The basis for spiritual victory over the devil’s onslaughts against you is to know your “self”. Your “self” is your soul. For this article I separate the words “your” and “self” to emphasize the difference between your spirit and your soul.
You are a trinity – spirit, soul and body (1Thess. 5:23). The “your” in the word “yourself” refers to the spirit part of your triune person. Your spirit is you, and is also your heart to the right (Eccl. 10:2). The “self” part of the word “yourself” refers to your soul, which is the second person of your triune being.
So when the Bible says that you must fulfil the royal law and love your neighbour as yourself (Jam. 2:8), it means that you, the spirit part of your triune being, must love your neighbour as you love your soul.
The entire creation of God, including the soul and body of every person is subjected to the power of Satan (Rom. 8:20; 1John 5:19). This is because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in Gen. 3:6 against God’s Word in Gen. 2:16, 17.
God wants your soul and body to be free from the power of Satan’s veil of decay and death (Isa. 25:7; 53:5; Rom. 8:11; 2Cor. 3:16). Therefore, God sent His Son Jesus Christ into this world as a triune human being like you to save your soul and body (Heb. 2:14, 15).
Prov. 4:23 teaches: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Your heart referred to here is your soul (yourself).
When you guard yourself the devil won’t have a hold on you (1John 5:18). To keep yourself from the wiles of the devil you need to know yourself.
The Basis for Spiritual Victory
You need to know what the Bible teaches about yourself. Knowledge about yourself must be based on the knowledge of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ. Without the Knowledge of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ you won’t be able to accurately interpret any Biblical and spiritual matter.
The knowledge of the Glory of the Holy Spirit of God in Jesus Christ is also the basis for victory in all spiritual warfare. Knowledge of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ is also known as the Knowledge of Truth (2Tim 2:25).
The spiritual death of Gen. 2:17 means that the souls of Adam and Eve were cast from the Light of the Glory of God and into the darkness of Satan’s shadow of death.
Therefore, when you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ you will be tempted and attacked by Satan like our Lord Jesus Christ was in Matt. 4:1-11.
Spiritual victory in Jesus Christ requires that you also walk circumspectly (Eph. 5:15, 16). Therefore, it is essential that you come to the knowledge of the Glory of the Holy Spirit of God in Jesus Christ.
Knowledge of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ is also the first step to salvation and healing through faith in Christ Jesus. In John 8:32 the Master says: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
To merely say that Jesus Christ is the truth does not mean that you know the truth. To know the truth in Christ is to know the difference between the Light of the spirit of Satan and the Light of the Glory of God in the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual manifestations such as being drunk with the spirit, laughing in the spirit, shaking uncontrollably in the spirit, and being cast down on the ground like a dead person are common and sought after in various Christian churches.
These same spiritual manifestations are also found at the initiation rituals of Sangomas and witchdoctors when they invoke and consult the spirits of their ancestors. You will also find similar spiritual manifestations in the Koi and Bushman initiation rituals, and also in the initiation rituals of cultures around the world.
These spiritual manifestations are certainly not by the Holy Spirit – no matter how strong and powerful and beneficial these spiritual manifestations may appear.
The Holy Spirit manifests only in the power and strength of the Light of the Glory of God. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit that leads to salvation and healing comes from faith in the written Word of Jesus Christ, and not from faith in dreams and visions.
Spiritual manifestations of different religions in the world seem so similar that some people erroneously teach that all religions, spirits, gods and prophets, including our Lord Jesus Christ, are of the same spirit, and also lead to the same god.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Father of all spirits (Heb. 12: 9). Even so, Heb. 1:1, 2 clearly states: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”
A Personal Experience
Before I began to call upon the Name of Jesus Christ in prayer, I was not really interested in spiritual things. In fact, even though I grew up in a Pentecostal Church and saw many spiritual manifestations in the church, I was quite ignorant about spiritual matters.
I remember, when I was a kid and other kids would run around screaming: There is a ghost! I would simply distance myself from the incident. I just was not interested in spiritual manifestations and matters, including dreams and visions and their interpretation. It was only at the age of 36 that I began to become interested in the spiritual.
