15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
How spiritual wars are won and lost is very different than how carnal wars are won and lost? In carnal wars regardless of the kind of war, there are no real winners or losers in my opinion. Often times the causalities of wars are so large to me it is almost as if it was not worth fighting.
As stated, every battle first starts in the mind. After it starts in the mind, it then impacts our emotions, then our will. So what happens is the enemy places a thought in our mind, we meditate on it. It then starts to take over our emotions, meaning how we feel, then we begin to act on it. Success starts in the mind. Victory starts in the mind. You will never win in any area in life, unless you first see it in your mind.
Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
The enemy wants you to see yourself through his eyes, not the eyes of the Father. So he starts by waging war in the mind.
In the natural, the superior army wins for different reasons. Some reasons being a stronger, more skilled set of soldiers. Other reasons could be a better strategy or plan to defeat the enemy. Other reasons could be pure deceit. In my opinion, in a natural war no one really wins, we just calm down for years, then the same war begins, with different people. The American Gulf war is a primary example.
In natural wars, war then invokes greater wars. Battles are never really won through shed blood. What it leaves is dissention, humiliation and death. What the lost then invokes is underlying bitterness, resentment and that leads to great desires for revenge. As stated, the spirit of war lies beneath the surface and the feelings are hidden. You know the natural war continues because we simply fight again. We just change the name to identify the difference in the war. Mainly it is for the same reason, different battle, same spirits. Spirits never die, they just lie dormant until the next opportunity. I know I am talking about physical battles, but understand there is always an underlying spirit related to every war. This is why when you physically fight battles no one ever wins. You can’t fight wars with physical weapons. Yet throughout history we repeatedly see war after war, time after time, century after century.
Again same war, same spirit, different name.
However in Christ, there is a strategy from God to win every war. God never said we as Christians would never have to fight, He did promise that if we stick with Him and apply His strategies we would win.
Battles and wars in Christ, always have a beginning, a middle and an end. The war first and for most is always for the battle for your soul. It is then for the advancement of the kingdom of God. However, if you can’t win private battles, you won’t be able to win public wars.
In fact, scripture teaches us that when you hear of increase in wars and great desolation, this is an indication that the end is near.
Matthew 24:6-13 (NKJV)
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Although the scripture in Matthew is indicative of national chaos, we must understand, that if we are experiencing these things around us; that we first must deal with the internal struggle, going on inside of us. The war is for your soul, and many souls like you.
If we are going to be ready we must be prepared. However, remember I said in Christ we have victory over the strategy of the enemy. In Him we win wars!
First every battle from God starts with an enemy, however, there is always strategy from God. Let start by going back to the scripture in 2 Chronicles about Jehoshaphat.
2 Chronicles 20:1-30The Message (MSG)
20 1-2 Sometime later the Moabites and Ammonites, accompanied by Meunites, joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat received this intelligence report: “A huge force is on its way from beyond the Dead Sea to fight you. There’s no time to waste—they’re already at Hazazon Tamar, the oasis of En Gedi.”
3-4 Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed. He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast. The country of Judah united in seeking God’s help—they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God.
5-9 Then Jehoshaphat took a position before the assembled people of Judah and Jerusalem at The Temple of God in front of the new courtyard and said, “O God, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven above and ruler of all kingdoms below? You hold all power and might in your fist—no one stands a chance against you! And didn’t you make the natives of this land leave as you brought your people Israel in, turning it over permanently to your people Israel, the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived here and built a holy house of worship to honor you, saying, ‘When the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.’
10-12 “And now it’s happened: men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir have shown up. You didn’t let Israel touch them when we got here at first—we detoured around them and didn’t lay a hand on them. And now they’ve come to kick us out of the country you gave us. O dear God, won’t you take care of them? We’re helpless before this vandal horde ready to attack us. We don’t know what to do; we’re looking to you.”
13 Everyone in Judah was there—little children, wives, sons—all present and attentive to God.
14-17 Then Jahaziel was moved by the Spirit of God to speak from the midst of the congregation. (Jahaziel was the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah the Levite of the Asaph clan.) He said, “Attention everyone—all of you from out of town, all you from Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat—God’s word: Don’t be afraid; don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God’s war, not yours. Tomorrow you’ll go after them; see, they’re already on their way up the slopes of Ziz; you’ll meet them at the end of the ravine near the wilderness of Jeruel. You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow—God is with you.”
18-19 Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God. The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!
20 They were up early in the morning, ready to march into the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were leaving, Jehoshaphat stood up and said, “Listen Judah and Jerusalem! Listen to what I have to say! Believe firmly in God, your God, and your lives will be firm! Believe in your prophets and you’ll come out on top!”
21 After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing,
Give thanks to God,
His love never quits.
22-23 As soon as they started shouting and praising, God set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir as they were attacking Judah, and they all ended up dead. The Ammonites and Moabites mistakenly attacked those from Mount Seir and massacred them. Then, further confused, they went at each other, and all ended up killed.
24 As Judah came up over the rise, looking into the wilderness for the horde of barbarians, they looked on a killing field of dead bodies—not a living soul among them.
25-26 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to carry off the plunder they found more loot than they could carry off—equipment, clothing, valuables. It took three days to cart it away! On the fourth day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Beracah) and blessed God (that’s how it got the name, Valley of Blessing).
27-28 then led all the men of Judah and Jerusalem back to Jerusalem—an exuberant parade. God had given them joyful relief from their enemies! They entered Jerusalem and came to The Temple of God with all the instruments of the band playing.
