|SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Manipulation - The Psychological Warfare
of the Enemy
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Jul 11 2008 08:00AM
In the 1930's and '40's, Hitler was able to convince an entire nation that people of a particular ethnicity were inferior and
should be eliminated. Of course, the Jewish people were the most frequently targeted group. The Germans instituted a
program of "disinformation," which is to say, they deliberately put out the wrong facts to the German people. This was
done in every phase of life, from the media, to art, to the classroom. Jews were seen as subhuman and not worthy of
the air they breathed. This manipulation of the truth was so effective that by the time Hitler implemented the "Final
Solution," those who murdered Jewish children thought they were doing the right thing.
In a similar vein, widespread racism in the United States resulted in the devaluation of African-Americans. Black and
white children grew up believing that black children were somehow inferior. In fact, studies have been conducted where
little black girls were given a choice of either black or white dolls, and they chose the white ones as the more desirable.
Whether we call it the "Final Solution" or "segregation" or "apartheid," the strategy and inspiration are motivated by
One of Satan's most effective weapons in distracting and influencing us is manipulation. To manipulate means to
manage people or circumstances to gain an advantage. What is being manipulated is the mind through the
offering of lies and half-truths. There is a deliberate attempt to manage what people think. When nations go to war,
they frequently employ tactics that seek to manipulate what the opposition thinks. This is called "psychological
warfare." Satan, our enemy, also engages in a kind of manipulation in which he employs his own tactics of
Tactics of Psychological Warfare
Psychological warfare includes the manipulation of facts to discredit what is true. The basic idea is to create doubt in
the minds of the enemy. In Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians, there is a picture of the tactics that Satan uses to
distract us from God and His truth:
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of
Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." II Corinthians 10:
The apostle Paul preached the Gospel of grace to the Gentiles. But there were those who opposed his message.
When Paul planted churches in the area of Corinth, Judaizers came from Jerusalem to preach a fleshly and legalistic
kind of Christianity. They taught that the converted Gentiles should follow the Jewish Law, including circumcision and
dietary regulations. The way that the Judaizers chose to wage war against Paul's Gospel was to call into question his
motives and his authority. If they could not defeat the message, then they would discredit the messenger. They
accused Paul of hypocrisy, saying that he spoke one way through letters and another in person. They did not like what
he preached or the manner in which it was presented (see II Corinthians 10:1-2).
The gospel that the Judaizers preached raised up high walls between man and God. It sought to keep man in control of
his salvation and his relationship with God. Does this sound familiar? "You will be like God" (Genesis 3:5). The result
was that Paul, in return, waged war against those things that were raised up "against the knowledge of God."
What exactly was Paul warring against? He was warring against arguments, actions, and attitudes that separate people
from God. He referred to them as "strongholds," a place of enemy control. Paul warred against a legalistic and
manipulative kind of gospel that kept its hearers in bondage and separated from God.
Remember, Satan's objective is to divert and distract us from fellowship with God. The battleground of this
psychological warfare is the mind. Whereas Satan's tactics of intimidation seek to divert us from God by fear, his tactic
of manipulation seeks to create doubts and distractions to preoccupy our minds, thus preventing us from fellowshipping
with God. The tactics of manipulation take place in every area of our lives, from the boardroom to the bedroom, but
they are most destructive in the body of Christ. This demonic psychological warfare takes place among brothers and
sisters in the body of Christ by several means. The first is what the bible calls "arguments" (II Corinthians 10:5).
An argument in the biblical sense is a reasoning, an opinion, or perhaps a word. These arguments are expressed in a
variety of ways, including criticism, gossip, innuendo, sarcasm, moodiness, and religious pretense, as well as others.
Satan rides into our churches on the critical opinions we voice about someone or something. He launches his attack
through the angry and manipulative words issued from a carnal heart.
