For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
- Some battles, Christ fights for us and in others, He fights in or through us. Let’s go back to our last text in Ex 17. This time let’s focus on “fighting Joshua”. It was the first time the Lord asked Israel to fight. Up to this point, God had done all the fighting Himself. With a mighty hand He brought them out of slavery. Even when Pharaoh pursued them, they were told: The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (Exodus 14:14). Sometimes God did the same later in Israel’s history: You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf (2 Chr. 20:17). But this time was different. This time, the Lord wanted to fight Amalek through them. This time, Joshua had to go out and fight.
Also in some of our battles we may be asked simply to hold our position. The Lord will fight for us. In other battles, Christ, by means of His Spirit, fights in us. One example of this is in the battle against sin and the flesh. And in the battle of proclaiming the gospel to children, Christ fights through us. In your present battle, do you have to wait for the Lord to fight for you or is the Lord waiting for you, because He wants to fight through you? If the second is the case then keep the following in mind:
- We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Joshua’s fight was against literal Amalekites. The Christian fight is never with people. Spurgeon rightly says: “Christian men are not at war with any man that walks the earth. We fight against the unbelief of our days, but the persons of unbelief we love and pray for. We fight against any heresy, but we have no enmity against heretics. … The Christian soldier has no gun and no sword, for he fights not with men.”1 It’s very important that we make this distinction. Otherwise our spiritual warfare turns into a mere fleshly warfare, in which we are tempted to use fleshly means and might forget that our only sword is the Word of God. This must also be applied to struggles within our own teams of co-workers!
- The means of our battles is hard fighting with the Word of God. (Of course prayer is another means in Ex 17, which we have seen in our last devotion. Christ’s and our own prayers are vital in every battle!) Joshua’s fight was a really hard one. But he did not give up until Amalek was defeated. To bring the gospel to children is also often a hard spiritual battle. Don’t let the adversary discourage you! Make use of your opportunities, no matter if the doors are wide open or opened only a crack. God has placed you where you are for a purpose. Find your niche and there proclaim the Word of God. Be a Joshua! Do not give up! Fight until the Lord gives you the victory!
Children of God, you may know little of the tactics of warfare, your enemies may overthrow you in arguments, and annihilate you in logic; but, if you are God’s children, they that are with you are more than a match for your foes.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon1
1 C.H. Spurgeon, The War of Truth (Sermon No. 112), some parts slightly revised.