By: Brooke Russell
Licensed Professional Counselor at Cord of 3
When you hear the words “battle plan” what comes to your mind? A nation warring against another nation? Maybe something a little less intense such as a football team preparing for a very important game against their long-term rival? Have you ever considered that you need a battle plan? Have you thought about a battle plan being set in place for your family? This year Cord of Three is going to discuss the importance of having a battle plan for yourself and your family.
Dictionary.com defines a battle plan as a strategy used in a military engagement. A battle plan can also be defined as a plan to achieve a goal or to deal with a problem or unwanted situation. With this definition in mind, do you think your family needs a battle plan? If so, against what ? Cord of Three wants to encourage and promote you and your family to develop a battle plan. We will address who we are fighting, how we are to prepare, and what challenges we will face individually, as a family, and in the church. We look forward to aiding in the development of a spiritual battle plan with you and your family this year.
It does seems the entire world is at war. One nation makes war with another nation on the battlefield and off. Democrats fight with Republicans on Facebook and Twitter. Even our beloved sports teams make enemies of their opponents as they fight for championships on the ball field. Spouses launch verbal assaults at one another while children deploy guerilla warfare tactics on their parents in the home. Pogo – that famous possum from Walt Kelly’s comic – once said “we have met the enemy and he is us”.
We are surrounded by arguments, destruction of property, physical altercations, and even war. The sheer volume of conflict can sometimes make it difficult to identify the enemy. Scripture is clear that we are in a battle, so who is our enemy? Is our neighbor, the person who sees things very differently than us, or the news source our enemy? Is this who we should be waging war with?
fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
I remember the first time I truly felt like I was at war, at least from the perspective of debate. I was in a college philosophy class where we debated issues such as abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, taxation, and the like. At the time, I was the only person in class who brought a Biblical perspective to most of the issues we discussed. My beliefs had never been greatly challenged prior to that classroom experience. I had grown up in a Christian home in a small town surrounded by people who shared similar views and values. So, it was a difficult position to stand – alone – firmly on that foundation, surrounded by classmates and faculty with opposing views and values. My classmates were very angry with me, and I soon became ostracized for my differing views. Some of them called me names and we would all raise our voices to defend our arguments. I believed I was at war with my classmates to the point that I viewed them as the enemy, and at least on an intellectual level treated them as such. But, by His grace, God used that season of my life in a mighty way to teach me the true identity of my enemy. We can see it clearly exposed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Our enemy – the enemy of every Christian – is clearly seen here as the world, the devil, and the flesh. In my class, I was at war with worldly philosophies and the promotion and encouragement of hostility and opposition to God and His word. That hostility appeared as a refusal to acknowledge the life of the unborn child. It manifested as support of so-called homosexual marriage in opposition of the institution established by God. It was evident in the pursuit of success and status as a path to defining the worth of individuals rather than finding worth in the fact that we are created in the image of God. I wasn’t at war with my classmates, but with the philosophies of the world that are hostile and in opposition to God and His word. By properly identifying the enemy, I could aim my weapon more accurately in the fight. Because the truth of Ephesians 2 is not only the identity of the enemy, but the fact that I used to be in his camp, just like everyone else. Until something amazing happened.
When we are made alive in Christ, everything changes. We are called out of the belief systems of this world. That doesn’t mean we can’t be deceived by the world as children of God, but, we are to walk according to the Spirit. We are to follow God and stand on His truth. We are to share God’s truth. Not for the sake of winning an argument, but for the sake of winning a brother. Not to defend God – He doesn’t need me to defend Him – but to defend those who are made in His image. We are to share God’s truth because we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (see Eph. 2:10). When we see that worldly philosophies and hostility to God and His word are the enemy, we can see those walking in that path for who they really are: sinners who are walking the course of this world and not in the Spirit of God.
As children of God, we are also at war with Satan. Back in that philosophy class, my classmates were not the enemy. I was called to be a light to them, to share God’s Word, and to love them. I was at war with worldly philosophy and hostility to God and His word, and I was also at war with Satan and his influence.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 6:11-12)
The fight was against the schemes of the devil. He deceives. He devours. He sifts. He lies. He murders. He destroys. He entices. He inflicts disease and calamity. He seduces. He casts doubt. He distracts. All that Satan desires to do is to counter the work of God. I am at war with him and not with the people who fall prey to him.
It should go without saying that Satan is real. Some make the mistake of being ignorant or resistant to the very idea of Satan, when Scripture describes Him as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Others give him far too much power, placing Satan on the level of God when Scripture is clear that He is beneath God.
In my philosophy class, I was battling with the philosophies of the world and the schemes of Satan. But, there was another enemy that I had to recognize, and that was my own sinful flesh. My competitive nature was strong and I wanted to win the debates. I wanted to prove them wrong because it felt so good to be right. I wanted to change their mind so they would see things my way.
We ALL struggle with the desires of our flesh. Since sin entered the world through Adam, it has spread to every man (Rom. 5:12) and every man desires to sin and does sin. We desire to do what benefits us. No one had to teach us to sin. It comes quite naturally. Sometimes we desire to do evil against someone else for various reasons. It’s part of our fallen nature. It courses through our veins as naturally as the blood that physically flows through them. Scripture tells us when we do the things of the flesh it brings about death (Romans 8:5-6). God’s Word warns us of the three most prominent ways we are going to struggle: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The lust of the flesh can bring about the death of a marriage and family as a result of adultery or fornication. The desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit are in opposition to one another (Gal 5:16-17).
As children of God, the flesh is something we are at war with daily. There may be times the flesh prevents us from doing the things we want to or would do in the Spirit. We must realize we are in this battle with the flesh and submit ourselves to the Spirit. When my goal in philosophy class was to win an argument, that was my flesh at work. My goal in philosophy class should have been to walk in the Spirit and share the truth in love to my classmates. My goal should have been to point them to Christ, and they too could experience the grace of God.
You may not have a philosophy class experience in your life. You may be a stay-at-home mom or work in an office where you do not get the opportunity to discuss and debate arguments, but identifying the enemy applies to every area of life. Beginning questions such as which TV shows or music will we allow our children (or ourselves) to listen to and watch? How will we engage with and interact on social media? Where will we seek news and information? How will we share God’s truth to win brothers and sisters to Christ? We as children of God are at war with the world and the course it is following. We are at war with Satan and the destruction he desires to bring to both our lives and the lives of those around us. And we are at war with our flesh to follow the Spirit and not our own desires. We must be prepared for the battles that lie before us both obvious and hidden. We must be on alert. We must know our enemy.