I’ve been thinking about soldiers. I am grateful for the men and women who fight so bravely for our freedom! Soldiers train for war. They are never surprised when they are under attack. Of course they are under attack, they’re soldiers!
When we become Christians, we become like soldiers (2 Timothy 2:3-4). As Christ’s soldiers, we must train for war. We should never be surprised when we are under attack. Of course we are under attack, we’re soldiers! But “we are not unaware of [Satan's] schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Paul informs us that the attacks will come from one of three fronts (Ephesians 2:1-3):
1. The devil – accuser, adversary
2. The world – the system around us that is opposed to God
3. The flesh – the old nature; can do nothing spiritual to please God
Jesus tells us that “the thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10.
So let’s examine our battle plan as soldiers. Scripture tells us that there are times we need to stand FIRM, there are times we need to FLEE, and there are times we need to FIGHT.
When to STAND FIRM
Enemy: Satan and his demonic forces
Weapons: The thief comes to steal; using deception, the enemy steals truth and identity from believers
Aftermath: Ineffective soldiers, full of doubt and uncertainty
Response: Believers need to know and stand firm in the truth of Scripture; put on the full armor of God
“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:7-8).
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
“…stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm, then…” (Ephesians 6:13ff).
“In a survey of 1700 professing Christian teenagers, 70 percent admitted to hearing voices, like there was a subconscious self talking to them. I don’t believe they are psychotic or paranoid schizophrenic. There is a battle going on for their minds.”
~ Dr. Neil Anderson, Freedom in Christ and Harvest House Publishers
When to FLEE
Enemy: The world/World System
Weapons: The thief comes to kill; gets us attached to this world, so our allegiance is turned away from God
Aftermath: physical disease, depression, death, our joy in the Lord is killed
Response: RUN! Get out of the situation; avoid future snares and pitfalls; run to God for shelter
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19).
“She (Potiphar’s wife) caught him by the cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” (Genesis 39:12).
“Flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
“But you, man of God, flee from all this (love and pursuit of money) and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1Timothy 6:11).
“Flee the evil desires of your youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).
When to FIGHT
Enemy: Our Sinful Nature (flesh)
Weapons: The thief comes to destroy, enticing us to sin, enslaved to our own appetites
Aftermath: separation from our Father, ultimately, a destroyed soul
Response: put to death your sinful nature on the cross; surrender to the HS; surround yourself with other soldiers
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says, ‘No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary’” (Ezekiel 44:9).
“…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…” (Romans 8:12-13).
“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).
Are you under attack? Of course! Don’t be surprised, determine where the attack is coming from and take the appropriate action!
Satan/demonic forces? Stand Firm!
The world system? Flee!
The flesh? Fight!
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”