It's a Spiritual Battle
Published on January 14, 2010 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Religion

Warfare is a word we are all familiar with.  We understand what doing battle means.  It involves weapons, tactics, tenacity and death.  The one who fights wisely not depending solely on power and strength usually wins whether it be a war against terror or a battle between a man and a woman within the bonds of marriage. 

There's another war we don't hear of in the news.  It's a spiritual warfare, and it's just as real as the physical battles we fight every day.   In fact the reason we are fighting the physical battles is because of what is going on behind the scenes that we cannot see.  We are seeing and fighting the symptoms, not the cause.  The battle starts at the root which we cannot see.  The cause is sin and needs to be rooted out and exposed. 

Dualism, that philosophical idea that says good and evil are two equal and eternal forces is shown to be false in the Word of God.  God created all things including the Devil.  Although very powerful and crafty he is no match for the God who created him although it doesn't stop him from engaging us.  We are the pawns in the middle of the battle between this good and evil.  The battle has been from the beginning. 

For the Christian our battle plan is drawn up for us in the scriptures.  Repeatedly we are warned of the battle that wages all around us.  We are told more than once not to take on the characteristics of the enemy.   We are told we are soldiers in the army of the Lord, and as soldiers of God we are to fight shoulder to shoulder against the enemy.  Sad to say, the enemy has figured a way to weasel into our camp inciting us to fight against each other instead.  How can we be effective if we are fighting face to face, each other, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder against the enemy?   How crafty this enemy is. 

How do we know when to turn the other cheek and when to contend?  If the attacks are personal, we are to turn the other cheek.  Let it go.   If they are spiritual, we are to contend for the faith.  We, as flesh, more times than not do the opposite. We contend when the battle is physical and turn the other cheek when it's spiritual.   Sometimes we get contentious taking on the characteristic of the enemy. By doing so, the world will destroy us with our own inconsistency. We can't say one thing and do the other and expect to win.  Unity honors our commander.  Disunity dishonors Him.  The goal is to destroy us afterall.   We need to learn to contend for the faith effectively and stay united. 

Jude helps us with all this in his writing found in the next to last book of the bible.   He describes the enemies and their eventual doom at the end.  He tells us not to be like them.  We are not to respond in kind.   He says this:

 2Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. 3Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

He describes the weapons we are to carry.  Pretty strange weapons.  Mercy, peace and love.  Unusual weapons for a very particular battle.  These weapons don't kill. 

We understand this battle is spiritual.  Jude mentions a short list of weapons to be used.  Usually the first in a list is the most important.  Usually in scripture love is mentioned as the most important.  Why not here?   Think about it.  In a battle the quickest thing to lose is mercy.  We tend to want to give back or punish what has been done to us.  Retaliate.  Mercy is to be used instead of vengeance.  Mercy is tied to punishment here.  Mercy is not getting what you deserve.  That's what God did for us.  Our enemy, in the spiritual battle, is to experience mercy from us.  We are to give what we have been given.  Our goal is not to beat the enemy to a pulp but to win the battle by winning souls for God.  God reconciled with us while we were enemies to Him.  We are to do the same. 

God is always in control.  There is a purpose for everything we go through in life.  When life seems out of control for us. they are never out of His control.  He has the vantage point that we don't have.  He sees it clearly.

When we are face to face with enemies more powerful than we are, we can see the hand of God evidenced in it.  Miracles do happen when you put yourself in a position when you need a miracle to survive. 

These three weapons, mercy, peace, and love are incredibly effective when used together.  As a Christian, we need to maintain our identity as God's children.  As a Christian, it's not what we say we are but what we prove we are by our life.  Many say one thing and do another.  

These three things determines our identity.  If we lose our identity, we lose the battle, not the war.  We are overcomers.  We are never to take on the identity of the enemy or his methods. 

Jude says we are to contend for the faith.  This is not easy to do.  Nobody wants to fight.  Christians should not have a reputation of fighting like the enemy.  Remember, turn the other cheek if it's physical,  but when it comes to spiritual things we need to fight against it. 

When a Christian takes only a defensive stance, he cannot win.  When he takes an offensive stance against the enemy with the armour of God, he cannot lose.  The Apostles saw the urgency in the battle.  Many were content to just sit around and wait for Christ to come back, but at the urging of the Apostles they were exhorted to jump in and help their fellow soldiers. 

In any war a soldier needs to equip himself.  He needs the right gear.  He needs to learn how to use his weapons.  A soldier is  not given an M16 and told to just go ahead and shoot it.  He is instructed how to hold, operate and take care of his weapon before he's put on the front line of battle. 

For the Christian, how many know the Word of God?  The Word of God is our weapon.  It's called the "Sword of the Spirit."  Many Christians out there are  not effective because they have not been instructed in how to use this weapon correctly.  They do not have a good grip on it, and as a result they are assaulted on every side. 

We are to be available and able.  To uplift and honor Christ is our goal.  We are ambassadors for Him and we are to contend for the faith alongside Him.   

Do not underestimate the craftiness of the enemy.  He fights dirty.  Before Paul left Ephesus he called the leaders of the church together and predicted this would happen.   In Acts 20:29 we read: 

"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you not sparing the flock." 

Satan fights from within the camp not outside.  He can do the most damage from inside.  What Paul had predicted to the leaders at Ephesus, Jude is now saying is here.  Jude continues in verse 4 saying:

"For certain men crept in unawares......" 

"Crept in unawares" literally is one word in the Greek meaning "comes in the side door."  If the enemy wants to hurt you he has to get close to you to do it.  Toe to toe, nose to nose.  Close enough to hurt you.   This is very effective when fighting inside a church or inside a marriage.  Again, instead of the soldiers fighting shoulder to shoulder against the enemy, the enemy has snuck in and caused all kinds of havoc inside the church, inside the marriage, and anywhere God has ordained. 

Jude calls them "certain men."  God knows who they are even when we don't.   They are not up front and clear.  They weasel.  They imply.  They sneak around as if they are one of us.  They talk sideways so much so they can fool even the best of us if we're not careful.  But God knows them.  He sees it all.  They may fool us, but not God.  That's why we are to be alert and always ready for battle.  We are to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves." 

Just as God knows who they are, God sees those who are real, honest and up front in the midst of battle even when it's hard to be so.  He sees those who are using His weapons effectively even when it may seem much easier to pick up the weapons of the enemy instead.  It can be so easy to take on the characteristic of the enemy in the heat of battle if we're not careful, but we must remember that God has a vantage point that we don't.  He sees it all.  We must trust our commander. 

God always blesses sacrifice on his behalf. 







on Jan 17, 2010

When I was in public grade school, we used to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers."  That comes to mind right now.