Winning the Battle When the War Rages On
Spiritual warfare is very real, and some experience it more than others. I believe that is contingent upon God’s calling upon our lives and what is expedient for us to fulfill it. I can personally speak to this because I have lived a life of consistent spiritual warfare, some of which has been incredibly intense, and surprisingly much of it occurred before I ever knew the LORD. In fact, I was subjected to much of it as a child. Therefore, after I came to Christ, there was a lot of ground to take back from the enemy who tried to steal, kill, and destroy my very life. There have been occasions when no one could venture into that battlefield with me but Jesus Christ Himself. Christ was my sole companion, and I was ultimately dependent upon Him to overcome. Those moments created an intimacy with Him that I would not trade for anything. I would have never known Him in that way unless I encountered such a vicious enemy. And I did overcome, not because of who I am, but because of who He is. He is the ONE TRUE LIVING ALMIGHTY GOD WHO CANNOT BE DEFEATED!!!
Christ is faithful to His elect. You should know that I’ve had my very life on the line more than once. I know what it’s like to suffer a grueling and private torture: physically, emotionally and spiritually. I know what it is to come face to face with the enemy. I know what it is to be threatened. I know what it is to lose the battle and wonder why. I know what it is to win, wondering how it happened, and be exhausted. I know what it’s like to escape by the skin of my teeth what should have put me six feet under. And I know what it is to walk in the grace of God wherein He takes it upon Himself saying, “Hands off. This one is Mine to fight.”
The greater your calling: the greater the threat you become, and the more there is to fight for in the LORD. It’s safe to say you will encounter a greater warfare and perhaps more frequent spiritual battles. That is evidenced time and again throughout the Bible. The proof is there should you desire to seek it.
I’m still here by the grace of God. The call on my personal life has demanded many fierce fights. And I know I’m not alone in saying that. What has your calling demanded? Are you surprised by what you’ve encountered and the enemies you’ve had to fight?
The oppression that accompanies spiritual warfare will produce two things:
A humble dependency upon God, and
a desperate intimacy with God
that absolutely cannot be developed any other way.
That is not to say that one does not grow weary. If you are weary because of the fight demanded of you, regardless of its kind, this post is for you. I want you to know that you’re in good company here. I’m no novice, and I say that very, very humbly. I’ve learned some hard lessons that have come only by great suffering. There is a lot of misunderstanding about spiritual warfare out there which leaves people paralyzed with fear and fumbling with defeat. It’s time to understand God’s strategy that He’s set forth.
People experience defeat when they fail to take orders from their Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. This comes by one of two things:
- Spiritual arrogance and pride, by which they go off half-cocked, diving headlong into battle based upon their assumptions and speculations, and thereby become ensnared by the enemy.
- Spiritual naiveté and ignorance, by which they fail to fight the fight of faith effectively and fall into doubt, discouragement, depression and despair.
In this post I’m going to highlight some key things that can help launch you into victory and give you that spiritual edge you may need to overcome and endure to the end. My prayer is that you find this post very encouraging and spiritually nourishing. At the end, I have listed specific texts I recommend you take the necessary time to read.
Facing the Raging Battle
I have many times felt like my life was just one constant unceasing battle. It was literally one thing after another. One thing the enemy loves to do is keep you busy and distracted in putting out fires that are completely unrelated to your key target. You’ve got to be able to discern which battles are truly yours, and leave the rest to God. That was something I had to learn early on. I had, just as Paul said, battles within and those without. The world, the flesh, and the devil are all very real spiritual enemies. But you can only wage excellent warfare when you’re able to remain focused.
Again, I am no novice when it comes to spiritual warfare. I have some diamonds to share. I’ve encountered it my entire life. For years I didn’t know why, but I clearly understand it now. That is no longer a mystery. God has purposed me for a very unique calling, just as He has purposed you for a unique calling. Case and point is this: God will train you in His boot camp of choice to make sure you are well-equipped and prepared for whatever it is He’s called you to perform and fulfill. He tailors that boot camp just for you. And if you seem to go through more than the average ‘joe’, don’t be discouraged. Be encouraged!
