The Rules of Engagement
No matter who we are…or what we do for a living…all of us are bound to face struggles in life.
Financial pressures, job loss, personality conflicts, time demands, illness, emotional pain, or even death.
When faced with setbacks like these…people often tend to blame God for their circumstances…
Or other people…or even themselves.
Many times when we pray…
Our prayers are sabotaged or counter attacked by the enemy (evil spirits).
We could be fervently praying…but not effectively…
Because we could be praying amiss.
We could be praying from an incorrect perspective and position.
Satan is able to gain the upper-hand in our warfare…
Because we ignorantly pray “earthbound” prayers.
Jesus told us…that we needed to fight our battles…
And wage warfare where it really belonged,
In The Heaven Lies!
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The bible…urges us to consider that there is a sinister source…for our troubles…
What the Apostle Paul called the ruler, authorities and higher powers in heavenly places.
Our struggle is not against God…or other people but against “spiritual forces of evil”.
Paul tells us…that people are not our enemy…but it is sin and Satan himself.
Paul warns us that…there is evil. It’s out there. It will attack you. Be ready. Arm yourself.
Don’t ever imagine…that you will have special immunity from it.
Some people think…that Satan doesn’t even exist.
But maybe this story can help them.
Once there was a boxer who was being badly beaten. Battered and hurting…he leaned over the ropes and said to his trainer…Throw in the towel!
This guy is killing me!
The trainer said… Oh, no, he’s not. He’s not even hitting you.
He hasn’t laid a glove on you!
At that point the boxer wiped the blood away from his eye and said…
Well…then…I wish you would watch that referee.
Because somebody is surely hitting me!
We all fight spiritual battles…and we might well ask…who is the enemy?
It’s not the nonbeliever…
Although occasionally you will meet a person so full of evil and rebellion against God…
That he or she actually declares themselves the enemy of God’s Kingdom.
The secular media or world systems…work endlessly to undermine God’s truth…
But they are not the enemy either…even though they are often…tools in the enemies hands.
Our enemy is Satan and the spiritual forces of evil.
Satan is called the deceiver (Genesis 3)…the accuser in (Zechariah 3)…and the destroyer in (1 Peter 5)…
And he is the enemy of our souls…and of the souls of our friends and loved ones.
As Paul sounded this battle call…he wanted us to know whom we’re fighting.
We are not in an earthly military campaign-our battle is not against enemies of blood and flesh.
Instead…we battle the demons over which Satan has control.
Satan’s work is to tempt people to sin.
According to Daniel Schaefer in this book called Dancing with a Shadow…
The Eskimos devised a way of killing wolves. They planted a knife in the ice with the handle buried.
Then they put chunks of fresh meat on the blade and let it freeze.
The wolves would smell the blood from afar…and come to lick it.
As they licked the frozen meat…they worked themselves into frenzy.
Soon they cut their tongues on the razor-sharp blade and began feeding their hunger with their own blood.
They would lick…until they slowly bled to death.
This is Satan’s favorite way to tempt and destroy people.
Satan does not fight fair…his plan always include subtle tricks and schemes.
When we fail to recognize the danger of Satan’s luring temptation…
And allow ourselves to become obsessed with it …we are in danger of self-destruction.
In the life of every believer…we battle against Satan.
We face a powerful army…whose goal is to defeat the enemies…
And they try every device to turn us away from Him and back to sin.
Every believer fines themselves subject to Satan’s attacks…because they are no longer on Satan’s side.
We need to be fully prepared for battle…desiring the whole armor of God.
There are many things we need… to arm ourselves with…
To “be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm”.
That verse tells us that we win not by slaying the enemy.
This is not a battle in which we attack.
We win just by standing firm and holding our own ground.
One night while this missionary John Paton was in the New Hebrides Island…
His mission station was surrounded by hostile natives.
They were intent on killing the Patons and burning the mission station.
Paton and his wife prayed through the night in hopes that God would deliver them.
When daylight came the natives left.
A year later when the chief converted to Christ, Paton asked him why they did not attack.
The chief was surprised by Paton’s question. He asked, “Who were all those men with you?”
Although Paton knew of no other men…the chief said he was afraid to attack…
Because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments who circled the mission station with their swords ready.
Listen church…God’s fight and victory is real whether or not we see it.
There was this movie I once seen…
Where this good guy is showing off his karate moves to the enemy…
While the enemy just stares at him without any expression.
Then…after a pause…the enemy takes out a gun and shoots him.
Listen church… Satan is the bad guy…
And we need to wear the full armor of God…in order to shield ourselves from his deadly shot.
It is not enough…if we try to fight Satan only by our own strength.
All believers need supernatural power to defeat Satan…
And God has provided this power by giving us his Holy Spirit within us and his armor surrounding us.
Paul gives us a powerful strategy for standing firm against our spiritual enemies:
“Put on the whole armor of God”.
God’s armor is made up entirely of spiritual weapons:
A Fight to the Finish
“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong.
So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.
Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way…prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.
Pray hard and long.
Pray for your brothers and sisters.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep each other’s spirits up…so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you ; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.