Spiritual warfare is a reality for every believer. It’s been said a time or two in our church that when you get saved, you automatically sign up for spiritual warfare. Why? Because in choosing Christ, you become an enemy to everything that is not of Him or for Him.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of dilution that happens in modern day evangelism and discipleship that leaves believers completely unprepared for the challenges they will deal with in their Christianity. In what I assume is an effort not to scare people away, we’re inadvertently creating an invalid expectation of what life as a Christian looks like.
When you’re ignorant of what your relationship with Christ entitles you to as a believer, it’s easy for the devil to convince you that you don’t have victory (when you do) and you have to fight for it (when you don’t).
Remember that at the Cross, Jesus claimed victory over every matter we have to contend with on earth. This means that, as Bill Johnson often teaches, we are contending from a place of victory not from a place of defeat.
So any time the enemy engages you in a battle, he’s coming against you as one who has already lost the war. Through Christ, you already have victory. What is in contention is your understanding of and ability to hold onto this position of victory, first in the spirit, and then in the natural.
The genesis of this post is a conversation I was having with the Holy Spirit concerning the difference between the battle field and the mission field and how we have to learn where we need to be when.
By nature, war and battle tend to be very destructive. You need only to look at areas in the world where war has been rampant to see the horrific impact it has on every area of life. The battle field, even in the spirit, is a place of tearing down enemy strongholds and establishing the dominion of Christ. When spiritual warfare is not done right, it can end up being more destructive than constructive.
Our ignorance is what the devil often banks on. He’s an expert at distraction. He’ll try and engage you in a meaningless battle that will end up taking you further and further away from that which God is releasing to you in a given season. If he can’t steal your promise, he’ll try and get you so riled up with small issues that you can’t even enjoy what God has given you.
Yet, it is in the mission field that building must happen. If we’re permanently in a state of war as believers, then we have no capacity spiritually, mentally and emotionally to build anything. Not only that, when the crucial battles do come around, T.D. Jakes points out that we have no energy left because we’ve expended all our energy on fights that we shouldn’t have given the time of day. This is why the devil tries so hard to keep us in a state of fight, flight or even both.
When the Israelites were taking over the promised land, they relied on God to know when and how to go to battle and when and how to settle in peace. It takes wisdom from God to know when you should be in the battle field exerting your dominion in Christ and when you should be in the mission field building what God has called you to establish.
You also need to know what to look out for in your battle field. There is the general strategy that the enemy has applied since time immemorial – steal, kill and destroy. That comes with plenty of outright lies, half- truths and false accusations.
But there are also things that are unique and specific to you as person based on your past (who and where you’ve been), present (who and where you are) and future (who and where you’ll be). There are things that the devil will try and use against you and not the next person because they’re a red button for you. It’s important to learn how the devil fights you as an individual and even as a couple (for those in relationships) so that you can build up your spiritual offence and defence accordingly.
You don’t have to say yes to every battle that you are invited to. Neither should you send yourself into a battle God has not released you to fight (however good your intentions may be). Not every battle is worth fighting much less winning. Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to war.
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”
– Psalm 144:1 ESV