"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought
into captivity to the obedience of Christ". (2 Corinthians 10:4,5)
The apostle Paul here states that we are engaged in a warfare, and that we have weapons with which we must fight. As Paul states in Ephesians 6:12, our fight is not with flesh and blood, with people, but with the host of demons that work to defile, destroy, harass, tempt and enslave mankind. Part of the good news in Christ is that now, not only can we resist the devil's influence in our own lives, but we can destroy his influence in the lives of others. God has given us mighty weapons to counter satanic influence and activity. But in order to be effective in our warfare, we must know what these weapons are, and how to use them effectively.
Paul in this passage doesn't state what the weapons of our warfare are, but he does state what they do. They pull down strongholds. They cast down arguments (also translated imaginations) which come from Satan. They cast down every proud and high thing that seeks to stop us and others from knowing God. They bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. They also give us power to punish disobedience when we are obeying God (vs 6). Each of these results in worth considering in detail.
What are the Weapons of Our Warfare?
To discover the answer to this question, we need to search through the Bible and see how it is that God's men and women of faith overcame the enemy. There is no one word that gives the answer to this question, but if there was it would be "obedience" - obedience to God. It is not a mindless, heartless obedience that gains the victory however. God does not want us to be ignorant. We need to have a growing understanding of the nature of the conflict we are in. Otherwise we will not be able to determine the source of the suggestions within us. In warfare, soldiers must learn to obey the orders of their commanding officers. A major part of our challenge is firstly to know who is talking, which spirit is motivating us to behave or act in a certain way, and to respond intelligently in the light of what God reveals. We must develop spiritual discernment. One of Satan's major strategies is to keep us from really perceiving with our hearts who God truly is. That is why Paul said our weapons cast down every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
First Weapon - PRAISE
So what are the weapons of our warfare? Well, without a doubt, PRAISE is a major weapon against Satan. Satan and demons just HATE hearing people praise God, especially when they do so from a pure heart. Praise releases the presence of God in a way that Satan cannot resist. If we would praise God more, we would have far less interference from demonic powers in our lives.
Praise Silences the Enemy
"Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger." (Psalm 8:2).
And Jesus said to them, "Yes, have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise.'" (Matthew 21:16)
The strength which God has ordained for us is perfect praise. Perfect praise SILENCES the enemy and the avenger. Many of our problems would be solved if we could only get Satan and his demons to SHUT UP. They operate by injecting suggestions into our minds which seem plausible, but are rooted in unbelief and rebellion towards God. The suggestions come as if they were our own thoughts, when they are not at all! We lose battles when we believe and trust these demonic suggestions. These suggestions, thoughts and imaginations work to sow discouragement, confusion, fear, doubt and unbelief in our minds. PRAISE - be it spoken or sung to music, however, works to SILENCE the enemy. Perfect praise led by God's Holy Spirit will completely silence the enemy. Here is one reason why we should consider how we might praise God better. There are many biblical ways whereby the people of God are exhorted to praise God. We can find these in the psalms. Shouting, dancing, singing, rejoicing, making music are all valid biblical ways to express praise to God.
God dwells manifestly by His Spirit in the PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE. "But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel". (Psalm 22:3). The Kingdom of God will manifest through the presence of the King, which comes when we praise Him. The manifest presence of God drives demons OUT of the places near us where they can seek to gain influence over us. Let us therefore praise the Lord more than ever before!
On one occasion, Jehoshaphat, the King of Israel, came against a vast opposing army of many nations bent on Israel's destruction (2 Chronicles 20). The King put at the front lines of the army people who PRAISED the LORD with singing saying, "Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever".
It is no accident that David, perhaps the mightiest warrior for God in Old Testament times, was a man of praise. His strength was rooted in the joy he gave God through praising and worshiping God. How much more in these New Testament times, we, who are commanded to "continually offer up to God the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips which confess His Name" (Hebrews 13:15), are called to overcome the devil and his demons, and all their works, using PRAISE as a mighty God ordained weapon for the destruction of their plans and works.