29-30 When the surrounding kingdoms got word that God had fought Israel’s enemies, the fear of God descended on them. Jehoshaphat heard no more from them; as long as Jehoshaphat reigned, peace reigned.
Look at the strategy of the enemy. The enemy first decided to make war with God’s people. Isn’t it ironic, it didn’t say the God’s people invoked war. This is how the enemy does, sometimes you are in a battle not because you have done something wrong, but because you have done something right. The next thing that Jehoshaphat did was to pray and seek God. He then called a corporate fast. He then spoke with boldness and authority declaring the word of the Lord. He then said this is not our battle but the Lord’s.
Every battle you will overcome we must first start with seeking God’s face. We then start with declaring the word of God. Jehoshaphat was able to hear from God. There is always a strategy of war. However, the answer is found in God. Let us look at another example.
Again in the example we will read, I want you to take note here that it always started with an enemy.
Judges 6:1-6The Message (MSG)
6 1-6 Yet again the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight. God put them under the domination of Midian for seven years. Midian overpowered Israel. Because of Midian, the People of Israel made for themselves hideouts in the mountains—caves and forts. When Israel planted its crops, Midian and Amalek, the easterners, would invade them, camp in their fields, and destroy their crops all the way down to Gaza. They left nothing for them to live on, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. Bringing their cattle and tents, they came in and took over, like an invasion of locusts. And their camels—past counting! They marched in and devastated the country. The People of Israel, reduced to grinding poverty by Midian, cried out to God for help.
The major difference in this battle; the people of God’s sin causes God to respond by allowing the enemy to have full advantage in their lives.
Romans 1:28 (KJV)
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
That brings me to an interesting point, although I said we fight battles for doing something right. The reality is, we also fight battles and wars for doing something wrong.
Sometimes it is hard to tell. My response when I am going through something is to say, “okay God why is this happening to me? And “what am I to learn from this situation?” In the case of the book of Judges the people of Israel did evil in the sight of God.
I won’t be linger the story, I do encourage you to read it on your own time. However, regardless of the onset of the battle, God still had a plan.
Gideon ended up gathering together an army of about 32,000. That sounds like a pretty large army if you ask me. However, God did something stranger. Let us read the scripture where it left off.
Judges 7:1-8 (MSG)
7 Jerub-Baal (Gideon) got up early the next morning, all his troops right there with him. They set up camp at Harod’s Spring. The camp of Midian was in the plain, north of them near the Hill of Moreh.
2-3 God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this—they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me. Make a public announcement: ‘Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.’” Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left.
4-5 God said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” So Gideon took the troops down to the stream.
5-6 God said to Gideon: “Everyone who laps with his tongue, the way a dog laps, set on one side. And everyone who kneels to drink, drinking with his face to the water, set to the other side.” Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink.
7 God said to Gideon: “I’ll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home.”
8 After Gideon took all their provisions and trumpets, he sent all the Israelites home. He took up his position with the three hundred. The camp of Midian stretched out below him in the valley.
That is a major reduction in force, any time you go from 32,000 to 300. Some of you may have missed how we got the original number of 32,000. Let me go over it. First the scripture says, all that were afraid were asked to go home, making it 10 companies left. So if 10 companies left that means 22 companies headed home. Companies consisted of persons in sets of 10’s. 32,000 (started)-22,000 (left in response to fear)=10,000. Then God said there is still too many. At the end of it they had 300, remaining. That means 9,700 kneeled drinking, disqualifying them from the fight.
I know there are some rigorous criteria to be a part of armed forces. I don’t know about you, but this one seems a bit odd. However, when you think about it, a soldier had to be alert and always aware of the enemy. You can’t be fully alert when you are drinking water like a dog versus when you use your hands, you still are drinking but conscience of the enemy.
Even now you can’t allow any vulnerability. The enemy is out to steal kill and destroy. When you read the story you will know that they did end up winning the battle, even being at a disadvantage. I won’t tell you how, you’re going to have to pick up your bible and read it.
The point is, everyone is not going to win in life or in spiritual battles. There will be some casualties of war. In spiritual war, causalities come in the form of people who turn away from God, sinners, people to compromise the gospel, Christians who get so weary they give up. People who allow discouragement to forfeit their destiny. I will never forget my Bishop in the church I attended in Maryland told us how, when we first start the battle of the Lord, we are full of vigor and strength. It is through the process of time that a soldier gets, weak, and wounded. Even though we are fighting we lose strength if not careful.
The similarities in both stories are that God had a strategy. He used man, but He would win the victory by His own hand.
How are real battles won in Christ?
Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)
6 So he answered and said to me:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
That is a powerful scripture that will preach all by itself.
The key to battles won, are first submission to God. You won’t seek God if you don’t submit to Him. You need salvation in infilling of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit you will never be able to win the battle.
This is important because without the Holy Spirit guarding and protecting us we become prey to the enemy. The enemy wants a vessel to use for his work and when you are not in right alignment in God, you will be used by the enemy. I said will be, not may be!
War are lost when we allow the enemy to overtake and overpower us through the weapons, which start in the mind.
We must put on the whole armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NASB)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not against [a]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 [b]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 [c]With all prayer and petition [d]pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, [e]be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Battles are won with the full armor of God. Battles are lost when we are not fully covered with the armor of God.
We will talk further about the psychology of the mind in spiritual warfare, but know that God will fight your battles. The enemy will attack you without cause or warning, you don’t have to fight fire with fire. Look at what scriptures says.
Matthew 10:18-20 (KJV)
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
God is the one who wins battles, He will use us as His vessel. You have authority over the enemy, he does not have authority over you.