An exert from A Manual for Biblical Discipling: The Matters, Materials, and Mechanics by Bob and Janie Ratzlaff. Defense Mechanisms, what they are, and why we use them.
In Christ I am…
- Justified (declared not guilty) – Romans 3:24 & Romans 5:1
- Free from condemnation – Romans 8:1-2
- Adopted as God’s child – Ephesians 1:5
- Marked as belonging to God – Ephesians 1:13
- God’s temple -1 Corinthians 3:16
- A member of Christ’s body – Ephesians 5:29-30
- Redeemed and forgiven – Colossians 1:14
- A citizen of heaven – Philippians 3:20
- A new creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17
- One body in Christ – Romans 12:5
- Free from the law of sin and death – Romans 8: 2
- Inseparable from the love of God – Romans 8:39
- A child of God – Galatians 3:26
- Blessed with all spiritual blessings – Ephesians 1:3
- His workmanship – Ephesians 2:10
- A partaker of His promise – Ephesians 3:6
- The recipient of everlasting life – John 5:24
- Raised up to sit with Christ in glory – Ephesians 2:6
- A saint – Ephesians 1:1
- Complete in Christ – Colossians 2:10
- Born of God – 1 John 5:18
- The salt and light of the world – Matthew 5:13-14
- A branch of the true vine – John 15:1,5
- A personal witness of Christ – Acts 1:8
- A minister of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
- God’s co-worker – 2 Corinthians 6:1
- As Christ is – 1 John 4:17
- The righteousness of God – 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Made perfect forever – Hebrews 10:14
Cultural ISM follow this link to download or print this resource
Our society has and is continuing to make drastic bold changes in wanting us to adapt to “moving forward” and leaving the past behind, making all things new. Sounds uplifting but there is as much danger in those “smooth” words as there was in the words spoken in the Garden of Eden.
That may sound like a harsh declaration, but we need a wake-up call as there is a bigger picture been painted right before our very eyes and the strokes being applied will capture a scene that destroys.
We have established false religions since the Tower of Babel was being constructed when God dispersed the people as they gathered to all speak the same language. He confused their attempt.
In New Testament times, false thinking was having a heyday, and Paul and the disciples set about by:
- PERSUADING PEOPLE
. Acts 2:40, 5:42, 9:29, 17:11, 28:23
In more current times we are told we must accept certain “ISMS”:
ISMS are a distinctive doctrine, cause, or theory. They are an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief we all must come to grips with our isms.
Here are a couple of examples of what the “different thinking” wants us to accept:
- The flood did not happen or was not universal
- Jesus was a good teacher but not God in flesh
- Jesus is not the only way to heaven
- Historical claims of the resurrection are just legends passed down through time.
These types of false beliefs have set us up for man-made conclusions and how we need to update our beliefs.
Here are just a few “isms” that we battle the consequences of their philosophies:
HEDONISM: The pursuit of pleasure sensual self-indulgence
Hedonism philosophy: The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.
IF it feels good, it must be right.
Our senses are what we use to determine what we want.
Happiness is a feeling goal, a “have to have” based on your circumstances.
The counter is joy which is a “state”, an attitude that sustains you no matter what your circumstances are.
HUMANISM: any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
We should always make a distinction between Humanism and humanitarianism. The latter is a more or less sympathetic interest in humanity, while the former carries with it a definite faith in MAN as the director of his own destiny, founded upon the latest scientific conception of the universe and man’s place in it. Man is not totally lost but has goodness within himself and can make himself better and solve man’s predicaments.
MAN CAN MAKE MAN GOOD WITHOUT GOD.
There are four goals of Humanism:
- The establishment of a New World Religion
- A New Economic System
- A New World Order, world government
- A New Race of People for the New Order
If humanism can become the god of final authority, then we have no definite design, purpose, or morality. Anything goes that man wants. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
PLURALISM: All views of living are equally valid, a political philosophy holding that people of different beliefs, backgrounds, and lifestyles can coexist in the same society and participate equally in the political process. Pluralism assumes that its practice will lead decision-makers to negotiate solutions that contribute to the “common good” of the entire society
- Religious implications in pluralism: the holding of two or more church offices by a single person. The state or condition of a common civilization in which various ethnic, racial, or religious groups are free to participate in and develop their common cultures.
We see in the last 100 years where there is an aggressive indoctrination to accepting men in authority to blend their ideas together to form a new whole. We find points of common ground and unite under those points we deem best, regardless of scripture precepts.
We try to find common ground regarding us all accepting each other in “love” but denying GOD IS LOVE. Instead of using His agape love as the standard, we lower the bar of what love is and use man’s standard so we can agree upon what coincides with helping to establish a human rule.
RATIONALISM: A Belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response.
