This week I received an emotional letter from a new reader; “I’ve been through a life-long journey of spiritual warfare since I can remember.” She then described one spiritual battle after another involving her personal experience with God, her marriage, her character development, and more. She’s worn out, afraid, and worried that she and those she cares about won’t be saved in the end. I felt tired for her as I read about all she is dealing with. (And I wrote my new friend back with some suggestions.)
Yes, we are in the middle of a war. And this war is much more dangerous and often feels more confusing than any involving terrorism. Sometimes we fight and struggle and worry until we are completely spent in body, mind, and soul. And sometimes we give up in either small or large ways for periods of time; we’re not winning, so why keep trying? The hopelessness and weariness overwhelm us until the fear or guilt whip our fragmented souls into flinging around a sword once more in a futile attempt to defeat what we cannot see but believe must be there.
Is that the picture of spiritual warfare we are doomed to live with?
If that’s the way you feel, I want to plead with you right now – STOP IT ALREADY!
I’ve seen and heard from too many frustrated, worn out, defeated, discouraged believers who feel duty bound to keep fighting but experience no victory. I’ve spent sad periods of my own life that way in the past also.
And I know there’s a better way!
How NOT to Fight a Spiritual Battle
Some teaching on spiritual warfare has done us a disservice. If fighting a spiritual battle is all about an individual believer, or a group of believers, discovering or mustering up some superior spiritual weapon to go out swashbuckling against the devil, then you and I are sunk!
The devil has been around a lot longer than you and I have been. He’s smart, devious, and filled with a cosmic and violent hatred against God and a vicious insatiable rage against all those on God’s side – including you and me. Too many people have been seriously wounded – spiritually and otherwise – as they go flinging around their spiritual weapons thinking they can defeat him.
So for now step away from your own spiritual battles, and think about Jesus when He was here on earth. He never went around looking for a spiritual battle to fight. But whenever evil presented itself – people controlled by demons, evil suggestions by even His closest friends, or the devil himself – Jesus responded with calmness, clarity, and complete authority. He displayed no hint of fear, anxiety, or frenzy, even when the fate of the world was literally in His hands.
So again, if you’re weary of fighting, guilty over losing spiritual battles, or anxious about techniques to defeat the kingdom of darkness, STOP IT ALREADY!
What the Spiritual Battle is About
May I remind you of something your head knows, but your heart has probably never fully appreciated. Jesus has won! You don’t have to go out there and defeat the devil; that’s already been accomplished! Jesus defeated the devil – eternally – not with force or flinging around spiritual swords, but with love and sacrifice. He now holds the keys of death and hell. The end of the story has been written – and Jesus wins!
Yes, you and I will face the crossfire still going on in this battle between good and evil, God’s kingdom of light and Satan’s kingdom of darkness. We will undoubtedly get wounded as a result. We need all the best spiritual armor and weapons the Bible talks about. But the point of this war is not power or territory; this war is about who has your heart. It’s about Who you will love, obey, honor, respect, and worship. Tweet that.
That ends up being very close to home.
- Will you give your allegiance to money or power here and now? Or will you run your business with integrity while laying up treasure in heaven?
- Will you treat people around you, including your spouse, as means to an end for your own benefit? Or will you take the long view, seeking to know how God would have you interact with each one for the benefit of His kingdom?
- Will you listen to the many voices clamoring for your attention from people, media, or the devil himself? Or will you choose to quiet your heart as you listen for and obey the Holy Spirit’s voice to your soul?
How to WIN a Spiritual Battle
While winning spiritual battles may not be easy, it’s not that complicated. Here are the 3 keys. And this is all God asks of any one of us.
- Make the decision which side you’re on. There are only two sides, and the choice is yours. The devil may use deceit, force, or confusion; God will only draw you with His Spirit and give you a choice. If you choose to believe in your heart that Jesus is your Lord, you are saved. You’re on the winning side. It’s done. (Acts 16:31)
- Stick around in God’s presence long enough for Him to change you. You cannot change yourself. When the Holy Spirit puts His finger on something in your life and says, “This right here; let Me have this,” let Him have it! Your part in the matter is to keep coming back into God’s presence over and over again, and in His presence you WILL be changed. Your character WILL become increasingly like Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
- When God tells you to do something, just do it. God does have a purpose for you. He not only saves you from sin and evil; He saves you for something good. You don’t need to become anxious and worried about missing your purpose; just determine that when God tells you to do something, you will do it – little or big, scary or mundane, dangerous or surprising. He makes Himself responsible for the results; you just do what He tells you. (Ephesians 2:10)
In the end, that’s what it means to walk in Christ’s victory. It’s not white-knuckling it, flinging around some spiritual weapon, or wearing yourself out trying to win. God’s got this! Therefore your part is to choose to believe, stick around, and follow where He leads you.
And the best news? We know the end of the story. Jesus wins! And so do we if we’re on His side.
Your Turn: Have you become weary in spiritual warfare? Does this understanding of what your role is help you to be less anxious? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Winning spiritual battles may not be easy, but it’s not that complicated. These 3 keys always apply. Tweet that.
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