Some of the greatest men and women of God in the Bible faced what I call a “lifestyle” of spiritual warfare. And rest assured, it was no fault of their own. They had legitimate enemies for no other reason than their anointing, because of God’s call on their lives. The most notorious one I can think of is King David. When I read his story, I can somehow relate (not literally, however). King Saul pursued him from pillar to post with the intent of murdering him in cold blood. What drove him to do this? An evil spirit from the LORD. But God’s anointing was upon David, who was chosen by God to lead His people Israel. David lived for YEARS being pursued by King Saul. But this was not time wasted. In fact, it was precisely what trained David to become the man of the hour. It trained him to overcome in the many battles he would fight and win on behalf of Israel. It refined his character in preparation for kingship. It deepened his intimacy with the LORD. It grew his faith. It matured him as a man in numerous areas. It sharpened his wisdom. And it fortified his obedience. By the time Saul died, David wept for him.
I honestly don’t know if I could do that. Do you? If not, that’s my point exactly. Warfare is not without purpose. God will use it to your advantage in refining you and purifying you.
With that said, what are you called to do? Do you know and understand your purpose? If so, write it down and keep it before you. Because it’s very possible that what you’re encountering is precisely what will strategically prepare you to fulfill your calling in the LORD.
Embracing Victory Victoriously
Before you get started there’s something you need to know:
NEWSFLASH: You can gain and embrace victory in a manner that will set you up for defeat.
You may wonder what I mean by this, but the key is knowing how to win any given battle while keeping a strategic focus that will enable you to stay on top of the game. Your enemy never sleeps. He’s always on the prowl. And there’s only one way to stay ahead of him: You’ve got to be constantly prepared, and that means a TIGHT, TIGHT INTIMACY WITH CHRIST. Let me give you an example of what we are often tempted to do once a victory is secured:
When a particular battle is won, the first thing people are inclined to do is praise God, drop their weapons, and fall into a spiritual bed. We then fall into a spiritual slumber or stupor. It process goes something like this:
- We experience relief.
- We celebrate and praise God.
- We then let down our guard.
- We get spiritually sleepy, and sometimes even lazy.
- We don’t anticipate another attack, nor do we prepare for one.
- We underestimate our enemy who is then able to catch us by surprise, and we are ensnared.
- We misinterpret our victory in the battle as being a final destination of sorts, having lost the reality that there’s still a war to be won.
When you win a victory that is the time to ramp up!
The Divine Strategy
Rule #1 – Jesus Christ never loses a battle. Never. It can’t happen. He is the Mighty Warrior. He has overcome all. There is absolutely nothing and no one that can or will ever defeat Him. It’s simply impossible. So when He enlists you for war, He also promises you the victory, provided you are taking orders directly from Him.
Rule #2 – Any battle you face, you are slated to win. That is always the default. Christ does not and He will not allow things to come against you that are destined to defeat you. You are destined to overcome in Him. However, whether or not you ultimately win is solely determined by your direct obedience to His command. Sometimes His commands don’t make sense, and that requires a tight intimate relationship with Christ built on unwavering trust.
Rule #3 – Jesus Christ is your Commander-in-Chief. Never make a move in spiritual warfare apart from His direction. Wait upon God and seek His face for orders. When He gives them – TAKE YOUR ORDERS AND OBEY WITHOUT DELAY.
Rule #4 – Don’t make the mistake of focusing on your enemy. That will always prove to be a trap. Seek God! Give Him your full attention! You must literally come to ‘attention’ at your Commander-in-Chief. Christ will reveal your enemy to you in every way necessary for you to win – in ways you never imagined possible. When you get private intelligence from the LORD, never reveal it. Guard and keep what He shows you. He’ll make you wiser than your enemies. And if you obey Him in the strategy He reveals you’ll always be a step ahead of your enemy.
Rule #5 – Fight the fight of faith. That means having done all, you stand, being ready to endure unto the very end. Learning how to stand, believe it or not, is sometimes the hardest part of the fight. It requires the greatest endurance, and it may last much longer than you anticipated. This is when you don’t get to do anything but believe and trust, and you may not see or sense anything happening at all. Many times this is when God fights for you, and you get to stand and watch the mighty hand of God on your behalf.
Rule #6 – Never let down your guard. Ever. Regardless of your battles won, the war will always rage on. So if you’re expecting unceasing rest, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Rule #7 – God is faithful to give you seasons of divine rest when you need them. Use them to your advantage and beef up spiritually.
Rule #8 – Humility is required before God to win any battle you face. When we humble ourselves before God we have the promise that He will life us up, making us strong, sure, steadfast and immovable. He is the only one who can secure our victory. We cannot do that apart from Him. Period.
