Study 1 The Soldier of the Cross
Now glorified and seated at the Father’s right hand, Jesus as Lord of all is beyond reach of Satan’s attacks. The finished work of Calvary is now completely unassailable. Nothing that Satan may do can change the finality of the victory stroke that crushed his head.
However, the implication of that victory over the powers of evil….In the world of men is now in the hands of the Church on earth. Consequently, the bitter enmity of Satan is now directed against the Church in order to vent his spleen against the Head through the members of His body….
At this point let us ask ourselves some serious questions:
- Am I expressing the enmity God put between the devil and the Church’s Head?
- Or, am I seeking détente, coexistence and peace through compromise?
- Am I available to my Lord as a willing instrument, ready for His use in His warfare?
- Am I aware of the teaching of Scripture about my part in the spiritual conflict?
…..the battle of the Cross was won on the praying field of Gethsemane… Here is God’s work being done in God’s way. God willing it in heaven, and a man willing it on earth.
The Soldier of the Cross had taught His disciples the need to pray…..the obvious inference is that God has limited certain of His activities to responding to the prayers of His people. Unless they pray He will not act……… God’s warfare against Satan is carried on by His submissive people actively resisting Satan by insisting at all costs, ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
Prayer: O Lord! Help me to accept the fact that I am born for battle and am responsible to seek the doing of the will of my Father on earth by resisting the enemy’s attempts to reverse that will. To this end I pray that the will to disentangle myself from the smothering absorption of civilian living may be strengthened in me, so that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And ‘Oh, may no coward spirit seek to leaven the Warrior code, the calling that is ours.’
Study 2 – The Soldier’s Best Friend
If we accept that our role in life is that of soldiers, then we must drop our toys and become more acquainted with the weapons of our warfare.
These are the factors that are preliminary to the actual conflict with Satan:
- He (Jesus) was filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The initiative for the confrontation with the devil was not His. He was brought to it by the Spirit of God. These factors are prerequisites for victory over Satan.
- His mind was a storehouse of the words of God.
- As a good soldier He endures hardness and brings His body into subjection. Victory does not depend on physical fitness.
It takes the sword of the Spirit, God’s specific utterance, thrust at the enemy in the power of the controlling Holy Spirit with an unashamed ‘It is written…’
There is nothing that Jesus used to defeat Satan that is not available to us
We dare not be careless or lazy about storing God’s Word in our minds. Let us not ignore the relation between condition and competence. If we would have competence in withstanding the attacks of the enemy, then let us look to out condition. Am I being led of the Spirit? Is He in compete control of my being? Am I diligently storing my mind with the Word of God?
Study 11 – The cutting Edge
Prayer is the work and the working power in any spiritual ministry. It should be the central thrust……
the adoption of new techniques……are all good – but effective and productive in God’s economy only as they are subject to prayer.
Prayers that have blunted edges have no power of penetration, so may not get through to the throne.
Prayer was never meant to be incidental to the work of God. It is the work. …..Without prayer and waiting on God for Him to reveal His will, our well-meant attemptings may look impressive, but they have no power to move towards God’s goals. …..Nothing of God’s will is properly and effectually executed that is not first begun and then carried out through prayer.
…petition will no longer be the pivot upon which prayer turns. The true motive power will now be to get nearer to God, to know Him better, to experience His friendship, to enter more fully into His thoughts and purposes….
Frances Allshorn says this, ‘Isn’t the desire behind prayer to possess something more than myself, because I’m sick with self’s ineffectiveness in a world so needy? The desire (is) to be possessed of something beyond myself that can use me as its channel.’
The central significance of prayer is….in the deepening intimacy and unhurried communion with God at His central throne of control in order to discover a ‘sense of God’s need in order to call on God’s help to meet that need.’
Studies 4 and 7
We have the man’s-eye view, instead of communing long and deeply with the Lord to get the Lord’s-eye view. Should we not encourage each other to gain imperial perspective in our praying?
In warfare there are four possible attitudes –offence, defence, détente and desertion……therefore, if we are determined to see (the enemy) defeated in our own hearts and in our society, we must be only and always committed to the offensive…..
We will not win our battles by sheltering one little lust in our hearts while outwardly making a show of killing off others.
The Gospel moves at a slow and timid pace when the saints are not at their prayers early and late and long.
Study 8 – the Weapons and the Will
Many are aware of spiritual defeat, but do not know how to handle it. They lack the knowledge of how to apply spiritual resources, which are available to them for the problem…
Basic to all victory over the devil is the unashamed use of the Word of God and the application of its absolute and objective truth and promises in a direct confrontation against the lies, deceits and misquotes of the devil. Satan cannot face the Word of God thrust at him by the believing heart in the power of the Spirit.
