Question of the Week: What is the purpose of spiritual warfare?
Whenever the topic of spiritual warfare comes up, the focus goes entirely to the topic of warfare. In warfare, the focus is on understanding the nature of your enemy with the long term goal of victory against them. In the Bible, the focus of spiritual warfare is the complete opposite. Instead of fighting for victory, we fight from victory. Instead of focusing on the nature of our enemy, our attention should be focused entirely on the nature of our commander and chief. With these two proper perspectives in mind, we will avoid getting caught up in sensational and misleading doctrines about the unbiblical rituals we apparently have to fulfill in order to take a power away from the enemy he never had to begin with.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Colossians 2:13-15 (NKJV)
This is the first key principal to grasp if we are to have a proper understanding of spiritual warfare. A disarmed foe is no longer a threat. If we treat the enemy of our souls as if he still has the power and authority taken away from him, then his goal in distracting us has been achieved. The Apostle Peter described the enemy as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8-9) With a further exhortation to resist him, he immediately clarifies what’s actually being resisted. Persecution, Hatred of the Gospel, and the suffering we experience in this world are all examples of the impact the enemy has on the hearts of those who don’t know the Lord. A state we were all once in according to Ephesians 2:1-3. If we base our understanding of the enemy on more information rather than less, and the best possible information rather than second hand experiences, we won’t buy into the enemy’s greatest tool. Don’t be deceived. He can’t possess you. 1 John 4:4. He can’t separate you from the love of God. Romans 8:38-39. He can’t even touch you. 1 John 5:18. It is from these facts about our enemy that the real goal of spiritual warfare becomes clear.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:7-8 (NKJV)
The question isn’t whether or not we sin. It’s what we do with it that matters. 1 John 1:8-10 is our combat zone. The question isn’t whether or not we will experience opposition. The question is what is actually being opposed. Matthew 11:28-30 is our responsibility in this battle. The question isn’t if we’re in this fight. The question is how do we fight. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, Hebrews 4:12, and Ephesians 6:14-18 are the weapons we fight with. Not kinetic tools, but a working and practical knowledge of the truth. That is how you respond to a liar. Not by acknowledging or focusing on the lie, but bringing it face to face with the truth. Any confrontation of the enemy on our end is pointless. That is why James gives as simple an explanation as possible concerning how we resist the devil. Draw near to God. If you want to destroy darkness, walk towards the light.
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7 (NKJV)
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