Strategies of War - Part 1
There are various strategies of natural warfare that can be easily overlooked in our lives as Christians. These must be considered if we are going to gain "continual victory over the enemy.
The reason I say continual is because the enemy of our souls is relentless and he will use every strategy and opportunity he is afforded to wreak havoc in our lives.
As you consider each aspect of warfare, you must look at them from two perspectives. First is it a tactic you use in offensive war and secondly, is it a tactic you use in defensive war?
These are not all things you will use against the devil, but very much can be things that he is trying to use against you and vice-versa. You must determine which it is and fight correctly.
One of the first things it says is that "Having opponents implies your importance; therefore you must maintain your focus.
This one strategy should propel you to fight like never before. The fact is "If you were such a push-over the devil would just come in and take everything you have.
He will keep you sick without hope of ever getting better; he will steal all your money; he will kick you out on the street with no place to turn; and he will take the very clothes off your back.
However the fact that he keeps messing with you tells you that he has recognized greatness in you and there is something greater that he's trying to destroy and this fact alone should keep you pushing your life forward. There's more for you than you are currently doing and God has more for you than you currently have and this is what he is fighting against.
Also keeping focused on "the real enemy in battle will ensure that victory is eminent. In maintaining your focus, one of the armaments of war that God gave us is the "Shield of faith. It's given so we can "Quench all the fiery darts [or flaming arrows] of the enemy.
During the time of the writing of the Book of Ephesians, Paul was in a Roman prison and was writing based on the strategies of war that the Roman army practiced.
When it came to these fiery darts, the strategy the enemy would use would be to take the arrow that they would shoot at the enemy and load it with a tar like substance called "pitch. They would light it on fire and shoot it at the enemy.
They weren't necessarily concerned about whether the arrow hit the opponent as much as they were that it would land close to them. As those flaming arrows hit the ground or the shield of the opponent, the pitch would spread out starting all these "little fires that would serve to distract them. Because the opponent lost focus, it would be easy for the enemy to gain victory.
However, the Roman soldier also had a strategy and that was to keep their shield well oiled. The oil on the shield would cause the flame on the tip of the arrow to go out and they could remain focused in the heat of battle.
We also need our faith reinforced with the Spirit of God as oil in Scripture is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. As you bring these two forces together, there's nothing you cannot accomplish as the Spirit and the Word agree.
First John 5 reveals the significance of the Spirit and the Word becoming unified in our hearts and lives.
6 This is He who came by water and blood”Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
The devil does this with most Christians. He keeps us out of balance and instead of becoming astute in the Word and sensitive to the Spirit of God, we become pharisaical in our actions or flakey in our lifestyles. The balance of the two will cause and allow us to be people that are moved with compassion as Jesus Christ did and then we are able to bring healing to the nations through our lives and testimonies.
However many of us are trying to put out all these "little fires that have no significance instead of allowing our well oiled shields do the work for us.
If we would focus on the main thing, you will see that many of those little fires have a way of burning themselves out. Often we expend so much energy fighting the little fires with no real importance that we are too tired to engage in the main battle.
Have you noticed that the moment you make up your mind to do what the Bible says there's a distraction in the home; a distraction in your body; a distraction on the job? Satan will use anything to keep you from doing what the Bible says because he knows that it's through the Word that you will enjoy victory.
This should tell you that there are some things that should not be optional for your life.
Is what you're doing on Tuesday really that much more important than getting more strategies in warfare through corporate prayer and our Bible studies so you can live victoriously? Is that phone call at home that important where you forsake time you would spend with God and do something that may be good at the expense of being built up spiritually?
Therefore you must maintain your focus, looking unto Jesus for proper strategies and complete victory. Hebrews 12:2 says we're to be "Looking unto Jesus, the author [The One who began] and finisher [The One who will bring to completion] of our faith.
Secondly, in natural warfare "You must know and identify your opponent. This is why we're told that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.
To neglect remembering this causes you to fight someone or something that is not the real enemy. Because someone does something to [or neglects to do something for] you, it does not necessitate strategies against them in warfare.
To know your enemy means that you "Have information, you hold it firmly in your mind and you're certain about it. Getting and having information does not mean that you become engulfed in knowing all there is about satan.
