In my last article; Battlefronts Of The New Testament, I looked at some of the ways the devil attacked people through spiritual means. We saw that the warfare was not done with swords and spears but through people. In this study, we are now going to focus on the Christian soldier and what is needed to be a good soldier in Christ.
In many of our previous studies, we laid the foundation of what spiritual warfare is. Now, we are going to begin to get into the nitty-gritty of how spiritual warfare affects us and how we fight the many tactics of human spirits, flesh and satanic devices. As we move forward, it needs to be stressed that spiritual warfare is not a game!
BECOMING A CHRISTIAN SOLDIER
2 Tim 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Before a person can become a "Christian Soldier," we must point out that a person MUST first and fore-most become a Christian through the new birth experience. A person must first enter the Kingdom of God properly by repenting of their sins, being water baptized in Jesus name; and filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the sign (evidence) of speaking in other tongues as the spirit gives the utterance. Read more about being saved here.
Once a person has fulfilled the plan of salvation; in a broad sense they become a part of the Lord's army automatically. They may even be a praying, godly person. However, we must point out that becoming a true soldier in Christ doesn't come automatically. Just like in a real army, there are people who sit behind desks, or mop floors. But the real soldiers are those who endure boot camp; learn to handle various weapons and knows how to battle hand-to-hand combat. Real soldiers know the enemy and know how to endure hardness.
THE MINDSET OF A SOLDIER
2 Tim 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Even though spiritual warfare can be exciting, rewarding and sometimes a MUST, being a true "Christian Soldier" is not for the faint in heart. Spiritual warfare can be work; it can also be very dangerous if a "Christian" doesn't pay attention. Spiritual death can occur in warfare if a person tries to take on something when he does not have the right too.
The mind of a "Christian Soldier" is the most important aspect of spiritual warfare. A person must be able to control their own minds first, before dealing with others. They must be able to endure "hardness" (difficulty) in spiritual warfare. Once a person enters a battle, they need to see it through without quitting.
Lastly, a good soldier has a faith in God that cannot be shaken. They rely completely on God for the wisdom, understanding and methods by which to pray down strongholds. A good soldier doesn't rely on their own strength or knowledge, they operate in the realm of God's Spirit.
Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
A lot of Christians like to quote the scripture above, but yet, very few actually have that kind of victory or authority; why is that? There are many reasons, but we could narrow it down to one simple thing; they have not overcome the devil that affects their own life yet. I am sure you have heard of the saying, "Beelzebub, cannot cast out Beelzebub," or a person must remove the beam that is in their own eye before removing the splinter that is in someone else’s eye.
Spiritual Authority is NOT AUTOMATIC. It is something you get from God when you have overcome the devil and carnality in your own life. To gain spiritual authority, a person must conquer himself first. Jesus made a statement that we need to look at....
Joh 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
The reason Jesus had authority over devils is because He resisted him on His 40 day fast. By resisting the devil and denying His own flesh, satan (the prince in above scripture) was not able to have any sin in Jesus. There was nothing in the life of Jesus that satan could claim as his own. And there-in lies the key to spiritual authority.
Another avenue of spiritual authority is obedience to those in authority over you and to God. If a person cannot submit to leadership that is over them, then how can they truly submit to God; for He tells us to submit to leadership. There is also obedience to God Himself. We must be able to take orders from God and not do our own will. If a person wants spiritual authority, then there are things they must get right before trying to deal with spiritual matters. Below is some scripture that shows us what happens when someone tries to deal with demonic things without having spiritual authority to do so...
Acts 19:13-16 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. (14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. (15) And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? (16) And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
THE DANGERS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
As mentioned in the scripture above, dealing with demonic things without the authority to do so can bring spiritual defeat. In the case above, those Jews did not really know Jesus personally in their lives but, relied on Paul's experience with God. We should also point out here, that if a person doesn't have the Holy Ghost, then, that person will be spiritually fighting against satan's kingdom in his own strength... and that could be very dangerous.
I am reminded of a man many years ago who fasted 40 days (this really happened). He wasn't called to do so and after the fast was over, he had a lot sickness and spiritual trouble in his life; he has never been the same since. I mention this because, when you try to do something in your own strength, and you are carnal, you can spiritually damage your walk with God forever.
Spiritual warfare can be very dangerous, especially if a person is carnal and tries to deal with demon spirits they have no right to try and cast out. Devils will know if a person has authority or not over them. If a person has sin in their life or they are still struggling to get a sinful habit under control, the demonic world can cause defeat in their lives in many ways.
THE ARMOUR OF GOD
To gain spiritual authority, one must conquer self first. And to help a person get to that place they need the Armour of God. The armour of God is used to fight against the demonic attacks on your life. They are listed here...
