Finding the True Source
Whether we think about it or not, each of us engages in spiritual war every moment of every day.
That reality should cause us, as the Scripture commands, to "live soberly" -- not as those who possess withered and humorless spirits -- but with joy, hope, and peace, tempered by our awareness that we are continually confronting an implacable, powerful foe who hates us and eagerly seeks to destroy us.
This is a foe before whom our enemies would tremble and lose all hope, a foe far more powerful than any ruler, commander, army, or nation. Our hope, therefore, is not to be found in human strength, but in the facts and consequences of the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the one whose sacrificial death has opened the door for us to escape the clutch of the Destroyer and to enter rejoicing into the family of God -- the family of those whom He loves because they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone and are seeking to follow His leading in their lives.
Each member of God’s family is called to engage in this worldwide spiritual warfare. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy applies to all who enlist in the Army of Christ: "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier" (2 Timothy 2:3,4, NASV).
Not one of us who has practiced the profession of arms would intentionally enter a hostile area without doing everything in our power to ensure that both we and all our soldiers have the training and equipment required for success on the battlefield. That is why Paul’s explanation in 2 Timothy 3:17 is so significant.
After explaining that the Word of God is profitable in our lives because it provides the sound doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that are vital to us, Paul explains the result of this process. As we allow God’s inspired Word to do the work in our lives for which He intended it, we grow in spiritual, intellectual, and emotional maturity and we become thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When God has thus equipped us, we are ready for service in His Army. We become soldiers who understand how to fight and how to use the weapons He provides for this special kind of warfare. Until we have grasped the essential truth that God prepares us for combat in proportion to our growth in understanding of and obedience to His Word, we have not really begun our preparation.
As I write this, on 9 January 2002, there seems to be a lull in the physical and psychological war that broke upon America so devastatingly last September. Though our leaders warn us there is much fighting and danger ahead in Afghanistan and in other regions, the American people seem to be "settling in" to an uneasy acceptance of the new situation.
But believers cannot afford such an attitude in the more extensive and dangerous spiritual war we are called to fight. We must renew our commitment to study, discuss, pray over, and apply God’s Word to every aspect of our lives, knowing that we have the victory in Christ.