Preparing for Battle
Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Evil, hell and the devil are real. The enemy will do anything and everything in his power to maintain control and influence over the lost of this world. The Bible says that the gospel is hidden from the lost, and the devil has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor 4:3-4) and he will do whatever it takes to keep it that way. He doesn’t quit with the lost. He continues to torment the saved as well. I’ve heard it said that Satan likes nothing more than a passive Christian. A Christian that doesn’t walk boldly in their faith, that doesn’t read the Word or fellowship with other Christians and doesn’t actively share the Gospel. Think about it, a passive Christian is little threat to him and his evil ways. (moved to Fear chapter)
When we witness, we are going to battle so we must be well prepared. We are going toe to toe with the devil himself. The battlefield is a spiritual one with unimaginable powers of good and evil. We must call on the goodness of the Holy Spirit and His army of angels to do the work for us and to guard us… Ephesians 6:10-12:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Now put on all of the armor of God, and do this each and every day… Ephesians 6:13-17:
Therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for you feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit,...”
The importance of being prepared and protected with the armor of God can’t be stressed enough. You will never be defeated with the protection of God’s armor. Remember, you might be walking onto the battlefield, but you are not alone and God is doing the fighting, not you. God will use you and your obedience to do His will. Remember, Philippians 4:13 states “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
In Christ you are undefeatable and you are on the winning side. You are battling from victory, not for victory. Jesus already won the war between good and evil when He died on the cross. Your focus is to remain faithful and trust in God’s power to both protect you and to fight through you. After all, faith can move mountains, right? Hope has no place on the spiritual battlefield. Faith is what will carry you through. In the Christian walk, faith is a verb. Faith is proactive, it requires action and it is intentional. Hope is a noun, hope is reactive and passive. God wants His soldiers to act intentionally and obediently through faith. Hope is a worldly concept that the lost hold on to. Hope is a gamble, faith is a guarantee.
Filled with the Word
Jesus said: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” You might compare memorizing scripture to stocking up with ammunition. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to bind God’s law on our hearts, teach it to our children, talk about it wherever we go, and make it an important part of our lives. Colossians 3:16 tells us to “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly.” Look at it this way, if you are filled with the Word in your heart, the Holy spirit has more to use in the heat of the battle, essentially making you a better armed soldier. When Paul talks about the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20 he only mentions one offensive weapon: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The power of Scripture in response to unkind words should not be overlooked. It also reminds us of God’s priceless and powerful promises to the saints.
The Word has power!
When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, Jesus brandished the sword of the Spirit and the devil fled (Matthew 4:1-11). When we know God’s Word and obey it, we are able to experience God at a deeper level and experience the freedom that comes only through obedience (John 8:31-32, 14:21). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1-2) The deeper we know God, the deeper we know his will for us. Romans 12:2 says that when we renew our minds and are transformed, we will be able to “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What Christian does not want a better understanding of God and his perfect will?
The Bible is a book of incredible wisdom that can have an impact on every aspect of our life. By internalizing the Scripture we are able to have that biblical wisdom with us at all times. Luke 2:52 says that even Jesus grew in wisdom during his earthly life. Shouldn’t we do the same?
Memorizing Scripture helps us share the gospel better
We are urged in 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready to give a defense for our hope in Christ. We should memorize Scripture so we can walk unbelievers through the salvation message and help them understand their sin and need for a Savior. Speaking God’s words instead of our own will give our message more authority and will harness the power that is in the Word of God (Isaiah 55:11; Hebrews 4:12; Jeremiah 23:29).
Walking the walk
The devil will twist anything and everything in an attempt to make us stumble in our pursuit to obediently share the Gospel. This is why it is so important to “practice what we preach”. It’s one thing to talk the talk and yet another thing to walk the walk. As we go into the world sharing the Gospel people are watching us. Remember, the lost might be blind to the truth of the Gospel but they are not blind to our behavior and our actions. In fact, the devil within them is always looking for something to twist and turn against us for the purpose of rendering our testimony invalid or, bringing our character into question. Unbelievers will often look for anything that will justify their rejection of the Gospel message so if they can find something questionable in our behavior that may be construed to suggest something immoral, illegal or unethical on our part they can feel justified. We have lost credibility at that point which renders our ability to witness to them useless.
We are to be IN the world but not OF the world. The challenge is to be in the world while abstaining from certain worldly behavior. Even if the unbeliever is doing the same thing, the devil will use that worldly (non-Christian) behavior of ours to convince the unbeliever that we are not credible witnesses to the Gospel. For example, during my years as a full patch in a motorcycle club most of the club social activities took place in bars where folks were drinking and smoking and doing all sorts of “worldly” things. The guys knew I didn’t drink or smoke but one night when we were hanging out and joking around, one of my brothers noticed something else about me, he looked me in the eye and asked why I never cursed. So I told him. The simple behavior change of NOT using bad language was enough to get his attention and open the door for me to begin a discussion about what God has done in my life, and ultimately it allowed me to share the Gospel with him.
Garbage in, garbage out
When it comes to information, our minds are not much different than a well or a grain silo… what you fill it with is what you’re going to get out of it. Violent news and entertainment are on every channel and in many theaters, popular music and publications are filled with lewdness and sensuality. Pornography is just a mouse click away. It is devilishly easy (pun intended) to fill yourself to the brim with all of this sin.
With a little diligence however, you can filter the input you consume from the world and intentionally consume things that are healthy for your mind and spirit. Things that will help you grow as a Christian. These are the things the Holy Spirit can pull from when you are on the battlefield. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts because everything we do flows from it. Just like having the proper armor or the right weapons, it is also prudent to establish strong defenses when going to battle. By filling your mind and your heart with healthy things there is less for the devil to play with and more for the Holy Spirit to use.
The Greek word for apologetics means “speaking in defense”. According to Wikipedia, “Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse.” When sharing the Gospel, you may be challenged by some people you are sharing with. They will want to debate you. Usually this kind of response is nothing more than a knee jerk defense on their part. It’s usually a stubborn attempt to reject the good news you are sharing with them. Occasionally the person may be somewhat Bible literate, or they might be searching for answers and have a genuine question or concern about the Gospel message. They are listening with worldly ears. They may be attempting to use logic to answer their questions of faith. Having an informed, biblical response can be beneficial in cases like this. Engaging with the lost on this level will require some study however. A simple internet search will reveal thousands of resources available to you if you intend to learn more about apologetics. This is not required to effectively share the Gospel, it’s just another tool
to go to another level.
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