Over the years, I (the author) have seen these kinds of arguments in the church. You see, when we come to Christ, our
spirits are saved, but our minds are still in the ghetto. When we don't renew our minds according to the Word of God,
they stay carnal. Some of those carnal tendencies sit in the pews of our churches. When individuals don't get their
way, they begin to criticize the preacher or others in leadership. They voice their "concern" about the issues they wish
to manipulate to their favor. The world calls this "pressure"; the sanctified call it "concern." What was "gossip" in the
world becomes a "conversation of concern" in the church. The result and the sources are the same. Whether it is
inside or outside the body of Christ. They are demonic!
It is amazing how a single sentence motivated by iniquity can ruin an otherwise great day. Perhaps you have
experienced something like the following situation.
Sabbath air, and you are feeling great! To your surprise and delight, the kids are ready on time, and everything
is going smoothly. This is going to be your day. You jump into the car and pop a worship tape into the tape
deck. You are happy and excited and worshipping God on the way to church. You are on time for the first time in
a year. You look great, your spouse looks great, and your kids are the very picture of the Christian upbringing
you have provided. Everything is "perfect." As you pull into the church parking lot, you see that the best parking
spot is open and you pull right in. Now, serene, you walk into the church with your head lifted up worshipfully in
the clouds. But the minute you get inside the door, there's somebody with whom you had an earlier disagreement
blocking the path to your seat.
drops down from the clouds and begins to throb with stress. Where only moments ago all was "perfect" and you
were ready to ascend to heaven with praise, now you are a defeated lump of flesh.
reached out and touched you. Suddenly, all the warm worshipful thoughts you had about the Lord are drowned
out by the sound of your own heart pounding out a rising blood pressure level. You have been derailed, diverted
and distracted from fellowship with God. You have been the victim of an argument of Satan's psychological
warfare. He has manipulated and managed your mind to distract you from God. And it worked. You couldn't
worship after that even if you had angels on either arm singing into your injured ears.
produces the same kinds of responses. We can get sidetracked by doctrinal disputes regarding how many
angels can stand on the head of a pin, or where we should place the new piano in the sanctuary. From the color
of the carpet to the mode of communion, Satan can argue us out of fellowship with God.
Perhaps the most frequent targets of our words of doubt and criticism are the pastors and other leaders in the church.
There are those carnal minds that feel their "gifts" are not being used to the fullest, or perhaps their voices are not
being heard and their opinions are not given the weight they deserve. Thus they begin an assault against those who
lead them by whispering "concerns" expressed in terms of great passion and love of God. All the while they attack
God's ordained leadership and draw other like-minded people to themselves. A demonic strategy has been employed
through them, which sometimes results in church division or even a church split.
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for concern regarding church leaders, but these are never to be processed
among brothers and sisters. These problems must first be taken directly to the leader in question. As soon as we voice
"concern" to a peer in the congregation, we have invited the devil into the church. Note that in the Corinthian church,
the very ones who attacked Paul for speaking with two different tones never approached him directly. Instead, they
allowed themselves to become tools of the enemy to separate people from God and one another.
The enemy can control us not only by what we say, but also by what we do - through our actions.
How many times have you seen people stay away from fellowship with the church body because they were offended in
some way? They believe that by withholding themselves from others, they somehow control them. It is not unlike what
my brother used to do with his manipulative tantrums. They use our love as a weapon against us. (They do not realize
that they have played right into the plan of the enemy; they are separated and isolated from other believers and the
Lord.) Though they may not admit it, this isolation is a way to manipulate others in the body into agreeing with them
against the one who offended them. Perhaps this is why people hop from church to church, leaving a trail of injured
people in their wakes. The writer of Hebrews instructed us,
ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the
day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25
There are actions of commission and omission that some employ to manage the minds of others. They seek to manage
or influence other people's minds by what they do or don't do. It is probably those things that they don't do that are the
most effective in their manipulation. For example, some people withhold love; others withhold their tithes and offerings.
Money should never become a weapon. Withholding your offerings to God and His people opens a demonic doorway
into the area of your finances. Money does not belong to the one who holds it. It belongs to God. In one sense, when
we withhold money from the church, we are trying to manipulate God. God will not be managed!
