Kingdom skills

The two extremes of spiritual warfare

Like it or not, we were born again into a world at war.

Photo credit: The US Army (Creative Commons)

I often recall a story I was told of a soldier, fully clad in all his combat gear, sitting at a table outside a restaurant drinking a cup of coffee. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet. Although he was fully armed, there was one problem. He didn’t realize he was in a combat zone.

We are often like that soldier. We can be picked off by a fiery dart from the enemy because we are ignorant of his devices.

As believers, we tend to fall into one of two extremes when it comes to spiritual warfare.

  • We hunker down in our spiritual bunkers, content to be protected, but failing to engage in the spiritual battle that is going on all around us. Like toy soldiers, we have little or no impact on our spiritual enemy.
  • We see demons behind every tree, waging war against principalities and powers that are products of our imagination more than real entities. We attribute sin to the demonic, trying to cast it out when it needs a process of forgiveness and sanctification.

There is a real (spiritual) war going on and the church is meant to be on the offensive, fighting for the souls of those who don’t yet know Jesus.

5 replies on “The two extremes of spiritual warfare”

I sometimes think of us believers as Seal Team members sent on a hostage rescue mission. Jesus was the first to drop down the rope like Black Hawk Down. A couple verses/passages excite my imagination in this regard:

— Romans 5:7-8. If Jerry Seinfeld or Bill Gates were taken hostage and kept in a dungeon in Iran, we’d send in the Marines to get them back. But what Jesus did is like sending in the Marines to rescue Charles Manson.

— Psalm 68:4 (“Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts” (ESV)) paints a picture of God riding through the desert, like Sean Connery in “The Wind and the Lion” or “Lawrence of Arabia.”

The problem is, I think, we often see people as the enemy, when in fact they’re the hostages were being sent to rescue.

Dan, you make a key comment there – seeing people as the enemy when they’re really the hostages. So, so true. Father, remind us of that every day, every moment.

Our enemy is a prowling lion, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But the people are either lost sheep or found sheep…

There’s an interesting verse in Isaiah 49 that says this:
Who can snatch the plunder of war from the hands of a warrior?
Who can demand that a tyrant let his captives go?
25 But the Lord says,
“The captives of warriors will be released,
and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved.
For I will fight those who fight you,
and I will save your children.

Chris, I totally agree with what you say here.

Dan, I totally agree with you–and I love your analogy of Jesus rescuing Charles Manson. These blogs on spiritual warfare are leading towards a final blog on 2 Corinthians 10 where our spiritual weapons lead to the release of captives–tearing down strongholds of unbelief and every vain imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We can apply spiritual warfare to see others become disciples of Jesus. This truth is becoming increasingly relevant to Tony and me as we spend as much time as we can interceding for one of our family members.

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