an article from the From the Founder column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 6: Number 4, 1993.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
Christians need to recognize the reality of spiritual conflict and warfare. We are born in conflict -- against the world, against our carnal natures, and against the Devil. And if you do not know the nature of your enemy -- if you do not know who your foes are -- you can't fight. It's only when you realize what you're up against that you can be victorious.
The Bible says we must stand against such foes as Christian soldiers (2 Tim. 2:4). When God calls you into the church of Jesus Christ, you have enlisted in the army of God. You can truthfully sing, "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war," because you are at war.
The moment you enlist in the army of God, you personally become a target. You need to remember that if you're living for and walking with Jesus Christ, the powers of darkness are aligned against you. You are on Satan's hit list! The following four principles will help you be victorious in spiritual warfare as a Christian soldier.
Learn to Endure Hardship. 2 Timothy 2:3 tells us: "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." If you want to be a soldier, you need to get in shape. You can't go out and fight hand-to-hand combat when you're loaded with flab. If you're sitting on your surpluses, the enemy is going to have you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You need to strengthen your spiritual muscles and gear up your spiritual reflexes. You need to be able to respond. If you can't respond in physical combat, you die. It's as simple as that. Likewise, you must learn to respond in spiritual combat, or you become spiritually wounded.
A key to strengthening spiritual muscles and enduring hardship is finding strength in the Word of God. Never forget this: ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of the Lord Jesus Christ. And ignorance of Christ is ignorance of your own defense. You can't defend yourself unless you are walking in the light with Him.
Be Self-Controlled and Alert. You must learn to "be self-controlled and alert" for "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). There's no such thing as a sleepy, successful soldier. Sleepy soldiers -- soldiers who are not alert -- have one thing in common. They're all dead. God says if you want to succeed in spiritual war, you must be self-controlled and alert. Only then will you be able to spiritually discern and resist the enemy's subtle attacks.
Maintain Faith in Christ. Faith is absolutely critical to victory in spiritual conflict. Scripture tells us: "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:4-5). Our faith is in Jesus Christ -- the divine Conqueror -- who admonishes His followers: "Take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Christ imparts the capacity of conquest to our lives every single day that we are willing to believe Him. You need to get up in the morning and say, "Lord Jesus, I believe you have conquered the world. Conquer today through me. I believe in you. Give me victory. Take away my doubts. Give to me the measure of faith that is necessary for me to survive today."
Put On Spiritual Armor. Ephesians 6:11 tells us: "Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Are you catching this? You can stand against Satan. You can be victorious.
Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks of the various pieces of spiritual armor God has provided us. Nobody goes out to war in their underwear. You go out with 30 or 40 pounds of equipment.
There are Christians running around today in their spiritual underwear, trying to conduct spiritual warfare against our powerful enemy. And they don't understand why the flaming arrows of the wicked one are sticking out of their spiritual derrieres.
You must put on the whole armor of God -- the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness to preach the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:10-20). These are God's gifts for spiritual conquest.
Note that every piece of armor in Ephesians 6 is for the front of the body. There isn't a single piece for your rear end. Do you know why? Because soldiers do not turn around in the middle of combat, they go forward. And the reason some Christians become ineffective and weak and drained is that in the midst of conflict and combat, they fail to believe in Jesus Christ and they turn around and run away. And the flaming arrows of the wicked one have lodged in their spiritual rumps.
There is only one way to get your strength back: get down on your knees and confess your sins, ask Jesus Christ to pull out the arrows, and then apply what we've learned: endure hardship as a soldier of Christ, be self-controlled and alert, maintain faith in Christ, and put on the armor of God. God will give you the victory. You can count on it!
These words were excerpted and adapted from the tape, "Spiritual Warfare" (C-147). It can be ordered from CRI for $6.00.
End of document, CRN0065A.TXT (original CRI file name), "Insights on Spiritual Warfare" release A, July 15, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.
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