14 Jun Real Women Study Guide Questions: Win Your War Series
Chapters 1&2: God & Angels vs. Satan & Demons
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Eph. 6:12-13 ESV
The original battle waged in Heaven caused Satan and demons to be cast down to Earth. Therefore, we can all agree that this world is full of problems, and the ultimate solution comes from outside the physical realm. Often when we are taught about the supernatural (spiritual realm, miracles, angels, signs) in the church, it is either sensational or cessational. In other words, it goes beyond biblical teaching or it dismisses the existence of the supernatural altogether. It helps to start out with the context that as Christians, we are part of God’s family in the seen realm, but angels are also part of His family in the unseen realm. We also need to look at the “4 legs of Biblical worldview” to give us a foundation to put the teaching of the supernatural on to. Leg 1, unseen realm, is described in Eph. 6 (verse above). Leg 2, binary thinking, is that we think not singularly, but in terms of good/evil, angels/demons, obedience/rebellion, truth/lies, peace/fear, freedom/slavery, and shepherds/wolves. Leg 3, group guilt, is that even if Satan baits the hook with temptation, we have to take responsibility for biting; therefore, we all hold responsibility somewhere. Leg 4, Heaven down or Hell up, is the option of applying godly things in our lives or dragging ungodly things into our lives (Col. 3:2, James 3:15). We can have hope because God won the war, and He sent His Son and the Holy Spirit to guide us in the daily battles!
- Discuss what kind of teaching you have received (or not received) on Satan, angels, and demons. After hearing the sermon, and/or reading Eph. 6 above, discuss your sermon takeaway.
- In what ways have you allowed Satan to gain advantage by pulling Hell up into your life? How can you pull Heaven down into your life instead?
- EXTRA: Read Psalm 51:10 and try a social media fast. Delete the apps for a while and ask the Lord to renew your mind. When you decide to re-engage, journal what changes you sense in your mind and soul.
Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6: Your Savior is a Dragonslayer
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,“ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4:6
We are born into a war and on the wrong side of it, due to the sin of Adam and Eve in Eden. The cross of Christ defeated the enemy and gave us the gift of forgiveness (Col. 1:13-14). Therefore, Jesus was sent to win His war so we could spend eternity with Him if we love and follow Him. He has prepared an unimaginable place for us (1 Cor. 2:9)! The 4 reasons you can win your war are:
1) You have moved from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light -Colossians 1:10-14
2) Demonic attack is not uncommon – Job, Daniel, Paul, Peter etc
3) Your defeated enemy has to surrender to your victorious King – James 4:7
4) You come with your King’s authority – Eph. 1:19-22, Eph. 2:4-7.\
While the battles are not always easy, we live in the hope of our Savior who will give us wisdom and power to defeat the enemy.
- As you review the sermon, what areas of your life have been revealed as spiritual warfare? Do the scriptures (listed above) and having categories for warfare change how you approach those areas? How? Does it help you to know that Jesus defeated the dragon on the cross and will return to sentence him to Hell in the end?
- After acknowledging specific ways the enemy attacks you personally, discuss and practice as a group how you can incorporate offensive prayer into your life?
- EXTRA: Read through some Psalms that discuss warfare (25, 84, 91) and journal the struggles that you connect with. Write a prayer asking the Lord to search your heart for any areas you are open to attack, then ask Him to show you how to win your current war and for protection in it. Be willing to take those steps.
Chapters 7, 8, 9: God & Satan are both seeking to define you
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good… Gen. 1:27, 31
Have you ever experienced identity theft? It is such a hassle and frustration when someone takes your identity and uses it to harm you. It can wreak havoc in your life. When God created us, our identity was “in the image of God,” but Satan constantly works to steal it from us and harm us. When we are reminded in Scripture and by the Holy Spirit who we are as Christians, we can live in freedom and wisdom because it connects us back to God and His will for us. The core belief of who we are shapes our whole life and every decision we make. If we live and see ourselves independent of Christ, we will constantly fail and devalue who He created us to be. Conversely, as we humble ourselves, we will have the mind of Christ as we serve and look out for the interests of others (Phil. 2:3-7). The more we put on the mind of Christ, we will not give way to the attempts of the enemy to steal our identity. Humility is a powerful tool to combat the enemy’s counterfeit of pride (*Ps. 25:9, James 4:10, 2 Sam. 22:28).
- What word comes to mind first when you are asked to define who you are? What nicknames have you been called? Do they align with Gen. 1 (above)? Eve bought the lies from Satan that she wasn’t enough and that God withheld good things from her. Where in your life have you bought into these lies (past or present)? How can you better see yourself in light of how God sees you, rather than in light of yourself/others?
- Where do you struggle with pride? Look up verses on humility (*see above). How do these encourage you to walk in humility? What steps can you take this week to put on the mind of Christ in humility?
