PREPARING FOR THE BATTLE
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
We are made in the likeness and image of God. We are not puppets who are unable to think or take decisions. God has told us to resist the devil. The devil is not so big that we can’t stand against him. God has given us the ability to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
When God saved us, Satan was defeated. We too can defeat Satan’s ploys. In order to do that, we must be spiritually awake. If we snooze, we lose. The Bible says that we must be awake to righteousness, be vigilant and strong. We are not dummies. God empowers us to resist the devil and his attacks.
The mighty weapon that God has given us is the Word. We must understand how to use it if we want to be able to fight the battle. It’s like getting robbed despite having a gun because we didn’t know how to use it. We should know the use of the Word of God. It should be in our mouth and heart. It’s a weapon that God has given us to fight and bring down strongholds.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
– 1 Corinthians 9:25
People who enter competitions are very meticulous about their preparations. They carefully monitor their exercise and diet. They train to be fit and they exercise self-control because they want to win the prize. Life is like a competition or a race. We must fight fatigue and discipline ourselves against all distractions. We must run not with uncertainty or as one who beats the air.
RECOGNIZING OUR ENEMY
Sometimes his punch doesn’t connect. If we intend to knock our opponent down, we must connect with his body. When we fight without inflicting any damage to the enemy, we are only beating the air. Since we are engaged in a spiritual battle with an invisible enemy we must be careful. We should recognize our enemy and the nature of the battle with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Some people go up on mountains to fight the devil because they believe that the prince of air lives on hill tops. They shout, scream and stomp as if they are rebuking the devil. This is a misunderstanding and Paul terms such behavior as ‘beating the air’. Some time back, about 300 people in San Francisco hired a jet and flew around the city to rebuke the principalities of the air. Such activities are only about making a ruckus. God is not lifted up in these futile gimmicks.
Satan doesn’t work like that. He attacks us in our mind and through our thoughts. The devil doesn’t come through experiences. He tries to deceive. 2 Corinthians 10:3 says ‘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’. A stronghold is an argument that happens in our minds. The devil holds many Christians captive by the thoughts and arguments that rage in their minds. We can’t break strongholds through some experiences. We must bring every thought and argument which is against the knowledge of God into captivity.
It’s a spiritual fight and we must all have a fighting spirit. A pastor’s wife was diagnosed with cancer when she was about 35 years old. She told the doctor emphatically, ‘I am not dying. I am going home to live’. She is over 80 years now, hale and hearty.
…to be continued…