“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
(Ephesians 6v10-13 NIV)
Like it or not there is a war going on, and you are on the frontline. But it is (normally) not a physical war, rather a spiritual war, a battle for souls. Obviously there are occasions when the battle becomes a physical one, but most of the time the battle will be spiritual.
To survive an attack from the enemy in spiritual warfare you need firm faith in God, and in His promises.
Promises such as Romans 8v38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
No matter what Satan throws at you it won’t be able to separate you from God’s love. There is nowhere you can go that God’s love won’t go with you – particularly important if you are called to fight in a seemingly godless battle zone.
Promises such as Isaiah 41v10-13:
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11 “All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.”
When it seems like you can go on, when you’re ready to throw in the towel, God will strengthen you spiritually– if you ask Him to. One important thing though – spiritual strengthening is like weight training – it takes time and effort, it won’t happen overnight. Even when you can’t see any results, when you still seem to be slipping over the same thing you need to keep persevering.
Promises such as Psalm 23 v4:
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
If God is for us whom then shall we fear? Remember we’ve got the Book of Revelation. We’ve seen the ending. We know that we win.
There are many, many more promises throughout the Bible that can give hope in times of despair, comfort in the heat of battle.
To succeed in battle we need to adopt the warfare mentality that “To live is Christ and to die is gain”. When you view life with that mentality everything changes. The must-see TV show suddenly doesn’t look so worthy of your attention when you realize that during one hour’s watching TV about 800 children will have died of hunger (http://rehydrate.org/facts/ending_hunger.htm , and 720 will have died of HIV, almost all needlessly. The risk of losing all, even your life fighting for souls in dangerous areas like China or the Middle East suddenly doesn’t seem that high a price to pay when you realize that death brings the ultimate gain –entry to heaven to be with God forever.
Spiritual warfare isn’t just about defending yourself against Satan’s attacks, we are also called to go out and win new souls for Christ. We are called to fight the despair of the world by bringing the light of God to all corners of the world (Matthew 28v16-20). It’s about fighting for justice, taking a stand for those who can’t defend themselves and working to bring hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved. (Isaiah 58) An army wins no battles by merely defending – if an army is to win it needs to attack.