In order to recognize a lie, we need to know the truth. Experts in counterfeit money don’t spend their time studying counterfeits. They study the real currency. In the same way, to engage in the spiritual battle raging around us, we don’t shift our focus to lies or to the Devil. We focus on Jesus. We marinate in the truth of who God is and who he says we are. Then and only then we will be able to quickly recognize a lie. And though there are some areas of bondage in our lives where truth is not going to be enough to set us completely free, we will never get any freedom at all without it.
Remember when Jesus was in the wilderness and the Devil came to tempt him? Jesus didn’t reason with the Enemy. He didn’t engage with him in a dialogue; he simply refuted him with the truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
So, Spiritual Warfare Level One: you have an Enemy. You are hated. Evil exists. Satan exists. Foul spirits exist. Peter writes, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8 NIV 2011). Devour, not tempt. Devour as in shred, maul, kill, destroy. James commands, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
If we do not submit to God, the Devil will not flee. If we do not resist the Devil, he will not flee. There is no reason to fear or strive. But we do need to submit to God and resist the Devil. We enforce the freedom Jesus has won for us by believing and agreeing with the truth. This is a big, big part of “shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive” (Isa. 52:2 NIV 2011). Time to rise up, girl.