Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 02-07-99
How is it that the Christian soldier claims the mantle of the spiritual warrior? The spiritual warrior acts not reacts, he does not seek to avoid tough lessons but rather extracts from them all he can for the advancement of the main objective: the glorification of God. As it is with the military soldier, a daily routine of disciplined training secures the proper mind set.
The training of a soldier is multifaceted and each front must be intimately known so that the soldier may respond to the proper call, at the proper time, and in the proper way. Accuracy is the foundation to military and spiritual training. There is an exact and precise procedure to secure each desired goal. And the proper procedure is always based on God's way through His divine power. Never is our ability an option toward the main objective. Just as military soldiers do not concoct their own plans, the spiritual soldier must rely on God's plan. This may sound easy, but such a way is in direct contrast to man's old sin nature. The old sin nature (OSN) seeks to control. Control is man's major addiction, giving rise to all areas of arrogance. And though we seek to control we can never have it since it is the monopoly of the Lord Jesus Christ (TLJC) who controls history!
The warrior must therefore give up his desire to control his circumstances, his life, his world, etc. Our unity of action must line up with the control of the general and chief in command, TLJC. Giving over control does not mean we are easily led anywhere. The spiritual warrior does not blindly accept just anything and everything but is disciplined and accurate in the execution of his task at hand and in the execution of the spiritual life. The effective soldier is not bound to the things of this world but lives his life in accordance with the internal power he receives from God. This is not to say that the soldier does not partake of the things of this world but rather that he is not entangled or controlled by the things of the world, 2TI 2:4.
Your accuracy is the proof of your love for God, PSA 119:7. There is a distinct sound and a distinct call set out to the soldier for the proposal at hand and the soldier must be fully trained to properly respond. Most Christians don't care about the distinct sound of accuracy as noted in 1CO 14:8-19. The distinct sound of accuracy is based on the perception, metabolization, and application (PMA) of Bible doctrine (BD) resulting in the momentum to execute God's plan for your life. It is the pastor-teacher's job is to blow the bugle or the trumpet and give a distinct and accurate sound. If the bugle offers an indistinct sound who will prepare himself for battle? Unfortunately there is an uncertain sound many untrained Christians respond to. An example is given in 1CO 14:8, when they got involved in tongues as a superior gift. Tongues was actually a sign to the unbeliever, 1CO 14:21-22 and was a gift given to edify self, 1CO 14:4.
The sound, be it the trumpet call or the voice command, must be heard over the noise (i.e., the distractions of life) for proper action. So, the soldier must be trained in distinguishing which sound requires what action. In the military there is a trumpet call sounded for assembling, for equipping, to fall in, and for line formation. And, as we grow spiritually, the "sound" or call grows even stronger to our sense and becomes more distinct.Details are given precisely and accurately as a part of the word of God to reveal to us the importance of a right thing done in the right way. The power is from God and the consequences must be given over to God. The soldier does not control the call but responds to the call. If accuracy was the order of the day in the Old Testament in the building of the temple, the ark, and within the tabernacle, how much more should accuracy be our measure in the church age seeing that our bodies are our temples unto God, 1CO 3:16; 6:19.
Another military metaphor used by Paul is found in EPH 6:10 which deals with the believer's responsibility to deal with the divine power of God in both offensive and defensive action as a Christian soldier. Before the soldier can walk onto the battlefield ofEPH 6:12 he must be fully trained. And much in training comes by way of suffering hardship. All the details in life, the minor and small things train us for the major events. Daily discipline is needed to advance on that which we train for. And though all believers are in full-time Christian service, not all have received their brand mark of approval. Only after receiving the mark are we ready for spiritual warfare. And this mark is given to only those believers who are fully prepared in their spiritual skills, GAL 6:17. The spiritual skills consist of three:
1- The filling of the spirit.
2- Perception and metabolization of doctrine.
3- Application of that doctrine in executing God's plan.
Putting on the mantle of the Christian warrior points to faithfulness. And what makes faithfulness? Using the divine assets of God on a continual basis, that's what makes faithfulness! Constant training is needed for the constant changes and challenges we meet up with. And our victory is directly dependent on our training. PRO 21:18 tells us "Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance." The guidance spoken of is of course from the word of God.
