Strategic Warfare: How to Thrive on the Battleground

Okay, it’s not a secret in my house, so I might as well share it with you: I hate almost all bugs. God has a purpose for all living things . . . I know that.

However, I find it quite rude when vermin sneak around my house, bite or sting at will, and then mosey back to their little hideaways.

I also hate bacteria and viruses because they are invisible to the naked eye. How well can we fight something potentially deadly that we can’t even see?

Viruses are agents of doom in many ways. The ultimate freeloader, a virus must have a living host (plant, animal, human) to survive. The virus sneaks in, captures healthy cells, replicates itself, and sends out an army of virus warriors . . . in the form of cancer, the common cold, AIDS. Invisible. Deadly.

Several months ago, my son came down with a nasty, parasitic stomach virus. I went into war-mode—sterilizing everything in the house.

He took tons of supplements and vitamins, half of which came back up or out with all the power, pressure, and volume of a volcano. This continued for over a month until, finally, there was victory!

The Evil One

While treating my son, I thought of another invisible creature who comes to destroy life.

This crafty, vile, aggressive, ominous being relentlessly seeks to devour humans. He doesn’t eat human cells; he hunts down and consumes human souls. This invisible killer is Satan.

Yet half of American Christians don’t believe Satan exists. How clever of the Enemy, isn’t it? Like viruses, the invisible enemy’s MO is to seek . . . then destroy.

Here are some truths about Satan we must always remember:

  • Satan is an angelic creature (Ezekiel 28:12–16).
  • Satan cannot act unless God allows it (Job 1:6–12; Luke 22:31).
  • Satan is the enemy and accuser of humans (Zechariah 3:1–2).
  • He attempts to attack and ensnare us (Ephesians 4:27; 6:11; 1 Timothy 3:7).
  • He has various names throughout Scripture:
    • “Devil”—slanderer of God’s people
    • “Satan” —adversary
    • “Destroyer”—destructive and deceiving

Read Ephesians 6:12:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (NLT)

Satan wages an invisible war against God’s people . . . a war that we need to be prepared for.

I read through 1 Peter’s passage in chapter 5 on the Enemy while my son was sick. Peter directed his letter to suffering and hurting Christians scattered in the diaspora and in need of hope and encouragement.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

Stay Alert!

Could that be any clearer? Because Scripture mentions Satan more than 50 times, it seems like an important “heads-up” in my mind. The smartest way to trick or deceive anyone is to have him or her believe lies—and the biggest lie is that we have no enemy. That’s like saying,

Hey, what’s there to worry about? I don’t believe in bugs or viruses. Let’s all huddle up and cough and sneeze on each other!

How completely comical (and crazy)!

Those who believe lies or who remain ignorant, dismissive, or relatively lax about their physical health eventually encounter a health compromise.

(Image from FreeImages)

1 + 1 = 2. It’s a No-brainer

The same is true spiritually. If we believe there’s no enemy and dismiss the warnings of the Bible, then we’re sitting ducks for dreadful spiritual compromise. What we need is a battle plan.

Ephesians 6:10–18 outlines how to suit up for spiritual battle!

  • 6:10: Know God and draw on His strength. No one can fight what is invisible, powerful, and deadly by his or her own power. We must draw our strength from God.
  • 6:12: Focus and fight the real enemy—who is not the lady who took your seat in church last week or the couple who chooses to eat or drink something you don’t agree with. How easy we make it for the Enemy to sweep in and crush us while we focus on the petty and unimportant. If you have time to gossip, ruminate, write hateful letters to the pastor, or cause division in your Bible study, you have too much time on your hands, quite honestly. Leave the people-devouring to the Enemy, and make disciples instead.
  • 6:14: Stand firm. Make a conscious, unwavering decision to endure the battle, regardless of today’s circumstances. God promises to be faithful, help, rescue, provide, and fight for you. When warfare wages long and hard, focus on truth, pursue righteousness, and cling to Christ.

Exercise your soul daily. To be physically strong, we must commit to a plan. To be spiritually strong, we must exercise our faith in the same way. That means . . .

  • Regularly reading Scripture
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Confessing sin immediately
  • Forgiving repeatedly
  • Obeying continually
  • Praying unceasingly
  • Remaining in constant contact with the heavenly Father

Walk with confidence, not fear. First John 4:4 reminds us:

The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (NIV)

We are already victorious when our faith is in Jesus Christ—the One who made us, loves us, and longs for us to place our full trust in Him.

Let Me Hear from You

My son was born with a compromised immune system. In fact, on several occasions, the doctors weren’t sure he would live. Thankfully, Jon is alive today.

His health is a daily battle which requires an ordered regimen we follow carefully. In the same way, we must follow an ordered regimen for our spiritual health.

Are you attending to your soul consistently? Do you remain battle ready? What kinds of habits do you practice that will help you to, as James 4:7 says, “resist the devil,” so that “he will flee from you”? Let’s connect this week.

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