Rule #9 – The war never stops. Just remember that. As long as you are serving Christ, you will be an active duty citizen of His Kingdom. You’re enlisted by default.
Rule #10 – Keep your spiritual sword sharp. That means staying in the Word of God deliberately, whether you feel like it or not, and making His word the supreme authority in your life. His Word is spirit and life. It is absolute truth. Don’t be led astray by other voices. Read, pray and obey His word faithfully. His word is the Sword of the Spirit that is your offensive weapon. It will always bring you victory when used appropriately.
YOU NEED MORE THAN SCRIPTURE AND INTERCESSION TO WIN A FIGHT.
YOU NEED OBEDIENCE.
AND YOU CAN’T OBEY IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO TAKE ORDERS.
Again, in using David’s example, he wandered all over the proverbial map trying to escape Saul. That even meant going into enemy territory, disguising himself as one of them, and ‘making friends’. When we read of David’s story it’s not only fascinating, but it’s harrowing. This godly anointed man lived in a constant state of suspense. Saul hunted him like a dog in rabid jealousy. What’s even more surprising is that God allowed it, and some would even say He initiated it by giving the evil spirit to Saul which drove him to pursue David’s life. Saul pursued David until the day he died. He never gave up on him. I think that is something worth noting.
David was a man after God’s own heart. He always had a special intimacy with Him. David’s life was marked by two things: worship and warfare. It was during this time of intense persecution that David learned obedience to God on a whole new level. His very life depended upon it. That dependency was absolute. Whatever intimacy David had with the Lord prior to that was proven shallow, yet he had a great foundation to build upon in this area. David was going to be the King of Israel, the shepherd of God’s chosen people. He was God’s chosen man for the job. He carried both the promise and the anointing from God upon His life. God was faithful to David leading him every step of the way. He always escaped Saul, and God even tested him by giving Saul into his hand on several accounts. Yet David did him no harm. Why? Because he didn’t listen to his comrades. Nor was he tempted by his own will. He listened to his God. And in due time Saul fell dead, being plundered by his own sword. In conclusion, David finally took the throne at the pleasure of God and the celebration of His people.
I can’t personally imagine what David went through. David went on to fight and win many battles on behalf of Israel, and he understood the divine strategy set forth: Strict obedience to God. He took his orders from Him. And God would show David how to fight, when to fight, and what strategy to use for a particular enemy. It was different every time. It was never the same. And so David learned very well, that if God was not with him, he wasn’t going to war. Period. It was that simple.
In the Body of Christ we can get very wrapped up in our Mode of Operation assuming we know how to get it done. In such cases, there is no greater danger than assumption.
Believers make the grave mistake of diving headlong into spiritual warfare without seeking God or establishing spiritual boundaries set forth by the LORD. I’ve known several individuals who have gone full throttle into enemy territory, truly believing they understood the strategy because they were Spirit-filled believers. Yet they’d been whipped by the enemy. Some of them are no longer alive. Why? Not because God failed them. But because they failed to seek God first and obey His orders. The enemy is real, and he does have power. He does prowl about seeking whom he may devour. That intent is not without purpose. Never assume anything upon the enemy or upon God. Don’t ever dive headlong into enemy territory without taking the necessary time to seek God for the following:
1.) The permission to pursue your enemy. Is this a battle God is enlisting you to fight? Because only God can give your enemy into your hands. If God is not with you in the battle (for whatever reason) you will go it alone. That means you will lose. There are times when God does not permit us to fight a particular battle, and He commands us to trust Him. That fundamental trust and belief is a grace that is sufficient in Him when He deems it to be so.
2.) The strategy that will bring ultimate defeat. God will give you inside information revealing things about your enemy no one else could ever know.
3.) The specifics: What, when, who, where, why, and how.
4.) Preparation through prayer. Seek God’s face and wait on Him. If you’re in a battle that is raging around you, don’t be tempted to act in haste. Surrendering to God and taking cover in Him is the strategy that will protect you. He is faithful to guard and keep you, and give you the divine instruction you’re seeking.
5.) Enlisting backup. When you’re overwhelmed in the battle, it’s time to call for backup. You need support. Don’t try to go it alone. You need brothers and sisters who are willing to enlist alongside you, who understand your plight. There are those who will be willing and able as experienced and seasoned warriors, and there will be those who don’t have a clue what you’re going through or how to fight for you. The mere thought will terrify them. Trust God to enlist the appropriate individuals. You can ask, but only He can enlist. Respect whether or not they take up arms on your behalf. Respect their boundaries and abilities in the LORD. If they can merely believe with you for victory, that prayer of agreement is one God will surely honor.