Second Weapon - the Word of God
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan (see Luke 4:1-13), He overcame the devil using the one weapon of THE WORD OF GOD. Rather than arguing directly with Satan's suggestions, as many Christians try to do, Jesus simply quoted the Word of God as it applied to the suggestion. When Satan tried to suggest a course of action for Jesus to prove his divinity and simultaneously satisfy his hunger, Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'" (Luke 4:4). This silenced the enemy and ended the discussion on that point. Jesus used the Word of God once for each of the three main temptations which every son of man must face. These are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Once we have overcome these fully, we have overcome Satan.
The apostle John wrote, "I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one." (1 John 2:14).
We see then that we are called to grow up to the stage of being "young men", in whom the Word of God abides, and "no longer children, tossed about by every wind and wave of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14).
It is when, through much study and meditation on the Word of God, that word comes to live in us, and consume our thoughts, that we will be strong in the Lord. Jesus promised that if we abide in Him, and His Word abides in us, we will ask what we desire, and it will be done for us (John 15:7). This will include victory over Satan.
For more information on the Bible, the Word of God, read here. For examples of how we may confess the Word of God so as to overcome the devil, read here.
Much more can be written on the power of the Word of God to overcome the devil. Make sure you get into the Word of God for yourself.
Third Weapon - the Blood of Jesus
One of Satan's chief tactics is accusation. He is called "the Accuser of the brethren". When we sin we give Satan opportunity to accuse us, both directly and through others.
The reality is, we have all sinned. I'm still looking for a Christian on the earth who never sins. I'd love to learn from someone who no longer falls short of the glory of God. Sin is costing us too much. When to our sin, Satan adds his accusations, we can become condemned and discouraged if we are ignorant of the power of the blood of Jesus as it may be applied to this issue.
Praise God, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanses us from all sin. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).
We must believe that no matter what sin we may commit, the blood of Jesus is there to cleanse us. We can be restored by this blood to a place of acceptance with God and peace with ourselves. It is because Jesus paid the price for our sins, and took the punishment we deserve, that we can be forgiven and go on after temporary defeats. Praise God for the blood!
Much can be written on this subject. Remember to confess what the blood of Jesus does for you. "They overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their own lives unto death" (Revelation 12:13).
Fourth Weapon - Prayer
Prayer is not preparation for the battle. Prayer is the battle. We are commanded to pray without ceasing, so we should at least aim for it. God has made so many promises regarding prayer and we need to fill our hearts and minds with these promises. Since much of this has been covered elsewhere on this site, for now I will just refer you to my existing teaching on prayer on this site. Of course, volumes could be written on prayer and have been in various places. Learn to pray with power. When we prevail in prayer, Satan is defeated, miracles happen and people turn from the power of Satan to the power of God, their eyes having been opened.
Prayer is quite simply the key to revival. YOU MUST PRAY. To not pray is to surrender to Satan.
Fifth Weapon - the Power of Your Testimony
One reason I publish testimonies on my site is that they are an effective weapon against Satan. Tell other people what Christ has done for you. This will promote faith. Tell yourself - you need to encourage yourself in the Lord - "forget not all His benefits". Tell God - praise and thank Him for it. Paul used his testimony in confronting King Agrippa and the Roman Governor Festus when called to account for his activities and the reasons for which he was accused by the Jews (see Acts 26 - also Acts 22).
They overcame came him [the devil] ... by the word of their testimony.
Everyone who is truly born again has a testimony. Everyone who has received an answer to prayer has a testimony.
Fifth Weapon - the Power of the Holy Spirit expressed through the Gifts of the Spirit
We are commanded to "be continually filled with the Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). Just keeping this one command of the Lord is a major part of our spiritual warfare, and we will need all the other weapons in order to stay in this place.
A person who is "filled with the Spirit" and has learned to be "led by the Spirit" can also receive and use the "gifts of the Holy Spirit". These are outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Most of them are expressed through our mouths. They all operate through divine initiative.
These specialised weapons of the gifts of the Holy Spirit all work along with the other weapons of God to build up God's people, win people for Christ and to destroy the works of the devil. They all operate through faith. God does not want us to be ignorant of the mighty gifts of the Holy Spirit. Satan has used theologians in times past to cast doubt on the availability of these gifts, but praise God, we are learning to pick them up again and use them. Books have been written on the subject of these gifts. I will mention what they are just briefly.
