ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE IN GOD'S ARMY
To "mobilize" means to put in a state of readiness for active military service. "Mobilization" is the process of being deployed as part of the spiritual forces of God's army.
Neither give place to the Devil. (Ephesians 4:27)
There are two types of warfare in the natural world: Offensive and defensive. The Bible also teaches both defensive and offensive spiritual strategies. You must learn to fight both defensively and offensively. The only other option is desertion, which is unacceptable.
Defensive warfare is battle waged to defend territory. It is warfare that waits for the enemy to strike, then pulls its forces together in defensive response. The defender must respond to his opponent and his decisions are forced on him by the attacker. This type of warfare does not advance into enemy territory. It defends territory already claimed. It is important, however, because the spiritual forces of evil are constantly attacking you as a believer. If you do not know how to defend yourself, you will become a victim of these attacks.
Offensive warfare is aggressive warfare. It is not a warfare of waiting and responding in defense. It is warfare which takes the initiative of attack. The enemy is identified, his strategy recognized, and offensive advances against him are made in the spirit world. In offensive warfare the attacker has the advantage of making decisions first. Offensive warfare gains territory rather than defends it.
Offensive advances are the only type of spiritual warfare which will reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot remain in our comfortable in our homes and practice defensive strategies only. The army of God must advance into enemy territory. It must go to the strongholds of Satan with the power of the Gospel message. We must wage aggressive offensive spiritual battle.
THE COMMON FACTOR
There is one thing in common about offensive and defensive warfare. Both involve personal action by the believer. In natural warfare, unused weapons do not inflict causalities on the enemy nor win wars. The same is true in the spirit world. Your spiritual weapons are affected by your will to use them. It is true that God empowers for battle, but you have a personal responsibility in both defensive and offensive spiritual strategies.
In Old Testament battles, the Lord fought for and with His people, Israel. But first, they had to position themselves on the battlefield. When God sees a spiritual weapon being used in His name and a man or woman on the battlefield daring to attempt the impossible, the Lord of Hosts is moved to action.
Read the story of Elisha in II Kings 13:14-19. In this object lesson using the bow and arrows, there are some spiritual parallels that will help you understand your part in the battle:
DEMONSTRATE YOUR INTENTION TO FIGHT:
Elisha told King Joash, "Take up the bow and arrows." Paul said, "Take the sword of the Spirit" and declare war. By taking up your offensive and defensive weapons, you are demonstrating your intention to fight.
PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE WEAPON:
Elisha told the king to put his hands upon the bow, then Elisha laid his hands upon the king's hands. The strategy for victory is your hand upon the weapon and His hand over yours.
OPEN THE WINDOW:
Open up the window of the place where the enemy is victorious. Israel's foe was to the east, so Elisha told the king to open the window eastward. God wants you to open up the "windows" of every area of your life to expose the failure, defeat, and bondage of the enemy.
Elisha told the king, "Shoot," and the king shot. Then Elisha said, "The Lord's arrow of victory over Syria." The open window is not enough. The weapon in your hand is not sufficient. Even God's hand upon your hand will not win the battle. You must follow the command of the Lord of Host to "SHOOT!" This is your part in the warfare...to actually use the weapon that is in your hand which is guided by the hand of the Lord.
KNOW THE OBJECTIVE:
Elisha told the King to take the arrows and hit them upon the ground as a symbol of his victory over Syria. The king did so, but he "smote thrice and stayed (stopped)." Elisha told him that because he limited God by hitting the ground only three times, his military victory would be limited. This happened because the King did not understand the objective of warfare. Elisha had said the Lord wanted to totally consume the enemy (verse 17). By striking the ground only three times, the King settled for only partial victory.
The Lord's objective for you is total victory in every area of your life and ministry. If you fail to understand this objective then your victory will be limited.
WIN FIRST IN THE SECRET CHAMBER:
What happened between Elisha and King Joash in the secret chamber that day determined the outcome of the battle with Syria. It is what happens in the secret chamber with the Lord that determines your victories in the actual battles of life.
DEVICES OF SATAN
Basic to both offensive and defensive warfare is knowledge of the strategies of Satan:
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)
The word "devices" means a scheme, project, plot or underhanded plan of evil character. Satan can gain advantage over you when you are ignorant of his devices and fail to respond in offensive and defensive battle.
THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is important in both offensive and defensive warfare. The Holy Spirit knows the strategies of Satan and intercedes for believers engaged in battle: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered....because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
The Holy Spirit gives power to claim enemy territory:
But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Gifts of the Holy Spirit are valuable weapons of offensive and defensive battle. The gifts of the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom provide supernatural revelation for spiritual warfare. The gift of discerning of spirits reveals the deception of the enemy.