- EXTRA: Think about the word(s) more seriously that you used to answer question 1. If it was a negative or condemning word, think about the root of it and when you started to think that about yourself. There is often a situation or circumstance in life when we start to let something untrue define us. Read Phil. 1:6, Jer. 29:11, and other verses that tell us about God’s goodness and plans for us as His children. Ask the Lord to replace the untrue identity with His truth!
Chapters 10, 11, 12: Finding Freedom from Defilement and Inner Vows
And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him [Joshua].” And to him he said, “Behold I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” Zech. 3:4
We all have life stories of how we have been sinned against and how we have sinned. In Zech. 3 we see a vision of Joshua standing before Jesus (“the angel of the Lord”) and his sin (“filthy garments”) being removed and replaced with purity (“pure vestments”). We ALL need to be rescued and cleansed by Jesus! His sinless life that was sacrificed on the cross allows us to heal, be forgiven, have a new identity in Him, have a relationship with Him, and live in eternity with Him after we’ve fought our battle here. He allows us to be free from defilement. When we experience pain from sin, either done against us or what we’ve done, the enemy wants us to make an inner vow to avoid that pain from happening again. Jesus wants to heal, protect, and guide us so we don’t have to make inner vows. In Mt. 5:34 Jesus says, “I say to you, do not take an oath at all…” They are the counterfeit to a covenant with God. He will never leave us or forsake us, so we need to trust His Word.
- Give an example from your life when you were sinned against (without naming names). Does that situation define you? If not, what was helpful in working it through? If so, what “filthy garments” (shame, guilt, condemnation, accusation, lies) do you need to take off, so that you can put on Jesus’ righteousness? What verses/Truth would be helpful to memorize so you can renew your mind and allow God to remove the defilement?
- Look at the 10 insights on Inner Vows list. What inner vow do you hold (look for fears, strong emotion, fight or flight)? Pray with your group for Jesus to break that and replace it with the Holy Spirit. Commit that place of pain to God to heal and protect so you aren’t tempted to self-protect.
- EXTRA: Journal inner vows you’ve made. Start the process of asking God to renounce those, so you can walk in the light, believing who you are in Christ. Picture yourself clothed in white, pure before our Holy God. Ask God to remind you of that when lies and deception creep in. When you do laundry, wash dishes, take showers, etc. be reminded you are made new in Christ!
Chapters 13, 14, 15: Finding Freedom Through Full Forgiveness
“The first link between my soul and Christ is not my goodness but my badness, not my merit but my misery, not my riches but my need.” Spurgeon
Forgiveness is a gift that we didn’t earn or deserve, yet we often struggle to receive it and give it. If you are a Christian, you ARE forgiven! Forgiven people in turn forgive others. If we start with this truth (Luke 11:4) then it will be easier to shift the focus from our hurt to unburdening through forgiveness. We don’t choose our pain, although sometimes our foolish choices result in pain, but we can choose to forgive. When we hold on to unforgiveness, we are sinning against God and the other person/people, and actually bringing harm to ourselves. If you read the story of Joseph (Gen. 37-50), there are years of pain, trauma, tragedy, betrayal, and resentment, but Joseph chose to forgive each step of the journey. He trusted God’s plan when it didn’t make sense to him, when others lied about him, when others forgot him, and when his own brothers betrayed him. Joseph’s life would have looked very different if at any point he chose bitterness. Our life may have different pain but our battle is the same: receive God’s forgiveness for our sin and extend forgiveness to others for their sin. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy that you will feel better if you hold on to the pain and unforgiveness. Joseph said to his family, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20 NIV). The example of forgiveness is powerful enough for God to use it to save lives eternally! That was Jesus’ purpose and it’s ours too. I encourage you to be the light of forgiveness to others.
- Who do you need to forgive? If you struggle to forgive, consider why? Remember forgiveness is a one-time decision, but often an ongoing process. If you have forgiven and it comes up again, forgive again. Forgiveness also doesn’t equal trust. Trust is earned over time, and doesn’t automatically require reconciliation. If someone is dangerous, you can forgive but not reconcile.
- Why do we forgive? (Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:13) What happens when you don’t forgive, and what are the signs of forgiveness? (Eph. 4:26-32)
- EXTRA: Write a processing letter to a person that you are struggling to forgive (do NOT send the letter). In closing the letter, ask God to remove the burden of unforgiveness and hand them to Him to deal with.
