2Timothy 2:3: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
We are called to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We should be tough, be able to handle whatever situation that comes our way. Moreover, a soldier is appointed to defend territories, to expand and defend the kingdom from invasion.
Paul said that the weapons of his warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imagination and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God (1Corinthians 10:1-6). For him the territories to be taken and protected are the minds of men, in the thoughts and ideas there.
The mind is really a battlefield. And as good spiritual soldiers we are expected to be skillful with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Paul told Timothy to study to show himself approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15). As a soldier he has work to do on the minds of the people. That was why Paul told him; preach the word, in season and out of season. It is a work that has no break (2Timothy 4:1-4).
The battle of the Lord is the battle of truth. In a prophecy about Jesus, we were told that he will go forth in battle to establish truth (Psalm 45:1-4). The truth confronts the lies, which seem to permeate our world now. And the more we are equipped with truth, the more the battle against falsehood is won in our lives.
There is a battle raging between truth and falsehood, between faith and doubt, and between obedience and disobedience. And as soldiers of Jesus Christ, we need to establish truth, faith and obedience, both in our lives and in the lives of those who come under our influence, or we are called to.
Truth and falsehood: the battle for right understanding
Lies come from the devil. Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). In the Garden of Eden he sold a lie to Eve and she bought it (Genesis 3:1-11). And humanity entered into a trap from then on; the trap of sin and death. Any trap of sin we are in is because there is a lie we have believed (either consciously or unconsciously).
A life of unrighteousness feeds on untruth. That is why Paul warned against some behaviours saying you have not so learn Christ, if you have been taught by him as the truth is in Christ (Ephesians 4:20-21). The psalmist says: your words have I kept in my heart that I may not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).
The soldier of Jesus does not just fight lies in his own life, but uses the truth of the word to battle it in others, all in the Spirit of love. In the letter of Paul to the Ephesians he said that the church is built up when we speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15), built in truth and cured of lies.
Truth correctly sets our thinking. Paul said we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2). And our mind is renewed by truth.
Faith and doubt: the battle for right believing
Faith fights doubts and doubt fights faith. (One of the symptoms of doubt is fear). The word of God is used to build faith and to crush doubt. The bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). And it is feeding on the word that builds the faith muscles, as we focus on the word of God, which is called the word of faith (Romans 10:8).
The word of God is not the word of doubt. Any word that comes to us to make us doubt the word of God is a spiritual attack. Eve was suffering from a spiritual attack, as the devil destroyed her faith in the word of God and caused her to act based on doubt (Genesis 3:1-11).
From that time the life of faith was shut down for humanity. In Christ, faith comes alive again, because connection with God is made possible again. But there is a component of the faith that has to do with the mind, which means there is need for illumination to come to us via the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s help.
It is established that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). We are called to have faith, but doubt is more native to human beings, it is ingrained in the spiritual DNA. But the Holy Spirit can work on the mind in connection with the Word, as we meditate on it, causing a change in us for the better (Psalm 1:1-3).
That is why in Christ we called to a higher life. John wrote that this is the victory that overcomes the world even our faith (1John 4:4, 5:4). It takes faith to live a victorious life in Christ Jesus. When we use the name of Jesus in prayer we are activating the law of faith, releasing possibilities in the realm of the spirit. In Christ we are seated with him in the heavenly places. Be belief that by faith and walk in the reality of our dominion in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, 2:5-6).
The faith life is the real life. It is the dominion life, the overcoming life. Faith brings new things to pass, because it gives an assurance of things hoped for, and is evidence that the things not yet seen will manifest. Faith brings the reality of the unseen. It is anchored in God himself.
Obedience and disobedience: the battle for right behaviour
Do you know that when you obey God, that is spiritual warfare in and of itself? Obedience causes light to be released into the situation, thereby paralysing darkness (John 1:5). Jesus came to the earth in obedience to God; therefore his coming was light to the world. He said: as long as I am on the earth, I am the light of the world (John 8:12. 9:5, 12:46). Obedience releases spiritual light into the atmosphere, which makes demons run for cover.
I know obedience is spiritual warfare because disobedience is a major victory to the devil. I know that righteousness is spiritual warfare because sin is an expression of the victory of the devil. When you live a life of obedience to God, you send the hordes of hell skittering.
I know that obedience is warfare because Jesus said that we should let our light shine before men, so that when they see our good works, they will glorify our father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Obedience stands for good works. And there are two things that the devil does not want: that you shine, because through that you paralyse his activities since he is darkness; and for glory to come to God. He’ll rather have glory coming to him; rather have God vilified than glorified.
When you obey God, it is to the devil’s damning rottenness. It is a blow to his “lifelong” agenda and pursuit to gain supremacy over God. Once the will of God is getting done it means the will of the devil has suffered defeat.
So before you go into serious fasting and prayer in the name of “spiritual warfare”, you need to check your alignment with God as his soldier first in your obedience or those things will not make much meaning (Isaiah 58).
Having the right understanding, leads to having faith, and that leads to the right behaviour, a change of life. The bible says that the just shall live by faith (Galatians 3:11). But the foundation is the right understanding (right understanding leads to right, right faith leads to right living).
That is why the war plan of the devil is to entrench darkness in the heart of the people, darken their understanding (Ephesians 4:17-5:17). Paul said that the devil as the God of this world is interested in having the heart of people darkened, blinding them (2Corinthians 4:4); the battle of and for truth is to about shedding light on the minds of people, and curing them of spiritual blindness.
That is the business of the soldiers of Jesus Christ. Note that in establishing understanding, faith and obedience, the sure sword is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). And individually, obedience, faith and truth (though they are intricately linked) are manifestations of the word of God; they are warfare tools in their own right.
- Adoption Again Considered (meditations and expostions on adoption) (reformedforhisglory.wordpress.com)
- Have you come to the source? (eyesonchildren.com)
- Remain Obedient (spiritministries.wordpress.com)
- We Are The Champions (livefromtheheartofme.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Paid It All … (thelivingwordministries.wordpress.com)
- Mighty In God, Evans Olang (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)
- In the Hallway – In Christ Jesus Alone (alreadyanswered.org)
- Day 341: Ephesians 1-3; Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ (orcministries.wordpress.com)
- I Am a Soldier (newharvestcommunity.wordpress.com)
- Paul’s Comrades in Arms – Acts 20 (sundayschoolbiblestudy.wordpress.com)