For a life of perpetual victory over Satan as Accuser, it is very important that the believer should understand, and detect any inconsistency between the attitude of the will and the actions in his life. He should read himself from his actions as well as from his will and motives. For instance, a person is charged with doing a certain thing, which he at once denies, because the action does not agree with his will-attitude, and therefore, he says, it is impossible that he should have acted or spoken in the way stated. The believer judges himself by his own inner standpoint of will and motives, and not by his actions as well as his will. (1 Cor. 11: 31).
On the Godward side the cleansing power of the Blood of Christ is needed (1 John 1:7) continuously for those who seek to walk in the light, cleansing themselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 7: 1).
The devil as an Accuser also works indirectly through others, inciting them to make accusations which he wants the man to accept as true, and thus open the door to him to make them true; or he accuses the believer to others by "visions" or "revelations" about him, which causes them to misjudge him.note 19 In any case, whatever may come to the believer from man or devil, LET HIM MAKE USE OF IT FOR PRAYER, and by prayer turn all accusations into steps to victory.
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A LIAR (John 8: 44): "He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father thereof." This does not mean that the enemy never tells the truth, but his truth has the objective of getting the believer involved in evil; e.g., when the spirit of divination spoke the truth, that Paul and Silas were the servants of God, it was to suggest the lie that Paul and Silas derived their power from the same source as the girl under the evil spirit's power. The devil and his wicked spirits will speak, or use, ninety-nine parts of truth to float one lie, but Paul was not deceived by the witness of a soothsaying prophetess acknowledging their divine authority. He discerned the wicked spirit and its purpose, exposed it, and cast it out.
Even so must the believer be able to triumph over Satan as a liar, and be able to recognize his lies, and those of lying spirits, in whatever form they are presented to him. This he does by knowing the truth, and using the weapon of truth.
There is no way of victory over falsehood but by truth. To have victory over the devil as a liar, and over his lies, the believer must be determined always to know the truth, and speak the truth about everything, in himself, in others, and around him.
Satan the liar, through his lying spirits, persistently pours lies on the believer all day long; lies into his thoughts about himself, his feelings, his condition, his environment; lies misinterpreting everything in himself, and around him; about others with whom he is in contact; lies about the past and the future; lies about God; and lies about himself, magnifying his power and his authority. To have victory over this persistent stream of lies from the father of lies,note 20the believer must fight (1) with the weapon of God's truth in the written Word, and (2) truth about facts in himself, others and circumstances. How persistently to "refuse" all lies from the Liar, and his emissaries, is explained in other parts of this book. As the believer increasingly triumphs over the devil as a liar, he grows better able to discern his lies, and equipped to strip away the covering for others.
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A COUNTERFEMR, OR FALSE "ANGEL OF LIGHT": "Even Satan himself fashioneth himself into an angel of light," and his "ministers" ("false apostles, deceitful workers," 2 Cor. 11: 13) also fashion themselves as "ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11: 14-15). This aspect of victory over Satan runs on the same lines as the preceding ones; i.e., by the knowledge of truth, enabling the believer to recognize the lies of Satan, when he presents himself under the guise of light.
Light is the very nature of God Himself. To recognize darkness when clothed in light-supernatural light--needs deep knowledge of the true light, and a power to discern the innermost sources of things that in appearance look God-like and beautiful. How the Adversary counterfeits the very light of God, so as to appear as God, has been already set forth in Chapter 6. The main attitude for this aspect of victory over the Adversary, is a settled position of neutrality to all supernatural workings, until the believer knows what is of God. If any experience is accepted without question, how can its Divine origin be guaranteed? The basis of acceptance or rejection must be knowledge. The believer must know, and he cannot know without examination, nor will he "examine" unless he maintains the attitude of "Believe not every spirit" until he has "tested" and proved what is of God.note 21
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL As HINDERER: "We would fain have come unto you . . . but Satan hindered us" (1 Thess. 2: 18), wrote Paul, who was able to discern between the hindering of Satan, and the restraining of the Holy Spirit of God (Acts 16: 6). This again means knowledge, and power to discern Satan's workings and Schemings, and the obstacles he places in the paths of the children of God; obstacles which look so "natural," and so like "Providence," that numbers meekly bow their heads and allow the Hinderer to prevail.
Power to discern comes (1) by knowledge that Satan can hinder; (2) by observing the objective of the hindrances, and (3) close observation of his methods along this line; e.g., is it God or Satan withholding money from missioners preaching the Gospel of Calvary, and giving abundance to those who preach error, and teachings which are the outcome of the spirit of anti- Christ?
Is it God or Satan hindering a believer by "circumstances," or, "sickness," from vital service important to the Church of God? Is it God or Satan urging a family to remove their residence, without reasonable grounds, to another neighbourhood, when it involves the removal of another member from a strategic vantage ground of service to God, with no other worker to take his place? Is it God or Satan leading Christians to put first their (1) health, (2) comfort, (3) social position, in their decisions, rather than the needs and the exigencies of the kingdom of God? Is it God or Satan who "hinders" service for God through members of a family making objections; or troubles in business which give no time for such service; or through property losses, etc.? Knowledge of the Hinderer, means victory by prayer over his schemes, and workings. The believer should therefore know his wiles.
