Appendix C: The Disciple in Spiritual Warfare

We are in a daily war against powerful enemies:   the world system, our sin nature and Satan (Eph. 6:12).   We battle as soldiers of Christ (II Tim. 2:4).   We have important spiritual weapons of righteousness (II Cor. 6:7).   We must put on spiritual armor to be victorious (Eph. 6:16).

 

We have spiritual weapons.   These are:

 

            1.    Faith (Eph. 6:16; II Cor. 5:7).   We seek “great faith,” not a “little faith,” which Jesus condemned (Luke 24:25; Mark 16:14).   We seek mountain-moving faith (Mark 11:23).

 

            2.    Prayer (Eph. 6:18).   We must pray on Jesus Name (John 14:14), in faith (Mark 9:23), with personal purity (Psa. 24:3-4; 66:18) and with perseverance (I Thess. 5:17).   It accomplishes much (James 5:16).

 

            3.    The Word of God (Eph. 6:17).   It is likened to a fire (Jer. 5:14) and a hammer (Jer. 23:29).   It accomplishes whatever purposes God has in mind (Is. 55:11).   It will not fail even in the smallest detail (Matt. 5:18).   It is supernatural, accomplishing miracles.   It guides believers (Ps. 119:105, 130).   It encourages (Rom 15:4; I Thess. 4:18).   It acts as spiritual food for our souls (I Pet. 2:2; I Cor. 3:1-2).   We are called to “eat the Word” (Jer. 15:16), to claim its promises.   We must use it against our enemies, including the devil (Matt. 4:3-10) to refute unsound doctrine (Titus 1:9), uphold weary souls (Is. 50:4), sow the seed beside all waters” (Is. 32:20).   Good soldiers know well their weapons and how to use them.   Do you?

 

The disciple must be conscious of the fact that he or she is engaged in an intense, invisible at times, spiritual war with three deadly forces:   the world system, our fleshly nature, and the devil.   Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places [Satanic]) (Eph. 6:12).   That is why we are called in Scripture “ soldiers” for Christ (II Tim. 2:4).   It is a part of a soldier’s life to “endure hardness” (II Tim. 2:3).

 

As spiritual soldiers, we do not use physical weapons (II Cor. 10:4; II Tim. 4:7).   We use “weapons of righteousness” (II Cor. 6:7) in the power of God.   We have a spiritual armor.   Taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench the fiery darts (flaming arrows) of the evil one (the devil) (Eph. 6:16).   By this shield, we are aided in spiritual living.   The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews).   It is to be an offensive as well as a defensive weapon, in order to achieve God’s purposes.   Faith necessitates confidence, leading in Scripture to obedient action.   It, therefore, requires some word from the Lord as a secure foundation (John 2:22; Rom. 10:17).   It is not presumption.   It is much more than intuition.   It is not subjective but objective.  

 

How does faith work in practice?

 

            1.    It enables us to walk correctly without seeing (II Cor. 5:7).   It is not true that “seeing is believing.”

 

            2.    There is such a thing in Scripture as “little faith,” “great faith,” and sadly “no faith.”   To doubt is to forfeit hope of God’s responsive power and blessing (James 1:6-8).   Great faith moves mountains (Mark 11:23).   When in doubt, a good prayer is, “Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:5) so it will not fail under fire (Luke 22:32).   We must resist doubts and focus unhesitatingly upon the promises of God.   It is not right to spiritualize or allegorize the Scriptures while denying evident literal meaning.   The use of figures of speech does not oppose this concept.   It is not what critics call “wooden literalism.”

 

            3.    Faith may develop gradually as we mature, so we are exhorted to “ grow in faith” (II Thess. 1:3).   We learn to trust God in small matters and then grow to the point where we can trust Him in great matters, beyond human reckoning.

 

            4.    Faith is nurtured as we experience God’s providence for our lives and answers to specific prayers.   Our lives can be changed from impotency to power (Matt. 17:14-20).   We have the effective prayer when we sincerely invoke His Holy Name (Acts 19:11; John 14:13-14).

 

5.       The Lord rebuked a lack of faith.   He asked the disciples, “Where is your faith” (Luke 24:25; Mark 16:14).

 

6.       Faith must persevere if we are to experience reality.   We must “faint not” (Luke 18:1; Eph. 3:13; Heb. 12:3).   We must endure in our faith.

 

As noted above, we are given spiritual weapons by God.   Two major ones are:

 

            1.    The Weapons of the Word.   “Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17).   It cannot be broken or nullified (John 10:35).   Not a single dot or comma will fail until His promises are completed (Matt. 5:18).

 

                  How does the Word work in practice?   It is supernatural, beyond human possibilities.   It leads to the miracle of the new birth, deliverance from sin’s slavery, and other miraculous events.  

 

                  How is the Word used effectively?   You “eat the Word” (Jer. 15:16), assimilating it into your life.   You claim its promises, rather than store information and mentally agree (Rom. 4:20-21).   You use it against your enemies, including the devil (Matt. 4:3-10), saying simply,   “It is written.”   You can use it to refute unsound doctrine (Titus 1:9).   You can sustain one who is weary in spiritual life (Is. 50:4).   You can sow the seed in the hearts of the unconverted (Is. 32:20).

 

            2.    The Weapon of Prayer.   “Pray at all times in the Spirit with all perseverance” (Eph. 5:18), “without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17).   “The effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much” (James 5:16).   We must ask in His Name (John 14:14), pray in faith (Mark 9:23), pray with a life of personal purity (Ps. 24:3-4).   We must pray according to the will of God (I John 5:14).   We must remember that we are communicating with our all-powerful God, for whom “nothing is impossible” (Matt. 19:26).   No wonder that the disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

 

What is the conclusion of all this?   We must be ready for battle and know how to use our weapons as do all elite soldiers.   Thus, we cannot only be victorious, but be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37).