The Lord’s army

How many times don’t we hear Christians say that they are under attack or that they have been under attack? I used to wonder what they were talking about because I didn’t think I experienced any spiritual attacks. Until the penny dropped and I realised what is was all about. The Bible tells us that we are in a spiritual battle. And by ‘we’ I mean believers.

Ephesians 6:10-13, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Here it is clear that there is a spiritual battle and that believers are the target. Satan and his demonic forces are the enemy.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Here we are given a hint as to the nature of the battle. It speaks about thoughts. One part of the battle is in our thought life. The demonic forces are very good at planting thoughts in our minds. Negative thoughts, misleading thoughts, deceptive thoughts. We have to learn to identify these thoughts for what they are and reject them as fast as they appear. We have to renew our thinking as it says in Romans 12:2, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

This all takes place in our minds and we have an internal battle which is ongoing which we have to overcome.

But what about when people attack your character?

Matthew 10:22, And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

John 15:18,  If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

I remember reading these verses and thinking that they were more specifically for people like missionaries who were being persecuted, or people in communist countries who were arrested if they preached or went to church. In the meantime I have discovered that this isn’t the case. If you are a believer, you are the target. The enemy doesn’t cross reference or leave footnotes as evidence of the reason you are being attacked. There can be people who will actually make reference to the fact that you are a Christian and how the choices you make aren’t what the world would consider good sense. And they will be mean about it. This is easy to recognise and accept. You could even be a little smug about it because it feels like persecution as you understand it. But at other times people will say that rudest, nastiest things to you which you never saw coming. They might attack your character or your morals or your children. In fact anything that is going to hurt you. You are left reeling and you don’t understand where it came from. This is an attack from the devil. He sees your weak points and he targets them. We know that he plants thoughts, so all he has to do is plant a thought in the right mind. This person is not going to come out and tell you that they are being hateful because you are a Christian, they might not even know that you are. The result is that you feel mortally wounded and crushed. Please realise that this is just another one of the devil’s tricks and don’t fall for it. Except for you feeling really awful, there is now animosity between you and whoever has been used as the instrument of destruction. That is why Matthew 5:44, says,  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

Just remember that like in a regular army the best soldiers are sent to the front to be in the toughest battles. If you feel like you are under attack all the time take heart, God loves you!