Born Into a Battle

His Word Is Firm in Our Warfare.
Gary Wilkerson

One of Scripture’s major truths is that we are in a state of warfare. This isn’t something every Christian is willing to face. I’ve seen a lot of faithful people who are depressed, discouraged and ready to give up for one reason: They believe they shouldn’t have conflicts in life. If we understand that we’re born into a battle, as the Bible shows, we’ll accept that we’re engaged in warfare and that it has a purpose. Without this understanding, we won’t see the victories that are a part of God’s plan for us.

Every Christian is confronted by conflicts both external and internal. Sometimes, the internal battles are hardest on us. We all face worrisome thoughts, fleshly temptations and condemnation from the enemy. In Psalm 12, David showed us how to be set free from internal strife so that we’re prepared for every outward conflict that comes our way.

Satan loves to plant the lie in Christians that wickedness will always prevail over us.

The enemy wants to convince us that our struggles will always be our master. This is one meaning of David’s statement, “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan” (Psalm 12:5, ESV). Do you feel plundered or continually drained of life? Do you struggle under the relentless grip of financial troubles or ongoing relational strife? Maybe you wonder, “Is this what marriage is supposed to look like? Is this the way my life is supposed to be, just one long struggle?” 

God answers all of our groanings directly. “…‘because the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will place him in the safety for which he longs’” (Psalm 12:5). The Lord promises he will personally rescue us from our groanings. 

So, where do these assaults come from in the first place? The truth is, a great war is happening in an unseen, heavenly realm. This war confronts us with a question: Will we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with strength to face our conflicts, both inward and outward? Will we stand against the assaults on our thoughts and the oppression of a vile culture because we recognize that our opponent is always the powers of darkness? 

The devil prowls on every side of your life, from marriage to health to emotions to spiritual well-being to our cultural environment. He comes to attack it all. When you wake up under a cloud of depression but don’t know why, you can be sure Satan is looking to take advantage. The source of that depression may be physiological, but the powers of darkness use everything to harangue you that you’re worthless. This is how warfare enters our personal life. 

How did David deal with his warfare, both outward and inward? He testified, “You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever” (Psalm 12:7). Here is a powerful word for a people in warfare. If it seems to you that evil prevails and God is responding too slowly, David answered by praying, in essence, “Lord, guard us from an emotion of defeat. Your Word and promises are true. Guard our minds so that we won’t believe the lies Satan throws at us. Let us not be overcome by it. Help us to stand firm and believe that you are going to preserve us.”

God does not sit idly by while evil oppresses his beloved people.

The Lord is a breakthrough God. No matter how long your season of struggle has lasted, he is Lord over it all. Even at our lowest point, we are the people he calls to do battle against powers of darkness. For that reason, the struggle you’re enduring now is very likely part of the training he wants to give you for battles to come. When some future tide rises up like a tumultuous flood, your faith will rise up higher. 

I know some Christians who became so plundered that they’ve given up all longings and desires. They no longer believe the Lord has any good thing ahead for them, much less great victories. When they hear sermons about his plans for his people or songs about God being victor, they think, “Really? Why wasn’t the Lord victorious when things fell apart for me? 

David’s life fell apart in major ways. As his trials mounted and he groaned with anguish, faith arose in his heart. How does that happen? How does anyone get to a place of trust while wickedness prowls around us continually? David answered, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). 

Some scholars state the Hebrew meaning of “words” here suggests promises. In addition, the word for “pure” means there is no ambiguity about God’s words. In other words, we have no cause to doubt him. God doesn’t speak words with doublemindedness but with force. Once he says something, it is as good as done. You may not see the full fruition of his Word immediately, but you will see it. His Word cannot fail. 

Clearly, Jesus has been given dominion over all things. Even in the Old Testament, David testified, “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6). This is good news, but exactly what does Christ’s dominion mean for our continuing struggles? Simply this: Jesus has already defeated Satan for us; our role is one of trust through every battle. Though our conflicts persist, we have victory in the Lord. Moreover, no matter what we face, he personally raises us up for every good work. 

Once we accept God’s Word as eternally true, faith begins to rise up in us, building an expectation. We no longer wake up in the morning thinking the new day will be like every day before it, full of oppressive difficulty and constant defeat. Instead, faith arises to say, “Even though my circumstances haven’t changed, my heart is changing. I listen to the voice of the Father, who speaks good things over me. Therefore, I can say with Paul, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’” (Philippians 4:13).  

Too often, we agree with the devil’s word about us rather than the Lord’s. Often this is because when we hear the enemy’s lies, they may make sense to us. Many Christians fall victim to this in childhood, absorbing damaging words from abusive people: “You can’t do anything right. Nobody wants you around. You’re worthless.”

These voices, buried deep inside, remain in adulthood and influence our spiritual life. It’s easy for us to believe them because we see some element of truth in them. Moses faced this dilemma as God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He immediately thought, “I can’t do that. I have trouble speaking well. How can I possibly lead people if I can’t communicate with them?” 

In his mind, he limited what God could do through him because of his impediment. Moses had to free himself from that lie to hear that the Lord would be with him through everything. You see, it’s one thing to believe the enemy’s lie (“I’m worthless”); it’s another to live out the results of that lie (“I’m worthless, so God can’t use me”). Do you attach more confidence to the enemy’s words about you than to God’s? 

To prevent ourselves from being plundered further, we need to know our groanings are heard and to seek God for a breakthrough. We pray, “Lord, I choose to break all these agreements I’ve made with the enemy’s lies. Even if there is some truth to what I hear, your word about me is supreme truth. I will not let lies affect the outcome you    have for me.” 

Three simple practices free us from any agreements we’ve made with the enemy’s lies.

The first practice to use is our testimony. “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11, my emphasis). We claim, “I believe I can do all things through Christ. Even if I stutter, there is no hindrance to how God can use me. He can heal me, but even if he doesn’t, he can use my weakness to his glory. Every accusation about me has been nailed to the cross of Christ, and I no longer believe them. Even though the enemy will cast them at me again, I plead the blood of Jesus whose victory is total.” 

Second, God has created us to be in a community of love. We can love and receive love, and that’s a different way of living than believing lies that cripple us. Rather than living in defeat, our walk in Christ’s love transforms us and  our world. 

Third, we lay down our lives in obedience to Jesus, stating, “Lord, my life is not my own. Make me a living sacrifice for you and your glory. By your empowering grace, I will not live in compromise, lukewarmness or half-heartedness. Let your promises release in me the power to accomplish your purposes.” 

When David cried out, “Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone” (Psalm 12:1), he was praying, “Lord, you will save me from these wicked prowlers whose lies plague me with thoughts of defeat. Help me to fully see the testimony you’ve given me and to stand in your power  for my life.” 

When you are in agreement with God’s Word, your life is transformed. Those who oppose you will see his glory at work in you, and his Spirit will confront them with pure truth. His Word has been tested through millennia and stands pure and unchangeable. 

This, in short, is the warfare we wage. As for the battle itself, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Amen.