We must know the enemy the way the Scriptures reveals and not go beyond the boundaries of what it says. Since he is spiritual, we must not look at who he works his evil deeds through, but how it comes and affects us.
- We know he accuses us before God day and night; He puts you down and tries to get you to feel condemned when you make a mistake. God convicts us to the point where we come to Him for forgiveness and allow Him to wipe our slate clean.
- We know he is the author of confusion; He will cause us to never become settled on even the simplest of decisions and while doing so keep us vacillating between opinions for months and even years.
- We know he is the one that brings poverty; to be able to and not have employment is not God's will for us. He wants us to have meaningful employment and as He opens the door for us to work, we have every right to expect Him to also bring promotion and further increase. He is the God of more than enough. He will meet every need and cause us to have sufficiency whereas each of us will be used to advance the Kingdom through our tithes, offerings and alms.
- We know he is the one that brings sickness and disease. The God we serve is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that heals you of all your diseases. Jesus purchased your healing on the cross at Calvary as the Bible says by His stripes you were healed. Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. When sickness looms, our defense against it is the Word of God and never giving in the the thought that this sickness is from God “ not even for a minute. The sickness you face, the disease you may have been diagnosed with or the pain you have in your body is not the enemy you face “ it's satan who lurks behind each one of them.
- We know he is the master at bringing doubt and unbelief. These are the opposite of faith and in order for doubt to be removed and replaced with the faith of God we must come to the place where we consistently feed our faith on the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. My future is bright; my household is blessed; my church is significant in the city; my God has all things under control and this fact alone gives me the opportunity to face my tomorrow with the certainty that it is going to bring me good and not harm me, give me hope and a future that has positive expectancy at all times.
- He is the author of fear; No matter what the source of fear it is that you may face, satan is the one who is bringing it. He works on negatives and in doing so will get you to fret about what tomorrow holds. What will happen if¦? What if things don't work out the way I planned? What if gas gets to be five dollars a gallon? What if Social Security runs out? What will happen if the company I work for collapses? Each of these things deal with a futuristic event and using a spirit of fear, satan works on the negatives bringing what I often refer to as a spiritual paralysis that keeps God's people from attempting anything for God therefore becoming stagnated in their walk with God and in life in general. When fear tries to attach itself to you, it is a tool of satan and God gave you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind to withstand each attack.
- He comes to steal, kill and destroy; each of these is sent to take the very life that Jesus came to give us away. As long as satan steals our money, our time and our talent [by keeping it buried in the ground and not using it], that is his way of bringing our lives to a place of utter despair with the intent of annihilating or wiping out the life that Jesus said He came to give for us to enjoy to the full, until it overflows.
- He is the one that brings hopelessness. No matter the situation, with man it may be impossible, but not with God for with God all things are possible. This tells me that no matter what we face, as long as there's breath in this body, there's always hope for my situation even when it appears that all hope is gone. Romans 4
We know that he is an opponent whose tactics in war we must respect but we serve God who is All powerful; All knowing and satan is no match for God.
Once we identify these things, if they appear in our lives we will know for a certainty that satan is the author of them “ not God and we should be able to focus on what God says in His Word to combat each of them.
Satan is the author of these negatives and we are expected to fight against these things with a victor's mindset and stand there until we win the battle that Christ has already won for us.
What does your opponent look like? Is your boss the real enemy? Is a family member your real enemy? Is the color of our skin or the culture we're from the enemy? Is the circumstance you face the real enemy where we fight and fight to get out of it only finding that the root of the problem is never dealt with?
Satan and his assigned demons have no physical body as they are spiritual entities and therefore they use someone else' body, mouth and actions to try to keep Christians from living victoriously. But they are the initiators and we must know what he looks like.
One thing they know is that if you gain victory, the first thing you're going to do is help someone else to get theirs. Therefore they keep us fighting against flesh and blood instead of engaging in the real battle so although we may feel good fighting someone else, we never really win the war.
The strategies continue saying that "Divided leadership is dangerous. This is true at every level of authority beginning with "Who is taking over our own temples.
Many Christians are divided in their own minds and are never completely at peace with the life and lifestyle God called them to live. They fuss and fight within their own mind and never come to the place where they can make a decision they are comfortable with.
They vacillate between opinions "considering their circumstance and considering the Word of God. One day they side with the Word, the next they believe the circumstance. You must become confident in your heart so that the Word of God always has precedence.
