Sunday, January 11, 2015

A,B'C's of spiritual warfare - Approach to spiritual warfare

Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."


The subject of spiritual warfare is of perennial interest among Christians. Understanding Christian spiritual warfare is vital in breaking Christian people out of a spiritual "civilian" mindset to their true identity as "soldiers of the cross". Spiritual warfare explains the tensions we feel between living for God in this world and the opposition from the world in which we live. Ephesians 6:10-13 spells out what I call: "The A,B,C's of spiritual warfare". Today's post will deal with the first of these, namely the approach to spiritual warfare.

The approach to spiritual warfare - Spirit and the Word

Ephesians 6:10 gives us two ways in which one can approach spiritual warfare in the Christian life. The first is by being filled with the Holy Spirit and the second is maintaining one's exposure to the Word of God.

Ephesians 6:10a states - "Finally, be strong in the Lord...". The underlined words indicate an imperative command that is coined in the passive sense of dependency upon someone. To "be strong in the Lord" refers to depending upon the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. With the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot exercise discernment. Discernment is necessary when fighting the good fight of faith. (Ephesians 1:17) Ephesians 3:16 proves that the source of such strength comes from the Spirit: "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man." This strengthening of the Spirit comes insofar as we are filled or influence by Him (Ephesians 5:18) and are giving ourselves to Him in prayer (Ephesians 6:18). 

But now we notice the second phrase of Ephesians 6:10 that gives us the second and final way of approaching spiritual warfare, the Word of God - "and in the strength of His might." How do we know that "the strength of his might" is most likely referencing the scriptures? 

1. First, the word of God itself is the offensive weapon of the otherwise defensive armaments in the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:14-18. 

2. Second, Hebrews 4:12 ties together this concept of God's might and spiritual warfare - "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." 

3. Then thirdly, 2 Corinthians 6:7 alludes to carrying forth spiritual weaponry in the right hand and the left, which in context includes the word of God.  

This then is the two-fold approach to spiritual warfare: namely being filled with the Holy Spirit and being in His Word. 

More next time....

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