A note from Kelly King: As ministry leaders, we sometimes need to be reminded that our work is different than other kinds of work because there is a spiritual element and a spiritual enemy. We are reminded in Ephesians 6 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. I’m grateful for Stephanie Edge’s reminder today and how we can be prepared for spiritual warfare.
When our circumstances are favorable, we can forget we are engaged in a war. “What war?” you might ask. The ongoing war between good and evil. The ultimate victory was settled by the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Christ came to die for sinners in order that we might be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18). The fight for the souls of men is ongoing and the opposition is fierce. 1 Peter 5:8 sends a clear warning, “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” Often, we do not realize our enemy is crouching at our door until he has made his move.
How can we be successful in battle?
As leaders, we can gain wisdom from the example of Jesus. After He was baptized by John in the Jordan, Jesus was led in the wilderness and went head-to-head with Satan. Satan launched a verbal onslaught toward Jesus in Luke 4. “Command this stone to become bread…” (4:3b). “Worship me…” (4:7b). “Throw yourself down…” (4:9). Jesus’ defense to Satan’s attacks was consistent in nature. On each occasion, He countered by responding with Scripture: “And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written…'” (4:4b).” ‘It is written…'” (4:8b) “‘It is said…” (4:12b).
What strategic principles can we gain from Jesus’ encounter with Satan?
1. You have an enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Satan, your enemy, is a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44). In contrast, Jesus identifies Himself as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). According to John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Satan’s intentions are to steal, to kill, and to destroy. However, the good news is that Jesus has come that we may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10). Know your enemy.
2. Satan often engages us in battle after a significant personal or ministry victory. Jesus’ engagement with Satan happened after His baptism. At that time, God the Father identified Jesus as His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased (Mark 1:9-11). Be on your guard after peak experiences.
3. Jesus defeated Satan with God’s Word. A distinct pattern is seen in Jesus’ citations of Scripture. If you and I want to be successful in battle, we must know and claim God’s Word. In Ephesians 6:17, we are told to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Spend time in God’s Word (Ps. 119).
4. Satan will return at an opportune time. Our enemy is relentless and does not give up easily. “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). Although Jesus has won the war, we will continually face battles with Satan. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Be alert.
5. News of Jesus spread throughout the surrounding country (Luke 4:14). As God’s leaders fight and win spiritual battles, the news of God’s love, power, and the gospel will go forth. Go forth and spread the gospel message (Matt. 28:18-20).
Here are some more recommended resources on this topic:
- The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
- Victory in Spiritual Warfare: Field Guide for Battle by Tony Evans
- Spiritual Warfare for Women: Winning the Battle for Your Home, Family, and Friends by Leighann McCoy
Stephanie Edge has a passion for teaching God’s Word and ministering to women. She served in Women’s Ministry in the local church for sixteen years and worked in College Ministry for ten years. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also completed a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephanie currently is an Associate Professor at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and teaches adjunct for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.