I'll add my amen to Dr. Martin's teaching on spiritual warfare, and add a few points. Knowing we are on the winning side, and Jesus has already won the battle is important, our perspective changes and we view the conflicts we face differently. Some important points to realize are:
1. Don't try to win your battles with somebody else's armor on. This could be an entire study in itself. But, the essence is- your life, your trials, your battles, your daily opposition is unique to you. The only One who can give you the needed equipment to fight your battles and help you win them, is the Lord Himself; and the only way your going to find out what you'll need is to be in daily contact with Him, and be seeking Him for your guidance. I can assure you, He will, but if we don't ask we will flounder around, waste a lot of time, and likely fail, because like Saul-there's no shortage of people who would like to give you advice, and sometimes equipment that looks like it should work-but God's not in it. When God isn't in it-you can expect the same response as David-when he tried to wear Saul's armor-and found he couldn't use it. You'd find it very interesting to read the entire story of David standing against Goliath. It's a great faith builder.
1Sa 17:38 And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
1Sa 17:39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
1Sa 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
2. There's times when the best thing to do is say nothing, and walk away from meaningless conflict. This is not running from a spiritual battle-it's knowing when to draw the "sword of the Spirit"-and when to keep it in it's sheath. Many in this world who are enjoying their life of sin-are blinded by sin, unteachable, and cannot be reasoned with. There's a time to preach the Gospel-and then leave, and let the Holy Spirit use what was said to bring conviction. We are the Lord's servants, and once we've spoken out on an issue, it's important to use discernment to know when to stop. God never forces anyone to believe. Paul emphasizes these points in the verses below.
2Ti 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
3. There's many ways to be a witness, and be an effective soldier in the battle against the forces of darkness-one very important way is to be uncompromising in your daily life and walk. What you choose NOT to do is a loud witness to a world of sin. When you choose not to go to movies with friends, not get involved in violent, sexual video games, not participate in dirty jokes-get away from the TV. When you start appropriating what the bible teaches into your life-you'll draw the attention of your unbelieving friends and relatives without saying a word, and the battle now will escalate-and the temptation to return to the world's ways to be accepted by them will rage in your heart. This is a spiritual battle that goes on until you die. It's the power of the word of God, prayer, and seeking the presence of God, that will bring the victory-and help you say no to the world, and the old life you once lived in. Your armor will get harder and your heart more cloven with the Lord's-as you get deeper into His word, and cling to him each day in prayer.
If you make unwavering stands on life issues-you will be attacked, from every angle-in and out of the churches. Get used to it.
2Ti 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
4. Stop expecting the acceptance from the world-it will save you a lot of heartache. Learn to know the Lord and his viewpoint of you-and learn to be satisfied with His presence-and not lean on the need for other's. They may praise you today-and curse you and slander you tomorrow. Learn to not depend on man to give you a sense of worth-know your worth according to God's eyes.
This is a great divide among believer's today. The big mega ministries are some of the greatest deceiver's-because they teach that if your truly walking in obedience, and in the blessings of God-the money will start coming in, and people will like you. In today's churches most of the people go with no bibles with them, they do not study themselves during the week, and read what they want to hear and see. These preachers never go to the verses that teach on trials or suffering-not in context.
Joh 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Joh 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
5. Along with our dependence being only on God-we need to find our peace-and the ability to walk in that peace-saturated in it, which comes from His presence-regardless of the circumstances we may find ourselves in. This is a very important weapon of warfare not spoken of much by most Christians-but one the Lord has given me insight of through my years walking with Him. Matt. ch. 10:12-13
Mat 10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.
Mat 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
In these verses Jesus is speaking of the interactions with people as we witness, visit someone's home, or church. But it also speaks of the important abiding presence of God in these interactions-present in the believer who is conducting himself as a servant of the Lord.
Example: Perhaps your out in a community doing business, and find yourself in an atmosphere of hostility, and can see and feel it. The presence and peace of God will remain on you, but will also act as protection from the spiritual attack your surrounded by. You may feel a strong urge to leave the situation-heed the warning and go. This is God's hand of protection and guidance for your well-being. As I've studied the life of Jesus, it's very interesting to see how many times he left the crowds, and got away from them. It's also sad to read the many accounts he was told to leave.
In this warfare, if you lose your peace, you've lost an important weapon in this battle. It's one I pay special attention to, because when you've lost that solid peace in your soul that only God can give, the devil is right there to fill you with every manner of torment, and temptations. When peace is restored the strength and wisdom to deal with the problems renews. I won't say the trials will become less, or the attacks from many angles-but you'll be better equipped to deal with it.
There's a great deal more to learn concerning the strategies of warfare in this life as a Christian soldier, but this is enough for this blog. I'll leave with the ending to the verse that the video below had unfortunately accidentally cut of; as Dr. Martin was closing his message:
...this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
~1 John 5:4
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No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me,
saith the LORD.
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth
that Jesus is the
Son of God?
But they that wait
upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The Whole Armor
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,
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;
The Prayer Room