“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”
― George S. Patton Jr.
We are citizens of the kingdom of God (Phil 3:20), sons in His family with full rights and privileges (Gal 4:7), ambassadors with authority (2 Cor 5:20, Luke 10:19), and soldiers in His army with supernatural weaponry (2 Cor 10:4).
We are at war. We have an enemy, but our enemy is not a human enemy (Eph 6:12). It is a real enemy, but it is not a visible, physical enemy. It is a spiritual enemy. It is an opposing army that is loosely organized under the leadership of a fallen angel named Satan. He is called the ruler of this world, and he is a renegade criminal dictator (1 John 5:19). He has a kingdom (Luke 11:18) that is called the power of darkness (Col 1:13) that he is seeking to expand. That kingdom is our enemy. I will call that enemy “he” or “him” in this letter, but I am referring to members of that enemy kingdom.
Our enemy has infiltrated our society and culture, our government, and our churches.
The weapons that he uses against us are not missiles, bombs, and bullets (although sometimes those come as a result of his influence on humans). His weapons require our cooperation, our complacency, or our ignorance in order to have any lasting effect on us. They include (but are not limited to):
enticement and temptation
judgmental, finger-pointing, self-righteous Pharisee-ism
backbiting or gossip
enslavement / bondage to addictions
unbiblical religious tradition
other forms of physical, mental, or emotional problems
Through these weapons, our enemy uses us against each other, and against ourselves….like we are his foolish little puppets. Does this make you angry? It should.
Here is some insight into some of the ways our enemy operates.
He will pound on you with temptation over and over until you give in, and then he will point the finger at you and rub your nose in it. If you don’t give in, he will leave you for while, in search of an easier target. He will likely return to again at a more opportune time. He will tempt you to use your own voice to injure your own wife, family, and friends. He will lay traps to entice you into doing something you will regret. It is still your choice, but the traps can be very deceptive. Then he will lie and tell you that you are the only one, and that God is mad at you, and you are a failure, and all kinds of other crap. He will tempt you to judge other people, or get offended, or criticize someone behind their back, or who knows what else.
But if you don’t cooperate, then power of the enemy is very limited. Our enemies do not have physical bodies, so they can’t come and put you in a headlock and make you do things. You have a choice. You can do something about it. But they have cleverly convinced most people to either blame the “issues” on their past, their parents, God’s will, or God’s mysterious plan or timing. The goal is for us to think that we just have to live with it, or to just try harder with more willpower. This allows the enemy to go around defiling and afflicting people without much retaliation from anyone.
Every now and then, some folks start learning about the weapons of OUR warfare, and start learning to cooperate with God to enforce His will and set people free.
When this kind of thinking begins to break out among the citizens of our Father’s Kingdom, the enemy does not just sit back and watch. One of his counter attacks is to stir up controversy in the body of Christ and have people to stand up and label these soldiers as heretics, or greedy, or crazy, or ignorant, etc. Or they use fear of failure or fear of rejection to keep people sitting on the bench.
Another tactic is to present a false choice. For example, people will say something like “developing your character is more important than miracles.” Or “God is more interested in your heart than in physical healing.” Those are false choices. We don’t have to choose one or the other. We are supposed to “pursue love AND desire spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:1).” God forgives all our sins AND heals all our diseases (psalm 103:3)
When forced to choose between ethics/morals and the power of the Kingdom of God, I imagine that our enemy would much prefer us to focus our studies on self-improvement rather than power and authority. This puts us in a defensive mindset, and it will limit the scope of our ability to inflict damage on their kingdom. But we don’t have to choose one or the other. We can do both. You can learn to live wisely, AND learn to use the authority and power God has entrusted us with.
The body of Christ is being tricked, robbed, and abused. We should be putting our foot on the devil’s neck. We should be evicting every trespasser. But instead, many Christians look at you like you have two heads when you start to talk about this stuff. There are actually preachers that attack other Christians who are trying to figure out how to use our weapons.
All of this should make you angry. Not angry at yourself, and not angry at any other person. It should make you angry at the father of lies, who is sowing unbelief, legalism, and ignorance in the body of Christ.
We are at war. But it seems to me that most Christians do not understand this. Or if they do, they think that they way to fight this war is to huddle in a corner and pray for our “General” to come and do something.
But our “General” gave us authority and equipment, and then told us to take the fight to the enemy. Yes, the battle is the Lord’s, but He has chosen to fight the battle through you. He has given every believer the right, privilege, authority, and power to destroy the works of the devil in every place that we find him working. And if we aren’t following orders, then we don’t need to blame it on the General when things don’t go the right way. We need to go back and reexamine the orders and the strategy, train, and get back out there and fight again.
The works of the devil are sickness and disease, oppression (spiritual, emotional, mental, physical), and condemnation.
Acts 10:38 “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about DOING GOOD and HEALING ALL WHO WERE OPPRESSED OF THE DEVIL for GOD WAS WITH HIM.”
Our weapons are healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the gospel. Set people free from sickness, oppression, and guilt and condemnation. That is how you attack the enemy. That is how you damage their kingdom and take ground. That is how we fight offensively.
That is what our General has equipped us for.
That is His strategy.
That is His will.
Healing is war.
Deliverance is war.
The gospel is the POWER OF GOD.
And as we (every believer) learn to preach the full gospel, with signs following, then we are getting closer to what we are built for.
James 4:7 says “resist the devil and he will FLEE from YOU.” It is your job to MAKE HIM RUN AWAY FROM YOU. You are to make him sorry that he ever messed with you and your family. If you don’t know how, then start learning.
Wars are not won by only playing defense. We are not seeking to merely hold our ground and protect our fort. We are seeking to destroy our enemy and make sure it is known that we are not a group of men that are just going to lie down and take another beating. We do not need to be afraid of the enemy. The enemy needs to be afraid of us.