The Necessity of War
by Jim Johnson
“These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience).” Judges 3:1-2 (NIV–all scripture will be NIV). The first half dozen times I read these two verses of scripture I pretty much ignored them. I guess I thought that they did not seem to apply to us today. A lot of what is contained in the Old Testament appears to fit into that category, especially to someone like me. I do not have a handle on all the types and shadows that are prevalent in the Old Testament.
But, this past summer I believe the Lord touched my mind with this scripture’s relevance. Several passages of applicable scriptures came flooding my mind. II Cor. 10: 3-5 – “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Wow, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could accomplish this mighty but seemingly impossible feat. To accomplish this impossibility we must have God’s help, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us….” Eph. 3: 20.
Let’s go back now to the scriptures in Judges. Why would God be interested in teaching warfare to the descendants of Israel? Surely that doesn’t apply to us today; most of us are not Jewish and we live in a dispensation of love and grace. As far as being a descendant of Israel is concerned, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed…” (Abraham was Jacob/Israel‘s grandfather) “…and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:29. Also Rom. 2:28-29, Rom. 8:14-17.
What about love and grace? We will not accomplish much, beloved, for the glory of God apart from being governed by God’s love and grace. When it comes to taking a stand against spirits of darkness, however, you must “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Eph. 6:10.
First, it is imperative to recognize that our warfare is not with human beings. Please take special note of these next scriptures and seriously consider them. “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:11-12. What is Satan’s approach to us? What does it look like? There is no way we can accurately calculate his next move; that is why it’s so necessary for us to forever be on guard.
Though his next move is impossible for us to ascertain, we can be sure it will come often, until we begin to cut him off at the pass. The more resistance he encounters the less frequently he attacks. Some fertile ground for Satan to work might be: families that are out of divine order, financial difficulties, employee/employer relations, disunity in the church, unequal yokes (in marriage or elsewhere — occasionally parents can even be unequally yoked to their children), and many, many others. How do we successfully fight our adversary Satan? If we have a book of rules that we diligently follow and yet fight alone we will fail every time.
I firmly believe our source of victory is Christ Jesus our Lord, plus nothing, minus nothing. If we completely “…clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Rom. 13:14) we can successfully defeat our foe every time he approaches us. James 4:7-8 states it this way “Submit yourself, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Read James 3:13-4:10 and take special note of the phrase, “earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”
Humanity, and even some of God’s elect children, directly encounter such activity every day. By God’s grace and with the help of Christ we must begin to identify and cast down insidious thoughts designed by a cunning adversary to separate us from Christ. And beloved you cannot be united with Christ and, at the same time, be separated from one He indwells. Personally I believe you cannot please Christ if you tenaciously harbor animosity in your heart against any soul, living or dead. We desperately need God’s help with this, every hour of every day. It takes a lot of forgiving, I mean a LOT of forgiving; I think often of the apostles remark to Jesus, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5).
Let me add here, I am not deceived into thinking that I have this all mastered. The Lord knows I don’t. I’m not even sure that I have gotten out of kindergarten. Knowing the right direction to go, and successfully going in that direction are quite different. I see it clearly enough to begin to seriously and fervently pray for assistance from God in this matter.
We live in the most perilous times that have ever been. Satan and his demon hoards have been loosed to prey upon the minds of men more than in any previous time. There is not a day that goes by, nor an hour, that he is not trying to adversely influence our thinking process. That’s the battleground, our minds. Beloved, he is so cunning in his approach to us, without the divine assistance of almighty God we have no chance. But thank God, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength,” (Phil. 4:13), even defeat my enemy.
The first step in defeating Satan is acknowledging that he is real and at work. When the first thought comes to our mind that oppresses us, causes fear, anxiety, temptation, anger or anything else of a negative nature, do not point to any human being. Begin to focus on our unseen enemy, then begin to resist him by faith, and by faith draw near to Jesus Christ. When done in faith Jesus will always respond.
Before closing I want to acknowledge that Jesus Christ, on His cross, dealt Satan a death blow. When Jesus cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30) he broadcast to ALL, Satan and his demon host were forever defeated. In the mind of God, the destination of Satan and his kingdom is the lake of fire. Satan knows his destiny and that is why he is currently raging.
Does he have the power to destroy God’s elect? No, but he can lead us into great captivity, rendering us useless in our effort to glorify God or render any positive assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we are in captivity, we are helpless to even render assistance to family members, regardless of how much we love them. We can only bring them harm.
Let us put on our armor, shielding ourselves with the articles designed for our protection, sharpen our swords and begin to take our stand against Satan, our enemy who Christ Jesus has already defeated. We could never have whipped him but we don’t have to, just remind him he is defeated and his destiny is sealed. God will aid us every step of the way.
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