Drafted for War
We are in a great battle. None of us wants to be drafted into this lifelong war but it doesn't matter because we were born "drafted in." We have moments of furlough and we have moments of sweet victory but then we get new marching orders and there is yet another battle looming ahead of us. Why are we in a battle? We can trace it back to the Garden of Eden which God planted with perfection for fellowship with Adam and Eve. Satan entered the garden and tempted our first parents and they fell for his lie. They sinned. A breach occurred in their fellowship with God and a curse came upon the earth.
From the very first moment that the sin occurred, God had a plan to restore the fellowship and reverse the curse. So in the fullness of time he sent his son, Jesus Christ (the Messiah) to do what Adam could not-live a sinless life and then die on the cross to pay for the sin of the whole world and repair the breach between God and man. That happened 2000 years ago and you might therefore be asking; well then, why are we still in a battle?
God gives each one of us the same gift he gave Adam and Eve: free will. Adam and Eve got to choose whether or not to sin and we get to choose too. Satan continues to prompt us to sin so we still have a battle. There is also the matter of appropriating God's provision for us. Suppose you were left an enormous inheritance from a relative. The money is legitimately yours but someone contested the will and went to a great deal of time and effort to prevent you from actually taking possession of your inheritance. The money IS yours but you now have to battle for it.
Victory over Sin: The Battle is Won
Yes, Jesus paid the complete price for your freedom and for your victory over sin and for restoration of fellowship with your heavenly Father. But you have to appropriate or assign everything he did for you. Throughout your life Satan will be fighting tooth and nail to prevent you from taking possession of your spiritual inheritance. Don't worry; you win. It's a lifelong battle but don't be discouraged by that; be excited and be prepared.
What happens when well prepared soldiers actually get into battle? They get good at it! They become proficient and wizened to the enemy's tactics. They become heroes and they get promoted and they win medals and they teach the new troops coming in. They get the satisfaction of seeing the enemy's defeat and then participating in the victory march when it's all over. Remember that Jesus already won; we are in a mop up operation. If you want to get pumped up, read how history ultimately turns out in Revelation, the last book of the Bible.
We Can Be God's Great Warriors
God means the battle for our good and simply uses Satan in his plan to make us great warriors. Through the various conflicts he makes us strong and spiritually mature. He uses the battle to promote us to higher positions in his kingdom and to press us into intimacy and dependence on him alone. He wants us to win every single skirmish and he has provided all the equipment we need to do so.
Can you accept that battle is inevitable and lifelong? Then if you have been whining and complaining and having a pity party over the hard places in your life, stop right now and do something constructive instead. By the way, I confess I can't even count the number of times I've done those things; that's why I can tell you plainly it is a waste of time as far as strategy for winning any battle you are in.
Prayer is Your Assault Weapon in Spiritual Warfare
One of your greatest assault weapons for the battle is PRAYER and that's the one we are going to be talking about here. You know that a soldier would never enter a battle without proper clothes and equipment but must be fully suited in appropriate battle attire. So let's head over to the biblical outfitting room which is located in Ephesians 6:10-18 and see about putting on the full armor of God.
God is Your Strength
In this passage, the apostle Paul uses the common and familiar example of a first century Roman soldier. Before describing the armor, he begins with the admonition to "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (vs. 10) Nothing can correct your battle attitude better than remembering this critical truth. You are to fight in God's strength and power, not your own. Your weakness is actually to your advantage. Elsewhere in scripture God says; "My strength is made perfect in weakness." (I Corinthians 12:9) Many people unnecessarily give up because they see that the attack is too much for them. Come to the conclusion sooner rather than later that it is too much for you so that God's strength can take over.
Who Is The Enemy in Spiritual Warfare?
The next step in suiting up is to understand who the enemy is. Verse 12 says; "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." There is a very well organized and structured demonic hoard operating invisibly all around us. When you fight, you will not be fighting against people whom God loves but against the evil spirits who are using, manipulating and prodding them to join in their wicked schemes. Pornography, abortion, corruption, addictions, terrorism-all of these need to be seen with spiritual eyes and fought in the spiritual realm. When you see evil, always ask the question: who is instigating this? Incidentally, the stronghold of Communism fell first in the spirit realm long before one brick of the physical wall came down.
The Armor of God
Now to your battle attire which will not only enable you to withstand the enemy's attack against you but will equip you to launch attacks against him. In spiritual battle you must operate with both a good defense AND a good offense. As we go along, please have Ephesians 6 with you so you can read the scripture directly. First, truth will be your belt. It's what holds you up and comes from deep down in your belly. Let truth encircle everything in your life.
Next is the breastplate of righteousness. It covers your heart which should be clean from any sin. If you have received Jesus into your heart you have his righteousness to rely on. Just make sure all sin is confessed and dealt with before entering into spiritual warfare. On your feet you will wear shoes of peace so that everywhere you walk you can spread the good news of God's peace and of his kingdom. Satan's kingdom is chaotic, warlike, treacherous and menacing and the peace you carry will be a great contrast, easy for people to see and feel.
Now pick up in your hand the shield of faith; be ready to turn it in any direction to "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Some of those fiery darts might be doubt, unbelief, discouragement, and hopelessness. With your shield of faith you can prevent them from reaching the innermost parts of your soul. Next is the helmet of salvation. A helmet is covering for your head where all the mind games are going on. When your mind is covered in salvation winning the battle is all but inevitable.
Much of this armor is protecting you from assault but the last item is your offensive weapon: it is the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."(The picture at the top of the article is of a first century Roman sword like the one Paul would have been using for his example.) Remember that Jesus used the word of God to counter the temptations of Satan before he started his public ministry. He kept saying to Satan; "It is written…" and then resisted the devil's invitation to sin with scripture. (See Matthew Chapter 4) The better you know the word of God the better equipped you are to wield it like a sword. Therefore you should be reading and studying scripture every day. When Satan comes with a lie, you counter with the truth.
Do not be surprised or shaken by the intensity of the battle that will present itself at times in your life. You and I were destined to be great warriors in God's kingdom. Every war has an objective; each side is fighting over something. The greater the value of the prize to each side; the harder they fight. In spiritual warfare, we are battling over eternal things. The devil is trying desperately to hold on to every inch of ground, both in your life and on the earth. It is our job as God's warriors to make him give up everything he is holding illegally and establish the kingdom of God everywhere in our life and all over the earth. Join the battle. Pray smart. Don't pray naked.
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