The special gifts of pastor, prophet, apostle, evangelist and teacher assist in equipping us for battle. The speaking gifts of the Holy Spirit provide special instructions from God and the serving gifts of the Spirit enable the army of God to move forward in spiritual advance.
WRESTLING: A NATURAL PARALLEL OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH
One of the most powerful verses on offensive spiritual combat is...
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
God's choice of the word "wrestle" is significant. Wrestling is a natural parallel of a great spiritual truth. Wrestling in the natural world is a sport of mastery in strength. To wrestle means "to contend in struggle for power over an opponent."
Consider these facts about wrestling in the natural world as applied to your spiritual warfare:
PREPARATION AND TRAINING:
A wrestler in the natural world must train to be successful at his sport. He must practice wrestling. He must have a proper diet. He must learn the rules of wrestling and they must be carefully followed to win the match.
A believer must learn the rules of spiritual warfare in order to be victorious. A proper "diet" of God's Word and prayer is necessary for successful spiritual wrestling. As in wrestling in the natural world, skill is gained through practice.
The primary purpose of training in the natural world is to prepare the wrestler to perform at peak efficiency while experiencing the least amount of fatigue. This is true also in the spirit world.
Some people are easily fatigued and defeated spiritually because they are not properly trained for spiritual warfare.
THE NATURE OF THE STRUGGLE:
Individual championship wrestling is not a team sport. When a wrestler tires there is no substitute team member to send in. Wrestling involves intimate, face to face, personal contact with the opponent.
The same is true in the spirit world. Believers are involved in intimate, face to face combat with the enemy. No other believer can take your place in this spiritual combat. There are no "time outs" in wrestling as in other sports. There are no "time outs" in the spiritual world either. Satan never rests from this war. The believer must never be off guard.
There are both offensive and defensive strategies in natural wrestling which are applicable in the spiritual world. Stalling is one technique used in wrestling. Stalling is avoiding confrontation with an opponent. Points are lost in the judging system for stalling. You also "lose points" when you "stall" spiritually and do not aggressively wrestle your enemy. Some believers spend their entire lives stalled in confrontation with the enemy. They never aggressively wrestle and gain the victory.
Another important strategy in natural wrestling is to upset the balance of the opponent. Once an opponent's balance has been destroyed, he is kept struggling to regain it.
The Bible speaks much of the importance of balance or "temperance." One of the strategies of Satan in the spiritual realm is to try to upset balance.
Many cults have resulted because of improper balance on doctrinal issues. Homes, church fellowships, and even nations have been defeated because of improper balance by wrong emphasis or lack of emphasis in certain areas.
There are two types of balance involved in wrestling: Physical and mental balance. Before physical balance can be destroyed, mental balance must first be attacked. To accomplish this, a strategy of surprise is used. A move is initiated that is distracting and a surprising. While the wrestler focuses on this, the intended technique is applied. By leading an opponent to believe some move is about to be attempted, he will try to avoid the imagined danger and leave himself open to the actual attack.
How true this is in the spiritual world! Satan upsets balance through the strategy of surprise. He upsets your mental balance by distracting attacks and while you are fearfully focused on these, he launches his intended assault in another area of your life.
Anticipation is important in natural wrestling. A wrestler who can discern when a particular move is going to be made is usually able to block or counter attack. When the intended move is made it is not as likely to be successful since it is anticipated and the wrestler is prepared.
The same is true in the spirit world. If you are not ignorant of Satan's devices and anticipate his strategies, then you are prepared. You are not thrown off balance when attacks occur.
There are moves in wrestling which are made to "bait" an opponent, to tempt and entice him into making a move which will weaken his position. In the spirit world Satan is constantly tempting you to moves which will weaken your spiritual position.
In natural wrestling, moves are planned to place an opponent in a position that leaves him open to attack. Situations are purposely created to do this and advantage is taken of an opponent's weakened position at the instant it occurs.
Spiritually, Satan creates situations which leave you open to attack. Then he immediately takes advantage of your weakened position. But you must remember as you wrestle that it is Satan who holds the weakened position. The power within you is greater than his power. He has already been dealt the final weakening blow by the Lord Jesus Christ. But you must exercise the advantage given you by the Lord in order to win the match.
ATTACK AND COUNTERATTACK:
In natural wrestling, every move you make sets you up for a response from the opponent. The same is true in the spirit world. When you make a move for God, Satan will always counterattack with a move of his own.
