So you’ve heard there’s this thing called the great controversy, and you realise that you’re playing a part in a war you didn’t start. You’ve chosen to join God’s side, but it’s unclear about what that practically looks like. This post is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully a start to helping us get equipped for the battle and building confidence to claim victory. Jesus has paid the price and secured our win! So how can we devote our lives to and get to work for Him?
Let’s begin by getting a general overview of where humanity’s role in the war started and taking a look at some of God’s track record in the Old Testament.
Warfare of the Spirit
Genesis 3:14-15: “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
God said that He would put “enmity” between the serpent and the woman, and between the serpent and her offspring.
What does the word enmity mean?
According to Strong’s concordance, enmity means ‘hostility’ or ‘hatred’. God clearly placed this hatred between humanity and the serpent for a reason, so He must have a purpose for the war that is taking place.
Exodus 15:3 “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.”
God is on our side. He will fight for us.
1 Samuel 17:47 “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.”
David speaks to Goliath here in 1 Samuel 17, and expresses his trust that God will win the battle for His people.
Do you see anything interesting in this text? <<I think it’s interesting that it mentions that the Lord will not save with the sword and spear — denoting methods of nonviolence>>
We can have the same confidence as David, that God’s methods, though not easily understood by men, will win the battle.
2 Kings 6:16-17 “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
I encourage you to think about a time when God opened your eyes to see His plan and protection.
2 Chronicles 20:15 “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
What is the ‘great multitude’ in your life that you need to entrust to God? Could it be tendency to sin? Distrust of God? Peer pressure? Looming Mandates?
Job 1:9-10 “Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”
What is Satan saying here about Job?
Do we believe that God places hedges of protection around us? Have we experienced His blessings that provide our every need?
So to recap: God made the hostility between the serpent and humanity, and is using it to show His faithfulness to His chosen people. We can have confidence like David, that the battle will be won by the Lord. We can choose to fear not, even in the midst of what seems to be a great multitude of attacks because an even greater hedge of protection is placed around us when we ask and believe that God has done it.
Let’s continue searching the scriptures for some practical things we can do to participate in the battle as God would have us do. Instead of just standing by, we are called to be co-labourers with Christ (1 Cor 3:9).
Weapons of Spiritual Warfare
Matthew 4:10-11 “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
In the midst of an attack by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus shows us a powerful weapon that made the devil flee. Jesus speaks the scriptures aloud — maybe to remind himself, but to also to declare his allegiance in worship.
What did He do to dispel Satan? Who is Jesus committed to worshipping?
Mark 1:23-25 “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
The enemy KNOWS Jesus. Jesus is the one who has come to destroy the enemy. How committed are we to KNOWING Jesus?
Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
Romans 16:20 “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”
Though the enemy has plans for our demise, Jesus prays for us so that our faith can prevail through the trials. God gives us peace and keeps his promise from Genesis 3:15, that the seed of the woman would bruise Satan’s head.
Weapon #1: Relationship with Jesus
Relationship with Jesus gives us the ability to lean into the One who knows our struggle and has overcome already. Relationship with Jesus gives us greater access to God’s unlimited power and peace amidst all of life’s storms.
How do you build relationship with Jesus in your day to day life?
Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Who are we fighting? (Principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness, spiritual wickedness)
What are we to put on? (The armour of God)
Why? (So that we can stand against the wiles of the devil)
Let’s take a closer look at the armour to see what our second weapon is.
Ephesians 6:14-18 “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
What are some of the vital parts of the armour of God?
Let’s consider putting the pieces of God’s armour into categories of defensive and offensive. Defensive meaning ‘used or intended to defend or protect’, and offensive meaning ‘meant for use in attack’. What are the defensive pieces of the armour? What are the offensive pieces of the armour?
Weapon #2: The Word of God
The only offensive weapon in the armour of God is the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God. I think this is powerful because as we ingest God’s Word, He transforms us on the inside, which leads to transformation of the outward life. Scripture covers so many topics and real life situations, how can we afford to not use it when under attack! Reading Scripture daily, memorising Scripture, and asking God to show us what we need to see in His Word can help us to sharpen the sword He’s given to us. Many of us have a text memorised here and there, maybe from learning as a child, or actively memorising Scripture currently. Many of us have used these scriptures that we know in situations to give a reason for what we believe, or to encourage someone in distress. We all have access to God’s Word now, so let’s continue to sharpen our swords so that when the enemy attacks, we’ll be ready.
How have you used/are you using the Word of God to fight back against the enemy?
How can we strengthen our use of the Word of God now to prepare for what’s to come?
So we have 2 weapons so far: relationship with Jesus, and the Word of God. There’s one more weapon that I’d like to suggest will make us even more effective in Christian warfare.
Revelation 12:10-11 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Pay special attention as to how the text says they overcame: by the blood of the Lamb (relationship with Jesus), the word of their testimony, and loving not their lives unto death.
Weapon #3: Selfless testifying of the love and mercy of God
1 Peter 3:15-16 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”
Words have power. And what we speak of shows where our allegiance lies. John 3:31 says that he who is of the earth speaketh of the earth. What realm are we to claim? The earth, or Heaven? Where is our home really? If we speak of earthly things, it shows our allegiance is to the world and it’s dominion. If we speak of heavenly things, it shows our allegiance to God and His dominion.
Are you willing to share what God has done/is doing for you to someone new this week? Will you ask God for an opportunity to testify of His mercy and love, to possibly play a role in the life of the salvation of another person?
1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
God lives in us — this is our assurance of victory. We can win not by our own strength, but by the strength of God living in us.
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