It’s simplistic to say that the only kind of battle going on today is the war against terrorism, though that is what the Enemy of our souls would love for us to believe. He would love to preoccupy us with the physical struggles and have us miss the spiritual conflict that rages every day of our lives.
As a pastor, you know more than most that we fight on the frontlines of an invisible war. But our flock may not realize that. They may have been taken hostage and not know it. They could be wounded, but nobody notices because they don’t bleed. The most spiritually bloodthirsty, wicked creature on earth, our adversary the Devil, wages a bloodless, invisible war against you, your family, your flock, and every other person who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
The apostle Paul knew this conflict well and wrote of it often:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:3–4)
We are engaged in a battle, not for our bodies, but for our minds. Now, don’t think of the mind as just a brain inside the cranium. Think of the mind as the inner person, with emotions and will and intellect all connected.
It involves the way we think and how we react in life.
The Invisible Battle
It is in these vulnerable areas that Satan works.
- He battles through people or without people; he battles in events, in depression, in success, or in failure.
- He battles in money or in poverty.
- He is constantly at work, bent on our destruction.
Why does he despise God’s people and fight so insidiously against us? The answer is that he has a consuming hatred for the mission of Christ. Knowing that he can’t overthrow it—because the gates of Hades will never do that—Satan plays a wicked game of spiritual chess. He knows he’s doomed, but he’ll get your last man if he can. He knows Christ has already won, but he won’t give up without a fight.
2 Ways to Engage the Enemy
So what are we to do? How do we engage such an enemy? I can think of two ways.
- Identify the Enemy’s tactics. Look at 2 Corinthians 2:11: “. . . so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” One of the Enemy’s most cunning tricks is to make you think you’re listening to your own voice inside your head, when it’s really him at work. Next time you feel discouraged or tempted, test each thought against God’s Word (1 John 4:1). Deception is best noticed when held up against the truth.
- Defend yourself in Christ. We can defend ourselves against the Enemy’s schemes by “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Isn’t that a great verse! Since Satan makes our mind his battlefield, our best defense is to surrender our thoughts to Jesus Christ and ask Him to guard and protect us. When we release ourselves to Him, He takes charge—and Satan runs. I make this practical in my own life by regularly telling God:
Lord, I need You right now; take charge of this. I need Your thoughts, I need Your strength, I need Your grace, I need Your wisdom, and I need Your very words. Protect me from fear. Hold me near. Get me through this stormy time.
He will; He’ll get you through—victoriously.
My Challenge to You
We, as well as our families and flocks, will face many skirmishes this year, both publicly and privately. But we have no reason to fear—Jesus Christ already won our spiritual war.
I challenge you today to step out in courage and claim the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus. Don’t listen to the Enemy’s mind games anymore.
Let’s dare to live courageously!