons. All of this “go get ‘em” garbage the Church is feeding you is coming from demons, because they really want you to believe you can take them on directly. Demons love it when we go charging out ahead of the Holy Spirit and think we can tell them what to do. The more rebellious we behave towards God, the more likely it is that He will lower His guard around you and let demons tear into you. By trying to sell you the buff spiritual warrior package, demons are trying to entice you into arrogantly turning away from the only Protector you have down here: the magnificent Holy Spirit.
Now Jesus, Yahweh, and the Holy Spirit are all equal in and power and They are all everywhere at once. All three of Them can flick demons off of you effortlessly, but we focus specifically on the Holy Spirit because that is what They teach us to do. It is the Holy Spirit who is dwelling within us, taking on the role of our Counselor and Guardian during this first stage in our eternal journey. So He is the One we look to for help when demons come at us, and these are the kinds of postures we use:
As you can see, there’s nothing glamorous about correct spiritual warfare posture. We act like frail wimps because we that is what we are. We rush to the Holy Spirit’s side, we grab hold of His leg, we cry in His arms, and we count on Him to save us. We don’t even think about saving ourselves because we know that we’re wimps. The correct understanding of all that you’re not is critical to responding correctly in spiritual warfare situations. And when you respond correctly—which means hiding behind the Holy Spirit and counting on Him to save you from the scary monsters—then you will have victory. Victory doesn’t mean experiencing instant peace, it means coming out of the thing with a stronger bond between you and God. Spiritual warfare, along with every other trial in life, is a tool which God uses to draw us closer to Him. Take a look at those kids in the above slide. Notice how they’re all gripping onto their parents. Now look at those buff warrior pictures that the Church promotes. What do you see? A bunch of solo, independent fighters. See the difference? God creates us to be dependent on Him so demons try to cultivate an independent “I can handle this all by myself” attitude in us. Demons will always try to lead you away from truth and encourage you to distance yourself from God. The Holy Spirit will always steer you back to truth and encourage you to cling to Him more tightly. God designed us to be clingy, high-maintenance little creatures who depend on Him for absolutely everything. The more clingy we are, the more pleased He becomes. The more we act like we can do life without Him, the more annoyed He becomes. As Christians who care about pleasing God, we need to learn to love the role of dependent, powerless wimps, because that is the only role that God offers us in life.
WHAT ABOUT ANGELS?
In the above slide where we showed the four major influences your soul contends with down here—God, demons, your earthsuit, and other people—you’ll notice that we didn’t mention angels. This was very intentional, for angels should not be anywhere on your mental radar of beings that you need to look out for.
God is extremely jealous. He’s so jealous that Yahweh once said His Name is jealous. Yahweh is the One talking to His followers in this verse:
“Do not worship any other god, for Yahweh, whose Name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Ex. 34:14)
All three of our Creators share the same characteristics. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are just as jealous as Yahweh, and all three of our Gods detest it when Their people worship created things instead of Them. Now it’s already outrageous the way we Christians sit around worshiping leaders in the Church. It’s outrageous the way we exalt the Bible—a lifeless material object—as a higher authority than our Creators. But when we then turn our focus onto the spiritual realms and start fixating on supernatural beings and giving those beings the glory for protecting us and guiding us in life, well, now we’re really begging for the fire to fall. Our Gods HATE idolatry, yet how does the Church handle the subject of angels? Does she respect God’s feelings and teach you not to go chasing after these creatures? No. She teaches you that you have your very own guardian angel—which is a complete lie—and that it is this creature who you really ought to be directing your prayers to and depending on in life. Let’s look at some of the angel worshiping equipment the Church pumps out to lead you down the road of idolatry.
Even though there isn’t a single mention of female angels in the Bible, you’ll notice that we have decided that angels share our human genders of male and female, and the majority of our art depicts female angels—yet one more area in which we are reversing God’s truth. He presents angels as male, so we paint them female. He presents them as focused on serving Him, so we teach that they revolve around us.
Take a look at the three paintings above. In every case, who is being exalted as our guide and protector in life? Some dumb angel. Where is God? Forgotten. Shoved into the background while the angels get our full attention. Notice the halos which exalt these angels as holy beings. This is utter garbage. If you are a parent and you’ve hung some picture like this in your house, you need to get rid of it and reeducate your children about who it is that is guiding them in life. The Holy Spirit is GOD ALMIGHTY. The Holy Spirit DWELLS INSIDE every Christian. What can you possibly want with angels when you already have God Himself?
Suppose you give me ten billion dollars which I barely thank you for. A month later, someone comes along and gives me a dirty penny that they found in the street. I instantly begin to gush over this second person, saying, “Wow! How incredibly generous of you! I am so touched that you care! No one’s ever been so nice to me before! This is the best gift I’ve ever received! How can I ever thank you?” Suppose you were standing right there when I launched into my act, blubbering all over this person and acting like they were the most important thing to me? How would you feel? Irritated, perhaps? Insulted? Outraged? To say the least! Well, intensify those feelings a hundred times and you start to understand how God feels when He is dwelling right inside of us, protecting us day and night, guiding our every step, yet we want to stand around gushing over guardian angels that we don’t even have. God HATES idolatry. God is JEALOUS. So don’t even think about angels. Angels have nothing to do with you. Angels should be no more interesting than dirt to the serious Christian. If you find yourself attracted to angels, ask the Holy Spirit to align you with His feelings on this subject. Idolatry is extremely important to God and the Church is shamelessly spitting in His face as she pumps out idolatrous rot like the items we see below:
When you start carrying around stuff like this and praying to your guardian angel, you might as well be sacrificing to Baal, the demonic god of the Old Testament, or worshiping some ugly Hindu god today. WE DO NOT WORSHIP CREATED BEINGS. We do not pray to them, we do not fawn over them, and we do not glorify them as our protectors in life—period. This is NOT a negotiable issue for God. He DETESTS this obsession with angels that the Church is so caught up in today.
Now if you’ve been misled by a bunch of Christian idolaters, and you’re just now realizing that you’re up to your neck in practices which God finds utterly repulsive, don’t get all bogged down into shame and guilt. Just listen to the Holy Spirit, and obey any convictions He’s giving you.
This is all we’re going to say about angels in this series because they are not a group that we focus on as Christians who are serious about honoring God.
Let’s review. We’ve defined the real you (the soul who is traveling about in your earthsuit), and we’ve learned that there are four major influences interacting with your soul in this world: God, demons, other people, and your own earthsuit. Now that we understand the basic set up, we need to learn about the mechanics of communication between these four groups.
UP NEXT: Access & Communication (2/3)