Spiritual warfare has two basic
components. First, defense. The first response for any believer is defense when
it comes to the attacks of Satan. He is the aggressor and is out to destroy us
(1 Peter 5:8). Along with God’s armor, which equips us to “take our stand,” (which
I’ve taught on and blogged about previously) we are also commanded to “flee
temptation” (1 Corinthians
6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22) as part of our
defense strategy. So, let me say as clearly as I can – when in doubt FLEE! If
you feel weak in temptation, run, run, run! No Christian is so strong that he
or she can stand up to temptation all the time. Fleeing is a command of God,
and we should obey it!
Secondly, we have been given an offensive response. In some cases we are not
only to stand up in the midst of temptation but to actually go on the offensive
against Satan. This is where Paul goes in the latter part of the discussion of
the armor of God in Ephesians 6.
“…and the sword of the Spirit, which
is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer
and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication
for all the saints…”
“…and the sword
of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
A sword can be
used as a defensive weapon but is mostly understood as an offensive
weapon. I know it sounds strange
to “pick a fight with the Devil,” but it is necessary at times. However, this shouldn’t be done
haphazardly. We should recognize God’s provision in taking an offensive posture
against Satan. The “sword of the spirit” means rightly presenting God’s
precepts in the given situation of temptation. This is where a Christian, utilizing the power of God’s Word,
goes on the attack against Satan’s schemes. Literally the act of quoting Scripture
when faced with temptation is one way to wield the “sword of the spirit.”
“praying at all times in the Spirit”
Paul, in his explanation of God’s armor, reaches this point in his letter and
has to abandon the illustration of armor. There is nothing analogous to prayer.
Prayer simply stands in a class all its own and serves us as an offensive
weapon against Satan’s attacks.
Paul reminds us to “pray at all times”
literally meaning to keep in a mindset and attitude of prayer in and about
everything. This is not all that
different from the mindset of a soldier during wartime. A good soldier, at
least metaphorically, always sleeps with one eye open, ready for battle at all
time. Prayer works this way. It is the most accessible weapon we have.
Prayer does at least three things in the
midst of spiritual warfare…
Prayer sizes up
. Prayer helps
us understand what is going on in the middle of our circumstances. Prayer taps
the wisdom and insight that can only come from God. Prayer helps us see what we can’t see. Prayer can literally
help us see and understand the spiritual battle we have going on around us everyday.
Prayer sharpens the sword.
Prayer helps us
understand how we might apply God’s Word to the situation we are facing.
Sometimes obeying God’s Word is obvious. Other times we need guidance; prayer
is that guidance. Prayer provides the time to submit our hearts to God and
agree with His Word. Often you
will find God’s word comes to mind in prayer and the time of prayer focuses
that word to specific places in your life.
Prayer supports the saints.
Paul invites prayer for all the saints. Spiritual warfare goes far
beyond one or two of us. All the saints are in this war. All the saints need
your prayers. Take time to
especially pray for your pastors and those in church leadership – this is
indeed where the war rages the most. Pray for your fellow believers to take
their stand against Satan and be fit for spiritual battle.
Spiritual warfare is real and as Christians
we must be prepared to take our stand, at times flee, and at times take up the
sword of the spirit and prayer and go on the offensive against Satan. Fight
well my friends.