Pick A Fight with the Devil

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.  

Ephesians 6:17b-18 “…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, [18] 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…

1.     Prayer sizes up the situation.  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. 

2.     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.  

3.     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.
Posted by Andy Savage at 2:24 PM
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