Gift of Discernment of Spirits - this gift gives the user, usually through a vision of some sort, the knowledge of what kind of spirit is motivating a person's thoughts, attitudes, words or actions. It also can reveal the predominant stronghold (read accepted lie) of Satan in a particular area, so that intecessors and prayer warriors can deal with it. It is a useful gift also when casting out demons.
Gift of Word of Knowledge - this gift imparts a small fragment of God's knowledge to a person concerning some detail of a present reality. It can be used to pick people out of a crowd who have a particular disease, or to just "know" what a person's problem is. It can also be used in the deliverance ministry. It is very powerful when used in evangelism.
Gift of Word of Wisdom - gives knowledge of the future and wisdom from God concerning what a person should do.
Gift of Faith - gives a supernaturally strong and bold faith for a particular work God wants to do. This faith is far beyond the normal faith level of that person.
Gift of Miracles - can manifest as instantaneous healings, creative miracles, or in any kind of miraculous activity such as did or did not occur in the Bible, according to the desire of God. God is the initiator of true miracles. Casting out demons is considered to be a "miracle" on the basis of Mark 9:38-39, where Jesus calls casting out demons "a miracle in my name". This is the most common and necessary form of miracle for our age.
Gifts of Healings - the divine ability to heal diseases through the power of the Holy Spirit, usually with the laying on of hands. This is done in Jesus' name. The gift of healing doesn't depend too much on the faith of the receiver, but on the accurate leading of the one using the gift. The normal way for people to receive healing is through faith, but sometimes God uses people with the gift of healing to get the healing through to people in spite of their doubts. It is a tool of evangelism and may or may not manifest immediately. Divine Healing can come in other biblical ways apart from the gift of healing - e.g. anointing with oil by elders, intecessory prayer, confessing and declaring the promises of God, and more.
Gift of Tongues, Interpretation and Prophecy - these utterance gifts all work to get an inspired utterance to the person who needs to hear and understand it. It works for building up faith, encouragement, exhortation and comfort. Tongues and interpretation are equivalent to prophecy in function, although sometimes the interpretation comes through a different person than the one who gives the message in tongues. This gift of tongues happens only as God initiates, and is for communication from God to men. It is not to be confused with praying to God in an unknown tongue - otherwise known as praying with the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15). Everyone baptised in the Holy Spirit can pray to God in tongues whenever they so choose.
Whether or not tongues can be used by itself in an aggressive fashion to somehow address demons directly and pull down demonic strongholds is a subject which is unclear. It is theoretically possible, and perhaps some have been led by God to do it. Normally howver, tongues are for speaking to God or to men, not to the devil. We would be on safer ground if we stuck to using the weapons which are clearly endorsed in the Scripture. They are adequate for our total victory.
Sixth Weapon - The Name of Jesus
This is not a magic formula, only something to be tacked onto the end of a prayer for effect. Of course we SHOULD pronounce the name of Jesus when we minister in God's name. The NAME OF JESUS is the AUTHORITY we have as we submit to Jesus Christ. We need to do what we are doing for the cause of Christ. There is no neutrality. All must be done for Jesus, in Jesus, with Jesus.
Submitting to God (Jesus) we can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).
When we fully submit to Jesus Christ and obey the Holy Spirit, God will back us up. We become the physical body of Christ for the situation. Demons will be forced to leave, even violently at names, as we have faith in the name of Jesus. Jesus is there with us to back us up and make it happen.
Seventh Weapon - Fasting
Fasting in normal language means going without food (but usually not to go without water). We are always called to say 'No' to sin, but not always to 'food'. Fasting not only detoxifies the body - it also humbles the soul, humbles the flesh, and when done for God brings us into line with God's will. Fasting precipitates a showdown with demonic power. Jesus fasted in the wilderness (in those days he ate nothing), and Satan came at the end of it to test Him. By speaking the Word in the face of great pressure Jesus defeated Satan and was qualified to move in the power of the Holy Spirit as a MAN. In this way He was our perfect example in all things.
Much has been written about fasting - on this site also, and I thank the reader who commented that really it should be included as one of the weapons of our warfare.