RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer and sets me on high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Psalms 18:31-34
Preparing for war and engaging the enemy is the church's greatest need to survive the constant and ever increasing onslaught by the powers of darkness. Our enemies are trained and equipped in the art of subterfuge and deception and are relentless in their attack upon the body of Christ. For the church to survive in this final hour she must prepare for war!
King David was most likely the greatest military commander in all of history. He learned to fight in the fields as a shepherd tending his father's sheep when attacked by wild animals. David killed lions and bears with nothing more than a sling and his great faith in God to deliver him. As Jesus learned to confront Satan in the wilderness, David, a type of Christ also learned about the schemes of his enemy and how to defeat him.
Spiritual warfare is not a game to be played with in church on Sunday, but it is a very dangerous and ongoing fact of life for every Spirit filled believer. God has given us all authority over the powers of darkness but learning how to exercise that authority takes great patience and discernment in dealing with your enemy. Failure to respect the enemies skill in deception could cost you your life, if you don't believe it, just ask Samson, the strongest man that ever lived.
"Behold, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Luke 10:19
CONFRONTING THE ENEMY
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts! Zechariah 4:6
Confronting the powers of darkness can be a harrowing experience and must be preceded with extreme caution allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you and give you the discernment that will be needed for victory. You are dealing with demonic entities that have practiced deceiving all of humanity for thousands of years, don't think for a minute that you in your own strength can defeat them. Without the Holy Spirit it is hopeless.
The young shepherd boy David proved that age doesn't have anything to do with confronting and defeating the enemy as long as you allow the Spirit of God to fight your battle. When David confronted Goliath, a giant of great proportion and strength, trained in combat from his youth, he knew who was going before him, God! There is no doubt that if he had gone in his own strength in the flesh, he would have been killed.
Your enemy knows your weakness before you even engage him and will try and use it to defeat you. Preparing your heart before the Lord and making sure all inroads and sin are dealt with are a must before entering into any kind of spiritual warfare. Prayer and fasting for your immediate family members and asking not only for discernment, but permission to engage the enemy. Whether you are casting out demons, praying for the sick or attempting to raise the dead, it is imperative that you have the leading of Holy Spirit.
David had been anointed in secret by Samuel to be king over God's people Israel after Saul disobeyed Him by not entirely destroying his enemies. A lowly shepherd boy was about to become the greatest warrior of all time, just as a lowly carpenter's Son was to be the King of all Kings! God always uses weakness to perfect strength, and humility always triumph's over pride. The correlation of David and Goliath and Jesus confronting Satan is something we would do well to observe before we engage in spiritual warfare.
FEAR, DOUBT AND UNBELIEF
And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good looking. So the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.!" I Samuel 17:42-44
Goliath used fear, doubt and unbelief to try and dismay David and stop his forward motion against him. The armor of God only protects your front, not your back. David had tried on Saul's armor, representing our fleshly attempt to do something spiritual in our own strength, but it was too cumbersome and David knew in his heart that God would go before him. David's strength and confidence came from his communion and deep relationship with God and not in his own ability.
Jesus is our example and teacher when it comes to spiritual warfare. When He confronted Satan in the wilderness Satan's first attack was to try and make Him doubt who He was. He said to Him, "If you are the Son of God." Was there any doubt? He was just baptized in the Holy Spirit and heard His heavenly Father say to Him audibly, "You are My beloved Son!" If the devil has the audacity to dare and confront Jesus with such nonsense, what do you think he will try on you?
David, an insignificant shepherd boy was going into battle against a formidable foe armed to the teeth and trained for battle, Goliath was a force to be reckoned with. In the spiritual, David represents the Lord Jesus going before us in battle and choosing five smooth stones being the fivefold ministry of the church to stand in the gap and intercede for the victory. If one can put a thousand to flight and two ten thousand, then five can put millions of the enemy to flight! Twelve in agreement can put one hundred trillion to flight.
Jesus gave us an example of how leadership is to be formed when he called and trained the twelve and installed them as the pillars of the church. These men were like David, just ordinary working class that were given extraordinary supernatural skills. These new leaders were not to form some dysfunctional hierarchy to become superstars to be idolized by the body, but were put into service to give intersession and oversight in spiritual warfare by agreeing in prayer.
In Revelation 4:4 it describes a scene of twenty four thrones in a circle around the very throne of God. I believe these elders are the patriarchs of the twelve tribes as well as the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This represents the government of God. The circle represents the elders being in submission to one another and to the Lord, thus preventing any one man stepping into the headship of Christ.
When Saul stepped out of the will of God and became the head he was defeated and when the church allows a pastor or leader to step into Christ's headship the result will be idolatry and defeat. Jesus Christ is our Lord and King, Chief Shepherd and the Leader of God's army. To deviate from this divine plan of leadership will always stop the forward motion in a church by making man the head and not Christ.
To me, who am least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the stewardship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold ( many-sided ) wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access with confidence through faith in Him. Ephesians 3:8-12
THE WEAPONS OF WAR
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal ( of the flesh ) but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. II Corinthians 10:4
Throughout biblical history God gives us examples of men at war fighting the enemies of God in the natural so we would be able to defeat our enemies in the supernatural. Our battle is against an unseen force of evil so diabolical that we would do well to heed the instruction that God gives us in His word.
One of the greatest gifts that God has given the church is discernment and the ability to see into spiritual realms so that the enemy can be exposed. Like infra-red night vision glasses that the military uses to see their enemy in darkness, so we have the ability to see our unseen adversary in spiritual darkness. When the church comes together in unity with one vision to defeat the enemy and fulfill the great commission, then their discernment will be greatly enhanced.
David had great spiritual discernment and as he grew in spiritual strength and physical stature his gift was greatly increased. Spending time with God in prayer and the study and meditation of His word will sharpen your spiritual gifts as well as exercising them in war with the powers of darkness. Spiritual warfare is not just talk, it involves action and forward motion.
Though David went out against Goliath with only a sling, he in fact was actually fighting with the word of God deeply embedded in his heart. Knowing the promise of God and the outcome of our faith to believe that He will bring about victory is using the power of the sword of the Spirit. Utilizing the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith will insure your victory against the powers of darkness.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12