Over 2,000 years ago, a Chinese military general and strategist named Sun Tzu wrote a 13 chapter book entitled The Art of War. To this day, it is still considered the most influential book written in China. It is still considered one of the seven military classics written in Asia. It has been studied by our own military, and the militaries of other countries. It’s wisdom and theories has been adopted in many of our military practices. One of the main points of the book is to understand your enemy and his intentions.
I have been wanting to begin a small mini-series on the issue of the war that we are in. For make no mistake about it, we are in a war. And in any war there are two sides: the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. We must determine who our enemy really is (for he wants us to think our enemy is anyone else but him. He wants us to think that our battle is with flesh and blood, or with our brother or sister, or a host of other things). The perfect enemy remains hidden. He does not wish to be seen. For once he is seen, the truth is out as to his identity. Satan has many names throughout scripture, and all of these names reveal an aspect of his nature, and of his wrath toward God. Job 41:22 bears out that our sorrow is turned into joy before him. He is the epitome of evil. He is the most ruthless terrorist known in the history of man. But our Commander in Chief defeated him at the cross, and took all of his weapons from him. Satan has been stripped of his rank and banished to roam the earth in utter defeat and failure. But to some it will appear that he has full reign…but only because they have not come to see the truth and to take their place among the son’s of authority…the son’s of the Kingdom…the manifested son’s of the living God.
I believe that there are men who were just born for war. It is in their DNA. David was a man of war, and yet he really loved and served the Lord. Joshua and Caleb were both men of war, and yet they followed the Lord fully. And this natural disposition can carry over to the spirit.
I remember one time when my friend Eric and I went over to someone’s house to move my sister’s belongings out and move her into a new apartment. The owner of the house was this biker dude covered in tattoos and he went down to his basement and came up with a big knife and tried to intimidate us and scare us. Eric and I started laughing in his face, and said to him, “bring it on.” Eric grabbed a bat, and I had my hand on my pistol, which was in my holster. The sight of his knife and his screaming didn’t faze us at all. Why not? Because we’re not afraid of people. I was born for war, and I was born for spiritual warfare. I love being the first one to the fight (especially a spiritual fight). I’m not intimidated by mean people. I’m not going to sit idly by and let an enemy walk all over me…I’m just not built that way.
In the same way, we need to be this way in the face of our enemy. We can’t just let him have his way with our property, our wives, our children, or anything else that God has blessed us with. God has given it to me…it’s mine…and you can’t have it. This needs to be our demeanor with the devil. We need to stand our ground and be men – not sissy’s. The men of God need to rise up and take back what belongs to them.
The Lord Himself is also a man of war. Exodus 15:3 says, “The Lord is a man of war.” Just think about this statement for a moment. The God of all glory, the Savior of mankind, the meek and lowly Servant from Galilee “is a man of war.” The Lord Jesus is also called a commander in Isaiah 55:4. Hebrews 2:9 calls Him the “Captain of our salvation.” These are all military terms. And the book of Revelation shows Him leading us into battle for the final showdown with His arch-enemy…the dragon.
In any military setting, there are always three classes of people (besides the general public whom the military is protecting), and these are: 1) the GI’s, or the General Infantry men, 2) the officers, and 3) the special forces who are an elite specially trained group who conduct top-secret missions that the majority in the military aren’t even aware of.
When a man is in the military, he must abide by their rules and regulations. He is even trained in boot camp on how to salute, how to be respectful, how to conduct oneself, how to walk in rank-and-file, and most importantly how to obey direct orders from their superiors with no questions asked.
You see, the officers have been trained. And they in turn know how to train others. And their rank demands respect. And if they have served in real combat and have the wounds, and the metals to prove it, then it demands more respect.
The Lord Jesus even spoke of war. Do you remember when He said that no man goes to war at his own expense? When a man is at war, he is at war under the monetary expense of the taxpayers who are footing the bill for all the weapons, food, training, traveling, etc.
Some men are just born with this spirit of warfare in their blood. It’s almost as if God created them for that purpose. Other men can be trained to have this spirit. It’s a spirit that will not give up, nor give in. It’s a spirit that runs to the battle with a knowing that I was born for this. It’s a spirit that will not be intimidated by an enemy. It’s a spirit that will not allow himself to be bullied by another for any reason. I’m a full grown man, and you’ll treat me, and speak to me, as a full grown man.