First Corinthians 9 reveal the importance of bringing our body into agreement with God's Word and not live a double life as a Christian. These are the closet Christians that doesn't want anyone to know, but because they have learned the jargon or the speech pattern of Christianity, they share with those they come in contact with and then go and live in a manner that's just the opposite from what God said.
There is a lifestyle that we're commanded to live and that is a life of holiness and sanctification. The Lord said "Be holy, as I am holy.
This being a command and not an option lets us see that God's expectation for our behavior is attainable.
Paul the apostle gave us a secret into how he was able to live in a manner that pleased God. He had the revelation that he was much more than a flesh and bone body. This also caused him to think about which part of his earthly anatomy would have the precedence.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Saying "I discipline "my body, this allows us to see that there is someone within these vessels of flesh that is hidden from view, but more significant in pleasing God than what our eyes can see.
Using the word discipline when he says, "I discipline my body, in essence he says, "I'm telling my body what to do and not the other way around. I'm the one that is ordering my body, telling it what to do. I control my body and don't let it run rampant, doing what it wants to do. I set the boundaries for my body and not let it do what it wants to do; say what it wants to say or go where it wants to go.
To further support the makeup of men, First Thessalonians 5:23 reveals the entirety of our being. We were created a three-part or triune being and must find common ground in order to live in a manner that is under the dominion of God.
This common ground can only be found through the Scriptures and the only way to live controlled by the Spirit is to live controlled by your human spirit “ not your soul [mind, will and emotions] or your body [flesh with its carnal desires].
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What many Christians do not realize is that in addition to the Holy Spirit sent to us by God, we also have a "human spirit that was given to us by God as part of our heavenly makeup which allows us to live in agreement with God in the earth.
The Holy Spirit communicates with our human spirit “ not our soul or our body. Because we have been less than diligent in developing our human spirits, many Believers' have mistaken the voice of reason for the voice of the Holy Ghost.
Because something sounds good, they reason that it must be God. Because something is not necessarily a sin, they reason it must be God. Because something will benefit their lives and possibly benefit the Church or the Kingdom of God, they reason it must be God.
"All that's good is not necessarily God, but all that's God will ultimately work out for our good. We have to address this issue in order to move our lives to the place that God pre-destined for us to be if we are going to get there in a timely manner.
We must therefore come into agreement within our own lives if we are going to come into one-ness with others in leadership.
When you can't find common ground in your heart, you will always have something going on in their life that's a major tragedy. You search high and low looking for something wrong until they run out of places to look. If there's nothing going on, you'll make something wrong out of something that's miniscule.
If they can't find something they'll keep looking saying that things are just too good, something must be ready to happen that's real bad.
Then if there's nothing going on for an extended period of time they will help you find something to fight.
We must learn to enjoy the moment and not be divided within our own hearts. Our expectation should always be that we are victorious and as we continue walking with God that He will eventually cause us to have peace on all sides.
The principle of divided leadership holds true in the household with marriages, it spills over into our jobs and businesses and especially within the church of the Lord Jesus.
In marriages, I'm not speaking of differing personalities because it's almost impossible to have two people with the same personality that walks without a differing of opinion.
This is a subtle divisive spirit that undermines the marriage covenant and union that God desires to operate at its highest level as two are walking together in agreement with the direction of the household and their lives.
They made up their minds to work through issues and keep pleasing God as the number one focus in their lives.
This also means walking in agreement when it comes to disciplining their children and walking in agreement when it comes to what it really means to love the spouse.
Amos 3:3 says "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Another translation says, "¦unless they have agreed to do so?
This principle of agreement is important because it's almost always those who are leaders and those who are called to leadership that satan attacks first and the hardest. He comes against your mind, body, lives, marriage, home, family and money.
Once he's done working on these personal things, satan infiltrates the church and tries to set one leader against another, causing division at the top.
He causes stagnation in the church by deceiving a leader into default by not being in place when they are expected to be or not operating at his or her highest level.
He blinds their minds and eyes where they don't see the importance of what they do and how their responsibility either helps or hinders the overall success of the ministry.
By not being consistent and carrying out their individual responsibilities with the greatest level of excellence, no matter how much better we may be than yesterday, we will never become the church of tomorrow that we envision..
