Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”
There have been countless movies created depicting war. Fifty years ago, the war drama was made to look poetic in nature, the glory of victory in battle was the culmination of hard work, courage, and a valiant display of determination in the face of impossible odds.
Today, a realistic depiction of war is not so glamorous. Long difficult days of continuous threat, sleepless nights, fighting the elements, suffering through loss of life, and the shock of survival coupled with maintaining normalcy has been too much for many to bear.
War can seem more like an ideal than a reality for many. Watching battles take place on T.V., makes it feel more like a movie and less like an event that is real. We witness the effects of war among soldiers who have had to endure the ravages of conflict. Suicide, depression, broken families, and substance abuse are just a few of the side effects for those who have gone through the gauntlet and came out the other side.
I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.William Sherman
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Spiritual war has similarities to physical war, there are victims, generals and commanders in chief, weapons, strategies, victors and losers, while all the while the war is ignored by many.
Recognizing the threats is a good first step in preparing for the battle.
The enemy to mankind is not as clear a threat as an adversary in regular battle. The threats are still real but the enemy is much more sinister and the people of God are not left unprepared.
The full armor of God is a clear path for preparation but first I’d like to focus on the things that make us susceptible to attack.
- Lack of forgiveness—Vengeance is an action that the Bible says is reserved solely for God. When offended, it can be so easy to grow bitter and angry for how someone has treated you. What we forget is how often we have needed grace from others and hoped for patience toward us. Vengeance for God is a process toward restoration and this is something God is very good at. Forgiving one another is a good first step toward restoration and healing, removing an opportunity for the enemy to divide and conquer. 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 “Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices”
- Idolatry—I may seem obvious that worshipping an idol would be a grave mistake but how many people’s activities or priorities are elevated to a point where they take preeminence over worship of the One true God. Whatever we allow into our lives that becomes a focal point apart from God, becomes an opportunity to diminish our walk with Christ. Satan has attempted this technique since the dawn of man and his attempt at tempting Jesus fell right in line with his character. Matthew 4:10 “Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
- Humanism—Mankind has consistently wrestled with the desire to elevate himself to a place of prominence. The flesh yearns to be exalted and our evil desires coupled with the enemy trying to inflame those desires creates a conflict of interest in our relationship with the Lord. If our opinions and purposes are our priority, we will follow our own path and that path leads only to death. 2 Peter 1:4 “Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
- Temptation—Our needs can seem bigger than life when we are placed into a position of poverty long enough. Jesus willingly went into the desert to fast and pray. Satan knew his body would desire sustenance and His Spirit would long for a world gone astray. The enemy preys upon our desires for those things we lack in hopes that they will become a singular focus. If our motivation is to acquire these things apart from the leading of God, we force ourselves into a pattern that becomes an obsession. Before you know it, you realize you can never have too much and the greed and envy of materialism begins to overtake God’s message of contentment in seeking Him. Matthew 4:4 “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
- Fear—Jesus often made a point of addressing fear and anxiety in people, He was reminding them to keep their eyes on God regardless of the circumstances, to stay strong by His power, or to stand with the strength and supply that He provides. When faced with a situation that seems dire the natural instinct is to protect oneself, the issue is whether we choose to trust. When acting out of fear it is so easy to act irrationally, abandoning ground gained, and forsaking the trust we had placed in the Lord until now. We must remember that If God has taken you this far, He will continue to go with you until the end. Luke 12:4-5 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”
Being ready for battle is more than suiting up with armor, it is preparing how you will act once the threat is realized.
How to Fight
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
When it comes to battle, the enemy has already been defeated. The ground has already been won and our King reigns.
With the victory in sight the call is to Stand. We don’t have ground we need to conquer, we don’t need to protect the walls, we only need to stand in the midst of the battle, be strong in the Lord, and watch His victory be made complete.
Vs. 13 “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.”
We can stand because we have been equipped. Our armor is God given and we are told to put it on, this isn’t a passive stance but an active one. We aren’t huddling within the castle as the Lord fights our enemies, He knows where He has placed us and the battle belongs to the Lord.
1 John 5:3-5 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior and your belief is made evident through obedience to His commandments—you have already gained the victory.
Jesus did the work, His epic move to step forth from His throne as Creator and Lord of all into our world, assuming our sin upon the cross and taking our shame was a victory for the ages.
We can take part in His glory by submitting to His rule and simply following Him into battle.
Psalm 24:7-10 “Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah
If we ignore the enemy, he won’t just go away, he will continue to attack and try to destroy your life. You must be on guard and equipped with the strength to fight.
How do we counter the enemy?—–By the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.“
Memorize scripture, let it permeate your heart and mind and then use it when the lies of the enemy attempt to undermine your reality. The Word of God maintains a position of Truth that holds its position no matter how much fire you come under.
Only those who are followers of Christ and filled with the Spirit are equipped for this battle. The world is tossed to and fro like a small ship on a raging sea, battered without a bearing. We have a light, shining on the shore and it beckons us to stay fixed upon that light. The light is Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Our light guides us through the tempest and it leads us home. This world is not our home, we are only called to be a light to others who are ravaged by sin and beaten down by the enemy. The gospel is the message they must hear.
Do you know the gospel? Do you know how to share it?
It’s simple…the law and grace. The law makes sin utterly sinful and shows people their need for Christ, the great grace supplier.
Walk in victory and know that you are here for a purpose.