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Spiritual Warfare

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

In response to my post, Gather The Troops, I was asked to create a list of the Christian rules of engagement. What follows is a condensed version of what God taught me in the Valley of Divorce. It's equal parts bible study and blog post.

Rules of Engagement

1. Repent

2. Watch Your Words

3. Choose Companions Wisely

4. Do Not Rely on Your Own Understanding

5. Do Not Be Double-Minded

6. Stay in Your Lane

7. Suit Up & Trust God


Keep first things first.

James 4:7 is often misquoted and misunderstood, or at least it was by me. “...resist the devil, and he will flee” is only part of the verse. In context, James gives us a crucial element to victory,

So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins] (Jam. 4:7-9, AMPC, emphasis mine).

In a nutshell, when we repent and become submissive to God, we have drawn near to Him. In response, He comes close to us. The safest place during spiritual battle is in the secret place of the Most High – in the shadow of the Almighty who will be your refuge and fortress (Ps. 91:1-2). You may be thinking, I was the one sinned against! While that may be true, none of us are sinless. So, ask the Lord to reveal any hidden sins and keep you from presumptuous sin (Ps 19:12-14).

Watch Your Words

Be careful what you say (silence is golden)

Be careful what you say and how you say it. Below are Biblical examples of the power related to these choices.

When Gabriel delivered the news to Zachariah that he and Elizabeth would have a baby boy (John) and Zachariah questioned the prophesy, he lost his ability to speak until after John’s birth (Luke 1:11-20). Being “struck dumb” was a gift as it kept Zachariah from speaking his doubts and unbelief.

Shortly after Jesus was born, the shepherds came to the manger to praise God and tell of all the angels had proclaimed at the birth of Jesus; Mary kept silent and “weighing and pondering” these things in her heart (Luke 2:8-20). She did not voice the fears that being the earthly mother of the Son of God surely must have generated.

Ten of the 12 spies that Moses and Aaron sent to scout the Promised Land returned an “evil” report, i.e., they voiced their fears and not faith in God. Their negativity spread throughout the Israelites! Only the two spies with faith-filled reports, Joshua and Caleb, lived to enter the promised land (Num. 13-14).

The battle of Jericho depended entirely upon faith and obedience. A strange battle plan was handed to Joshua from the Angel of the Lord. When Joshua shared with it with the Israelites, it came with this command, “You shall not shout or let your voice be heard, nor shall any word proceed out of your mouth until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout!” (Josh. 6:10). I’d say he learned a valuable lesson and kept negativity and fear from once again spreading throughout the camp.

When Michael disputed with Satan over the body of Moses, “he dared not [presume to] bring an abusive condemnation against him, but [simply] said, The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9). If Michael can’t get a little ugly with Satan – how careful we must be when we dispute with a person made in God’s own image (Gen. 1:27)!

“In a multitude of words transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent” (Pro. 10:19).

“But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).

Choose Companions Wisely

Be careful with whom you share

When Gabriel informed Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, she immediately went to Zachariah’s to visit his wife (her cousin) Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-40). Zachariah and Elizabeth “were righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).

“He who walks [as a companion] with wise men is wise, but he who associates with [self-confident] fools is [a fool himself and] shall smart for it” (Pro. 13:20).

Jesus had 12 disciples and thousands of followers. He spoke in parables for the crowd but explained them in private (Mark 13:10-13). His inner circle consisted of only three – Peter, James & John.

Seek wise counsel from godly men and women (Pro. 24:6). Have a teachable spirit, i.e., open to correction and encouragement (Pro. 14:6).

Be faithful in prayer (I Thess. 5:17) and seek the prayers of those who have proven themselves trustworthy (Luke 16:10).

Do Not Rely on Your Own Understanding

We always think we are right – and it’s not always about our pride. I believe very few people set out to be wrong. But it happens – and pride is a snare. We need to be open to correction and the idea that God might have a better way (I Thess. 5:14).

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts” (Pro. 21:2). Our hearts are deceitful (Jer. 17:9), so adhering to the world’s “follow your heart” adage is not wise.

Proverbs tells us multiple times that our plans are subject to God (Pro. 3:5-6, Pro. 16:9 & Pro. 19:21).

Do Not Be Double-Minded

“Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]” (Jam. 1:6-8).

Watching your mouth and choosing wisely with whom you confide are two disciplines that help

you preserve your faith and avoid being double-minded.

Stay in Your Lane

Don’t Let Pride Take You for a Ride

We get ourselves in trouble when we think we’re so special that the “rules” don’t apply to us. I know AA (rehab, NA, et cetera) has worked for thousands of people. But I don’t need it. I can kick it on my own.

I know we are supposed to forgive, but you don’t know what they did to me! God can’t expect me to forgive that!

They sinned against me! They owe me!

The truth is nothing is so unique about you or your situation that the “rules” don’t apply (