Satan's desire is that he would make the strategies we are implementing useless because he knows that if there is division in any area that our strategies will not work. This is partially why Jesus said in Mark 3:25 that "a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Although we know these things, leaders are often used by satan to booby trap our own strategies and until this is corrected we will never attain the heights that God has for us.
This is a strategy of warfare that must be guarded against if we are ever going to attain the heights that God determined for us.
Our leadership here at New Horizons does not wield the sword of authority. We just understand that the authority we have has been given to us by Christ and as representatives of His Church, we have the responsibility to do things according to what He has placed on our hearts.
In doing so, we have been given the mandate to move our church forward and allow the Lord to build it according to His pattern for us which will look differently than the church down the street, around the corner, across town or in another state.
We must stay in rank and find out ways to move forward as one. We must use our knowledge, understanding and wisdom to advance our church and ward off the enemies attacks by having each other's backs “ not being used by him to throw a dagger at one another at close range.
When numbering the fighting men of the tribes of Israel, there is something quite interesting spoken about one of the tribes in First Chronicles 12:32:
¦of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command; 33 of Zebulun there were fifty thousand who went out to battle, expert in war with all weapons of war, stouthearted men who could keep ranks;
In verse 38 speaking of all the tribes of Israel it says
"All these men of war, who could keep ranks, came to Hebron with a loyal heart, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king.
One of the principles of great leadership is understanding the times to know what you are supposed to do as the sons of Issachar did and then understanding the "principle of rank as the men of Zebulun did.
You not only need to know when to do something by understanding the time in which you live, but how to do it when given the okay to advance.
The work "rank is a verb meaning "To put in order. It refers to organizing a group of soldiers; of their arranging themselves in order and in battle array. It also means to help; to aid, to support, to come to the aid of another.
To understand this principle of warfare, it takes understanding that "No one wins unless we all win! Because you won your battle and have overcome your issues and the things that you possibly faced for years, it doesn't mean you really won the war.
The mindset is often "I'm going to put my life, my ministry or my section in order. We proceed to overcome everything that opposes us after we get our breakthrough we stand on the sideline while a family member, church member another part of the church struggles. That's not being in rank.
In the ministry, we are here to assist one another and if someone is lacking, we pick up the slack. If someone needs help we don't wait until they are over their head in water, but look for ways to assist them without taking over their territory.
We must be able to assist another without feeling that we're a bother or feeling that they cannot make it without us. If you can't assist without being in charge you in essence become as the enemy who wants to do the same thing.
We must become skilled at warfare and stouthearted, meaning "courageous in heart and unyielding. The plan God has for you is to never give up as the best is always just ahead
We must hold our rank while remaining united with the leader as our scripture says "they had a loyal heart ¦ or they gave David firm and constant support; and further that "¦they were all of one mind to make David King over all Israel.
Divided leadership destroys and unified leadership all but guarantees victory.
Next we're told another strategy of war is to "Remove our emotions; keep calm and draw our enemy into battle with their anger.
This is one of the tactics that satan uses against us. Therefore this is a defensive strategy and we must make certain that we are not drawn into battle because we got mad.
When you fight mad, you are not fighting focused and you are more susceptible to making mistakes.
In our church, we speak a lot about character and allowing the fruit of the Spirit to prevail in our lives. Maybe you hear it so much that you take for granted that this really is the life that God commands us to live. Further you may have become so familiar with the term that you don't see it as a spiritual strategy in warfare.
The more we display this fruit, the more we frustrate the enemy's plan against us as he cannot understand why you are not "reacting to his attacks.
I said years ago that "We must become so filled with the Word of God that we act out what the Bible says and not react to what the enemy brings.
We must be steadfast in our walk with God and never fight because we just got mad at the devil because of an attack or because you're sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Fatigue will rob you of your endurance in the battle and if you're fighting from the perspective of "I can't stand it anymore then you will eventually run out of steam.
Never fail to realize that two of your weapons in warfare are the fruit of patience and the fruit of "self-control. This is not something that you do once in a while, but this is who you have become as a follower of Jesus Christ.
As you are patient and not fighting by reacting to what he brings, you frustrate the enemy and cause him to show his hand before he intends to and in ways that he didn't want to. This gives you strategies in prayer that you may not have had previously.