Every day I’m reminded that we are in a spiritual battle. I’m reminded when a friend requests prayer for a heavy burden, when I hear of someone giving into a destructive decision, when I feel personally worn down by temptation.
As I wrote about in previous posts, the battle is real and the stakes are high. Now for the gritty reality – how can we step up to spiritual battle to win, rather than being defeated time after time? We do well to adopt the attitude of Christ-following Civil War General Robert E. Lee:
I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me. I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God. –Robert E. Lee
Here are three actions we can take to win the battles we face:
1. Choose sides. The war between good and evil is not just waged on epic battlefields, it is just as present in seemingly mundane choices we face every day. You must choose which side you are on in any given encounter:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. – James 4:7-8
You can submit to God, or submit to the devil. If you tap into the resources God has provided, God will always provide a victory. We can only be defeated when we fail to utilize what He has provided.
2. Suit up. Humans are spiritually vulnerable without protection, just as a soldier is without armor. God has given us every piece of spiritual armor we need:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God…having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation… – Ephesians 6:13-17
Each of these pieces of armor was purchased and sealed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – He has gone before us and won the war against the Enemy. Pray through each of these pieces, believing by faith that Jesus bought them for you, and they are adequate to deliver you from the devil’s lies.
3. On guard. After the five defensive pieces of armor, there is one offensive weapon listed:
…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… – Ephesians 6:17
“Word” here is rhema, the spoken word of God. I believe there is significance in speaking the Word of God out loud when we are under attack. In the earthly face-off between the devil and Jesus, the devil offered Jesus dominion over all the kingdoms of the world if only Jesus would worship him.
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” – Luke 4:8
Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of our Enemy, but don’t cower in fear either. God has provided everything you need to win.