“A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.” (Proverbs 24:5-6, NIV).
Wherever people honor wickedness, darkness prevails and it sets the spiritual atmosphere. As the spiritual climate in our world deteriorates, we are facing warfare as never before. A spiritual warfare climate tries to make us feel insignificant – lives no substance, no worth – battle futile. But the truth of the matter is, we are already victorious! Read the back of the Book!
In Judges 2, we find Israel coming under the principalities and powers of their day – worshiping the Baal gods… instead of Israel influencing their world. In times of spiritual warfare, you cannot honor the heathen climate of your area.
The commission of the church today is to displace the kingdom of darkness and replace it with genuine Christianity and power. As the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi went… where there is hatred, we must bring love. Where there is strife, we must bring peace. Where there is sickness, we bring health. Where there is death, life. It is not just speaking but acting out principles of the Kingdom that will displace the kingdom of darkness. When church is filled with obedient believers, active faith, darkness is pushed out. The church must be more than just a group of people with set of doctrines, beliefs, and rituals. Darkness is not dispelled by what goes on within the four walls of the church. We must take the warfare to the field.
When our inside relationship with Jesus is hot – we have the law of the life of Jesus flowing through us. When this relationship wanes, we start battling lust of the flesh, things of the flesh, darkness creeps in. We must keep walking in the light and having fellowship or light turns to darkness.
We must never fall into the deception that comes with believing that accumulated knowledge is the same as applied knowledge. It’s not!
Books on prayer can be tremendous but knowledge of prayer is useless unless we pray. We may know all the Greek words for love but if we hold bitterness in our heart toward one another all that knowledge is to no avail. We must live what we know! Knowledge in action will produce substance and fruit. Without the action we will not have Biblical Christianity; we will not displace the kingdom of darkness. God’s people acting on truth in love, brings displacement of darkness. The devil directs his warfare against the actions of our faith – not just what we say. You can say all you want. You won’t intimidate him until you start doing. He can still say, “Jesus, I know and Paul I know, but who are you?”
Obedience is a vital part of every miracle. In the Old Testament, everything God did after creation was done in cooperation with man. God could have scraped land of Canaan free of inhabitants, but He didn’t. He had the children of Israel march around Jericho – and shout – before the walls came down. They had to do something for the substance – the deliverance – the victory – to come.
In the New Testament, Jesus could have snapped finger and filled the pots at the wedding in Cana with wine. He didn’t. Instead, he had men take the existing water pots, fill them with water, and carry them to the head waiter. It has been approximated that this was about 168 gallons of liquid. Yet the miracle was contingent on their obedience to His instructions. Obedience is the pre-requisite for miracles. When you obey God, He releases power.
The battle we face is against passivity and inactivity. It seems our struggle is to act on what we believe, not on what we feel. The enemy often intimidates us into inactivity. Manifestation of the kingdom ceases when we are inactive. We can sing songs about warfare – but singing about warfare and doing warfare are two different things. We pray and suddenly a wave of unworthiness tries to undermine our confidence in prayer – a barrage of questions comes. Did I pray right? Did I use right words? Did I pray long enough? Did I pray in faith? Do I need someone to agree with me? What’s going on? It is demonic warfare against our confidence to make us believe our prayers haven’t reached God. That’s not true. God hears. The time frame for answering is His and His alone – but He hears every word.
When we worship we face warfare. The Old Testament war instructions for Israel were to let Judah go first. (Judah is representative of worship and praise.) But Judah, the praisers, had to be prepared spiritually. So must we!
Satan tells us we’re not worthy – that’s warfare of guilt and condemnation. Remember, though, he is the father of lies and he is not going to start telling the truth with you. When someone went to the Temple to sacrifice, it was the sacrifice, not the worshipper, that was examined and judged as to its worth. If the sacrifice was acceptable and sufficient, then the worshipper was fully accepted. The Lamb who was slain is worthy – therefore we are accepted.
God’s acceptance of our worship isn’t based on our mechanics – but on our faith and on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our salvation is built on the foundation of grace, not law. Many Christians live under the weight of guilt, condemnation, constantly trying to gain God’s approval. Our minds and senses war against things of God. If we bow under warfare we miss the miracle – miss the very thing we are praying for. If you bow to Baal you get cheated out of the miracles!
Here’s some advice for warfare:
Don’t Bow to Baals – Greed – materialism – lust – worldliness. These spirits don’t belong in the church – and don’t belong in our lives. Don’t bow to them. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We’re to affect culture not bow to it.
Don’t Let Men or Devils Define You – Don’t judge yourself in a storm. There is an anti-Christ sentiment that wants to define us. Read the newspaper, listen to the radio and you’ll hear all kinds of misrepresentation and misinformation about God and Christians. Don’t let the devil define who you are or what you believe. If we bow to the pressure and start apologizing, changing the message to suit people, telling people what they want to hear to avoid trouble – we’ll find ourselves in the worst of trouble. Rise up with a weapon of truth. Don’t let the devil define your message.
Don’t Give In To Feelings of Failure and Uselessness – God has given us project to do. Don’t bow to discouragement, hopelessness. Rise up with God’s word in your mouth – “The gates of hell will not prevail!” If we don’t rise up verbally and with action to confront the Baals, we will submit to their influence and be discouraged or depressed. Courage is not the absence of the fear. Courage is the presence of God.
Don’t Drift Into Things – You never fall onto a mountain – you climb it. The Scripture says, “Give more earnest heed to the things which we’ve heard lest we let them slip…” The word “slip” there means drift. You are not going to drift into victory – into holiness. More often than not, when one drifts – you are drifting away from something – not into something. Yelling at the devil won’t make him go away. He must be displaced by right living. We need to affirm the truth not only with our mouths but our actions.
We are in a war. The victories we win, the defeats we suffer are not just for the moment but for eternity. Souls are stake. Read the back of the book – we win!
“‘And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).