The Big Picture: Light Versus Dark Part 2

My Beloved Brother Steve continues and I share it in installments with you:

Spiritual Warfare

Conflicts don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen when the interests of competing authorities and powers collide. If left unchecked, these collisions can escalate into full-scale war with lethal consequences. So, when an event like COVID-19 is determined to be part of a war strategy whose origin is the spiritual kingdom of darkness, then we know the interests of this kingdom are colliding with the interests of a competing spiritual authority and power – the Kingdom of God.

So, what are these competing interests?

The interests of the Kingdom of God revolve around God’s Vision for creating – that His Man would rule His creation WITH Him in the fullness of His Nature and Character.  Since God’s creation is comprised of two realms – heaven

and earth – the interest of His Kingdom is that His Man would rule both the spiritual and material worlds WITH Him.  This is what Jesus does and is doing, and this is what He is inviting us to do WITH Him as He marches toward the end goal of God’s Plan that He would be “all in all.” (1Cor. 15:22 – 28)

This is a very simple proposition to Jesus who puts it like this:

“As in heaven so also in the earth.” (Matthew 6:10)

So, whatever is done in heaven is to be done on the earth. And so, in Jesus’ mind, the way heaven operates is the way the earth is to operate, as well. This, then, is the interest of the Kingdom of God under Jesus’ rule – that God’s Man would rule all of creation WITH Him just as Heaven decrees.

The interest of the kingdom of darkness is very different.  Satan doesn’t want any part of God’s Man ruling. Instead, his vision is that he’s the Supreme Ruler of the earth (“god of this world”) with God’s Man being his slave.

These are diametrically opposed interests that not only collide; they are irreconcilably hostile toward each other. We see this hostility being played out through the way each Ruler of each spiritual kingdom engages Man in the conflict.

On the one hand, Jesus invites God’s Man to see the Virus as He sees it so we can rule it WITH Him. On the other hand, Satan uses the Virus to incite fear and panic in Man so he can mobilize God’s Man to do his bidding as his slaves.  So, the point of collision between the two spiritual kingdoms is over the singular issue of rulership – who’s going to reign?  It’s the same issue for us, too.

“While listening to these things, Jesus added a parable for the purpose of laying the argument to rest. . . because they held the opinion that the Kingdom of God was ready and sure to appear immediately.

“So He said, ‘A man of noble race was going to depart to a far distant country to aggressively lay hold of and seize a kingdom for himself and return.

“And he summoned ten of his bond-slaves who had no ownership rights of their own and gave to them ten minas, saying to them to lay the argument to rest, ‘Do business, make gain and manage profitably in the realm in which I come and go.’

 “But his citizens [not foreigners] hated him, renouncing their choice; and afterwards sent a delegation with a defined mission, saying and laying the argument to rest, ‘We desire what is best for us that this man not reign over us.’ “

(Luke 19:11 – 14) [Brackets added for clarification and emphasis]

Spiritual warfare.


If we’re going to accept Jesus’ invitation to join Him in the conflict, it might be a good idea to examine some of the characteristics that make up and govern spiritual warfare. We’re not talking about the brand of spiritual warfare that’s taught and demonstrated in most Christian churches. This warfare is a fabrication conceived and propagated by the spirit of the church that’s really about me – my salvation, my sins, my forgiveness, my deliverance, my healing, my money, my wretchedness, my repentance, my power, my authority, my dreams – where Jesus fights all my battles and defeats all my enemies for me so I can live a blessed and victorious Christian life.

This is not to minimize the importance of any of these things or anyone who’s experiencing hardship or the devil actually resisting them. But, for clarity’s sake, this is not spiritual warfare. It’s the Me Gospel disguising common troubles or

spiritual resistance or the misdirecting Christian doctrine of “the authority of the believer” as spiritual warfare. Each of these has me at the center to ensure that we keep our eyes fixed on me instead of on Jesus and what He’s doing.

By contrast, the spiritual warfare that Jesus is involved in is highly strategic. It’s the real-life kingdom vs. kingdom conflict that’s for all the marbles. But, it isn’t until we start engaging IN the war WITH Jesus that we begin to understand what the war is really about and why the outcome is inevitable.

Satan is simply no match for Jesus’ strategic and tactical genius while we are no match for Satan when we play by his rules. Learning the very important distinction between resistance and warfare is an example. They are not the same. Only those who are doing WITH Jesus what He has spoken to them are subject to or engaged in spiritual warfare. Satan does not expend his military assets on those who are not doing what the Lord Jesus is telling them to do.

However, Satan does resist those who are trying to follow Jesus but haven’t yet become aware of or haven’t fully embraced the discipline of living by “each and every part of the totality of every spoken word that comes out from the mouth of God and the effect and influence it has on the man.’ “ (Matthew 4:4)

Resistance in this instance has two primary objectives:

1. To create a false sense of spiritual (i.e., Christian) effectiveness, and

2. To dissuade the individual from continuing on the path of hearing and doing WITH Jesus.

When dissuasion is in play it is typically accompanied by strong temptation. The sole mission of the temptation is to convince the person to make a decision or to take an action independent of Jesus. If the temptation is successful, the individual will be convinced that it’s not only right to decide or act on his or her own but also appropriate. But, once they so decide or act the person is neutralized because they are no longer hearing and doing WITH Jesus.

Although many are, indeed, experiencing difficulty and pain in their lives, they are wrongly characterizing their difficulty as spiritual warfare when in reality it is spiritual resistance. Taking the time to step back and allowing the Lord Jesus to

bring a clear understanding of this distinction is an important component to understanding the characteristics of authentic spiritual warfare.

To engage in spiritual warfare means to secure by conquest spiritual territory that Satan has previously controlled and considers his. These conflicts can only be engaged WITH Jesus by and through what He speaks, when He speaks it.

Joshua discovered the importance of this in the conquest of the Promised Land when Israel was defeated at Ai and then outsmarted by the Gibeonites. (Joshua 7 and 9, especially verses 14, 15)

Jesus taught the Apostle Paul this who described it like this:

“And personally receive in a welcoming way the saving and defensive helmet of salvation and the short sword, dagger and slaughter-knife that is used for stabbing to exact retribution in war and judicial punishment, which is the spoken word and command of God, the Creator and Owner of all things.” (Ephesians 6:17)

Jesus wielded this slaughter-knife of God’s spoken word when He neutralized and rendered inoperable the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, in the Garden of Gethsemane and then on the cross. He also put it to work when He cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, calmed the storm; opened the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf and the mouths of the mute; freed those who were bound; and commanded Peter to walk on the water WITH Him.

As miraculous and astounding as we consider these exploits to be, Jesus described them as His lesser works. And lesser they are because they have all passed away. But, as He did WITH His disciples then, so He is doing WITH us now as He invites us to participate WITH Him in His greater works that will never pass away.

And so, everything Jesus does in life, in administering His Father’s Kingdom and in spiritual warfare He does by first speaking. What this means, then, is that when He brings us into a theater of conflict, our success lies solely and only WITH Him.

“Therefore by extension, Jesus answered and was saying to them to lay the argument to rest, ‘Sure, certain and true is this statement of pivotal importance that I say to you, laying the argument to rest: The Son is not able nor is He empowered to do even one thing of and from Himself. The condition extending to that one – anyone – is to look at the physical realm to see what the Father is doing in the spiritual realm, so the needed action can be taken. For indeed, these are the conditions for what that one does. In like manner, this is what the Son also does.’ “ (John 5:19)

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