By Dr. Richard Ing
June 23, 2005
Spiritual warfare is not just
casting out of demons and binding up ruler spirits. The Devil is a strategist and attacks us in
many areas. Satan fights us through:
(1) persecution; (2)
diseases; (3) oppression; (4) lethargy; (5) false doctrines and practices that
weaken us; (6) the lusts of the flesh; (7) the pull of the world; (8) lack of
endurance/weariness; (9) discouragement.
We need to recognize Satan’s attack in these areas and begin to fight
Make no mistake - we are in a
war! Satan constantly attacks the body,
mind and the heart. Just because you don’t
feel different and it appears that circumstances have not changed, doesn’t mean
that you’re not under attack. You may
already have been neutralized by the enemy and are no longer participating in
or being effective in the battle! Unless
you gird up your loins and set your face like flint, you will lose both
individually and as a participant in God’s mighty army!
One of the Devil’s greatest
weapons is to wear down the saints, to discourage and neutralize. Daniel 7:25 says, “And he (one of the
horns on Satan’s beast) shall speak great words against the most High, and
shall wear out the saints of the most High ….” Underlining added)
Endurance is highly necessary
in spiritual warfare because the enemy’s plans to wear you down. Some will quit because of battle fatigue;
some will slow down because of worldly interests, the pursuit of riches,
etc. Many Christians have already
retired from the battlefield because of weariness and discouragement. Jesus says, “But he that shall endure unto
the end, the same shall be saved.” Mt. 24:13.
If you are no longer praying in the morning, reading the Bible,
preaching the Gospel, learning deliverance or attending as many church
functions as you can, you have been neutralized. You are no longer in the battle! You’re already a prisoner!
OUR HEADQUARTERS AND CHAIN
Our headquarters for the
battle that is raging in our area is the local church. The leaders (or officers) are the
elders. The troops are the members. The pastor is the head and the elders are his
executive officers. The pastor and the
elders must keep close communications with each other and devise strategies to
guide the church into battle. Deacons
are part of the line troops that keep the headquarters and troops moving in
good order. They are the ordinance and
supply troops, the ones that have the job of maintaining the headquarters,
supplies and military facilities. This
frees up the eldership for other duties.
Imagine if the general of the army had to clean latrines every day.
The members are prayer
warriors who are constantly battling in the spirit and fighting daily against
the enemy. They are not people who sit
around and admire the roses. They are
Each leader and member must
do his/her part. The army is as strong
as its weakest link. Do not think that
you have no part in the war against the kingdom of darkness. The minute you were born again, you were
earmarked by the Devil as someone to be destroyed.
PROTECTING THE HEAD
In any army, it is important
to protect the leaders, especially the head.
Even in ancient battles, the generals of the army were surrounded by
strong, dedicated and loyal warriors known for their bravery and courage. If you are an elder or deacon, you have been
chosen to be an armor bearer for your leader.
The enemy knows that if you kill the shepherd, the sheep will be
scattered. In Vietnam, the Vietcong looked for
soldiers with the most stripes on their sleeves or metal insignias on their
collars. These stripes and insignias
indicated high rank and leadership. The
enemy concentrated on killing the leaders. They knew that if they killed the
head, the rest of the body would crumble.
In the end, the U.S.
military had to dispense with stripes and insignias so that the enemy could not
know who the leaders were.
So it is with Satan. He concentrates on the pastors and other
leaders. He constantly attacks them and
tries to bring them down. Therefore, the
church must always pray for and protect the leaders. If the leaders are destroyed or neutralized,
the church is destroyed or neutralized too.
Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered and the battle
lost. Mk. 14:27.
It is important to train
willing and qualified members to become the next leaders. If the head is no longer functioning, someone
has to take his place. The key word is “willing.” Many members have no desire to give up their
place in life and sacrifice the time and effort needed to become God’s
leader. It takes much time, effort and
sacrifice to become a spiritual leader.
