I am not someone who sees demons in his cornflakes, but…the longer I serve the Lord the more aware I become of spiritual realities that surround us. In a great unseen world—a realm as tangible as the ground we stand on—a great battle is being waged. It is a battle for souls, and we ignore it at our peril.
The enemy of God and His minions seek to claim as many women and men as possible. This battle can be waged in the family, in our schools, in the church—and of course, in government. Yet it seems logical that ground zero for this battle must be the fields of evangelism where God’s people seek faithfully to carry out the great commission. That is where Satan focuses his mind to try with all his strength to resist the power of God. There he stands to lose the most, so that is where he fights the hardest.
Thankfully, those of us engaged in the battle follow a great Commander in Chief—the Lord God Almighty.
We find it encouraging to hear that God is love, that He is gracious and slow to anger. All these things are true, but there is another reality that is equally important for battle-weary believers.
Moses and the children of Israel praised God when He delivered them from Egypt, singing, The Lord is a man of war, The Lord is His name” (Exodus 15:3).
Maybe this seems like an odd way to praise. Some would even dismiss it as primitive and say that we have evolved into a more sophisticated level of understanding and worship. We prefer to praise and admire those who seem able to make conflict “go away” without a fight. It is difficult for us to accept that there are battles we do not choose and cannot avoid. Pharaoh was not going to let the children of Israel go without a fight and the Prince of Darkness does not let children of men go without a fight either.
But the Lord is a mighty warrior. He is the Lord of hosts (armies). He is ready, willing and able to fight and win, to conquer and vanquish, to triumph over the fiercest foe. When you are in the midst of battle, knowing that God is a “Man of war” is good news indeed. If you are fighting on the Lord’s side you can be inspired to engage with confidence and boldness, with courage and strength.
Have you noticed that the battle intensifies whenever you attempt more for God? That is because love for God and the desire to win others to Him interferes with Satan’s strategy to win people to himself. The more we interfere, the more he seeks to discourage and undermine us however he can. At times, Satan seems more aware than we are of what is at stake when we proclaim the gospel.
Ever since Jews for Jesus launched Operation Behold Your God, we have seen the intensity of this battle heating up on many fronts. Satan doesn’t just sit back and let us go forward unopposed. Yet each time we engage the enemy, the “Man of war” steps up to fight and win the battle. A recent report from the front lines of Kiev reminded me of this:
“Last Saturday was Kiev Day. Suddenly, a very tall guy appeared from the crowd and asked me, ‘Are you Jewish?’ When I said ‘Yes,’ he asked, ‘Who do you believe in?’ ‘Jesus is my God,’ I answered. ‘I believe in Perun (a Ukrainian pagan god),’ he said, and then he spat at me and hit me on the jaw. I reeled with pain and my vision darkened. When I came around, a young man standing by asked me, ‘Why did he hit you so hard?’ The young man was Jewish, and I began to share the gospel with him. His heart was open to the Word of God. He repented of his sins and received Christ in his heart.”
The victory belongs to God! But He asks us to fight alongside Him. Now our missionaries are trained not to strike back when assaulted. So how are we to fight? First, the Bible tells us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Spiritual warfare calls for spiritual discipline. Some believers I know make a daily habit of praying through the list of armor found in Ephesians 6. That certainly helps to provide the proper defense for this spiritual battle.
Secondly, we need to be alert to ways in which our enemy tries to take us off the battlefield so we can resist those efforts. We are not to be ignorant of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan is a master of diversion. For example, he tries to shame us into silence concerning Christ. The world is his unwitting partner in this strategy. At times, even fellow believers who themselves have been diverted may try to distract us from doing what is right. Our best response is to redouble our efforts to be all the more forthright in our efforts to make the Messiah known.
If negative diversion doesn’t work, the devil will try to shift our focus by tempting us with some other “good” way to focus our energy, something other than making Christ known. I am not saying that preaching the gospel is the only thing worth doing, or that everyone should be a missionary. But some who are called to preach the gospel end up preaching a different message—one that gains good will yet does not help people enter the kingdom of God.
Third, when it comes to spiritual warfare, we need to remember that we fight these battles first and foremost on our knees. The prayers of God’s people are the secret weapon of this war. Some of God’s toughest warriors are homebound and infirm in body, yet mighty in the weapon that brings victory. More than ever, we Jews for Jesus are aware of how much we need your prayer support to fight this battle, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Finally, let’s remember the big picture. It may at times appear that we are overwhelmed and outnumbered. Dark clouds may hover all around us. And yet, with the “Man of war” leading us and the prayers of God’s people upholding us, we cannot fail. After all, we know who wins in the end and we can be sure of victory when we follow our Messiah. As that great hymn proclaims:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure for lo his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him…
Dost ask who that may be, Christ Jesus it is He,
Lord Sabbaoth His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle!