Obstacles to Sanctification: How To Deal With the Devil

In previous articles, we’ve seen that God wants to transfer who we are in heaven (a justified spirit) to who we are on earth (a fallen soul).  This process is called sanctification.  There are three obstacles that keep this from happening.  They are:

  1. How we deal with sin.
  2. How we deal with natural information.
  3. How we deal with the Devil.

In our last article we discussed how to deal with natural information.  In this article, we’ll discuss how to deal with the Devil.

Obstacle #3— How We Deal With the Devil

Before we can deal with the Devil, we need to know who he is and what his strategy is against us.

Who the Devil Is

1.  He was Lucifer, a high level guardian angel who walked among the fiery stones on the holy mount of God.

You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl.  Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.  You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

Ezekiel 28:12-14

2.  He became prideful because of his beauty.  He sinned and fell from God’s grace.  

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.  So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.  Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. 

Ezekiel 28:15-17

We know that Lucifer’s beauty made him prideful but what was the impetus that caused him to sin?

3.  Lucifer fell because he was jealous of man.

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than GOD and crowned them with glory and honor. 

Psalm 8:4-5

Lucifer became jealous when he realized that he was NOT going to be the apex of God’s creation— MAN WAS.

In a rage to God, Lucifer responds with the famous five I’s in Isaiah 14:13-14.

He screams to God “I, NOT MAN will”:

  • I will ascend to the heavens;
  • I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
  • I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
  • I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
  • I will make myself like the Most High.

Lucifer is having a hissy fit over not being the pinnacle of God’s creation.

Through this we must realize that in the Devil, we have a very angry adversary.  This is the way the Bible describes him now:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

The Devil’s Strategy Against Mankind

The Devil’s strategy against mankind is to attack him according to the generational sins and curses of his forefathers.

Trend Tracking

It is both fascinating and alarming to know that technology companies today track online user activity so they can instantly offer users products and services that specifically appeal to them.

Yet this is exactly what the Devil does in order to appeal to our greatest desires and weaknesses.

He does this by understanding our generational sins and curses.

What are generational sins and curses?

Generational sins are attitudes, actions, beliefs, behaviors and/or habits that we have inherited from our family or relatives.

The Bible has some specific things to say about generational sins and curses that we need to understand in order to combat the Devil.

Blessings and Curses

Today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse.  You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today.  You will receive a curse if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn from His way by worshiping foreign gods.

Deuteronomy 30;19

If the Israelites committed a sin and did not repent of that sin, this is what God said would happen:

‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’

Numbers 14:18

The family would receive a CURSE that would extend to the third and fourth generation.

It’s not that the children are responsible for the sins of their forefathers, it’s that they are vulnerable to the sin patterns created by the sin.  SIN PATTERNS are passed along to the children.

This is what the Devil is looking for in you.  He is tracking the sin patterns created in you through ancestral sin.  He knows where you are the weakest.

Can we break the curse of ancestral sin?

Christ broke the curse of ancestral sin through His death.  Are you IN Him?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

Galatians 3:13

Christ became a curse for us when He died on the cross.  This is what we have been talking about.  Through His death, Christ buried the seed of our old fallen cursed nature, and through His resurrection gave us a new nature (see Find Truth).

Sanctification is APPROPRIATING (a mental activity) God’s new nature in us by bringing who we are in heaven to who we are on earth.  This process exchanges the “pattern” of our old self with our new self.  As long as we remain in Christ, we receive His BLESSING because He became our CURSE.

But the Devil agitates that.  He tries to tempt you along the lines of your generational curse even though it has been dealt with.  We can combat this in three ways:

1.  Do some house cleaning.  Confess the sins of your forefathers.

While we are not responsible for the sins of our ancestors, God wants us to acknowledge and confess them on their behalf.  This shows that we agree with God about what He has said about sin.  Of course, if we succumb to the pattern of these sins, God wants us to confess our sin as well (see “How We Deal With Sin”). This is what Nehemiah did.  A scriptural example of this can be found in Nehemiah 1:4-11. 

Nehemiah acknowledged the sin of his forefathers and confessed his vulnerability to it.