If reason and experience are the basis for Truth, then there is no ABSOLUTE Truth. Relativity affects the ability to discern Truth from error, right from wrong. Jesus said, “I am the way the Truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.”
EVOLUTION/Darwinism: Theory is the notion that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor, the birds, and the bananas, the fishes and flowers are all related.
This thinking basically is that the development of life and species evolved from nothing into something. If God does not exist, then what other meaning is there for the human-animal other than survival of the fittest?
MATERIALISM: A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values; the doctrine that consciousness and will are wholly due to material agency.
Greed, possessiveness, covetousness are other words that express the attitude of being materialistic. Life consists of the things you have that fulfill the desires of your pleasure and worth.
EMPIRICISM: Knowledge originating in experience, relying on observation and testing in natural science utilizing the senses of taste, smell, feel with sight and sound being the most prominent of the five.
It has become a medium to use the senses, especially sight and sound. It’s used in education, to market and sell products, i.e. commercials. In our society, this is a massive amount of information to assimilate.
The result is thinking with sensations; feelings over reasoning, instinct over rationality. This has caused many to think that truth is relative because emotions change.
There are simply too many to break down here but here is a list of nouns that have the “ism” ending resulting in beliefs that if not in agreement with Scripture will lead to falsehoods.
ABSOLUTISM; Also known as Divine Right Theory: The King rules with unlimited power and subject to no constitutional safeguards or checks. When God is the Ruler all is well. When man is ruler, destruction awaits.
EGOISM: The theory that self-interest is the basis of morality. Pride reigns supreme and blinds all who make man the source of worship and praise.
FATALISM: A doctrine that all events are predetermined in advance. This reduces our freedom to choose in making decisions for good or bad. This destroys God as Sovereign in being the ultimate ruler in everything.
LIBERALISM: A political orientation favoring social progress by reformation. This is a process of improving something or someone by removing or correcting faults, problems through the change of old patterns of thinking.
Again, man sets the priority of what needs to be fixed, not the Truth of Scripture. It is man’s agenda, man evaluates the issues, and then man’s opinions are the gauge for how to restore. This extends into the religious and political areas of living.
SOCIALISM: A political theory advocating state ownership of industry. If this is dominant in society it sweeps away capitalism. The danger in this view is that no one can have less or more than another.
The government can take what you have earned and obtained, redistribute without your consent, and give it to others so everyone has the same. A common expression is that there is an idea of taking without contributing, better known as Entitlement. The danger is government sets an exclusive standard for those in government as they have the power to give and take. This is the path for a dictatorship to control a nation through oppression. There can be different branches of government making these choices.
TOTALITARIANISM: The belief in unrestricted power in government. The government makes all the decisions for the society, robbing the people of any ability to choose or participate in matters that govern everyday living. No multi branches of government; there is only one branch.
There are many spin-offs from these main ISMS.
We need to be educated about these out-of-control vain philosophies. Taken to extremes will destroy a nation, cripple societies, and ruin lives. All these belief systems are against the Christian Biblical worldview from Scripture and ignorance in understanding these false values will result in destruction.
HISTORY has revealed this to be factual. However, as history has proven, we do not learn and repeat the same lies. Without Jesus Christ, people love darkness and selfishness.
A Democracy will last about 200 years because the acceptance of these ISMS will invade a nation and the greed of man’s heart of those in authority will use the ISM to vote themselves (money) from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury. The end is a final collapse over loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship rule in government, destroying a nation’s freedom.
The Wiles of the Enemy follow this link to download or print this resource
We are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices 2 Cor.2:11
When Jesus was led out into the Wilderness this was a time of testing and teaching for us to see how the wiles of Satan show up to deceive and detract us from the Truth. Being an “Angel of Light” his way of temptation is along the lines of the miraculous. Why should Christ be limited to the natural means of obtaining bread when he had the power to obtain it through the super-natural? If in his hunger he would have listened to the logic he would have withdrawn himself from dependence upon His Father but instead, he replied: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matt. 4:4. There are Christians that are seeking something deeper in their walk and the super-natural has great appeal for excitement with an overworked nervous system and are deceived
into thinking it is the power of the Spirit and sensing the presence of the Lord. Signs and wonders in the last days appeal to many.
2nd Temptation: Satan takes Christ up into the Holy City and sets Him on a pinnacle of the temple. Matt 4:5. Satan tests with wanting Christ to show his great faith and prove your miraculous power as Messiah. The plot is to destroy him in going against the laws of nature and gravity to prove that God can keep you from harm. Jesus simply uses the Word and answers “Thou shall not put the Lord thy God to the proof: (Deut. 6:16) Here again, Satan is wanting an experience to prove something of the miraculous. Do something foolish and don’t be subjected to the laws of nature.
