Week 6 - Spiritual Warfare
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)
When we think of modern warfare we might immediately think of weapons like the M240 machine gun, that can take out an enemy at a range of 1,800 meters. Or a medium-range ballistic missile with a range between 3500-5500 kilometers, that can be launched from the ground or the sea to strike targets on land and sea.
These weapons are only useful in the hands of a trained soldier, but what makes a skilled soldier? The US Army recruitment site* defines Basic Combat Training (BCT) as a 10-week journey from civilian to soldier where recruits “learn basic tactical and survival skills along with how to shoot, rappel, and march.” They also learn other basics in Army life, military customs, and Army values. Trained soldiers need to undergo further specialized training to handle more complex weapons.
We need to realize that as children of God, we are natural targets of the enemy whose nature is to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Where enemy forces may attempt to cut off a food supply or enter a city through parachutes, Satan also infiltrates the Kingdom of God where and when he can – individuals, homes and families, churches. It was emphasized that we should not pray for the annihilation of wicked people but that they should come into relationship with Jesus Christ. Instead, we pray against Satan and his forces.
It is important to know how the enemy operates, otherwise he will outwit us. We might end up taking out the wrong weapons or underestimating the enemy. One of the tools (weapons) is the spiritual armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18, which is used to resist and take offensive acts against the enemy. Though Paul was describing a Roman soldier, the modern soldier of today has similar though modernized and enhanced weapons: tactical belt, bulletproof vest-shield-helmet, combat boots, and rifle.
Another spiritual weapon that made a huge impact this week was obedience. People trained in the military know that discipline and effectiveness are built on the foundation of obedience to others. In the thick of battle, a disobedient soldier is a danger to himself and to his fellow-soldiers. We are exhorted in Scripture to honor God’s authority over us, and those he has placed in authority over us. We are to stay in this relationship because walking away results in robbing ourselves of God’s blessings.
Warfare isn’t about just winning the battle, but maintaining that victory. We have to constantly check our “heart attitudes”, behavior, or thought patterns that prevent spiritual growth. We learned that 95% percent of the spiritual warfare we’ll ever do is over our lives and we need to be constantly transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
These weapons are found in our daily walk with Jesus, such as prayer and praise, fasting, intercession, gifts of the Holy Spirit, preaching the gospel, faith, etc. One tool isn’t “better than the other” and we must always remember that our power and authority over the enemy comes from God through our relationship with Jesus – who is the ultimate omnipotent and sovereign ruler.
*Source: Military Boot Camp at a Glance. http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/military-basic-training-boot-camp.html