2.  Stay IN Christ and be aware of your vulnerability to generational sin.

Staying in Christ is a mental activity.  We discussed this mental process in “How We Deal With Sin” of this section.  The process of staying IN Christ is to realize when your behavior is OUT.  Are you unforgiving?  Then you are out of the pattern of Christ.  Return by simply confessing this sin pattern and letting God do the work.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

3.  Deal with the Devil.

The Devil will continue to pressure you along the lines of your generational sin even though you have dealt with it in Christ.  If he senses that you will cave there, he will PUSH there.  He actually uses demonic spirits to do this.

For example, let’s say you have a propensity towards ANGER.  You’ve had difficulty dealing with this in the past, but you have overcome in Christ.  Even so, the Devil pushes there.  He knows your generational weakness.  This is what it could look like:

 The Devil “pushes” giving you thoughts that appeal to your generational curse.  To combat this, the Bible admonishes us to deal with any thoughts that are not in line with Christ.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

Is there a way to take unwelcome thoughts captive?  To deal with the Devil?  The Bible gives us a 3 step process.

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

The Bible tells us to:

  1. Submit ourselves to God.
  2. Resist the Devil.
  3. He will flee.

This is what it would look like:

This is the same process Jesus used when He was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness.

The devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.  “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”  Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Matthew 4:8-10

Jesus resists the Devil through scripture— showing His submission to God, then He tells the Devil to flee.

Not only do we use scripture to resist the Devil, but we use it to diminish the pull of our generational curse.  Scripture reenforces God’s perspective of us in heaven so that He can transfer those thoughts to our mind, will and emotions on earth.

Mental Preparation for Living a Life of Purpose Motivation

In this article we’ve been talking about the steps we take in order to transfer who we are in heaven (a justified spirit) to who we are on earth (a soul in need of sanctification). We have also talked about the process God uses to make this transformation possible: Purpose Motivation vs. Needs Motivation.

But what does this LOOK like?  What can you expect to happen in your life as you cooperate with God in sanctifying your soul (mind, will and emotions)?

1.  You can expect to suffer.

Suffering is not an exciting prospect.  But suffering is necessary if you are going to bring heaven to earth.  Consider the suffering of Christ.

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:23-24

It is not easy to bring heaven to earth.  When people “hurl their insults” at you, what will you do?  Will you return insult for insult or will you return insult with kindness?  This is a painful process.  Suffering is what happens when good and evil collide.  In our own lives and in dealing with other people.

How we mentally process suffering is what sanctification’s about.  It’s about appropriating who we are in heaven with who we are on earth.  The Bible says this is what we were called to do:

If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.  To this you were CALLED, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:20-21

But some people will worry about their rights— about enabling abuse.  This is what the Bible says about that:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21

2.  You can expect peace and joy.

When we learn to submit ourselves to the will of God through suffering we will experience great peace and joy.

Peace and joy is what happens when you OVERCOME.  It’s what happens when you learn to deal with life, rather than life dealing with you.  The Apostle Paul speaks about this in the following scripture:

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

Some people strive to be happy, but happiness depends on circumstances.  With joy it doesn’t.  Joy exists in spite of circumstances.  Joy comes from an inner confidence that emerges as you learn to trust God— you know He is looking out for you.  Peace is its natural result.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

3.  You can expect fruit.

Fruit is the end result of trusting God.  Fruit takes time.  As God washes sin out of your life, as He is expressed in you— fruit will appear.  A changed relationship.  Improved finances.  Inner confidence.

Fruit appears in season:

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he MEDITATES day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit IN SEASON and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3


We began this series on truth with the question “what is truth”?  We have discovered that there are many types of truth: relative truth, absolute truth, and transcendent truth.  We have also discovered that each truth works within the confines of its own reality as it pertains to time, space and eternity.

If we expect transcendent truth to work in our lives, we have to understand what it is and how it operates.  If we decide to ignore these laws, transcendent truth will not work in our lives.

The objective information presented here, shows you how you can find truth.  It’s really about the life of Jesus and how His life impacts yours.  In the final analysis, truth is Jesus.  His life sets you FREE.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32

In the next article, I will discuss how to spread truth.  Truth isn’t something you hold on to— you give it away.  What may surprise you is how it’s given away.  It isn’t a commodity to be marketed.  It’s a life lived, freely given for all to enjoy.  How you go about doing that is what we talk about next.

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