As a history major, I have alway been drawn especially to military history.There are many biographies, I have enjoyed reading, of men who have fought in desperate struggles against powerful enemies. For most of 2022, I kept a biography of T.E. Lawrence beside my bed and finished it over the course of six months of sporadic reading. The accounts given of the conditions of the battle fields were horrifying: extreme heat, no water, sandstorms, and vast expanses of open desert. It would be bad enough even if there was not a war. Yet you see Lawerence enduring over and over again the harsh conditions and the horrors of war.
As a pastor, there are times that we feel the spiritual battle around us more pronouncedly than at other times. Our Gospel work engages us in a battle for the souls of men and women and Satan does not want to give up one soul. There are the fiery darts and trials that we face from the enemy that hates us. Sometimes that battle is felt because we have left the protection of the great shepherd. We try to run on in our own strength or we stray from the flock of God by our sin and our unfaithfulness to Christ and His Church.
Since the return to normal church after the pandemic, myself and many of my pastoral friends have noticed an intense sense of the spiritual battle around us and in which we are engaged daily. It has been a hard year for many of us. This Spiritual warfare is real, but so is our help in the midst of it. .
How can we deal with Spiritual warfare, here are some quick reflections from my own experience in 2022. :
- Know where your help and protection comes from - it is from the Lord. When you face the engagement of the enemy and you feel the weight of the battle you need to seek the Lord. Seek Him both in prayer and in the Word. Draw close to your help and your protection.
- See the church as God’s gift in battle. Christians are never alone, we are connected to Jesus by the Holy Spirit and connected to the body of Christ which is His church. The local church is a vital support in the midst of intense spiritual warfare. We need to be faithful in our attendance and involvement in the local church. We need each other in the midst of the battle.
- Don’t be surprised by the battle or the intensity of it. As our culture changes, gone are the days where the world looks at the church in a favorable light. The church today is seen by many as hateful and intolerant. They have been blinded by the lies of Satan, the world, and their own sinful hearts. We serve as a reminder of God’s truth and they hate us for it.
- See the battles that took place in the scriptures and in church history and learn from these. Every great soldier is a student of history. They learn how to do battle from those who have gone before them. So should we as Christians. The Bible is full of examples of those who went through great spiritual battles. Think of the books of Job, Daniel, Jeremiah or the story of Elijah and the Apostle Paul, we see in these biblical accounts men who faced great battles and trusted in God. In church history, there are the covenanters, the early reformers, and many missionaries who were faithful through suffering. See these accounts and be encouraged.
- Finally - see that God has won the battle. Could you imagine if we did not know this truth? But in the end, every knee will bow. Every demon will be cast down. All the powers of this world will be defeated and King Jesus will reign forever.