“We are humans, but we don’t wage war as humans do. (2 Corinthians 10:3 NLT)
The biggest difference that I can discern between human warfare and spiritual warfare is this: Rather than seeking to defeat and destroy another person, we’re focusing our weapons on the true enemy, Satan himself and his devilish emissaries. But make no mistake, we’re at war, and to think otherwise is to be naïve or ignorant of reality.
John Piper wrote: “God intends that part of our preparation for heaven be a life of warfare with hell.” What might that look like? Foundationally, war is typically waged because of greed. We want what we don’t have, so we use force to take what isn’t ours. Satan is a defeated foe who desires to take as many as possible to hell with him, and more and more people are falling into his trap.
The sad truth is, many professing Jesus followers aren’t only unaware they’re at war, they’re oblivious to the deceitful lies they’re believing that are sucking the life out of them. John Piper wrote: “I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth ‘home.’ Before you know it, I am calling luxuries ‘needs’ and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.”
How can we know we’re in the battle? The greatest evidence is the value of prayer in our life. John Piper wrote: “You’ll never know what prayer is for until you know that life is war.” What’s your first instinct in times of trouble? Prayer, right? What’s your first instinct when things are going well? My desire is that the first thought that enters my mind when I awaken every day is God, and that He prepare me for the battles I will face in that day.
His will must be foremost in our hearts and minds. What is foremost on the heart of God? What was the last thing on Jesus’ mind before His ascension? “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Why is it so vital to understand that Jesus has all authority? Otherwise, we’ll be tempted to believe we have no authority over Satan. We’ll believe his lies and be sucked into the cycle of doubt and unbelief that will render us useless in the battle for lost souls. If we aren’t convinced that life is war, we’ll not make prayer for our lost loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others the priority it must be. And if we think we’re alone, we’ll freeze.
But prayer, as vital as it is, isn’t the whole story. Prayer is the work, then God works. But how? Through me and you. We are the “army” of God on earth. We’re God’s mouthpiece through whom He speaks to those in our spheres of influence. We’re His hands and feet to go to those who need Him and to love them into His holy arms.
It has become apparent to me in this season of my life that our fear of sharing our faith isn’t about anything but us. Why? Because we wrongly think it’s about us. “What if I don’t say the right thing?” “What if they get mad at me?” “What if I embarrass myself?” And on and on it goes. And my answer is simple: Who cares? If I have to be embarrassed to see a soul redirected from hell to heaven, I’ll be embarrassed all day long. It’s not about us! It’s only and always about Jesus. If we, as His followers won’t share what He’s done for us, who will? And if not now, when?
We must be about our Father’s business. War has casualties and they’re mounting every day we’re silent. “Lord help us to see this world through Your eyes and respond with the courage only You can give us.”