Satan makes sure that everyone is busy earning a living and paying the
bills, although many Christians are already well-off and are merely striving
for more of the good life.
Satan also provides wonderful
worldly entertainments to keep us bound to the world and as a result, those in
love with the world become non-combatants in the spiritual war for the souls of
men and women. While we cling to our
hobbies and the good life, there are millions of missionaries willing to
sacrifice their life on earth to serve God.
As the saying goes, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few
….” Lk. 10:2; Mt. 9:37.
Another key word is “qualified.” Some members who are not qualified to be a
spiritual leader are constantly campaigning to become the next pastor or
leader. They are usually disqualified
because of pride, lack real love for the church and people and have attitudes
of self-promotion and disloyalty. Their
families may be disorderly and their relationships at home and with their
children strained and tenuous. Others
are not team players and are renegade sheep.
It is dangerous to appoint such a person into leadership. Soon everyone else in the church will want to
do his own thing. A little leaven
leaveneth the whole lump. 1 Co. 5:6.
The church is vulnerable if
there is no one willing and qualified to take over when the head retires or is
disabled in other ways. There should be
a steady stream of willing and qualified leaders in any church.
All elders are leaders. The eldership must have the same vision and
zeal as the senior pastor so that they can help advance the vision of the
church and work as a team. There can be
no renegades. The pastor cannot carry
the load by himself for very long.
Elders should head the cell groups, the intercessory prayer group, the Bible School,
the deacons, and other programs and activities of the church. This makes it possible for the senior pastor
to devote more time to prayer, reading the Word and preaching..
Elders need to see the church
as their personal responsibility. Since
they are leaders, they should serve as hard-working examples to the sheep. Elders need to be the ones who bring more
people into the church than others. They
should be the ones who serve more than anyone else. Some want the position and accolades, but don’t
want the responsibility and work that come with it. They are on cruise control.
In the early church, the
office of a deacon was very important.
In modern times, some Christians feel that it is demeaning because
deacons are more like janitors. But the
Bible indicates that all the deacons were men of spiritual maturity. “… (L)ook ye out among you seven men of
honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over
this business.” (underlining
added) Ac. 6:3. To qualify for the office of deacon, one had
to be the cream of the crop. Deacons
were not only servants; they were evangelists and prophets at the same time too
(Philip, Stephen, etc.). But in the church,
they functioned as deacons.
Deacons are important to the
church because they keep things moving.
They learn to serve others. That
is one of the greatest attributes of any leader - service to all. “And whosever will be chief among you, let
him be your servant.” Mt.
20:27. Deacons are chief members of the
church, in God’s eyes. They are not mere
janitors and workhorses; they were vital to the life of the church. They are the next leaders.
If a deacon has a bad or
negative attitude towards serving others, he has flunked the test. A deacon needs to go all out in discharging
the duties of his position. If he is
called to arrange rides for members, he should be arranging rides every
meeting. If he is called to serve
tables, he should be ordering food, picking up the food, setting up the table,
cleaning up after the meal and other things such a deacon is called to do. If he is called to clean the church, he
should be enthusiastic and zealous because it is God that appointed him,
although the membership voted. After
all, nothing happens by chance and God put it in the hearts of the members to
choose certain people to train for leadership.
Until deacons learn to serve
others with all their heart, they are not yet ready for higher positions. Good deacons make it possible for the elders
to devote their time to prayer and ministering the Word. Ac. 6:2-4.
God has a government and a
structure within His church. There is a
chain of command that is vital to the life of the church. The same thing is true with any army in the
natural and any well-organized and oiled corporation or business. Elders, deacons and members should strive to
mature within the framework of God’s governmental structure. Anyone who sees himself as chosen of God to
be above his fellow members and even leaders, and who begins to act independently
of the local church government is in rebellion.
Rebellion is Satan’s character and principle. One can agree with God’s framework and still
function according to Satan’s principle of rebellion.
All members of the church are
called into submission and obedience. All members must view their church as a
place where they can demonstrate their love for God. After all, the church is His body. Disdain for Christ’s body is the same as
disregard and disrespect for the Lord.
