Are You Fighting the Wrong War?

Benjamin West: Death on the Pale Horse, 1817

The current culture inundates us with ideas, concepts and arguments that are completely hostile to what we know God tells us is correct. Everything from our origins to our basic biology are under attack. Even the very existence of God is angrily denounced. It sometimes seems that we are constantly defending the most basic concepts of Christianity. Even ideas of basic humanity that were once universally accepted are subject to ridicule.

There are many voices who are defending against these attacks and even some have taken the offensive against the influences that war against right thinking. So far, this has mostly been a war of words, although it has also begun to be fought on an economic battlefield as well. On these battlefields, the arsenal of the ungodly is impressive. The war of words is dominated by worldwide media organizations and the economic battles are besieged by banks and multi-billion dollar corporations. Given the current parameters, How can God’s people successfully defend against these influences?

If what we are concerned about is defending our own thinking, Then the Apostle Paul clearly defined the body armor necessary in his letter to the Ephesians. “ Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the [b]wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places……… Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation”, Ephesians 6:11-17. However, I don’t believe you can win a war by being purely defensive. Even the best fortifications will eventually crumble under constant assault.

Paul immediately follows the list of armor by referencing one offensive weapon, “And take….the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” . Please notice that he did not separate the word of God and prayer, but referenced them as one. Praying in the Spirit is the weapon God has given us to overcome spiritual forces arrayed against us.

Many people can’t conceive of prayer as a weapon. That’s because the only prayer they are familiar with are either formal, repetitive prayers taught by tradition or prayers trying to convince God to give us our needs and desires. The prayer Paul is referencing is very different. He stipulates that these prayers must be “in the Spirit”, Meaning that they must originate from the Holy Spirit. To Pray like this, we must move into a place where we are aligned with God’s thoughts and desires, not our own.

Paul talks about waging this kind of war in his second letter to the Corinthian Church, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. This is a verse that I memorized as a young man. I always heard it taught in reference to battling our own wrong thinking but when I read it in context, I realized Paul was not altering his thoughts but the thoughts of others.

Because these would obviously be very powerful weapons I began to ask people I respected what these weapons were and no one was able to give an answer. After some years, I came up with a revolutionary Idea. Why not ask God? Eventually, He answered me, (while standing in the shower) making the link with the verse I referenced in Ephesians earlier. Prayer in the Spirit is how we alter wrong ideas, thoughts, attitudes in others by battling their spiritual sources. Paul said that these weapons are not for warfare in this world they are spiritual.

Next time we will look into this spiritual battle and how prayer will win the day. I hope you will return as we discuss this next time.

 

All scriptures are from the New King James Version

 

important topic. Spiritual Warfare

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