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS A MURDERER (John 8: 44): Satan as the prince of death watches every occasion to take the life of the servants of God, if in any wise he can get them to fulfil conditions which enable him to do so. (1) By their willful insistence on going into danger without being sent of God; (2) by trapping them into danger through visions, or supernatural guidance, drawing them into actions which enable him to work behind the laws of nature for destroying their lives. This is what Satan tried to do with Christ in the wilderness temptation: "Throw Thyself down," he said; then quoting Scripture to show that the Lord had Scriptural warrant for believing that angel hands would bear Him up (Luke 4: 11), and not allow Him to fall. But the Son of God recognized the Tempter and the Murderer. He knew that His life would end as a Man, were He to give occasion to the malignant hate of Satan, by one step out of God's will; and that the Deceiver would not propose anything, however apparently innocent, or seemingly for God's glory, unless some great scheme for his own ends was deeply hidden in his proposition.
Christ now holds the "keys of death and of Hades" (Rev. 1: 18), and "him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2: I4, R.V., m.), cannot exercise his power WITHOUT PERMISSION, but when the children of God, knowingly or unknowingly, fulfil the conditions which give Satan ground to attack their physical lives, the Lord with "the keys of death" works according to law, and does not save them, UNLESS BY THE WEAPON OF PRAYER they enable God to interpose, and give them victory over the law of death, as well as the law of sin, through "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8: 2).
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Death is therefore an enemy; to be recognized as an enemy; and to be resisted as an enemy. The believer may lawfully "desire to depart and be with Christ" (Phil. 1: 23), but never to desire death merely as an end of "trouble," or to allow the lawful desire to be "with Christ," make him YIELD TO DEATH WHEN HE IS NEEDED FOR THE SERVICE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. "To abide in the flesh is needful for you," wrote the Apostle to the Philippians, therefore "I know that I shall abide" (Phil. 1: 24-25).
The will of the believer "will"-ing physical death, gives the Adversary power of death over that one, and no believer should yield to a "desire to die" until he knows beyond question that God has released him from further service to His people. That a believer is "ready to die" is a very small matter; he must be ready to live, until he is sure that his life work is finished. God does not harvest His corn until it is ripe, and His redeemed children should be "garnered as a shock of corn in its season."
It is ofttimes the prince of death as a Murderer, working through the ignorance of God's children, (1) as to his power, (2) the conditions by which they give him power, and (3) the victory of prayer by which they resist his power, who cuts off God's soldiers from the battlefield. It is Satan as a Murderer, who gives "visions of glory," "longings to die," to workers of value to the Church of God, so that they yield to death, even in days of active service, and slowly fade away.
Believers who would have victory over Satan at every point, must resist his attack on the body, as well as on the spirit and mind. They must seek knowledge of God's laws for the body, so as to obey those laws, and give no occasion to Satan to slay them. They should know the place of the body in the spiritual life; (1) its prominence, and yet (2) its obscurity. Paul said, "I keep under my body." They must understand that the more knowledge they have of the devices and power of the Adversary, and of the fullness of the Calvary victory within their reach for complete victory over him, the more he will plan to injure them. The whole of his schemes against God's children may be summed up under three heads: (1) To cause them to sin, as he tempted Christ in the wilderness; (2) To slander them, as Christ was slandered by family and foes; (3) To slay them, as Christ was slain at Calvary, when, by the direct permission of God, the hour and power of darkness gathered around Him, and He by the hands of wicked men was crucified and slain (Acts 2: 23).
As the believer gains victories over Satan, and his deceiving and lying spirits, by thus recognizing, resisting and triumphing over them in their varied workings, his strength of spirit to conquer them grows stronger; and he will become more and more equipped to give the truth of the finished work of Calvary as sufficient for victory over sin and Satan; in the power and authority of Christ by the Holy Spirit; which will set others free from their power.
It will, of course, be clearly recognized that victory over Satan in these aspects will not be without great onslaughts from him and sharp conflict, which may well be called "the evil day" (Eph. 6: 13). In these attacks and conflicts there are some points which need to be understood. First, that it is always essential to know whether the attack and conflict are because of ground in oneself or others. For one reason why believers get attacks, and do not get through the conflict into victory, is because the cause of the attack and conflict lies in themselves.
The believer must understand that although he has been delivered from the deception and possession he fell into, yet in the succeeding life of aggressive warfare against the powers of darkness, he may again give fresh ground to the enemy through lack of knowledge, by accepting some lie from lying spirits, or by taking their misinterpretations of experiences, conditions, etc. For it must never be forgotten that wrong interpretation of any experience gives new ground to them,note 22GROUND BEING ANYTHING IN A PERS0N WHEREBY EVIL SPIRITS GAIN. The believer may attribute the attack and conflict to a wrong cause, i.e., (1) to an outside cause, or (2) to the maliciousness of the devil, or (3) to "local" conflict; meaning the enemy's workings around him in his environment, or through others.