The temptation is to break the laws of nature by ignoring them. God gave us these laws as a means of protection. We have many risk-takers in the body of Christ that want thrills and can be careless about the body that was purchased on the Cross as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. I Cor 3:16,17. An important point to consider is that it is wrong in God’s sight to persecute ONESELF as it others or to neglect care of ONESELF as to neglect the care of others. This is showing disrespect to his creation.
3rd Temptation: He offered Jesus all that he could see and will give all their power and greatness if you will worship me. Was this attempt at playing God as Satan has a subtle way of impersonating God in some of the offers to us. What a sneaky attempt to get Jesus to avoid going to the Cross which was the only way Jesus could be the victor and obtain his purpose for coming into the world.
In his deception to impersonate God, he will establish his own religion and set his idea of a standard of morality. He has his own values and to show the supernatural rather than to have faith in Christ atoning sacrifice for salvation is via the Cross and not the miraculous; catching many well-meaning people off balance.
Another of his wiles is to suppress the personality that has been given to us. Don’t allow the pressures from other people’s opinions rob you of your uniqueness. Your personality was NOT destroyed at the Cross with the old sin nature. There is an “I” that is mentioned in Galatians 2:20 that refers to the self-centeredness in a personality which the Cross removes. Some believe they must become totally passive to letting go of their will in making choices. The thinking is “whatever God wants”. Well, we find that God wants people of conviction, strong in spirit, knowing good from evil, and standing against whatever grieves the Lord. Passivity can also be attached to letting your mind go into neutral, which is very dangerous. An empty mind is an open door for the enemy to slide in, take up residency, and slowly destroy an active mind needed to bring every thought captive and operate within the mind of Christ, which is never passive. GOD NEVER DEMANDS THE LETTING GO OF THE WILL, BUT THE SURRENDER OF SIN IN THE FORM OF SELF-WILL. The letting go of the will weakens the person and makes it more difficult for God to get his co-operation. If the mind is brought into passivity, the Holy Spirit is hindered in giving help to the Christian warrior, and evil spirits are able to gain upon their soul.
The mind must be under the control of the person as well as the will and if not controlled by our person, it will be available to evil spirits. God does not control it. We get deceived into believing that God must control the mind. However, his Word says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” makes many think they give their mind over to Jesus; rather than that we learn of his thinking to guide us in our thinking and decision making. There is a big difference.
In Colossians 2:15 we see our position in Christ over all the powers of darkness. We see that they are: DISARMED BY CHRIST, EXPOSED BY CHRIST, MADE CAPTIVE BY CHRIST. THIS IS THE BASIS FOR ALL DEALINGS WITH EVIL SUPER-NATURAL POWER. Unless we claim Calvary’s victory over these supernatural powers, as we abide in Christ they will still be able to attack us and harm us unless we maintain our positions as “DEAD WITH CHRIST and raised in union with Him” these evil spirits will still deceive us. 1 John 3:8 assures us that the Son of God was made known so that he might destroy the works of the devil.” In these difficult days, the powers and principalities of Ephesians 6 are becoming bolder and bolder as they have taken up residency within so many people who have turned away from God to serve self. They have been in rebellion since in their youth and we find the church losing ground as Satan is openly challenging the Church of God to a conflict for which he knows the Body of Christ is able but not ready to fight.
The ignorance of God’s people is due to their lack of training and willingness to engage in warfare against these super-natural powers. This means we cannot be cowards turning and running from the conflicts that arise. To be an overcomer we have to be able to operate under the authority of Christ. He must be accepted as Lord and we surrender fully so that we can stand in His authority against those that rise up against us. The Church has a lack of general understanding regarding “the old man” or “Flesh” and this flesh must be kept in the place of death and be freed from the bondage of the evil nature, which is the material that Satan uses to attack the child of God. SIN is not just an oops, I messed up, but it must be viewed in relationship to Calvary. Everything else is false. Wrong conceptions become a source of weakness as it weakens our spiritual stamina by paralyzing a real grip upon divine things and opens the way for Satan to attack.
We have been given the victory, authority, instructions to wage war to overcome and give God the glory due Him. Are we ready to implement this privilege or are we spiritual cowards wanting the easy path for self? A simple saying, Eternity is a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, time to be wrong!!
