What About Spiritual Warfare?
Just how much does God want his people involved in spiritual warfare? For the last decade or more prayer walks, intercession in a city's high places, and discerning and rebuking principalities over a region have become quite a fad in the body of Christ, especially among Charismatic groups. Are these efforts spiritually significant or another distraction of religion? Wayne and Brad jump into this too-little discussed topic and try to confuse it even more. Well, they hope not, but they do sort out some of the myths and the realities of what it means to live redemptively in the storm-drenched culture in which we live.
The other day I was attempting to encourage a man with regards to the goodness of God and Godâ€™s care for the manâ€™s children. I was attempting to encourage him to trust God regarding some of His concerns. I was not encouraging him to operate in denial, but attempting to encourage him to move out of the destructiveness of inappropriate fear. He appeared to experience some encouragement from our conversation. His wife caught some of the end of our conversation and she threw a trump card into the conversation. My â€œtrust God cardâ€ was trumped by a â€œwatch out for the devilâ€ card. She wanted to remind us that devil is a present reality and he is in our midst to steal, kill, and destroy.
As I was driving away from that interaction, I thought about our perceptions of reality. I specifically thought that at times we have misconceptions regarding the ineffectiveness of God and the effectiveness of the devil. Sometimes our devil is too big and our God is too small. So how would a destructive misconception of reality like this affect us? I think it may contribute to us having less trust in the Father, and it may contribute to us operating in more fear and anxiety with regards to the enemy of our trust (ironically he would therein have some measure of success regarding what he is attempting to accomplish in the earth).
So in endeavoring to not be unaware of the enemyâ€™s schemes, I believe we need to be aware of one of his primary schemes: attempting to destroy our trust in the ability and goodness of God. I am encouraged that God is working in the Body to move us deeper into the way of trust, and further away from the barrier of inappropriate fear. I pray that we can go deeper into a discovery of the ability and goodness of God.
Your brother in Republic, Missouri – Rob Horton
Some great thoughts you’ve posted. I can totally relate to what you’re thinking & it confirms what God told me several days ago.
I’ve been dealing with some symptoms that just won’t go away & I’ve tried everything from doctore to herbal remedies to prayer. Well, one of the symptoms came back & I dealt with frustration as well as fear.
As I was meditating on various healing Scriptures, I asked Father to reveal to me the root cause as to why I was all of a sudden dealing with several ailments. He pointed me to fear & let me know that these ailments were unmasking the fear that was hidden in me & He was inviting me to let Him deal with it.
I read several Scriptures about fear & stopped at 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Then, He took me to an even deeper root–a lack of understanding about His love & my failure to live deeply in that love. Fear was covering up my inability to accept that God loves me & will takes care of me no matter what the circumstance.
As I seek to understand His love, I don’t know if that will take care of the symptoms, but I do know that I’ll experience the joy & freedom that comes from living in His love.
Aida In South Carolina
Okay, Brad & Wayne… Yes, I am still listening even after 6 years of patient waiting for the subject of spiritual warfare to be arraigned and brought to justice. I’m glad you decided to tackle it. It was interesting to hear your perspectives.
Hearing the subject addressed from the vantage point of affecting “the culture” was enlightening. It resonnated. I have experienced some of the hooplah surrounding zealous attempts to whup up on the devil and take back the nation or the city or whatever, and have ended up wondering “what the heck just happened?” I also don’t want to make light of sincere attempts to be a part of God’s victories. In fact, if I understood, I probably lean a little bit more toward your perspective, Brad.
I guess what I would like to understand more though is the role each of us has in battling the principalities and powers Paul addresses in Ephesians 6. Got your point about Daniel, Wayne, but Paul does directly say that WE WRESTLE and STRUGGLE against those bad guys. Paul then tells individuals to put on the armor. Don’t want to make too much of an analogy, but there is both an offensive weapon as well as defensive armor. Some fighting going on there, it seems. He caps it off by telling the Ephesians to have faith and pray with a lot of variety. That seems to energize the warrior.
If what I am supposed to do is “relax” — Peterson’s paraphrase of Jesus in Matthew 6, and “rest” –Jesus again in Matthew 11, then the warrior language doesn’t help. It does not lead to relaxing and resting. I’ve gotta tell you, I like the relaxing and resting bit that our Father is leading me into. So much of my life has been effort after effort of trying to work harder and harder to do what I thought was God’s bidding. Hey! Those words of Jesus are refreshing!
I guess what I’m saying is that you seemed to address the public side of the spiritual warfare craze, the side that wants to “influence the culture.” What about the private side? We see this strong personal challenge to “suit up” and get ready to fight and parry the blows of the enemy. And then we see Jesus soothing, comforting words to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Publicly living loved and incarnating incarnating Father’s love is one thing. I agree with how you guys came down on that. That was helpful. Thanks. Now, how about the battle that takes place in the private soul and with the flesh? Did you address this much? Maybe I missed it.
You know, I really am not worried or torn up about this, even though it may sound like it. Got a long ways to go, but I am really enjoying learning how to lived loved. It’s such a new sensation for me!
Love what you guys are doing!
One of the components of our armor is the shoes of peace. I love that image. It is like walking into battle wearing my pink furry bath slippers. So my mind flies immediately to Gideon who went to battle with 300 men, pots, torches and trumpets. As they became light and sound to the enemy, the enemy turned on itself with man after man drawing his sword on his friend. Gideon’s army didn’t shed a drop of blood. God held the vicotry just as he holds it now.
Be the light and the sound. God does the rest.