When attacks and conflict come, lest he should give fresh ground to the enemy, the believer must know why they come, and in prayer ask God for light. In attacks, two or more may be in action simultaneously, therefore he should at once set himself to understand, and watch and observe all the workings of the enemy in the new conflict, or anything that will throw light on the situation, and show him what to refuse, and how to pray.
When there is ground, or the cause of the conflict or attack is in the believer himself, if he takes the attack pure conflict, i.e., as part of warfare for the Church, he will fight with the wrong weapons, and not get through to victory until the true cause is discovered, and the ground given up, and refused. For what is thought to be an "attack" from outside, may be a symptom, or manifestation of an evil spirit inside, who has regained a footing unknown to the believer, or has remained in some hidden location, when thought to have wholly gone. When the believer, therefore, finds himself in conflict, he should at once question "Is there ground?" in the following three aspects of the evil spirit's workings:--
(1) In attacks. Is there ground, or is it purely an attack?
(2) In conflict. Is there ground, or is it pure conflict?
(3) In communication, (i.e., suggestions, thoughts, whisperings of the enemy). "Is there ground?" or is it purely from outside, as Satan communicated with Eve ?
The believer should then declare his attitude in the three cases, as follows: "I refuse all ground, and the cause or causes of it!"
The last word spoken, alters, ratifies, or nullifiesnote 23previous ones; for instance, the believer may "refuse" in the present moment, what may be the product through evil spirits' workings of something he asked for in the past. He may say, "Although I asked for, believed in, and accepted such and such a thing in the past, I now refuse it." His present refusal nullifies his previous acceptance.
THE PRINCIPLE EMBODIED IN REFUSING: It is essential that believers should understand the value of the act of refusal, and the expression of it. Briefly: REFUSAL IS THE OPPOSITE OF ACCEPTANCE. Evil spirits have gained by the believer giving them (1) ground, (2) right of way, (3) use of their faculties, etc., and they lose when this is all withdrawn from them. What was given to the enemy by misconception and ignorance, and given with the consent of the will,note 24stands as ground for them to work on and through; until, by the same action of the will, the "giving" is revoked,note 25specifically and generally. The will in the past was unknowingly put for evil, and it must now be put unceasingly against it.
Once understood, the principle is very simple. The choice of the will gives: the choice of the will withdraws or nullifies the previous giving. The value and purpose of refusing stands the same toward God and toward Satan.note 26 The man gives to God, or refuses to give. He takes from God, or refuses to take. He gives to evil spirits--unknowingly or not--and he refuses to give. He finds he has given to them unwittingly, and he nullifies it by an act of withdrawal and refusal.
The relation to the aggressive warfare of freshly discovered "ground" given to deceiving spirits, is, that every new ground, discovered as given to them, and refused, means a renewed liberation of the spirit, with an access of deepened enmity to the foe as his subtle deceptions are increasingly exposed, and consequently more war upon Satan and his minions. It means more deliverance from their power, and less footing for their possession, or ground in the believer as he realizes that "symptoms," "effects," and "manifestations" are not abstract "things," but revelations of active personal agencies against whom he must war persistently.
Moreover all growth in experimental knowledge means increased protection against the deceiving enemy. As new ground is revealed, and fresh truth about the powers of darkness, and the way of victory over them, is understood, the truth delivers from their deceptions, and hence protects the believer up to the extent of his knowledge, from further deception; and he finds in experience that directly the truth ceases to operate by the believer's active use of it, he is open to attack from the watching foe, who ceaselessly plans against him. For example, let the believer who has been undeceived and dispossessed cease to use the truth, of (1) the existence of evil spirits; (2) their persistent watching to deceive him again; (3) the need of perpetual resistance and fight against them; (4) the keeping of his spirit in purity and strength in co-operation with the Spirit of God; and other truths parallel with these--the knowledge of which he has gained through so much suffering--he will sink down again into passivity,note 27and possibly deeper depths of deception. For the Holy Spirit NEEDS THE BELIEVER'S USE OF TRUTH to work with in energizing and strengthening him for conflict and victory, and does not guard him from the enemy apart from his co-operation in watching and prayer.
The way to refuse,note 28and what to refuse, is of primary importance in the hour of conflict. As we have seen, the believer needs to maintain an active attitude, and, when necessary, expression of refusal continually and persistently, this pre-supposing the man standing in faith upon the foundation of his identification in death with Christ at Calvary.note 29
In the hour of conflict, lest there should have been new ground given to evil spirits unknowingly, by accepting something from them, or believing some lie they have d to the mind, the believer should refuse all the things whereby they may have gained a new footing; the conflict, or attack, immediately passing away or ceasing, directly the means by which the enemy has regained ground is dealt with.