Battle TacticsSeries: Clean Up
We have discussed in our previous study some of the realities of spiritual warfare. Those realities were, it exists, our enemy is powerful, and that God has equipped us for victory. God has given us His armor, shield, and sword (Ephesians 6:11-17) to wage war against Satan. However, if we do not have the right tactics, the right strategies, going into battle, all that equipment will not do us any good. Because of that, this morning, I want to dwell on the practical. We want to look at several tactics you can use in your fight against Satan and his schemes.
Daily Training and Planning:
The first tactic, or area of tactics, is that of daily training and planning. If you know a battle is coming (cf. James 1:13), you don’t wait until the day of the fight to prepare. The allies during WWII spent months and months running drills, planning, and training for the invasion of Normandy. They did not wait until June 6th to figure out what they were going to do. Spiritually speaking now, what are the things we should be doing each day to plan and train for our spiritual battles?
- Daily, consistent prayer – Note what Paul says in connection with the armor of God. “With prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). I understand that to be in connection with the armor of God, that one is to put on the whole armor with prayer, with an eye for detail, double-checking every clip, strap, and plate to make sure you are fully equipped for that day’s battles. Prayer is powerful, do not underestimate it or forget it!
- Daily Sparring – In Ephesians 6:17, we are told that the Word of God is “the sword of the Spirit.” It is our offensive weapon to fight against Satan and his schemes. But, like any weapon, one needs to be adequately trained in handling and using it. Therefore, we need to engage with the Word of God daily. To engage thoughtfully and intentionally. Which could look like this:
- Recording my questions about the text and diligently seeking answers to those questions.
- Meditating upon the meaning of what I have read so that I can apply it to my life.
- Working to implant God’s Word into my heart via memorization.
Now, you may say, how on earth does this help me in my fight against Satan?! It has everything to do with our fight! The Psalmist says to us in Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” The more you have internalized God’s word, the more you have wrestled with it, the more you have had it tear down every false and lofty idea (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) that is in you, the more you have trained and equipped yourself in your fight against sin and the Devil.
- Have a plan – Do not wait until the battle is upon to have a battle plan. Yes, we need to avoid temptation, battles wherever possible, but there are those sneak attacks and flanking maneuvers that catch us off guard. So, you need an If ____ happens the, I will do _______ plans in place. This is a part of making “no provision for the flesh and in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
Fighting in the Trenches
- Fight and Win Big and Little Battles – There is no front, no battle, no skirmish that does not matter in the war for your soul. Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” We need to remember that temptation often lurks in morally neutral things. For example, Israel how they fell prey to temptation because of their fear and the feeling of uncertainty about where their next meal was coming from (Exodus 16:1-3; Numbers 11:1). So, when you are out there in the trenches, remember, little battles matter because little battles add up to significant victories (James 1:2-4).
- Resist quickly – Do not flirt with temptation. Do not put it off. You have about 5 seconds to resist. Just 5 seconds! When tempted by Satan, Jesus responded immediately with scripture to rebuke the temptation (cf. Matthew 4).
- Fight one battle at a time – Not only does Satan attack you directly (James 1:13-15) but he also will try and get us by getting you into fights that are not yours to fight, and he will send those invitations in bulk. Because if he can’t get you to sin, he will try and bury you to where you are so discouraged you are of no effect in the kingdom. So, focus on the battles in front of you and don’t accept the invitation to another fight if you’re in the middle of a conflict yourself. Or else you will be in a two-front war, and now you have to try and do double the work with half of the resources.
- Be decisive – Jesus was quick and decisive when Satan tempted him. He was quick with scripture or rebuke. Christians likewise are told to “resist the devil, and he will fell from you” James 4:7. This resistance is not a one-time act but a firm decision to fight to win. I like what one writer said on this subject. He said that “It takes more than a single skirmish to win a battle, and a hate-filled enemy usually will not yield at a single swing from us. Keep at it. The enemy is testing your resolve. Show him that no matter how long it takes, you fully intend to win” (Eldridge 2006, 177). Be firm, be final, be decisive in your fight.
- Call in reinforcements –You are not an island, and you were not meant to fight against Satan alone. Call in reinforcements. Make use of the friendships in the local congregation now (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Have someone you can call when you are in the middle of a fight. Someone who will check in with you, hold you accountable.
After a Battle
I have tried to give you practical tactics to use to prepare to fight and use in the middle of the fight. The Bible is quick to remind us that we will not win every battle. John tells us in 1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I do not bring up this point to demotivate anyone here. I bring up this point because there are also tactics to employ when we stumble in our fight or lose a battle.
- Learn from the battle – Each battle, win or lose, especially those we lose, need to serve as data points. The areas we are being tempted in, the areas we stumble or fail in, are the areas we need to focus on. They are weak points in our defenses and need to be strengthened. After the battle, think back on it. If you won, make a note of how did you win? What worked? Why was this thing a temptation? If you stumbled or lost, first confess that to God in prayer (1 John 1:9). Secondly, think back over the fight. What worked? What did not? What was the decisive blow? How can you ready yourself for next time? Be ruthless in your applications (Matthew 5:29-30); your soul depends on it.
- Double down on your resolve – When the battle is over, I want you to meditate on these two scriptures:
- Proverbs 24:16 “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity.”
- Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”
I pray that these battle tactics will be helpful in your battles against the Devil. Battling not just for the sake of winning but for the sake of holiness, righteousness, and giving God all honor and glory.