Strategies for Winning Our Spiritual WarfareBro. Ron Rupé
3/20/2005 11:00 AM
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Each of us has a personal adversary. The devil is referred to as your adversary, here. The only way he can assail and prevail against God and the kingdom of God is to fight against us.
1 Samuel 17:4-11
And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
We have a personal adversary. The war may be between God and evil, but the battles are between Satan and you. The war here was between the Israelites and the Philistines, but the battle was between two men. It is inevitable that we will fight the fight. It is a fight worth fighting because of w hat we are fighting for.
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. 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:
The Christian life does involve a fight. It comes with the package (see Matthew 11:12). Our enemy has good armor. One way to prepare for the battle is to put your armor on. There are things we must do – each piece of armor must be put on. That is your part.
Putting on this spiritual armor isn’t the only preparation to make. The enemy of your soul has a strategy for winning. Do you have a battle plan? If not, you’re not prepared. We need a strategy for winning the spiritual fight. We get this strategy from our "drill instructor."
Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
You have to learn how to fight. You have to learn how to use the weapons. We need God to show us how to hold them, what they’re for, and how to use them most effectively. We need to be taught when and where to use them. When people who are inexperienced pick up the weapons, often they start subjecting others to "friendly fire".
There are 4 options in literal warfare – 1) Surrender, 2) Retreat, 3) Hold your ground, and 4) Advance. In spiritual battles, surrender is never an option. Our enemy is cruel and will torture and kill you if you surrender. Retreat is not surrender. To retreat is to pull back to a safer position. When you are overwhelmed or outnumbered, you should retreat "to the Rock that is higher" than you. When advancing holds risks that are too great, dig in and hold the ground that you’ve already taken. In spiritual conflict, there is time to dig in and hold fast. When is this time? In order to win the war, you need to know which strategy to use at which time.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Even though this is a spiritual conflict, we are in an "earthen vessel" that still has feelings and emotions. We should hold fast when we’re perplexed. Being perplexed is to feel that there is no way out. When you don’t know which direction to go, stand still. When no option seems right or when they all seem right, don’t move. When you don’t know what to do, no action is the best action.
Exodus 14:1-4, 9-14, 20-22
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
The children of Israel felt like they were trapped. They were between an army and the sea. This is what it is like to be perplexed. The Israelites started to be very irrational. What is your attitude when you become perplexed? The enemy wants you to "do something" when you become perplexed. This is when it is best to hold steady. The best strategy when perplexed: 1) Don’t let emotion drive you to rash action, 2) Stand still – dig in and hold steady, 3) See what God can work for you. He can show you the clear path to take. Then, and only then should you move forward.
God gave them an option that they couldn’t see when they were perplexed. They were no doubt glad that they had stood still.
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
There is another time to stand still and hold fast. Sometimes the best strategy for staying in the fight is to hold fast. In the hour of temptation it is a good idea to hold fast. Winning in the fight requires both offensive and defensive moves. It requires knowing when to use which strategy. Temptation is a good time to put up the defenses and wait on the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20:1-4, 12-17
It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; 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. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
"The battle is not yours, but God’s…" Regardless of the strategy, remember that the battle is still God’s. In this battle, and in David’s battle with Goliath, the battle was God’s. Whether retreating, holding fast, or advancing, the battle is the Lord’s.
These felt that they couldn’t possibly win this battle. Have you ever felt like you couldn’t win or didn’t know what to do? If so, then you know how these people felt. You know what it means to be perplexed. When you feel this way, keep your eyes on God, be still, and let the Lord fight for you.
Know which strategy to use when. We don’t want to do the wrong thing at the wrong time and become a casualty of the battle.