I grew up in a Pentecostal congregation, and have been the musician in the church since the age of ten. This exposed me to just about every spiritual aspect of the Church, as I never missed a Church meeting. Some spiritual experiences were just terrifying to me.
I still remember one evening at a prayer meeting when I was about twelve years old. One of the sisters was lying on the ground, rolling to and fro as she prophesied. Fellow believers knelt prayerfully around her. The room was lit with candles and half dark (at that time there was no electricity in Elsies River). Throughout this incident I was crying and terrified, because the atmosphere in that room was scary and evil. It was definitely not a holy experience for me.
God Speaks Clearly
In Isa. 45:19 the Word of God proclaims: “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” The phrase “In a dark place of the earth” refers to the world that lies in the power of the light and darkness of Satan’s veil of death (Isa. 25:7; 1John 5:19).
The light and darkness of Satan’s veil of death also covers the heart of every person in this world. Hence, the spirit of Satan also speaks to the heart of man in thoughts and voice/s in the darkness and light of the soul (heart) of man.
Therefore, thoughts and voices speaking from within the darkness and light of your soul (heart) is not of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit of the Glory of God is now in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of the Glory of Jesus Christ primarily speaks through the Written Word in the Bible. When the Holy Spirit wants to speak and minister unto you in a dream or a vision He will always appear in His Glory (2Cor. 3:8).
The Darkness of this World
The light and darkness of Satan is known as:
- The darkness of this world.
In Eph. 6:12 the apostle Paul teaches: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
- The valley of the shadow of death
The darkness of this world is also known as the valley of the shadow of death. King David declares in Ps. 23:4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
When King David says in Ps. 23:4, “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” he testifies to the Word of God that admonishes, guides and comforts him. King David does not refer to a voice from the valley of the shadow of death in his heart (soul).
Ps. 94:19 (Darby) puts it this way: “In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me thy comforts have delighted my soul.”
There is no comfort in dreams and visions with the light and darkness of this world – only empty confusion. It is only the Word of God in Christ that can build you up and give you an inheritance in the Light of Eternal Life in the Glory of God (John 1:4; Acts 20:32).
Dreams and visions are like chaff in the wind, whereas the Word of God Who is preached unto you stands forever (Jer. 23:28; Ps. 119:89; 1Pet. 1:25).
The Light of Your Heart
Our Lord Jesus Christ warns in Luke 11:35: “Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.”
Before Adam and Eve’s rebellion in Gen. 3:1-6, their hearts and souls were constantly lit by the Light of the Glory of God. Their hearts were one with God – meaning, their hearts and souls were united. Thus, they were not separated from the Glory of God by Satan’s veil of death.
They dwelt continually in the Light of Eternal Life in the Glory of God. Therefore, they had no dreams and visions as we know dreams and visions.
It is only when they were visited by Satan that they first saw the dream and vision of Satan with its light and darkness. When they believed it, their souls were separated from the Glory of God. Thus, they fell short of the Glory of God (Rom. 3:23). For, to believe in the light and darkness of Satan is sin against God.
Before Adam and Eve’s fall from the Glory of God they did not see themselves as we see ourselves spiritually (in dreams and visions) and physically. But when the light of Satan came over their souls, their spiritual focus changed to a carnal focus (Rom. 8:5-8). Hence, they knew that they were naked (Gen 3:7).
The light in their hearts became darkness. Every living soul that came after Adam and Eve inherited this darkness of heart. Hence, all are in the darkness of sin, and are separated from the Glory of God. This is what Rom. 3:23 means when it says that: “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.
The Light of Your Body
In Matt. 6:22 our Lord Jesus Christ teaches: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” The “eye” referred to here is the spiritual eye (the eye of your soul).
The words “thine eye be single” means that when your spirit and your soul is united, then your physical body will be filled with the Light of the Glory of God. Thus, your physical body will be healthy, and free of decay.
Our Lord Jesus Christ continues in Matt. 6:23: “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
Spiritual Guidance in Old Testament times
Spiritual guidance in Old Testament times was always accompanied by confusion. Thoughts and voices, as well as dreams and visions were not always reliable.
Hence, the prophets of Old Testament times were not always sure whether a thought or a voice, or even a dream or a vision were from the Spirit of Jehovah, or from a spirit of Satan.