These are the type of men that our wives and children need caring for them and protecting them. And these are also the type of men that God is looking for. Men with backbone and conviction. Men that can look death in the face and laugh out loud. Men that will not back down when the going gets rough. Men that will be there for one another when the chips are down, and things look bleak. Men who will nurture their families in spiritual things, and not let the enemy come in and rape and rob.
So, you have the general infantrymen, and you have the officers who have been to officer school. You can liken the officers to apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. They’ve been trained in the Word and in the Spirit. “But strong meat belongs to those that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). So then the first thing about a spiritual officer is that he has an understanding of good and evil. Why? Because he’s been in training. Notice the word “exercised.” This man isn’t lazy. He’s working to get sharper. This is an officer who understands that, “No man who is at war entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may seek to please Him who has called him to be a soldier.” (2 Tim. 2:4) He has been enlisted and his chief concern is to perform well for his commanding Officer that he must give an account to each morning at the briefing table (prayer-closet). This officer also realizes that he is to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
He realizes that he is in a war, and that he is under the command of Another. The first thing he comes to grips with is that he must be found faithful. Paul said, “God has counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (1 Tim. 1:12). Please notice that Paul was first found faithful…and then God put him into the ministry. Even in the natural, how does a man get promoted in the military? He proves his worth by his faithfulness of attending his duties and living a life of obedience.
Do you want to be an officer who can really help others? Do you want to be the one who can make decisions that will affect the lives of others? Then prove your faithfulness to the Lord and He’ll promote you so-to-speak. Paul also said in 1 Cor. 4:2 that the “first thing to be found in a man is that he must be found faithful.” If you can’t be faithful to your own house (which is: your living, and your own body, and what you do with them) then how will you ever be found faithful in the Lord’s house…His body??
Hebrews 3:5 says that “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house.” Can this be said of you? Until you can prove yourself faithful in your living and in your devotion to the Lord, then I’m afraid you’ll always be just a GI…always under the tutorship of others. You see, this is really what Galatians 4:1-2 is referencing. “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.”
Really think about what these verses are saying. One day I was studying out the book of Galatians and the Spirit kept drawing me back to chapter 4, and I knew the Lord was trying to get me to see something. It took over four hours, and listening to that chapter over 50 times to finally get it to sink in…and then I saw the truth of what He was saying to me.
Look at the verses carefully dear reader and you will notice some things. One thing you will notice is that Paul calls us an “heir.” That is our position in the Spirit. This is how God sees us. He sees us as an heir. But Paul goes on to say that as long as you remain a child (by a choice of your living and your thinking and your speaking) that you are no different than a slave. What rights and privileges does a slave possess? NONE at all!! He is not privy to anything going on in the Father’s house at His table…because he wants to remain a child and play with his toys in the servant’s quarters. And as long as this is his desire, then this shall be his lot in life. God will bless him as much as He can…in the same way that we would take care of our servant’s material needs of clothing, shelter, and food.
But what this one fails to understand is that he “is lord of all” KJV- and he will never be able to enter into his inheritance until he grows up and becomes a man who can be responsible with his Father’s property and estate. A child cannot care for his Father’s personal affairs or His business affairs. Only a man can…only a son can. Only a son is really concerned about his Father’s interests. The children just want to play outside.
And he will continue to be under governors and tutors (KJV) until the time appointed by the Father. When is this appointed time by the Father? When the child wants to quit playing with his toys (sin) and take up his cross and take his seat at the Father’s table in the Father’s house.
The “governors” are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. He will always need to be under their care, for he cannot care for himself, or feed himself, or take care of himself. Hear what Ephesians 4:11-14 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children.
So then what is the purpose of these ministry graces then? “To equip the saints” WHY? “For the work of the ministry?” WHY? “So that we may no longer be children.” Are you seeing it? They are there as parents to equip you for manhood. If you’re still a child…then you are abnormal!!! And also you will need to be under tutors also. This is the letter of the law (see Galatians 3:24). You will need to live under it’s law until you can come to live by the spirit. For the law is a principal – but the Spirit is a guide.
We’ll pick this up again next week with “Guard Duty” (Part 1).
See you on the front lines.