The Weapons of Spiritual Warfare

by Robert Paul Vicars IV

We’ve looked at how living our lives in service to God is like being engaged in a counterinsurgency operation similar to our nations current fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. But like any combatant on the battle field, we must know what weapons we have and how to use them. What good is it to have a tank when the only weapon we know how to use is a BB gun? So let’s take a moment to inventory our supply of divine instruments, by which our “Commander,” through us, inflicts damage on our enemy.

The editor of the 1995 edition of the journal “Reformation and Revival” in an issue focused on spiritual warfare said, “the church must again understand that it uses two weapons to engage in the fight: the Word of God and prayer.” [1] He is correct. Scripture and prayer are our weapons, and what follows is our Biblical precedent for how to use them.

When Jesus was approached by Satan, after forty days of fasting, Christ responded to each temptation by quoting scripture–and Deuteronomy no less! (Luke 4:1-13) How often do we in the midst of temptation, first, recognize that we are, in that very moment, engaged in spiritual warfare? And second, how often do we “return fire” by reaffirming scripture? When we feel our anger at someone turning into contempt, hatred or disgust, or when we selfishly covet the recognition that was “our due” for our efforts, do we first think to engage in this heart battle with the words, “It is written, ‘that because Christ loves me, I should love others.’”? (John 13:34) That is not to say that merely, saying the words makes our hearts right. To appropriately apply scripture in spiritual warfare, we should aim it at our hearts and truly consider its implications in our lives, and what response it requires from us. We don’t aim it at Satan, we aim it at ourselves, because ultimately he desires to use our disobedience as his weapons against the Church. Scripture keeps our focus on God’s Will, but will it make the temptation go away?

Sun Tzu in 400 b.c. wrote in The Art of War, “bypass what [the enemy] defends, hit him where he does not expect you. To be certain to take what you attack is to attack a place the enemy does not protect.” [2] After Christ defended the first attack, what happened? Satan attacked along another avenue. But Christ was prepared and countered again. Satan then mustered a third and final attack and was once again rebuffed. Ultimately, the battle was won, but the war was not over…


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