For example, you’ll find in Judg. 6:36-40 that Gideon had to “fleece” the Holy Spirit of Jehovah to be sure that it was not the devil who appeared unto him in Judg. 6:12. For Gideon knew how that the devil performed miracles similar to the Holy Spirit in Ex. 7:11, 22.
The time of the Old Testament when God spoke through His prophets by way of thoughts and dreams and visions is past. In the New Testament era God speaks to you primarily through the written Word of His Son as found in the Bible (Col. 3:16; Heb. 1:1, 2).
When God wants to speak to you through a dream or a vision, that dream or vision will invariably be in the Glory of God. In 2Cor. 3:7, 8 we can learn that the ministry of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is in the Glory of God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ includes dreams and visions. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Glory of God. Therefore, His Holy Spirit comes with the Fiery Cloud of Heaven in the Glory of God (Matt. 26:64; 1Cor. 2:8; 2Cor. 3:17).
The Heart is Deceptive
Both your soul and your spirit are known in the Bible as your heart. Eccl. 10:2 teaches, “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.” The heart to the right refers to your spirit, while the heart to the left refers to your soul.
The prophet Jeremiah proclaims in Jer. 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” This “heart” to which the prophet Jeremiah refers is your soul. There is nothing before God as deceptive as the soul of man.
When you walk in the insight of your soul you will walk in great spiritual delusion. King Solomon also testifies to this, saying that when you walk in the council of your soul, then you walk in folly (Eccl. 10:3). This is because the soul of every human being is subjected to the darkness of the power Satan.
It is in your soul that Satan and his principalities and powers of the darkness of this world work their works of iniquity and deception. After all, it is to redeem your soul from the power of Satan with the Blood of Jesus Christ that God sent His Son to become flesh (John 1:14; Heb. 2:14; Rev. 5:9).
Six Names for Your Soul in the Bible
The following names in the Bible describe your soul:
- Life unto death, and
In Ps. 22:20 King David prays unto God: “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.”
The “power of the dog” refers to the power of the beast, as mentioned in Rev. 13:15. The number of the beast in Rev. 13:18 refers to six hundred and sixty-six different spiritual forms of the beast. For example, you will dream of a dog, or a cat, or even an insect, etc.
Also, the word “sword” refers to the destructive power of the devil. Those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, have the Two-edged Sword from the Mouth of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, which is the Word of Christ (Eph. 6:17; Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16).
When the Holy Spirit of God moved on the waters in Gen. 1:2 the earth was without form, desolate and without life and light. Because of His great mercy and love, God shared His life here on earth. After God created the body of man, He then created the soul of man (Gen. 2: 7).
The soul of man was, and still is, the most precious creation in the eyes of God. Hence, you can understand why God sent His Son Jesus Christ in the flesh to be crucified. Your soul is the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8).
As already mentioned, both your spirit and your soul are referred to as your heart (Eccl. 10:2). It is also this heart of yours on your left (your soul), of which Prov. 4:23 (GW) says: “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.”
When you speak to yourself, you (your spirit), speak with your soul (your heart). According to Prov. 4:23 you (your spirit) must guard and rule over your heart (your soul).
The apostle Paul advises in 1Thess. 5:22 on how you should guard your soul. He teaches in 1Thess. 5:22, 23: “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The phrase “all appearance of evil” in 1Thess. 5:22 refers to physical, and worldly, as well as spiritual forms of evil. This also includes dreams and visions from Satan’s veil of death (Isa. 25:7).
I emphasize dreams and visions because it is by far the greatest area of delusion among believers. The misconception of dreams and visions are known as the mystery of iniquity (2Thess. 2:7).
Your spirit is you, and belongs to God. This applies to the spirit of every human being – believers as well as unbelievers. While your soul can easily be deceived and destroyed by the power of Satan, your spirit remains pure.
The apostle Peter calls your spirit the hidden man of the heart (1 Pet. 3:4). While your spirit is meek and quiet, it is your soul that is filled with inferiority, indignation, fear, lust, envy, and retribution (2Cor. 7:11).
