II Timothy 2:2 records Paul encouraging Timothy to teach others who would then go on to spread that teaching themselves. He goes on to warn Timothy from becoming entangled in the affairs of this world while pursuing the work of the Lord. I Timothy 6:12 calls on us to fight the good fight of faith, and Ephesians 6:10 encourages us to be strong in the Lord, for our struggles are not against physical enemies but rather against the spiritual evil opposing us.
What battles do we engage in on a daily basis? We should be fighting for our souls and for the souls of those around us. These passages we just looked at all contain military imagery, and the inspired writers direct us to view our attention to a specific conflict. This is the challenge of personal evangelism, protecting our own souls or winning others over to the cause of Christ. Our fighting is against the influences of sin in our own lives and in the lives of others.
Preparing for Evangelical Warfare
We must never lose sight of that which is at stake in our battle – souls. How, then, do we prepare for spiritual warfare? Ephesians 6 describes armaments we have available to us for these battles.
Our only weapon is the sword of the spirit, the good news of the gospel. In I Timothy 1:18, Paul encourages Timothy to wage good warfare by the sound doctrine and the gospel he holds up in the preceding verses. Also, Romans 1:16 proclaims a lack of shame in this gospel, calling it God’s power to save, and II Corinthians 10:3-5 again asserts that our efforts are not against physical enemies but rather against arguments and attitudes that oppose Christ. The gospel message is the only force we should be wielding against such opposition.
I John 4:4 reminds us that those of God have overcome the world. Greater is He who in us than he who is in the world. Paul, in Philippians 4:13, reminds us that nothing is impossible for us in Christ. God’s will for us is to overcome our spiritual enemy. Compromising never accomplishes God’s will. If we truly believe He is with us, nothing can stop our spiritual progress.
Victory in the Gospel Message
- We need to let our lights shine. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus warns us against losing our savor in our role as the salt of Earth. He reminds us not to cover our light among others. Then, Philippians 2:14-16 reminds us that our light cannot shine if we are not living and practicing the word of life.
- We must also abstain from submitting to the desires of our body. I Peter 2:10-11 says exactly that. Jesus, during His life, asks the multitudes what it is worth for a man to fulfill his every desire but lose his own souls. Our bodies are temples of God, bought with a price so we can glorify God while in these bodies.
- We should be walking in wisdom. Colossians 4:5-6 says we do this so we may know how to give an answer to anyone with whom we come in contact. Philippians 4:8 then calls on us to dwell on virtuous and pure things.
- We have to remove self and enthrone Christ. I Peter 3:15 calls on us to sanctify Christ in our lives, and Galatians 2:20 reminds us that we crucified self when we let Christ into our lives.
We cannot overcome these spiritual battles through compromising ourselves. We must let our lights shine, control our conduct, walk in wisdom, and enthrone Christ in our lives. All of this is accomplished through the power of the gospel. We are at war with an adversary who wants to claim our souls for eternity. We are of God, and He is greater than the prince of this world. We have to prepare ourselves, however, trusting in Him and Him alone to guide the footsteps of our lives.
lesson by Tim Smelser