Chapters 16, 17: Heal from Wounds in the Past and Fears in the Future
“but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [daughters], by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”” Rom. 8:15b
There are many kinds of dads (including tragic, terrible, tough, tender, terrifying, and terrific) and we tend to reflect that onto God the Father in good or bad ways. No father, except God, is a perfect father so when we are emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually harmed by them it is crucial to not let that be our view of God the Father who loves us perfectly. I’m truly sorry if this is part of your story. God will deal justly either here or in eternity with the sins of our earthly fathers, but the enemy wants to get a foothold through fear, bitterness, identity, and any other way he can to destroy us. If we don’t allow God to heal these wounds from our fathers (or father figures) then we carry that into our relationships, marriages, and parenting. Sometimes the pain of the healing process seems too much, but the pain of not healing will be even more painful to your future. Taking steps toward healing allows us the opportunity to see God as Father, have confidence in our identity in Him, and face trials without being overwhelmed by fear (I John 4:18). Fear lies to us by telling us we will have to live in “worst case scenario” mode, rather than walking in faith with a God who knows the future and promises never to leave us. Satan likes to blind us to God’s loving presence in our lives, but God comes with love, peace, and faithfulness. It can be a tough journey, but I can testify that God has good for you as you walk with Him in healing.
- What type of dad did you or do you have? Do you have a father wound that needs healing? How do you see God the Father and how do you think He sees you?
- What fears are most gripping for you? Which of the 8 counterfeits to fear do you struggle with most (pg 162-164)? Pray through these fears either privately or as a group. Ask the Lord to help you discern how the enemy is using these fears to attack you, so you can attack the fears instead.
- Read Phil. 4:4-7. What are some steps to bring fears to the Father. What are the fruits of not being anxious?
- EXTRA: Read through some of the “common” Bible stories (Moses, Noah, Daniel, Jonah), and think about their fears and responses. Write down your biggest fear and determine if/how it has framed your decisions and interaction in relationships (friends, marriage, kids). Write down ways you can have the Holy Spirit help you respond in faith. Practice these new habits to see if you have more peace and less anxiety. Keep record of how God changes your views.
Chapters 18, 19, 20: Learn to Discern Between What God Creates & Satan Counterfeits
“…with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.” 2 Thess. 2:9-10 (NLT)
Satan has attacked God’s plan for us since Creation. God made things “good” and us “very good.” If we are familiar with the Bible, who God is, and we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us then we can more quickly discern Satan’s deceptive tactics. The tools God gives us allow us to defeat our pride with humility, rebellion with honor, division with unity, mob mentality with loving family, and war with peace. If we live culture up rather than Heaven down, we will fall prey to the enemy’s lies, deception, destruction, hopelessness, and attacks. When false apostles, prophets, teachers, doctrines, elders, and brothers/sisters come into the church or our circle of relationships, we need to be on guard against them and their teaching. They are harmful and do not represent the God of the Bible and the mission of Jesus Christ. John instructs us (1 John 4) to test the spirits to see whether they are from God. They must confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and is from God or else they are the spirit of the antichrist! That is a strong statement, but clearly tells us how to discern unholy spirits that want to deceive us. John also encourages us saying, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (4:4). We do not need to live in fear or lose hope, but we do need to stand firm against Satan’s plan against us!
- Is there an area that you are feeling attacked and/or confused right now? Can you discern where the enemy is trying to lead you down a harmful or concerning path? Which of the 5 areas is he tempting you most (pride, rebellion, division, mob mentality, war)? What is your battle plan against Satan’s tactics?
- Do you have church hurt? How have you healed or worked through the pain so you can be in church again? If you are still struggling, what step can you take to let God heal that area of your life so you can live in healthy community with healthy Christians? (Note: Please don’t speak negatively/specifically of other churches when you share hurt)
- EXTRA: Read through 1 John 4. Take time to pray and ask the Lord to reveal/remove any unholy spirits that you are listening to or that are attacking you. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill those places with Truth, healing, and the love of God. This is a good habit to do regularly.
Chapter 21: Bottom Line: You are Headed to Heaven with God or Hell with Satan
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and earth shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21:4
Revelation 5 shows Jesus as a Lion of the tribe of Judah and a Lamb that was slain. Jesus is lion-tough for us and will defend us from our enemies, but He is also lamb-tender with us to the point of death for our sins. He pursues us with His perfect love and gives us a choice to love and follow Him in return. The vision of Heaven in the Bible (i.e. 1 Cor. 2:9, Isaiah, Revelation) are beyond our best imagination, and on the other hand, the vision of Hell (Rev. 14, Mt. 25;41) is beyond our worst imagination. They are both real places, and we choose to take the cup of wrath ourselves, or let Jesus take it for us. God alone has perfect love and perfect justice, which we will only see fully in eternity. It’s the most important decision we will ever make!
- Do you more easily think of Jesus as lion or lamb? Why? Do you struggle reconciling God’s love with God’s wrath? Why?
- What is your primary take-away from the Win Your War series and/or book? Share a testimony of something God has done in your life in regard to spiritual warfare.
- EXTRA: As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next week, journal things you are thankful for and ways He has worked in your life this year. Pray for wisdom in areas you can pull Heaven down into your life in the new year, instead of pulling Hell up into your life.