In wrestling, a mobile opponent is considered dangerous. This is why you want to pin your opponent down. In the spiritual world, Satan is a mobile opponent. He goes "to and fro" as a lion seeking to devour. You must be on guard for his constant mobility. Satan also recognizes the effectiveness of your mobility. He wants to prevent you from being on the move for God. This is why he strives to throw you and pin you down spiritually.
Any error made in wrestling results in an action that can be taken advantage of by the opponent.
How true spiritually! Any error you make in spiritual wrestling is quickly taken advantage of by the enemy. It is important in wrestling to learn how to recover from a fall. It is necessary to be able to convert the bottom position into an advantage. There are moves of escape and reversal which will enable this.
In spiritual wrestling you may at times experience a fall and be temporarily pinned by the enemy. But you do not have to remain in this position. God has given strategies in His Word which, if followed, will convert your disadvantage into an advantage. He has provided strategies for escape and reversal spiritually just as are used in natural wrestling.
The life of Joseph is an excellent example of this. He had the disadvantages of being sold into slavery and put in prison. But he converted disadvantages to advantages. In the end, he triumphed over the enemy.
There are other moves in wrestling which result in taking an opponent down from behind, dragging, pinning, throwing, and pulling him. Can you recognize similar moves by the enemy spiritually?
The objective of wrestling in the natural world is to defeat the opponent by causing him to fall or pinning him to the ground. This results from a series of strategic moves and/or by wearing the opponent down.
Satan constantly wars against believers trying to wear them down. His objective is to cause believers to fall, throw them, and trap in the bondage of sin. His goal is to destroy your supportive points, just as a wrestler does to his opponent in the natural world. The goal is to make you prostrate spiritually.
Victory in natural wrestling also comes through a process of scoring by the judges. The wrestler with the highest points for the most effective strategic moves wins the match. Your spiritual opponent has already been judged.
Satan was overcome by the most effective move in all history, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You wrestle with an enemy who is already judged as a loser in the match. Because of this you do not need to be afraid of his power or strategies in the wrestling match in which you engage. You do not have to fall or be pinned by the bondage of sin. You can stand confidently in the wrestling match of spiritual warfare and resist him steadfastly in the faith.
Mental attitude is very important in wrestling. In a study on the subject, the following attitudes were said to be necessary for championship wrestling in the natural world. These attitudes also are true in the spiritual realm:
Desire: To wish and want to win is not enough. The champion wrestler must have a will to win. Desire is an emotion which transcends all else in life.
Persistence: Sustained effort is required for championship wrestling. A champion wrestler will not accept defeat.
Purpose: Winning is the goal and purpose of wrestling. To achieve this goal he must not only know he is master of the situation, but he must also let his opponent know.
You are not to trust in "chariots" (natural weapons) of men: Psalms 20:7. God has "spiritual" chariots. Read about them in Psalms 68:17; 104:3; Isaiah 19:1; and II Kings 2:11.
You need to wage both offensive and defensive warfare because Satan is a destroyer:
John 10:10; I Corinthians 10:10; Matthew 10:28.
If you obey God, He will not let the destroyer come in: Exodus 12:23
God keeps you from the destruction of Satan: Psalms 17:4
Satan is your adversary, the one you fight against: I Peter 5:8.
You are not to give him room to operate against you: I Timothy 5:14. If you obey God, He will be an enemy to your adversaries: Exodus 23:22.
You do not have to be defeated by Satan. Study the following references:
You can chase the enemy: Leviticus 26:7-8; Deuteronomy 32:30; Joshua 23:10
You can have victory: Deuteronomy 7:21; I Chronicles 29:11; Psalms 5:11; 18:29; 24:8; 91:1; Isaiah 49:19; I Corinthians 15:57; I John 5:4
The Lord is your fortress:II Samuel 22:2; Psalms 18:2; 31:3; 71:3; 91:2; 144:2; Jeremiah 16:19
You have dominion over the enemy: Psalms 8:6; 49:14; 72:8; 119:133; Daniel 7:27; Ephesians 1:21
Safety comes from the Lord: Proverbs 18:10; 21:31; 29:25. Psalms 91 is the Psalm of safety.
God delivers you from distress: Psalms 25:17; 107:6,13; 19:28
You can capture enemy thoughts: II Corinthians 10:5
God looses bonds of the enemy: Psalms 116:16; Romans 8:15-21; Galatians 5:1
When Paul speaks of wrestling, he is talking about wrestling with the enemy, not with God as did Jacob. Be sure when you are wrestling it is not God grappling with you to break the spirit of self-sufficiency in order to transform you from a "Jacob" to an "Israel.”