Spiritual Warfare: How to Win
How to win a spiritual battle
To human reasoning, it seems impossible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to accomplish great spiritual feat. To the Jew, the cross is a stumbling block. To the Greek, the cross is foolishness. But to God, it is powerful to rescue His saints from the clutches of the enemy.
The most powerful, mighty, dominating, significant event ever to have taken place in the history of Creation is the death of Christ upon the cross. Never has there been a more decisive battle fought. The crucifixion is a spiritual coup d’état accomplished by an army of One. The victory was so decisive; the Apostle Paul describes it as a spectacle to behold as Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities; making a public display of them in His triumph. In other words, they suffered a humiliating defeat.
The victory of the cross is astounding considering how it was accomplished. Reflect upon the crucifixion battle strategy: be spit upon, mocked, scorned, whipped, stripped, pierced, crowned with thorns, your blood being poured out upon the ground. To be victorious, be the powerless sufferer. To overcome, be the one who is overcome. In His great spiritual defeat of His enemies, and our enemies, Jesus demonstrated true glory is found in humility. Strength is found in weakness. Spiritual battles are won with restraint and not by clamoring for rights and privileges. He revealed meekness and restraint as powerful traits. Jesus proved love, mercy, and compassion have no equal and reign supreme on the power measurement scale.
Even more amazing is how Christ could have won the battle. Jesus Christ is almighty, all-knowing, and has all-authority over every inch of the Universe. During His trial and subsequent scourging and condemnation, He could have answered every insult with knowledgeable retorts; revealing humiliating weaknesses of the soldiers who taunted Him. Jesus could have called one angel under His authority to wipe out the all Roman soldiers in Jerusalem. Jesus could have healed himself, come off the cross and established a new government and put Herod in prison. Jesus could have called in a torrential rainstorm to rain on the Pharisees self-righteous parade. His options were without limit. In doing all this, wreaking havoc on His opponents, He would be right and just and celebrated.
The entire crucifixion, from Gethsemane to Golgotha, reeked of injustice. Jesus was innocent. Put it this way, if the crucifixion was a Hollywood movie script, somewhere before the last breath would be the perfect time for the hero of the story to take control and snuff-out the bad guys to the cheers and applause of the audience. But, Jesus didn’t do that. He had a better, more righteous and noble way.
What are we to learn from this magnificent display of meek and humble prowess? What’s the point? The short of it is this, to win at spiritual battles we must die to self and hold fast to Christ.
The same forces Christ fought against, though they have been defeated, are still active today. We live in the “already-not yet” spiritual reality. It is a span of time between the already of “It is finished” on the cross and the not yet “It is done” destruction of evil prophesied in chapter 21 of the book of Revelation. In this church age, the gathering of the Saints and sanctifying of the bride of Christ, the enemies of Christ still strive against the power of the gospel and all things right and good.
The Apostle Paul tells us of this war, this fight. He says our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. These rulers and forces hate God and His ways. Their way is not the way of our Savior, but the opposite. Their way is to lift up revenge, self-exaltation, ambition, and exploitation as the means to success. The rulers of darkness teach if your enemy has mudslinging insults, you return the insults with even more mudslinging, hitting them where it hurts. “Fight for your rights,” they say, “get what you deserve.” Their way is to rattle the saber and then shock and awe the opponent. Never let the enemy see your weakness. Pursue your dreams at whatever expense, amass a fortune, and cultivate prestige. Our enemies propagate a way which is opposite of the way of the cross.
We are faced with spiritual battles every day. We are assaulted by the slick, seductive teaching of modern culture. Live large. Take pleasure in worldly ways. What God? The powers of darkness tempt us to be selfish, proud, and self-seeking. We are told “the loving thing to do” is to let people live as they want to live. But for those who are in Christ, we know people are destroying themselves with unrighteousness, and they will only find fleeting pleasure. We are demanded to stop interfering and just let people indulge.
As disciples of Christ, we desire and are bound to imitate His humility, meekness, and gentleness. Our battle is a battle of character. We are to destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against what God calls good and right. It is our task to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When the enemy says, “make much of yourself,” we take that thought captive and say, “wrong thought, make much of Christ.” When the enemy says, “get even,” we say, “wrong thought, correct thinking says ‘vengeance is Mine’ says the Lord.” When the world teaches us to be self-promoting we remind ourselves we are to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than ourselves. Instead of “looking out for number one” we know we are not to merely look out for our own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. We are not above our Master.
Seeking success in spiritual battles? You will find the road to success is paved with a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. The road to success is the Calvary Road.