Your soul is also known in the Bible as yourself. In Matt. 16:24-26 our Lord Jesus Christ teaches the following about yourself:
“…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
In the context of this article the emphasis is on the word “himself”. It is your self that you must deny.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Here the emphasis is on the word “life”. It is your life that you will lose when you try to save it.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
The emphasis is on the word “soul”. Here our Lord Jesus Christ teaches that you who can lose your soul when you aspire to gain the whole world.
Analysis of Matt. 16:24-26
- Your “self” that you must deny in Matt. 16:24 is called your life in Matt. 16:25.
If you do not deny yourself you will lose your self. Your “self” refers to your life. If you try to save yourself you will lose your life.
- Your life that you will lose in Matt. 16:25 is called your soul in Matt. 16:26.
- In Matt. 16:25 our Lord Jesus Christ refers to yourself as your life, and in Matt. 16:26 He refers to yourself as your soul. Your soul is your life.
Summary of Matt. 16:24-26
When our Lord Jesus Christ says in Matt. 16:24 that you must deny yourself, He refers to your soul that you must deny. It is in your soul that the devil will manifest his thoughts and voice/s, as well as his dreams and visions.
The life and works of your soul is a spiritual life that appears right, but leads to destruction, decay and, death (Prov. 14:12, 16:25). If you love the life of your soul that is subjected to the power of Satan, you will lose your soul to the power of Satan.
What Matt. 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-36; Luke 9:23-25 teach is that you cannot fellowship with the Holy Spirit of God in Jesus Christ by following your soul for guidance.
The Holy Spirit of the New Testament is the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ who rose from the dead (2Cor. 3:17). So if you want to follow our Lord Jesus Christ you have to deny your soul which is subjected to the fountain of treacherous works of darkness (Jer. 51:36; Mark 7:21-23).
The guidance and fellowship of the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is done only in your spirit, and not in your soul. Rom. 8:16 teaches us that the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit, and not with our soul. We also learn in Prov. 20:27: “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
When our Lord Jesus Christ says in Matt. 16:24 that you must deny yourself, He refers to your soul that you must deny. This means that to fellowship with the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ you must fellowship with the Word of God in Christ (John 14:15, 23; Col. 3:16).
Our Lord Jesus Christ says in John 14:23: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” To fellowship with the Holy Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ you need to fellowship with the Word of God in Christ that is written in the Bible. After all, His Name is the Word of God (Rev. 19:13).
The Apostle Paul teaches that you should let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom (Col. 3:16). Moreover, we learn in Acts 20:32: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”
It is the Word of God that is able to save your soul and give you an inheritance in the Light of Eternal Life (Jam. 1:21). It is the Word of God that paves the way for the Holy Spirit to come dwell in your soul. The Apostle Peter puts it this way in 2Pet. 1:19: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
In Phil. 2:12 the apostles Paul and Timotheus teach: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” To work out your own salvation you must keep the Word of Christ in your heart until the Holy Spirit of Christ arise in your heart (Ps. 119:11).
You must Deny Yourself while You Love Yourself
Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches in Matt. 16:24-26 that you must deny yourself if you want to follow Him. However, the Master also teaches in Matt. 22:39: “… thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” This means that you instinctively love yourself.
To deny yourself and love yourself is not contradictory. It is the works of your soul that you must deny. Denying yourself does not mean that you must neglect yourself.
To be able to love your neighbour as you love yourself, you must first love yourself. You cannot truly love your neighbour if you do not first love yourself. To love yourself means that you have to look after yourself first before you can truly look after your neighbour.
To love yourself is not a sin, nor does it mean that you are selfish. After all, you do not buy a house for someone else to live in if you are homeless.
When you neglect yourself to do good unto your neighbour, and later regret it, your love for your neighbour is hypocritical. Because your regret will cause you to sigh, or murmur about your good deed unto your neighbour (Jam. 5:9; 1Pet. 4:9).
Loving your neighbour as yourself is known as the Royal Law (Jam. 2:8). The Royal Law is akin to the commandment that you must love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength (Mark 12:30, 31).
If you do not truly love yourself and your neighbour that you can see, how can you truly love God that you cannot see? Moreover, God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor. 9:7). To be a cheerful giver you must do good unto others without sighing or grudging (Jam. 5:9; 1Pet. 4:9).
God bless and guide you.