All or Nothing! Part 6 – Winning the spiritual battle is never with half-measures, but absolute!
There are 7 messages in this All or Nothing Series. To access them all, please use the following links.
All or Nothing Part 1
All or Nothing Part 2
All or Nothing Part 3
All or Nothing Part 4
All or Nothing Part 5
All or Nothing Part 6
All or Nothing Part 7
(a) Satan as our enemy never uses half measures to oppose us, except where he is limited by the authority of God.
Spiritual warfare is always full-on, requiring a full-on response from us.
Even Paul, who must be considered to have been a battle-tested warrior for God, agonised in Romans 7 over his seeming inability to be a good Christian no matter how hard he tried.
Romans 7:14-25 – 14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
And in Romans 8:1 Paul says that God will not hold the condemnation for sin against us who are in Christ Jesus – [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
So first of all the battle is to win victory over our own self-nature. While of course it may well be impossible to be perfect here while yet in the flesh, we should still aim at being perfect.
Then of course, the battle is against the enemy, satan and his demons. When we become Christians, we are called to suffer for Christ. No Christian is exempt from this!
1 Peter 2:21 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (that is, we must walk in His steps of suffering)
Victory is knowing that we cannot lose unless we choose to lose, and the determination to stand our ground against the enemy.
Look at Ephesians 6:10-13 – 10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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]. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all (hapas – “all things”, from the root word pas – “all”), to stand.
Note that this battle means being pushed to the limit: the whole armour (panoplia – literally, “the whole armour”, no part left off) of God;
and having done all! There are no half measures in this warfare! All your armour and having done all!
(b) We are to count it all joy when we are put to the test in being called to suffer for Jesus Christ.
James 1:2 – My brethren, count it all (pas) joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
temptations – trials; a proving; a testing of our faith. It can mean “temptations” but in this context it can also mean “adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s character, faith, holiness”
It does indeed say ‘all joy’ here, as if we should be only happy when we are being punished! But it is somehow different; joy does not equate to happiness! We can be sorrowful at times, but we are to rejoice at all times! (See Philippians 4:4) So therefore we are to rejoice at times even when we may be sorrowful. The two feelings do not always go together. But, while we may be sorrowful at times, we must always rejoice, or, “count it all joy” even in suffering (= a time of testing). It is clear that this is an important part of winning the battle against the enemy.
(c) We cannot lose unless we choose to lose! We are more than conquerors over all opposition!
Romans 8:37 – Nay, in all (pas) these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
In other words, we cannot lose (unless we choose to lose). For the trusting Christian, all spiritual battles are winnable, except when we are convinced that victory is impossible. (And it is surprising just how often it’s the Christians who decide that the battle we cannot lose is in fact lost! It’s the mind games the enemy plays with us.)
However, be sure you are called to a particular battle before you attempt to fight it, for He who calls us provides the means of victory in His name.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 – Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].
However, often we find that we are all too easily convinced that the battle is indeed unwinnable. It has to do with the cost of spiritual warfare. There is no victory without a battle, and no battle without a cost; thus the battle so often is only won when we count the cost and then still decide to oppose the enemy. If we wish to win the battle, we must never let the cost persuade us to surrender. If we cannot forsake all (note not “some” or even “most”) that we have, we cannot be Jesus’ disciple!
Luke 14:31-33 – 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all (pas) that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Note that “cannot” is also an absolute.
(d) Enduring (suffering) all things is essential to getting the gospel message out to a needy world.
Paul acknowledged that his suffering had to be endured lest the gospel be hindered.
1 Corinthians 9:12b – (We) suffer all things (pas), lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
A lack of desire to endure all things will impair our witness to those around us. In other words, without suffering, our lives will lack power to change others. Victory comes through suffering.
Note that our suffering is not with purpose.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – 3Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all (pas) comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all (pas) our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
When we are in all tribulation, we receive all comfort! There is nothing that God calls us to endure unless He also makes available all comfort for our suffering. And, once we have received our comfort, we are then expected to use that same comfort to comfort others who are suffering. It is said, probably quite truly, that we can never fully understand the suffering of another unless we have been through it ourselves first. What we experience gives us understanding to apply to others in similar suffering.
(e) A full-on battle requires full-on measures, including full-on prayer – no half-hearted measures here.
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all (pas) prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all (pas) perseverance and supplication for all (pas) saints;
The battle is constantly with us. None of this occasional spiritual warfare for Paul! And constant warfare requires constant prayer and supplication, for ourselves, no doubt, but more importantly for others (= ‘all the saints’). Perseverance is also essential, total perseverance! What’s the point of persevering for most of the time, only to undo all our good efforts in a short moment of weakness?
2 Timothy 2:10 – Therefore I endure all things (pas) for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Also see above – 1 Corinthians 9:12b – Nevertheless we ….. suffer all things (pas), lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. – In both cases it is to do with not hindering the process of salvation. The level of enduring here includes suffering, trials and tribulation, and is akin to carrying our crosses, without which Jesus said we weren’t worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38) nor could we be His disciples (Luke 14:27). The battle isn’t won by taking it easy watching the warfare from the safety of the sidelines. Instead it is won by putting ourselves at risk in order to defeat the enemy. There will always be a cost for victory.
Remember, there’s no victory without a battle and no battle without a cost. All things must be endured in order to win the battle. This includes all those things that we hold near and dear. There can be nothing that should stand in the way of our victory!
2 Timothy 3:11-12 – 11Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all (pas) the Lord delivered me. 12Yea, and all (pas) that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Persecutions, afflictions….they are to be endured as a faithful soldier. And they are all winnable, too! But nevertheless, if you desire to be a godly Christian, then you will suffer persecution. There is no teaching whatsoever for Christians to have the good life that they “so richly deserve”, as many churches of today will have their congregations falsely believe. A Christian is called to battle, to fight as a soldier of the cross, and the measure of a good Christian is that he or she is not only prepared to suffer for their faith, but actually demonstrates this in his or her life!
Philippians 1:29 – For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
There are 7 messages in this All or Nothing Series. To access them all, please use the following links.