Church is not just a gathering of people; it is a living organism that
has an identity of its own, a life of its own and a place in the body of
Christ. If Christ were in the church
every meeting, how much reverence and respect would you have towards the
church? The truth is - He is! Do not think that God does not know your
attitudes towards the church.
OUR LOVE FOR THE CHURCH
Satan wants to destroy the
church and every Christian on the face of the earth. The church represents the last resistance
against Satan’s ambition to rule the world.
No other organization in the world can stand against him. Individual saints can accomplish much, but in
the end, they cannot stand alone. The
Bible says that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the
church).” Mt. 16:18. It does not say that the battle against the
kingdom of darkness is an individual battle.
It takes the entire church to be an effective army.
We can be unconcerned about
the church and other members because we may be individually anointed and
spiritually mature in some areas. But in
the end, all of us individually cannot stand against the enemy. Only a united church can. Knowing this, we should all have a concern
and love for the local church. It is our
means to defeat the demonic kingdom. We
cannot afford to ignore the church. All
of us needs to fight to protect the church, nurture it, love it and strive to
Remember, Revelation 13:7 and
Daniel 7:21,25 do not say that Satan is going to war against the church. He is too clever for that. The church is too powerful to defeat as an
entity by itself. Satan is going to war
against the saints, individually, one by one.
He is going to divide and conquer.
Mt. 12:25; Mk. 3:24-25.
Therefore, we have a great need to unite and move as one body. We cannot afford to allow only a few
individuals to carry out the war against the demonic kingdom. The duty to pray for the church is not the
sole responsibility of a few intercessory warriors who come together on
Thursday nights. It is the responsibility
of each and every member.
GIRDING UP OUR LOINS AND
SETTING OUR FACES LIKE FLINT
We are clearly in the middle
of a period of preparation for what is about to come. We pray for revival, but in doing so we are
also praying for persecution and the abomination of desolation spoken of by
Daniel the prophet, because persecution will come on the heels of revival. Mt. 24:14-22.
Persecution is sure to come on the heels of revival. Hard times are coming sooner than you
think. We need to “gird up our loins”
and prepare for the worse. America has had
such a long period of economic and military successes that we have been lulled
into believing that it will never end. I
recall my parents telling me how awful things were during the depression years. People had to stand in long lines just to
receive a bowl of soup. There were no
jobs. Ala Moana Beach Park
was built by the government during the depression years, just to provide the
jobless with something to do. All the
bars and theaters closed down because nobody had the money to go there. In World War II, my parents used to stand in
line to buy food. They were issued
coupons to buy cigarettes, beer and other items.
Your life and the life of the
church depend on each saint girding up his/her loins and shaping up
spiritually. We have no choice. In order to get through the dangerous times
ahead, we need to set our faces like flint, determined to make it through.
The phrase “gird up your
loins” means to prepare yourself mentally and physically for some difficult
task ahead. 1 Ki. 18:46; 2 Ki. 4:29; 2
Ki. 9:1; Job 38:3; 1 Pet. 1:13. The
phrase “set my face,” or “set my face like a flint” means to have
extreme determination and intention. Is.
50:7; Lk. 9:51. At this point of time,
we have a great need to gird up our loins and set our faces like flint in order
to make it through until the end.
We have many weapons against
the enemy: (A) prayer and fasting; (B) praise and worship; (C) casting out of
devils; (D) binding up ruler spirits; (E) taking back souls and territories,
(F) pulling down strongholds in our minds and hearts; (G) casting down
imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of
God; (H) bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (I)
standing in the power and might of God; (J) praying that God will hide us under
His wings and cover us with His feathers; (K) putting on the whole armor of
God; (L) the Word; (M) the Blood; (N) the Holy Spirit; (O) holiness. Which of these areas are you battling
in? Are you a non-combatant or a
To help you decide, please
read the attached Evaluation sheet and assess your position in God’s army