Eph 6:11-17 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Here is a brief description of each and why it's needed...
1) Loins Gird About With Truth:
A soldier must know what and how to hold on to truth. We cannot truly defeat any wiles of the devil if we don't know truth... even the devil knows the truth; so we must know truth to defeat him as well.
2) Breastplate of Righteousness:
A soldier must live a righteous and overcoming life to be able to resist the devil. Notice that the breastplate protects the heart. Therefore, living right will help protect you from being defeated by devils.
3) Feet Shod With Preparation of the Gospel of Peace:
A soldier needs to be able to fight spiritual warfare using the gospel. This can come in many ways such as; witnessing and teaching. But, most importantly, always learning (preparation) more about the gospel.
4) Shield of Faith:
A soldier must know how to use his faith to shield himself from the fiery darts of the devil. The shield of faith is used to resist the devil. We must always keep it in front of us and not laying it down when we are discouraged. Some things can only be overcome by facing it. Looking fear in the face and overcoming it takes faith!
5) Helmet of Salvation:
A soldier of course has to be born again. But in battle, one must also keep himself saved and standing. Salvation is a process, so, allowing God to change us (transform our minds) keeps us in a "saved" state. The helmet is to protect our thinking as the spirit of our mind is renewed.
6) Sword of The Spirit:
A soldier must know how to use the sword of the spirit (the word of God). To fight spiritually and correctly, we must be able to rightly divide the word of truth and use it properly. It takes skill to use the word properly to defeat the enemy. You learn to use the word by studying and applying it to your life.
When a person maintains the armour of God in their life, they eventually will overcome self, the world and the devil. It does take some time. However, once a person gets use to using the armour properly, they will be able to get involved in spiritual warfare for others too!
DISCIPLINES OF A SOLDIER
1 Cor 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (25) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
There is something to be said about consistency and temperance. It is through our daily disciplines of self that makes us a good soldier. However, many bypass the most important part of living for God, and that is self-denial. Below I am going to briefly discuss the most important disciplines...
Above all things... Prayer is the most important thing you can do. Through prayer, God speaks, understanding comes, strongholds are pulled down and prayers are answered. If a person views prayer as a duty, then they are missing the purpose of prayer. Prayer is simply talking and listening to God... spending time with the one you love!
Loving truth is very important. Without a love for truth, you can be deceived and fall into false doctrine. Loving truth will always keep you in the narrow way. Loving truth will also keep you hungry for more of God!
Fasting is a very important tool when you face walls in your life or you need to pull down a stronghold. Jesus even said that some things only come out by prayer and fasting (Mat 17:21). Fasting (with prayer) is sometimes the ONLY remedy for Spiritual warfare. A person who doesn't fast is usually always carnal. Only truly spiritual people fast, unless they have major health issues.
Fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) is critical for a soldier. We must be Christ-like to help people overcome. Jesus had authority, but He used it with love. Look at Jesus' life, He embodied the Fruits of the Spirit... and so should we.
One of the Fruits of Spirit is "temperance." Temperance means self-control, moderation. Without it, our spirits wander, our desires get out of control, fasting and prayer is neglected, and spiritual authority is none-existent. Self-discipline equates to temperance... a MUST for a good soldier.
Now, the last thing I want to mention is righteousness, holiness, morals and character. A person's spirit is reflective of what is on the inside. Above spiritual warfare, or power with God, or gifts and callings... A person's holiness and righteousness is more important because it effects their salvation.
As Paul stated, he keeps his body in subjection, lest he preach to (or help) others and he himself becomes a castaway, what does it profit. A soldier's discipline... is critical!
There is so much more I can say about being a good soldier, but what a person has to really understand is that spiritual warfare involves a lot of things. Many think that just being "saved" and in the church makes them a spiritual warrior, when in fact, it is just a nice title. Just praying for someone from a prayer list or in church isn't warfare.
Spiritual soldiers who really war are actually few in numbers. It takes a gritty overcomer to be willing to involve themselves in major spiritual warfare. They will intercede in agonizing prayer for long periods of time to bring down strongholds. Standing in the gap (more on this in another lesson) for others can bring travailing prayer that will cost the one who is doing praying.
The Lord is always looking for true spiritual warriors, and He is willing to help a person become one if they desire it. He can help a person overcome things in their life to give them the authority they need. So much of the Kingdom of God depends on them; and without spiritual warriors the church would die.
As we move forward in this study, I am going to discuss the roll of individuals and the church in spiritual warfare. We must understand, that spiritual warfare is a must for a church to survive.
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