All too well, we know firsthand the meaning of the word, “war.” Regardless of your age, you have probably felt the pain of sorrow created by the times when our nation was at war. Some of you reading this remember well the days of World War II. Still some of you can vividly recall the battles with Korea, VietNam, Dessert Storm and, of course, our current “War on Terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan. We fully realize our freedom has come with a great price! It breaks our heart to see flag draped caskets being unloaded from U.S. carriers. We watch with heartache the grief stricken spouses, children, parents and families of our fallen soldiers. For that reason, the Lord has placed in all of our hearts a desire for the day when we will finally experience peace. However, that day will only come when we are in the presence of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ!
I want to call your attention to this text in the Bible to help us understand, as Believers, we are also in a spiritual struggle! When we are born again into the family of God, we are enlisted in an army who is to fight against the evils of the devil. You have an enemy of your soul. He would love to conquer us any way he can. He doesn’t fight fair. He never gives up. His weapons are carnal. His torture is cruel. He is waging war against us and spiritual struggles are his tools.
We all face our battles. To win the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, we must seek His help. The Psalmist knew the Lord could teach him how to fight in this battle. He was well aware of the fact the Lord could guide his fingers in the art of spiritual warfare. The battle is real and the need for the help of the Lord is great.
Spiritual struggles work on us in different ways. If the battle gets too hard or lasts too long, it can cause the strongest soldier of the cross to begin to doubt the will of God. The enemy will make sure he brings the wrong kind of people at just the right time to sow the seeds of insecurity in our mind. God brings people into our lives to bless us. The devil sends people to blast us. When surrounded by those who question the will of God, you should pray for them. Remember, our battle is not with people. Our war is against the principalities and powers associated with Satan!
The battle the enemy brings to your life is sent to destroy your faith! That is his purpose. We all know the pain of losing trust in people. We have been lied to and led astray as innocent lambs only to see those whom we love sacrifice our trust in them on the altar of self-indulgence. You may have lost faith in a person but never lose faith in the Lord! Faith must not only stand the test of time, it must also stand the test of trials.
It is interesting to note in the parable of the sower, Christ mentioned there was some seed which was eaten by the birds. You must prepare yourself for this truth! Sowing seeds will always stir up the birds. Of course, the lesson the Lord taught was the devil and his cohorts love to steal from us the good news that Heaven sends to our heart. The spiritual struggles will try to deplete the Word of God.
In this brief message, I want to call your attention to the fact no nation has ever fought a war and not known it! The President, along with an almost unanimous Congressional vote, approved to “declare war” against the enemy. It does not matter what your commentary on the war may be. The thing I call your attention to is there were events and information that led them to a common understanding. The actions taken by others provoked our nation to enter into war. When we as Christians get involved in certain spiritual activities, we too are provoked to declare war on the enemy.
First, giving is an act of declaring war. The devil hates for us to give. He never wants us to give our time, talent or treasure to the work of the Lord. If he had his way, we would never witness to a sinner, visit the sick or help an orphan or widow. We would simply focus on our needs with a microscope instead of looking at others in need with a magnifying glass. Maybe it is so hard to get individuals to commit to giving today because they just would rather not declare war on the evil kingdom of the devil.
Second, worshipping is an act of declaring war. This word means to “reverence with high esteem for the sacred.” Sincerely we are to revere God’s house and His people. There is a big difference between “praise” and “worship.” Praise is usually based on the direct result of receiving a particular blessing. For example, we need a new pair of shoes, a healing of our body or a bill paid. Worship, on the other hand, is a higher level than praise. It shows our love and thanks to the Lord whether we receive anything or not. Even if we don’t have the shoes, the healing or the money, we go ahead and praise Him anyway! To “praise” means to express approval or “glorify.” To “glorify” means to “rejoice with jubilation.” Then “jubilation” refers to “exaltation.” The word “exaltation” means to “praise.” Then it starts all over again. In other words, worship is a circle that never ends. No wonder the Lord inhabits the praise of His people. The bigger the circle gets the more He lives in it and fills us at the same time.
Third, witnessing is an act of declaring war. Sometimes the devil will never do a single thing to fight us until we start telling others about the Lord. We are commanded in Scriptures to confess and witness to others. Most people tell me the hardest individuals to witness to is our own family. That is a reasonable conclusion. After all, they know our weakness as well as our strengths. They see us up and down. They know when we succeed and when we fail. However, Jesus still told the demoniac of Gadara to “go home” and tell them what He had done for him. The apostle Paul always told his story of conversion. It did not matter if he was before kings or rulers. He shared his personal testimony of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are to tell the world about our salvation too!
Finally, praying is an act of declaring war. You may be battling today because you have prayed and prayed and still seem to have no answer. You may feel as the heavens have turned to lead and God is not speaking. Do you remember the days of your childhood when you were in school? The teacher never talked while the test was going on. Just because you have not heard from the Lord yet, does not mean He has not heard your cry for help. Never give up. Keep going to the throne. He sees your persistence and a greater power and blessing is given to those who do not quit. They win the war!