When it comes to Missional Living the topic of spiritual warfare has to come up at some point. Why? Because Missional Living isn't an activity that goes unchallenged! We have an opponent who does not want us to fulfill the mission that Christ has commissioned to us. In this post we are going to ask and answer 3 questions about spiritual warfare and prayerfully the answers will better prepare you for the battle you will be in tomorrow.
Question #1: Who Is Our Enemy?
This is the most basic of all question when it comes to spiritual warfare! If you are going to be victorious in spiritual warfare you have to know who is your enemy. If you don't you might find yourself fighting the wrong person and be blindsided when the real enemy comes and attacks.
To fully answer that question we need to know who is not our enemy! It says in Ephesians 6:12,
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood ..."
In other words we are not fighting against other people! Your spouse is not your enemy! Your children is not your enemy! Your neighbor is not your enemy! As a matter of fact no living person is your enemy that you are fighting against.
Jesus understood that while he was hanging on the cross and pray for God the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him for they didn't understand what they were doing. That's why Stephen, one of the first deacons, in the Book of Acts, could ask God not to hold the sin of those who were stoning him against them. That's why Paul and Silas could rejoice and sing praise to God after being beaten and thrown into prison in the city of Philippi and then have enough concern for the jailer that they were able to lead him and his family to faith in Christ. Paul knew his enemy was not the jailer.
The Bible tells us that those who don't know Jesus are slaves to sin and blinded from the truth. IN other words people are not the enemy - they are the victims we are sent to free from that slavery and remove the blindfold so they can see Jesus for who he really is.
Instead, of people being our enemy we find that the Bible says that it is Satan who is our enemy. In verse 11 and 12 we read,
"Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We are fight against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world."
Also, in 1 Peter 5:8 we read,
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
In both of these passages of scripture we read that the true identity of our enemy is none other that Satan himself. Satan and His demonic forces are the ones we are fighting again. It is a spiritual battle and not a physical one.
Question #2: How Does Our Enemy Attack Us?
In Eph 6:11 we learn that Satan's attacts are through deceit and trickery!
"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
The word "schemes" come from the Greek word: "Methodia". We get the English word "Method" from it. It literally means to trick or lie with the purpose to deceive.
Satan's who spiritual warfare is an attempt to trick you or lie to you with the purpose to deceive you to do things that are contrary and against God's will and way of doing life. And once you have fallen to the deception you suffer the consequences of your choice.
Many of Satan's lies and tricks will be an attempt to make you believe that he really does care about you and God doesn't; or he might try to misuse the Bible to get you to think that what he's tempting you to do is a Godly things; or many times Satan will try to trick you to think that there's a short cute to doing God's will and you don't have to follow God's plan; and finally Satan loves to try to get you to distrust God and remove your faith from Him.
Question #3: How Should We Respond To His Attack?
BY KEEPING YOUR COMPOSURE:
"Keep cool headed. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce and would like nothing better than to catch you sleeping." 1 Peter 5:8 (MSG)
I love the way different translations put it. The Message says, "Keep a cool head"; the NIV says, "Be self-controlled"; the NAS says "Be on your guard". In other words our response to Satan and His attacks need to be one of keeping our composure during the times we are being tempted. Why? Because people make stupid decisions and choices when they loose their heads and self-control. How many times have we heard people respond to the question, "Why did you do that?" Only to hear, "I don't know! I just got so angry that I didn't think straight."
BY STAYING ALERT LOOKING FOR SATANS TRAPS:
" ... stay alert ..." (vs. 8)
"Then he (Jesus) returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?' he asked Peter. 'Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Matthew 26:40,41 (NIV)
Just like a soldier that is our on patrol behind enemy lines needs to stay alert, watchful and always looking for any sign that the enemy is close by, so must Christians be watchful for any sign that Satan is close by, hiding and preparing to pounce on them. Jesus instructed His disciple to "Watch & Pray". The truth is that we need more than just physical eyes to recognize the activities of Satan - we also need spiritual eyes. You ability to recognize the activities of the devil will be proportionable to the strength of your prayer life. WATCHING AND PRAYING IS THE KEY TO RECOGNIZING THE ACTIVITIES OF THE ENEMY.
BY VIEWING THE ENEMY FOR WHO HE REALLY IS:
"... your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (vs. 6)
What is a lion?:
- They are the King of the Beasts!
- They are predators!
- They look for preys to overpower and devour!
That's who your enemy really is!
- Satan is not your buddy!
- He is not your friend!
- He does not care about you!
- He only wants to devour you and leave you dying in the cutter.
- Don't try to get chummy with him!
- Don't try to make a deal with him.