We all need rest. God gives rest to His people. And if you need it, ask Him for it.
There are times of divine rest, which God will grant. These times can last for days, weeks, months, and even years. Israel experienced a season of divine rest under King Solomon that lasted for years. Why? Because his father David fought all the enemies and won! However, as we will learn from Israel in this instance, rest can lead to spiritual apathy and laziness. It was during this time of rest that Israel fell into idolatry. She became a wayward nation that began worshiping Baal, the pagan god. As a result, God brought destruction to Jerusalem and the Temple, giving her into the hand of her enemies. In this He allowed Israel to experience the god she was serving. And she was led away into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon for seventy years.
Don’t go there.
Keep your spiritual head on straight. Line up in your spirit man. Knowing how to steward your season of rest is very important. Otherwise it can lead to a spiritual state of apathy. It is during this time that you should focus upon your personal relationship with Christ and that of other believers who are of kindred spirit and like heart and mind. Your goal during this season of rest is intimacy with the LORD through surrender that brings the following:
1.) His presence
2.) His peace
3.) His power
4.) His purification
5.) His protection
6.) His purpose
Strengthen and fortify your relationships during seasons of divine rest, beginning with Christ, then with your family and other believers. Staying sharp in the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship are key. You never know what your next season will bring.
You should come out of your season of rest stronger than when you entered into it.
The Mighty Warrior
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms, (Psalm 18:33, 34, KJV).
Now that we understand the context of David’s life, we can clearly understand why he wrote what he did in the Psalms. Many of them David penned during his early years while being hunted by Saul. Verse 1 of this very Psalm says this:
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength, (Psalm 18:1, KJV).
The mighty warrior is the one who is fully and wholeheartedly surrendered to Christ. The greater the surrender, the higher He will lift you up. A surrendered life to Christ is one of the sweetest you’ll ever know – even in the heat of battle. This is where His will becomes central to the life you live. It brings an abiding peace and satisfaction unlike any other you could know or experience. This is where you abide in Him, and He abides in you (see John 15). This is where you begin to manifest His fruit. You live in fellowship with Him through His Holy Spirit. But this doesn’t happen by accident. It’s very deliberate. You have to seek Him and want that lifestyle. There’s no other way to get it.
Surrender is a lifestyle.
There is a place of deep, deep surrender to Christ that allows for an even greater depth of intimacy with Him. The greater our surrender, the more we experience His presence, power, and protection in our lives. It is through this that His purpose is manifested. Christ is the Mighty Warrior who knows no defeat. He’s never lost a battle – not one – ever. And if you’re encountering a raging battle, the first thing you MUST LEARN TO DO is hit your knees, fall on your face before God, and seek Him with all your heart. Because only He can give you the victory you’re seeking.
When you take divine orders from your Commander-in-Chief, you are then operating in the divine strategy that promises you victory. Don’t ever accept defeat. Christ has won every battle. He has overcome all. And you can overcome as well, so long as you are willing to listen and obey His divine orders. That does not equate to a life without suffering, tragedy, or persecution. Be willing to understand that many will be appointed to such, and will suffer with the LORD and for the LORD.
As a Christian you never have to accept defeat.
And victory in Christ does not equate to a painless easy life.
I hope this post has been helpful. There are a lot of scriptures regarding spiritual warfare in the Bible. From beginning to end you can find many stories and scriptural examples that will help you. Please don’t be surprised that I have chosen not to cover the elementary truths regarding our spiritual armor, the believer’s authority and power in Christ, and spiritual conduct. That is not something I’m going to focus on here. Instead, I’m focusing on scriptures that can strengthen the warrior who is presently practicing and engaged.
As promised, I’m leaving you with some references you can read in your spare time, which I strongly recommend both in biblical principle and practice:
Positioning Yourself for Victory: 1 Peter 5: 4-10 and John 16-21 (Christ’s last day)
The Life and Triumph of David: 1 & 2 Samuel (both books; full text)
Divine Strategy & Overcoming the Enemy: Nehemiah (full text)
Always remember, any battle you may face, you are destined to win! That victory is only found in Christ Jesus. He has overcome all, and He always leads us in triumph!
Cheers & Shalom,