Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Christian at War

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.      2 Corinthians 10

I wanted to repost a series I wrote on a while back because the conflict seems so intense at this time in our culture, particularly surrounding those that work with youth. So I am writing a little about the Christian at war. We wage a daily battle versus the world, the flesh, and the devil. The older I get, the more aware I seem to grow at the intensity of the battle and the devious and devastating attack of the enemy.

I sometimes avoid this topic because we tend to get a little squirrely  when it come to spiritual warfare- but in the last 6 years I have felt and experienced the attack in intense and very tangible experiences.

I also think that we tend to get a little too self focused in this subject. I sometimes adopt a 'woe is me when the wicked weapons take flight in my direction'.

Contrast this to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount when He basically says, "Congratulations when you a persecuted for righteousness sake."

I want to start with good news: if you are being attacked, it is a sign that you are effective and dangerous. When George Whitfield visited the early days of Princeton, he made an interesting prediction in 1739:

“The devil will certainly rage against them; but the work is of God and will not come to nought”

A quick story: I used to teach literature at a Christian school in Birmingham. We had a teacher leave mid-semester and I was asked to teach his Bible class to finish the year. It was an interesting scenario because I had the same students for literature and then a few periods later for Bible. The difference in the two classes was amazing. There is something about teaching Bible that brought out attacks and attitude. It made me realize that if you plan to be a Bible teacher, you better have prayer support and take it very, very seriously.

Fortunately, that prepared me for my last seven years as a Bible teacher- but I will tell you that it is still a battle in many ways. I have had to get much better at making every minute count and providing very little idle time.

I have some good friends who have taught or are teaching Bible and I will tell you that they all have stories that describe struggles in confidence, pain in marriage, accusations and lies, and the whisper of the enemy..... 'you're just a fraud' or 'you just need to give up'.

Another point is that we need to be aware of the tactics of the battle when it comes to the insurgency versus institutions. Part of the attack is to corrupt and deceive. This is done in so many complex and insidious ways.

The attack on concepts: think how our enemy has taken on important things like "marriage"- "fatherhood"- "Bible"- "Jesus"- think how good things have been corrupted and even how humor is more of a mocking of good things.

The attack on leaders: Satan's whisper campaigns flow as an undercurrent to erode confidence in the motives and integrity of godly men and women. We tend to pass along negative rumor and innuendo, usually without any factual support.

The attack on knowledge.. especially reading: This one really frightens me. As our reading scores fall in our culture, we lose the ability to read and use the Word- our only offensive weapon. Remember that Jesus responded to Satan with Scripture, but very few Christians today can handle Scripture in ways to respond to his deceptive questions and half truths.

As you read the verse at the top of the page- remember that we are fighting on the winning team- we are guided and protected by the winning captain. So we should walk in confidence and victory. Wage the war well!

I will post more in the coming days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see attacks coming at in these three ways:

1. The false prophet always tries to undermine and challenge the power and perfectness of Christ's work on the cross to destroy sin in our lives. Those false prophecies sound like this, "You'll always battle with this sin, but never quite overcome it."

2. Satan always attacks the nature of the Father, causing you to try and question His goodness.

3. Death says that nothing can keep you from escaping his touch..."you will surely die."

The "defense" for all these attacks is always the same: Christ life laid down for me is enough to overcome sin, overcome Satan, and defeat death. Any other gospel shortchanges the work that Christ did and the true nature of Father.