There are nine principles of military warfare that can be carried over and applied in spiritual warfare:
1- Objective - REV 4:11; 1CH 6:28-29; EPH 1:3 - this principle constitutes the guide for the interpretation of orders, for the formation of decisions and for the employment of the available power toward that main objective.
2- Offensive - 1TI 6:12; 2TI 4:7 - the offensive is taken to secure victory whereas the defensive prevents defeat. The offensive is the execution and fulfillment of predestination. The greatest enemy here is one's emotions. In any spiritual victory, divine power is in view 100 percent. We begin through neutralizing the power of the opposing forces in the spiritual life through the use of rebound, seeing that divine power is available only to those filled with the Holy Spirit.
3- Mass - 1SA 17:47; EPH 4:11-16; 2SA 2:40 - mass refers to combat power. Combat power is an option when the main effort is deployed in the proper time and place toward the definite purpose.
4- Economy of force - LUK 14:31-35; PRO 14:18 - this refers to application of the mass through preparation and deployment.
5- Movement - 2CO 10:3 - refers to maneuvering or momentum, note, such is most effective when concealed. In the spiritual realm this emphasizes the privacy offered in the royal priesthood for preparation of close contacts.
6- Surprise - always gives the advantage. An example would be the surprises to Satan during the church age which are given via the tactical victories secured by believers of all different cultures based on equal privilege and equal opportunity. 1PE 4:12 warns us not to be surprised. As Christian warriors we are to know the principles of warfare, and also know that Satan is well acquainted with them. We need to always be prepared against the principle of surprise since it gives the enemy the advantage.
7- Security - 2Pe 1; ISA 54:17; PRO 21:31; EXO 14:14; JOB 5:19-27 - security dictates that we are to guard against the enemy at all costs. We are to take every measure available to us to secure our ground against the enemy. No matter what we go through, God wants us to know we are kept by His power. Satan can only be victorious over us if we let him.
8- Simplicity - means that the plans are free from complicated maneuvers. There is also unity among command, which in the spiritual realm refers to God the Father who is the author of the plan, God the Son/ Jesus Christ who provides the entrance to the plan, and God the Holy Spirit who provides the power to execute the plan.
9- Cooperation - this entails that all elements are working together to accomplish the operation. It involves intelligent interpretation toward execution in accordance with the spirit and intention of the authority issuing the orders. The common objective of cooperation is found in PHI 2:1-2.
In summing up the nine principle of warfare let us apply one word to each:
1- Objective - plan
2- Offensive - victory
3- Mass - power
4- Economy of force - execution
5- Movement - momentum
6- Surprise - attack
7- Security - support
8- Simplicity - accuracy
9- Cooperation - teamwork
The spiritual warrior is trained in all fronts of warfare. First, in the personal front which is our participation in the internal spiritual battles of daily life which mostly involve thought testing. Second, is the interpersonal front which encompasses our efforts to help others under attack and involves the way we challenge and encounter those attacks. Warfare on this front can include anything from one-on-one to small groups. The third is the local church front, this battlefield is based on spiritual warfare in the local church. It might be centered in an individual or a small group of people but its impact effects the whole church. Fourth, we have the systematic front which struggles against systems which make up our societies, cultural, political, economic, and religious systems. Warfare at this level involves our fight against the ungodly viewpoint of the cultures which try to control and shape our lives. And the fifth front is the cosmic front based on the unseen in which angels and demons engage each other in conflict.
In view of the various military fronts the soldier is never to walk casually in drill and discipline but rather march forward. To march emphasizes the importance of logging maximum time in the filling of the Spirit. It also points to advancing in rank under a system of strict discipline along with the others in your line who are also following their leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. This drill and discipline metaphor is noted by Paul in GAL 5:25 and is used for exhorting believers to march and keep enduring by means of the Spirit.
Knowing is not enough in itself, our knowledge must be tested, our training must be exercised. Spiritual warfare offers the fully trained spiritual soldier the opportunity to fight on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ toward the objective of glorifying Him. What an honor and what an army to be a part of! The Army of The Lord Jesus Christ!