Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Skill In War
June 20, 2017
Today, I would like to reiterate the importance of gaining the “skill in war.” In Proverbs 4:6, it is called “the principle thing.” By having skill in war, we will have the advantage over the devil, who is our adversary.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
The Apostle Paul tells us to be sober, and be vigilant. So let’s take a look at these two words, “sober” and “vigilant.” One definition describing “sober” in the Vines Expository Dictionary suggests, “A return to ‘Soberness of mind from the stupor consequent upon the influence of evil doctrine.”
Once again, here is another reference to the mind, and how that apathy is a path of wrong thinking, which will lead us down the path of wrong believing, producing wrong actions, thereby giving Satan the advantage.
In this same verse it also states, “The devil goes about as a roaring lion.” Satan ever wants to intimidate us with that big mouth of his, however, let me state this, there is only one “King of the Jungle,” and that would be “King Jesus” Who is “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” Who also has conquered.
The Vines Expository Dictionary defines the word “vigilante” as to mean: “wake,” which translates “to watch” and “of vigilance and expectancy as contrasted with laxity and indifference.”
Indifference is a thief and can become a spiritual condition of the heart. It will subtly creep in and cause us to become disinterested with any and all aspects of the things of God such as daily reading or studying the Bible, praying and talking to our Father God, and staying in fellowship with other believers. It also hinders our commitment and submission to a Word believing local church. These are essential to our spiritual growth and maturity, along with doing the work of the ministry. “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. We are all called to do the works of Jesus.
Now having said all this, let me briefly summarize what has been covered in the previous first three verses that are out of the five verses that talk about the words, “war” or “warfare” in the New Testament.
The first and most important area that Satan can get an advantage over us is in the area [territory] of our minds. The mind is the central territory of warfare, and is fought by capturing our reasonings and our thoughts. That is the determining factor of who is getting the advantage as stated in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
Another way that Paul tells us to war is to fight with the words of prophecy, or through the spoken word which will agree with the written word of God, and to hold onto your faith, “…with a good conscience.” 1 Timothy 1:18.
The third verse tells us to “stay committed, determined and dedicated as good soldiers, and to war against becoming entangled with the affairs [occupations] of this life.” 2 Timothy 2:4.
The first territory is the mind, realm of reason and thought.
Now, onto the second territory of importance which would be the flesh, that old evil twin, “Mr. or Ms. Self.” “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” James 4:1. In this verse, the word “lust” means “pleasure,” or “your desire or will.” I take this to mean, “pleasing yourself” or “the act of being selfish: in thought, word, and deed. All the while singing the vocal warm up song, “ME, ME, ME.”‘
Also, the word “member” in this verse means “body.” I’m of the opinion that every thing has a voice, especially our bodies. Don’t give it, “the body,” any food, caffeine or sugar and hear what it says!
“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Galatians 5:17-21, New Living Translation version, Bible.
I like this translation of these scriptures.
Take note that these verses make no mention of the devil, but only describe our “evil twin,” the flesh. The Spirit nature and the flesh nature are at war, always opposing each other. Let me tell you, God will not “crucify” or “take away” our flesh nature, that is our responsibility as soldiers to overtake that territory.
Mathew 16:24 in the New Living Translation version Bible, says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.”
It is so easy to forget the seriousness of our call in Christ Jesus, and maintain the relationship, to and with, Our Father God.
Thank God for grace, however it is not a licence to continue living in sin nor to fulfill or follow the “ways” and “desires” of the flesh. Grace is only given to the humble.
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:5-6
The Word has a lot of strong things to say to us, about us, reflecting as it were a mirror, back to us, what manner of man we really are. But the good news is, is to keep letting that Word of God change us from glory to glory!
Next time, I’ll finish with the last verse that has the word war in it and talk about presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice. Then from there, I’ll talk about the “bewares,” as I continue with the topic Understanding Spiritual Warfare.
Beloved this is my prayer for us, that “The eyes of our understanding be enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18