Any action that we take with the motive of influencing the behavior of someone else, plays into the hands of Satan. And
the more we play the game, the more of a foothold he gains. We become centers of his influence.
What we say and what we do can be used by the enemy for the purposes of diverting us from God. But there is another
factor, and that is the stronghold of pride. All of us live behind this stronghold to some extent. It concerns the attitude
with which we say or do something.
The King of Tyre is a biblical type of Satan. All of his iniquity and arrogance stemmed from pride.
hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas, yet thou art a man, and not God, though
thou set thine heart as the heart of God:" Ezekiel 28:2
Satan caught a glimpse of himself and became proud. He is the originator of pride, and he imparted iniquity to us
through the fall of Adam and Eve. Again, it's the old lie that we can "be like God" (Genesis 3:5). We begin to see
ourselves as being above others.
Pride is an exalted opinion of ourselves. Pride places us on a judgment bench from which we look down on other
people. We hold "lesser" people and opinions in contempt. We may not be openly hostile to those we judge, but we
talk down to them. We treat them as children and give them no respect. We issue our judicial opinions about their
value. If there is one common indicator as to whether or not we are prideful, it is how we value other people. If we see
others as inferior to us, then pride has done its work. The result is separation and persecution of those we value less.
lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." Proverbs 16:18-19
Judgment is God's business. We are not in any position to question Him or devalue other people. The problem with
pride is that, like other forms of manipulation, it invites judgment.
putteth down one, and setteth up another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is
full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them
out, and drink them." Psalm 75:6-8
Jesus instructed us not to judge others because we would invite the same judgment upon ourselves (Matthew 7:1). We
are to release others to the judgment of God. Whether through criticism or condescension, pride is the main flavor of
iniquity. We must examine not only our words and actions, but also the attitudes with which each are generated.
Tearing Down Strongholds
The first step in our demolition of enemy strongholds is to realize that we all have them. Yes, even believers filled with
the Holy Spirit can come under demonic influence.
One time (the author) was in the middle of ministering against satanic curses when (he) realized that there was a
stronghold in (his) own life in the area of criticism. Before then, (he) had believed that Christians, saved and filled with
the Holy Spirit, could not be oppressed by demons. How could a blood-bought Christian be part of the plan and
program of Satan in the earth? (He) truly believed that a fountain could not bring forth both bitter and sweet water. And
that is absolutely true; a fountain cannot bring forth bitter and sweet water. But a human being can most definitely
speak well in one sentence and absolute evil in the next. We see this truth demonstrated through Peter, who was used
by the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus as the Messiah, only to be rebuked by the Messiah a short time later because of
Satan's working through him! (see Matthew 16:16, 21-23.)
What (the author) learned was the strongholds are in the mind, not the spirit, of a believer. When we come to Christ, we
are His; however, our minds have not caught up to our spirits. There is a war being waged in our minds to see who will
control it, God or flesh and the devil. Paul spoke of this same thing:
would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is
good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,)
dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the
good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that
do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." Romans 7:
It is clear that Paul understood that though he belonged to God, there was still a war going on in him, seeking to distract
him from the Lord. Although we must realize that there is a war going on in us, we also must realize that God alone will
win that war. Think of Joshua as he commanded Israel to march around the walls of Jericho. The walls did not fall
because of Israel's military might, but because they walked out the word of the Lord to them.
our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." Romans 7:24-25
We can tear down the strongholds of arguments, actions, and attitudes through which the enemy manipulates us by
doing what Paul instructed the Corinthians to do. We must "bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ"
(II Corinthians 10:5). In other words, we must say what Jesus would say and do what Jesus would do - all with the same
attitude of humility He had. Humility is not groveling; it is knowing who we are in Christ Jesus.
The antidote for the disinformation that the devil uses to manipulate us is the truth of God's Word. We free ourselves
from the enemy's psychological warfare of manipulation when we receive the truth and then walk in it. As we continue in
the truth of God's Word, we will escape the devices of the enemy.
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye
my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John
Spiritual Warfare, by George Bloomer, Copyright 2004, Whitaker House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES