|Posted on April 10, 2015 at 8:00 PM|
VICTORY PRINCIPLES IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE
The Bible acknowledges the reality of battle both in the natural and in the spiritual world, Revelation 12:7 says, “And there was war in heaven.” Exodus 15:3 also says, “The LORD is a man of war.”
Life is a battle and it is important to adopt the best military tactics to execute a battle. It is unwise to fight any battle presumptuously or without adequate preparation. The United States of America did not react emotionally against Afghanistan, after the al-Qaeda terrorist attack of 9/11. Most people thought bombs would be dropping upon Afghanistan by the second day, but the super powers do not fight like that; it took them months of intelligent preparation before they struck. At a point, people thought America would not react at all, but they were already at war without fighting, mapping out strategies, and gathering intelligent information before they commenced the operation. Within three months of American military reaction, the Taliban forces were routed and victory was secured. This was just because they know how to fight. May the Lord teach us similar principles and strategies.
Some Christians approach the battles of life blindly. As soon as they are in a problem, they react emotionally and begin to shout and scream. After they have done this for several months and nothing happens, they become dejected. You do not take a soldier to war without first taking the civilian out of him. Then you begin to departmentalize the soldier to know where he best fits, is he going to be in the commando unit, cavalry, infantry, mechanized, paratrooper or the armoured division? After this, the soldier is trained before been taken to war. In some Christian circles, new or untrained Christians are allowed to engage in spiritual warfare without guidance. They are allowed to confront principalities and powers to their own peril. Eventually, such Christians become casualties of warfare. This underscores the fact that every spiritual soldier must undergo training before deployment.
In spiritual warfare, we must deal with certain targets known as anti-destiny and anti-progress forces before we can experience success in life. Generally, the devil has no any man; he only bows to superior fire. Without spiritual fire and faith in your heart, you are no match for the adversary. Therefore, the first thing for us to do is to restore our spiritual fire and faith. When your fire, faith and righteousness levels are at the optimum, the enemy will surrender.
For the purpose of illustration, let us consider 2 Chronicles 20:1-30:
“It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?.... So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about”.
Here we see Jehoshaphat a righteous king who put everything into the service of Jehovah. Nevertheless, he came under enemy attack. No wonder, David said, many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all. That a man is righteous does not make him immune to enemy’s attack. In fact, the more righteous you are, the more enemy attack you are likely to face. Therefore, do not ever say, ‘I live for God, I faithfully pray, fast and I pay my tithe and do everything well but I don’t know why God would allow all this to happen to me.’ If it doesn’t happen to you, who will it happen to? The righteous also has his share of life affliction, but the good news is that he shall be delivered from them all. Jehoshaphat came under an allied attack of a combined army of three nations. They attacked him when he was at his weakest; it was an unexpected attack.
From verse 3, the Bible says, when Jehoshaphat learnt of the nations coming to attack him, he feared. This was a positive fear: And Jehoshaphat feared, and himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. There are two kinds of fear. There is a negative paralysing fear that makes you numb, it gives a man both physical and mental paralysis, such that you will not know what to do. Another one is the fear that drives you into the presence of the Lord. This makes you to pray, fast, and hold onto the horns of the altar in prayer. In the day of attack, some do not know what to do. If you fail in the day of adversity your strength is little. Some afflictions drive some people far away from the presence of the Lord. They blame everybody around them including their pastor and eventually they throw in the towel because their strength is little. Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and gathered the whole nation into the temple to cry together unto the Lord. He was not like some folks who are prayer collectors. He himself was a prayer generator and prayer donor. He prayed articulate, intelligent, informed prayers, even though he was king. In verse 12, he prayed and said, Oh Lord our eyes are upon you. Here we see the king performing a covenant obligation. King Solomon had built the temple and in 2 Chronicles 7, Solomon said the temple was dedicated to the Lord as a house of sacrifice and that whatever prayers was prayed there, God should not hesitate to answer. God granted this prayer of Solomon. Therefore, King Jehoshaphat prayed the right prayers in the right place. He prayed under open heaven condition. As he prayed, the ears of God were opened to him.
