“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3 (NIV)
There is a huge difference between a top-level martial artist and a highly trained special forces soldier. The martial artist may know how to fight and would do well in a scuffle, but the soldier is trained to kill. The artist has rules and fights to win. The soldier is not limited to any format, but has only one objective, kill and keep moving. So often we as believers engage in spiritual warfare as MMA fighters rather than soldiers. We try to fight the devil but he comes to kill! Remember, Satan only comes to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10). The church needs to switch from being spiritual fighters to spiritual warriors, who fight the enemy with the weapons that bring divine annihilation (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Our enemy is not just here to hurt you, but to destroy everything you love and ultimately take your life. Please take this spiritual conflict seriously.
Understand that the devil first battles in your mind, trying to wear you out with guilt, shame and lies. Call him for what it is and quickly repent. John tells us that if we confess our sins God will completely and absolutely forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). That means when we repent, any trace of shame, guilt or condemnation (Romans 8:1) that remains is simply residue that the enemy is trying to sneak in. Call the devil a liar, because that’s what he is (John 8:44). Proclaim out loud that you are a forgiven child of God, who is holy and pure because of Jesus’ blood.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and completely equip you with what you need to engage in lethal combat with your spiritual foe! Take your sword out of its sheath and begin marinating on God’s promises and truths. Use these when the enemy comes into your sites. Ask the Holy Spirit to release a deeper level of discernment in you and to grant you the grace to be sober minded and alert, ready for battle. Ask Him to allow you to know the difference between when the enemy is attacking, and when it is your flesh that needs to be brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ! Now pray seriously for your children and those close to you to be awakened to the true war going on around them in the spiritual realm. Pray for your pastor to be alert to the schemes of the enemy, and instead of being afraid or avoiding conflict, being confident and aggressive against the devil and his cohorts. Pray that your church would become spiritual warriors and not simply fighters are trying to survive.