Trained in Spiritual Warfare

Gary Wilkerson

When you met Jesus, you became a new creation with a new spirit, a new mind, a new heart. However, even though you became a follower of Jesus and your whole world changed, the spirit of the world around you did not change. In fact, the powers of darkness became aligned against you.

We see in 1 Samuel 17:1 that “the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Socoh.” Every believer knows that the forces of darkness are arrayed against the followers of Jesus. The powers of the enemy gather around those who walk in the authority of the Holy Spirit and they begin to encounter difficulties in a new dimension. You see, the enemy is determined that you will fail in your new relationship with Jesus and every demon in hell has been given an assignment to attack you.

These attacks may manifest as depression or discouragement or overwhelming fear. Some of you may begin to experience new tensions in your marriage or increased financial difficulties. If your battle comes on you unexpectedly, you may wonder, “What’s happening? Does God love me? Will I survive?”

I am happy to give you good news! When you experience the elevation of the powers of darkness against you, be assured that God is allowing it temporarily so that he can train you in spiritual warfare. When you recognize that your human efforts cannot defeat the enemy, God steps in when you cry out to him. This is exactly what happened with David when he triumphed over the giant Goliath. “For the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47).

David was anointed and prevailed over a formidable foe, just as you will when you seek God’s help. When Jesus moves forward and conquers the giant in your life, you will be filled with power, courage and strength from the Lord.

The Richness of the Lord’s Prayer

Carter Conlon

Jesus says, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:11-13).

And forgive us our debts.” “Forgive me for being lazy and not spending time reading and studying the Word. As Paul said to Timothy, I want to be a workman who is not ashamed (see 2 Timothy 2:15). In other words, not triumphed over in my day. Forgive me for each time I did not seek my daily bread, and as a result, ended up with insufficient strength to represent You as I ought to. Forgive me for finding myself without the strength to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit — for the times when You told me to speak and I didn’t; when You called me to stand and I wouldn’t; when You told me to love and I couldn’t.”

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” “However, do not let me be so discouraged by my failure that I start to agree with the devil’s condemnation of me.”

For Yours is the kingdom.” “Yours is the only kingdom that will last. One day, all of men’s opinions, boastings, and curses will be gone! Your words are the only words that are eternal.”

And the power.” “Your Word has the power to cancel the authority of death and give me abundant and everlasting life. Your Word has power to recreate me and to take me where You want me to go.”

And the glory.” “The glory of the heart that knows You and knows Your Word; the glory of knowing that the Word abides in us; the glory of having a transformed mind — that glory that belongs to God alone!”

Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.

Are You in Love with Jesus?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).

Enoch obeyed God with the sole objective of pleasing Him and he was rewarded by the Father by being translated – which means he was taken up into heaven without death. All because he pleased the Lord!

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).

Paul writes, “Even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). “[Fulfilling] all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

Are you in love with Jesus?  Do you spend time with him in the Word and in prayer? Walking and talking with him will create a holy, loving fellowship. Praising him, worshiping him, will deepen your relationship

The more you love Jesus, the easier it is to serve and obey him. The opinions of the world will no longer concern you because you can say, “I’ve heard from my Father and I’m doing the pleasure of his heart!” This spirit of obedience will come from your heart and flow freely from you.

Jesus tells us, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). What an incredible promise — all based on obedience!

How do you get to this place of loving Jesus? Search the gospels — get to know his words. Many Bibles have the words of Jesus written in red. And as you learn his word, do them! The more you obey him, the more you grow to love him.

A Genuine Desire to Please God

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“I do nothing of myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:28-29).

Jesus did everything out of pleasure for his heavenly Father. It is important to understand the motive out of which our obedience springs, because if our heart is not pure, everything will be polluted.

Consider the father of a teenage son who has to correct his child. The scenario may be tense as the father confronts his son about bad companions, bad behavior, careless choices. And then the father issues an ultimatum: either change your behavior or find another place to live. The son responds in one of two ways: he submits to the correction with a contrite spirit and changes his behavior willingly or he begrudgingly changes his behavior in order to avoid the punishment.

The obedience of a disgruntled child is not satisfying because his compliance stems from a fear of his father’s wrath. There is no pleasure or love in the action; on the contrary, he is angry and frustrated because he perceives that his father is infringing upon his freedom and trying to cramp his lifestyle.

The sad truth is, many Christians in these last days obey God only because they are afraid they will go to hell if they don’t. They fear the Father’s wrath and their obedience to him is “legal” only. They have no genuine desire to please him.  

Jesus’ desire to please his Father came out of his relationship with him. He shut himself up in prayer and his one great prayer was, “Father, what do you want? What will bring you pleasure? What can I do to fulfill the desire of your heart?”

That is the attitude of the person who has the Spirit of Christ!

A Condition of the Heart

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Jesus is illustrating here that the only house that will hold up in the coming storm is established on a strong foundation. The house Jesus is talking about is our walk with him. We are building a foundation of getting to know Christ, of understanding his ways. We are building into our faith certain characteristics that will determine how we react under pressure.

Many Christians say, “Well, I’m a believer. I have built on the Rock.” Yet, they do not truly understand what this phrase means and they will have a great shock when their relationship with Jesus does not endure the storm. They will be exposed as having no foundation!

We cannot understand this parable unless we understand that it is about obedience! Jesus is speaking of a person who hears his Word and does it, who obeys him, who acts on his commands. He is describing a lifestyle — a walk of total, absolute obedience to his Word. That is to be our foundation!

Of course, Jesus himself is our rock, but that is not the full meaning of “rock” as he used it here in this parable. Some who claim they have built on Christ as their rock may not be building properly. This rock is a condition of the heart and represents the foundational motives from which our obedience to God originates.