To analyze this passage, we shall look at the seven critical phases in spiritual warfare:
1. Tribulation Phase:
Tribulation or attack that comes suddenly, and that is the way it comes to all mankind. The devil does not write people letters. He does not send you an e-mail or a telephone message of his impending attack. He comes suddenly like a flood. But blessed be the name of the Lord for the Bible says, “when the enemy shall come like a flood, the Spirit of God will raise the standard against him”. This tribulation or affliction differs from person to person. For some, it can be a sudden loss of job or love of a loved one. For others, it could be miscarriage, sudden sickness, a fire disaster, or an accident. Whether a person will come out of this tribulation phase or sink is determined by his action.
2. Emotional Phase:
In verse 3 of our passage, the Bible says Jehoshaphat feared. Some people instead of fearing, they weep, especially when they lose a pregnancy, a loved one, or their job. Some go into depression, despair and some boycott church meetings. These are some examples of negative reaction. However, those who are well rooted in the word of God and in the things of the Spirit will not allow their emotion to rule them. They overcome their emotion by faith and by the word of God. This then lead them to supplication phase. That is what David did when the Philistines attacked Ziklag. His men wept and he wept along with them. Then, he moved on to prayer. The Bible says, “and David encouraged himself in the Lord.” He recovered from negative emotion.
3. Supplication Phase:
Jehoshaphat went into prayer. Not a prayer of: ‘Oh Lord, defeat my enemy right now.’ The king said, “O Lord, our eyes are on you”. The man was asking for direction and guidance. When you come under sudden attack, immediate counter attack is not the wise thing to do. Except Holy Spirit say quickly do this or do that. For instance, if you ate or drank poison in your dream, you do not have to wait for a whole week, asking God for direction. You just get up and go into scriptural prayers to neutralise the poison of the enemy immediately. But when an attack comes repeatedly, it means you are under a siege, an altar of affliction has been raised up against you, you need to go to the Lord in supplication asking for direction. This may be in form of a three or seven day fasting or separation. Supplication has to do with asking questions.
4. Instruction Phase:
God speaks so that we do not operate in the dark. He speaks to give instruction and direction. This is revelation and instruction stage. We need to get instruction from the Lord, so that we do not fight blindly. When heaven speaks, it means the battle is not yours. As Jehoshaphat and his people stood still in the Temple, the sons of Asaph were probably playing their music softly unto the Lord, and then the Spirit of God came upon Jahaziel and three distinct gifts of the Spirit manifested simultaneously. These are the gift of the word of knowledge, the gift prophecy and the word of wisdom.
Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's (Word of Wisdom).
To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel (Word of Knowledge).
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you (Word of Prophecy).
At this stage, the Man of War has taking over and is now commanding and instructing His troop.
5. Confrontation Phase
This is the stage to confront the enemy based on the instruction received. However, several options were left to Jehoshaphat at this stage. Having been told that his army would not need to fight in the battle, he was left with the options of continuing to pray, standstill, fold his arms and watch, or simply begin to celebrate. But Jehoshaphat reasoned that it would be wise to organize the levitical worshippers to praise and worship the Man of War as He fought their battles. Sure enough, as they began to praise the Lord, the Bible records that the Lord set their enemies into confusion and routed them.
Every battle that confronts a child of God is spiritual in nature and several spiritual weapons are available in scripture to execute such battles. According to the instruction of the Lord, we can employ intercession, prophetic prayer, binding and loosing, repentance, prayer walk, etc.
6. Victory Stage
This is the stage when the enemy has been defeated and we gather the spoils of war. It is the stage of deliverance, victory, prosperity, and peace -- personal and national peace. The Bible records:
So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about. (2 Chron 20:30 KJV)
7. Celebration Phase
This is the stage of returning to the Lord the glory that is due unto His name. It is the stage of dancing and singing for the goodness of the Lord. It is the testimony stage.
Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord (2 Chron 20:27-28 KJV).
We all look forward to this stage. The sick looks forward to this stage when he or she will sing a testimony song to the Lord in the congregation of His people. The barren looks forward to the day of her child dedication in the church. The unmarried looks forward to the day of her marriage when she would sing and dance to the Lord. It is your turn to celebrate!
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