WORSHIP AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE
“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.” – Song of Songs 1:4
If we are going to be true worshipers of God, more than ever before we need to be knowledgeable in the art of spiritual warfare. We need to know the enemy – his tactics and his ways. If we want to adeptly fend off his attacks, we must learn how to do warfare for ourselves, as well as all those for whom we pray.
Therefore, part of our prayer time must be concerned with asking the Father to expose the enemy, to bind him in Jesus’ Name and to loose any strongholds that have been established.
The Enemy’s Involvement:
When we are lukewarm Christians and have only a “form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:5), the devil doesn’t really seem to bother with us. Why should he? We’re no real threat to anyone, least of all him. Many of us are undercover Christians – so much so that few people have a clue about our faith – and the enemy leaves us alone. If we begin to worship and love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul, if we start to obey the Spirit’s leading in our day-to-day lives, watch out! We’re in for a real battle!
Remember how the Israelites tried to stone Joshua and Caleb for their commitment to “go all the way” with God? (Numbers 13:30-14:10). It will be the same with us. Instead of our friends rejoicing or understanding what has happened to us, they’ll think we are crazy. They’ll ridicule us, mock us and even call us fanatics. (Let’s make sure we’re not rude or obnoxious and deserve it). You watch, the enemy will find many holes in which to attack us!
Jesus warns us in John 16:2:
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.”
Why is it that when we decide to surrender everything to the Lord, we automatically become huge targets? When we become worshipers, it’s almost as if we develop a great big bull’s eye on our chest that says, “I love God, shoot me!” The reason this happens is that our mortal enemy not only hates God, he also hates anyone who wants to follow Him. If we are lukewarm, he won’t bother with us. But, watch out if we become “hot,” we’ll become immediate targets for pot shots. Satan will do anything he can to thwart God’s plans in us and through us, even sending out false “angels of light” (2 Cor 11:13-15).
Thus, if you intend to learn to worship the Lord, then you must be prepared to fight the true enemy and that involves learning spiritual warfare. Remember, the enemy is not our fellow human being, for whom Christ died (Rom 5:6, Matt 5:44).
How Do We Fight?
We fight by surrendering more! We learn to fight the enemy by continuing to worship God, even when we don’t “feel” like it. We fight by surrendering ourselves to the Lord with all our hearts.
Look at Moses. Moses endured such horrendous chiding, testing and humiliation. How did he handle this? What did he do? He withstood the enemy by not letting doubt, unbelief, fear, insecurity, bitterness, guilt, etc., consume him, but instead choosing to surrender everything to the Lord and trusting Him even more. During his difficult trials, Moses shut himself up on that mountaintop, prayed, worshiped and looked only to the Lord for His wisdom (Exodus 5:22-6:7; 19:3-25; 33:12-22). In the end, because of Moses’ complete obedience to the Lord’s will, the enemy was defeated and he was able to lead a nation to freedom.
Another example is Stephen who, even as the Israelites were stoning him, looked, prayed and called upon the Lord. Acts 6:15 explains, “…all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” See also Acts 7:59. How did Stephen do this? He did it by having unshakable faith and reliance in the Lord. Just like Moses, he “endured, as seeing Him who is invisible,” (Hebrews 11:27).
A further example was the miracle of Job, who in spite of his incredible difficulties continued to cry out, “Though You slay me, yet will I trust You,” (Job 13:15). Finally, there was Paul who, at times, felt lost, confused and bewildered because of the rejection, mockery, malicious gossip and persecutions that he experienced. He even came to a point of “despairing of life itself,” (2 Corinthians 1:8). The way Paul handled these things was not to give in to defeat but to believe and act out 2 Corinthians 4:8-9:
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
All these renowned men not only endured huge trials in their lives, but conquered them. And they did so by surrendering themselves even further to the Lord and recognizing the enemy’s involvement. As a result, they were enabled to go on, filled with an inner peace that God’s will was being accomplished.
God is constantly testing, proving, stretching and enlarging our faith, because our faith is the foundation of our walk. Faith is what our worship is built upon. At the same time, worshiping God from our hearts – even when it doesn’t come easily – builds our faith as the Holy Spirit reminds us who God is and how great His love is for us.
It’s also true that if our faith is weak, we won’t be able to stand against the enemy of our souls. If our faith is strong, then there’s no end to what God can do through us.
The result of practicing this kind of walk – without giving up – is that God will work through us in ways that demonstrate His power and love, draw us closer to Him, build our faith and the faith of those around us, and break down the strongholds of the enemy.
“Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.” – Psalm 70:4