The ground of a believer’s faith is the objective truth of the Gospel:
‘Our life is hid with Christ in God …..’ ‘God…has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’
To feel something tempts them into thinking that experience is more convincing to their inner assurance than faith, which has only the Word to rest on. A person in this frame of mind focuses on his condition rather than his position and is easy meat for the ‘roaring lion’.
The subjective feelings of the individual, his sense of guilt and failure, his emotional distress can find release from inner recriminations only as faith takes its stand on the believer’s God-given position as God has stated it…
The Christian soldier who allows his mind to be filled with his troubled condition and withdraws from the conflict into his mental monastery, ceases to be a part of God’s solution to the problem and becomes instead a part of the problem…
God does not act independently of His people. His opportunity comes when His faithful ones will and determine to use their weapons against His enemies.
Study 27 A Working Relationship
In creation God acts sovereignly and alone. But in the unfolding of His redemptive purposes, He wills it otherwise. He chooses to unite with Himself human instruments and share with them the excitement of creativity. The incarnation was part of the working out of this plan. In sending His Son to become man, God revealed in a new way His purpose to limit Himself to working in and through a relationship with man. The vital indispensable part of this working relationship is prayer….
Abiding in Him is the condition He established for our asking and His acting. What had been set up as the working arrangement between Himself and His Father is perpetuated in the New Covenant-based relationship between Himself and His Church. It was to be standard operational procedure….
The great need is to be taught to discern God’s spiritual goals in the circumstances God allows to come into our lives and those of others.
While every act of true prayer is a beginning in the doing of God’s will, we are reminded that it is possible, having begun right, to end up asking amiss. ‘Thy will be done’ must remain in the heart of all prayer. God’s will is not done automatically or arbitrarily on earth. The Christian has a resonsible part to play under the terms God has set- to pray, with God’s will his only goal.
The necessity of man’s prayer is in no way due to a reluctance in God that must be overcome – nor is it the function of prayer to change God’s will. …..God has so conditioned His redemptive activity that man’s prayer is the force that moves His purposing into motion. He waits for our ministry of willing in accordance to His will to free Him to work that will. And while we know that everything in prayer depends on God, He would have us realize that everything depends on us.
Study 31 – God’s Scramble Squadron
The collapse of France had cleared the way for Hitler to move ahead with Operation Sea Lion, his code name for the invasion of Britain….. As soon as the personnel in operations control spotted enemy planes on their radar screens, they would telephone the command, ‘Scramble!’ to the RAF defense squadrons stationed along the line of enemy attack. When the order to scramble reached the pilots on the ground, it meant a desperate, mad scramble to win for themselves a position of advantage above the attacking planes. The race they must first win if they were to shoot the enemy out of the skies was altitude, and they gave this all they had as they clawed their way upward.
There was no such thing as instant altitude for the fighter pilots of the RAF. Not so for God’s scramble squadron. The believer has been granted the privilege of instant altitude by faith for any and every situation. If we are to grapple, not with flesh and blood adversaries, but with principalities and powers in the heavenlies, we need to come to grips with one basic truth of God’s Word: that when God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and set Him in the seat of authority ‘far above all’, He made us co-sharers with Him in every stage of the mighty finished work and then seated us with Him.
From only one position is it safe to approach and resist Satan, and that is from this position in Christ in the highest heavenlies. From this position Satan and his hosts are completely vulnerable.
So for us also the altitude is a vital factor. Victory depends on it. Understandably, therefore, Satan’s craft is dedicated to luring us away from this place of advantage and causing us to forget his vulnerability…
I have concentrated my thinking on the purpose of that might victory at Calvary and the implications of this for the Christian …. Because we share the seat with Him, He has delegated His authority to us as His representatives here on earth.
But some do not get excited at the privilege of instant altitude and instant authority with the all too obvious implications of conflict. Many Christians prefer the way of the world and would rather set up dialogue with the enemy on strategic arms limitations. That is fighting upwards. When we fight that way, the enemy has the advantage. We win only when we fight downwards….
…..when our world seems to be crumbling around us – we must not lose our true character as those united with Christ. Each of us needs to find out what particular spiritual ministry God has appointed us to perform in His name (even to be part of His ‘scramble squadron’) – no matter what our circumstances. He glories in His Body, the Church, when it is’ terrible as an army with banners’.