(Find other resources in teaching handouts under the Bible Study Resources heading)
Character follow this link to download or print this resource
Bible verses for building Biblical Character qualities
Alertness: Mark 14:38, Acts 20:31, 1 Cor. 16:13, 1 Thess. 5:6 to those around for right response versus unawareness
Attentiveness: Heb. 2:1 undivided attention to words, emotions and actions versus unconcern
Availability: Phil. 2:20-21 put others needs before my own schedule versus self-centeredness
Boldness: Acts 4:29 confident that what I say or do is right in the sight of God versus fearfulness
Cautiousness: Prov. 19:2 knowing how important right timing is in accomplishing right actions versus rashness
Contentment: 1 Tim. 6:8 realizing God has provided everything that I need for happiness versus covetousness
Compassion: 1 John 3:17 investing in care and concern for others versus indifference
Creativity: Rom. 12:2 approaching a need or help with ideals and new perspective versus under-achieving
Decisiveness: James1:5 the ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the ways and will of God versus double-mindedness, inflexibility, dominance
Deference: Rom. 14:21 limit my right and freedom in order not to offend those has called me to serve versus rudeness
Dependability: Ps. 15:4 fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means an unexpected
sacrifice versus inconsistency
Diligence: Col. 3:23 completing each assignment and task versus slothfulness, selfishness
Discernment: 1 Samuel 12:16:7 the God-given ability to understand why things happen versus judgment, snoopiness.
Discretion: Prov. 22:3 the ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes which could result in
undesirable consequences versus simple-mindedness, secretiveness
Determination: 2 Tim. 4:7-8 proposing to accomplish God’s plans and goals in His timing
regardless of the opposition versus faint-hearted
Endurance: Gal. 6:9 inward strength to withstand stress in accomplishing God’s best versus
Enthusiasm: 1 Thess. 5:16 & 19 expressing with my spirit the joy in my soul versus apathy
Faith; Heb. 11:1 visualizing what God intends to do in a situation and acting in harmony with it
Flexibility: Col. 3:2 not setting my affections or plans which could be changed by God or others versus self-centeredness
Forgiveness: Eph. 4:32 clearing the record of those who have offended or wronged me and
allow God to love them through me versus rejection, permissiveness, weakness
Generosity: 2 Cor. 9:6 realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes
Gentleness: 1 Thess. 2:7 showing personal care and concern in meeting the need of others
Gratefulness: 1 Cor. 4:7 making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life versus ungratefulness, flattery
Honesty: upright conduct, a moral rectitude to conform to justice, fairness, truth, and correct
moral principles versus truthfulness
Honor: Honor thy father and mother Eph. 6:2; to esteem, an expression of respect, high
estimation of words, actions, and testimony, dignity, reverence, reputation versus disrespect,
Hospitality: cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with those God brings
into my life versus loneliness, ingratiating, cliquish
Humility: James 4:6 recognizing that God and others are actually responsible for the
achievement in my life, a major quality of a leader, not arrogant, is teachable and able to admit wrong versus pride, ego can be one of the most self-destructive character qualities.
Initiative: Rom. 12:21 recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked versus unresponsiveness.
Integrity: Prov. 11:3, 19:1, 20:7 integrity shall guide the walk of the just and upright versus
Joyfulness: Ps. 16:11 the spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship
with God versus self-pity
Justice: Micah 6:8 personal responsibility to God’s unchanging views versus fairness
Loyalty: John 15:13 using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and those
whom He has given me to serve versus unfaithfulness, disloyalty; independent spirit, uses
people, Phil. 2:20-21,
Love: 1 Cor. 13:3 giving to others basic needs without having as my motive personal reward
versus selfishness and indifference. The ultimate goal is genuine love 1 Tim. 1:5
Meekness: Ps. 6:2-5 yielding my personal rights and expectations to God versus anger
Obedience: the freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority versus willfulness
Orderliness: 12 Cor. 14: 40 preparing myself and my surroundings so that I will achieve the greatest efficiency versus disorganization
Patience: Rom. 5:3-4 accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to
remove it versus restlessness, permissive
Persuasiveness: 2 Tim. 2:24 guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks versus
Punctually: Ecc. 3:1 showing high esteem for others and their time versus tardiness,
Resourcefulness: Luke 16:10 wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard versus wastefulness, manipulating, scheming
Responsibility: Rom. 14:12 knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me versus unreliability
Reverence: Prov. 23:17-18 awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the chartered of Christ in me versus disrespect
Security: John 6:27 structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away versus anxiety
Self-control: Gal. 5:24-25 instant obedience to initial promptings of God’s Spirit versus self-indulgence
Sincerity: 2 Peter 1:22 eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives versus hypocrisy
Sensitivity: Rom. 12:15 exercising my senses so that I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me versus callousness, easy offended overly emotional
Thoroughness: Prov. 18:15 knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected versus incompleteness
Thriftiness: Luke 16:11 not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary versus.
Tolerance: Phil. 2:2 acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity versus prejudice
Truthfulness: Eph. 4:25 Earning future trust by accurately reporting the facts versus deception
Virtue: 2 Peter 1:5 the moral excellence and purity of spirit and soul that radiates from life as I obey God’s Word versus impurity
Wisdom: Prov. 9:10 understanding revelation from God. Seeing and responding to life
situations from God’s frame of reference vs. natural inclinations
(Find other resources in teaching handouts under the Bible Study Resources heading)