Continuing thoughts around Luke 10.
Luke 11: 20-22 says this: But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.
Like it or not, we were born (again) into a world at war. We minimize the danger to our cost. When Jesus sends us out (ie we are on the offensive) as lambs among wolves, we need to be aware of the spiritual warfare we go into and take precautions accordingly.
What are the possessions and belongings of the strong man in the above verse? They are the people who are held captive by Satan. Part of our warfare is binding the strong man and plundering his goods which is what happens when we prayer walk (Luke 10:2). As we enter into spiritual warfare, we need to go fully armed (Ephesians 6) and not ignorant of his (Satan's) devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
A story from India: We were speaking at a conference with a well known Indian church planter. One of the activities he had the attendees do was go out prayer walking around the temples and shrines in the local area at 4 am in the morning. The reason for the early hour was to be before the devotees of other religions. (I would like to tell you that Tony and I participated in this, but it would be a lie–we were sleeping soundly!) Later that morning, we were all gathered on a flat rooftop and people were recounting their experiences as they prayer walked. Suddenly there was a commotion. We didn't understand what was going on until someone explained to us that the kitchen, which was on the next floor down, was on fire. We went and looked and sure enough, flames were exploding out the door. Apparently a propane tank had been wrongly installed. Everyone was praying. It took the local firemen 20 minutes and a full tank of water to put the fire out.
However, the amazing thing was when we went to inspect the damage later, there was none. There was one singed blanket and a melted bucket. There were glass jars immediately above the stove; they were not even cracked. There was no evidence of any smoke damage and the flames had apparently touched nothing!
What had happened? When we asked our Indian friend, he said that our prayer walking had stirred up opposition. (He had understood that there would be people praying protection on those prayer walking, but the organizer of the conference had failed to arrange this.) Hence the fire. But the prayers of the saints had prevented anything or anyone from being harmed.
Should we be alarmed by such a story? No! We are on the winning side. We have complete authority over the enemy and he cannot harm us (Luke 10:17-19). The battle is not so obvious here in the West as it is in India, but we need to put on our armor when we go out against the enemy.
If we are going where and when Jesus has told us (Luke 10:1) then even when we go to the wolves, Jesus is with us. And we can see the captives of the strong man set free.