Show Notes – Episode 22 – “Spiritual Warfare” – Part I
Hello, friends. Welcome to Episode number 22 of The Greg Amundson Show. I’m so blessed, so happy, so grateful to welcome you on to the show today. I’ve got a fantastic message in store for you that I am absolutely certain will motivate, encourage, educate, and inspire you. Before we begin, I thought it would be very fitting to begin and then end every show from this point moving forward with prayer. As I mentioned at the conclusion of Episode 21, the time that we’re spending together here on this show is sacred time. This is time well spent, my friends, time with the word of God is an investment in your soul. Therefore, let’s take a moment to begin today’s episode with a word of prayer.
God, thank you so much for this precious time you have given us. God, you tell us in the Bible that when we seek you first everything else will be provided for us and Father God in Heaven, today we are earnestly seeking you first. Therefore, God, we pray that you would give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. Open our minds, God, open our hearts, open our eyes, that we would be able to see you in your glory. In your son’s name, Jesus Christ, Amen.
My friends, well, in addition to a word of prayer, today I also thought it would be very fitting with one of my favorite songs. Here we go. It is the Eye of the Tiger, perfect introductory song for today’s message, because my friends, today’s message is on spiritual warfare. Today our digging into the word of God and we are going to investigate the context, the implications of spiritual warfare. First, what is spiritual warfare, what have we gotten ourselves in to? Once we understand the nature of spiritual warfare, what are the tools, the strategies, the techniques that we can utilize to ensure our victory day in and day out of this timeless battle?
Well, my friends, commencing with the Old Testament, marching through the entire biblical narrative, spiritual warfare is a theme of resounding importance for you and I, for the modern day warrior, and for the follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, in order to faithfully abide within the new covenant established through the courageous ministry of Jesus Christ, the archetype of the warrior is both — get this — sufficient and necessary in order to ensure battlefield success. Now it’s sufficient in that through the establishment of a spiritual warrior’s mindset and the acceptance of the full armor of God, one may resist the fiery attacks of evil and temptation. It’s necessary in the realization that the son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. That’s from Ephesians 6: 14 through 17. Jesus descended from the heavens above and when he did, he employed the most sophisticated special operations mission of all time. And I say that because Jesus, he courageously closed with and destroyed the enemy and through his example, he invited all the apostles and all who would follow him to do the same.
Through a careful examination of spiritual warfare in the Old Testament and the New Testament, today we are going to investigate the progressive development beginning with large-scale warfare into the tense arena of single combat, to the ultimate close-quarters battlefield of our very heart and mind. Therefore, the theme of spiritual warfare, in particular, the battlefield techniques and strategies employed by Jesus Christ will be of immense importance for all those who seek to experience a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.
As we begin our investigation of spiritual warfare, we turn our attention to the book of Judges and Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites. In this particular battle, three observations of immense importance are immediately brought to our attention. One, success in spiritual warfare did not rely upon a large army; two, success in spiritual warfare was not achieved with sophisticated weaponry; and three, success in spiritual warfare was absolutely dependent upon God. At first glance, God’s battle plan may seem counterintuitive to the precepts of modern warfare. After all, God often called his people into an engagement against a superiorly numbered force armed with sophisticated weapons with an advantage of greater military training. However, this seemingly senseless strategy was in fact central for God’s power to achieve ultimate glory and recognition. Through investigation and observation, we will discern the reason God’s seemingly doomed strategic maneuver was in fact part of a brilliant plan for the salvation of God’s creation.
The primary key to victory in spiritual warfare throughout the entire biblical narrative both Old Testament and New Testament was this, my friends, it was absolute and complete reliance on the strength of God. That’s why the psalmist wrote “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” That’s from Psalm 27. However, although the psalmist trusted God to bring their enemies to their knees and fall, we further observe that spiritual warfare did not mean a believer could simply remain idle, they still had work to do, they still had to train their mind, body and spirit, because on all occasions of successful spiritual warfare God required his creation, and to this day he requires you and I to take decisive action in a specific and get this, often times, peculiar manner. Through strict obedience, faith and reliance on the strength of God, victory was claimed and always will be claimed against often overwhelming odds.
On the morning of Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites, Gideon had gathered his 32,000 men in a military outpost near the Spring of Harod. Now the enemy camp loomed in a nearby valley to the north of Gideon’s perimeter. Anticipating a large-scale attack utilizing the collective strength of his vast army, Gideon was fully prepared for battle. However, God had other plans for Gideon that would ensure his success with only a very, very, very small strike force of spiritually-empowered warriors. God told Gideon, “Gideon, you have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands or Israel would boast against me and say, ‘My own strength saved me.'” Therefore, God commanded Gideon to announce to the army that “Anyone here who trembles with fear” would be permitted to depart the battlefield and not engage in the ensuing war.
Hearing this announcement, 22,000 of Gideon’s men picked up their weapons and left. Wow. So now Gideon’s only down to a few thousand men. However, God was still not satisfied and God devised a test to allow Gideon to discern those warriors who would ultimately secure victory. The Lord God told Gideon to lead the remaining 10,000 men to a nearby stream to quench their thirst. Directing Gideon to carefully observe the specific manner in which the men drank, God said, “Gideon, separate those who lapped the water with their tongue as a dog laps from those who kneeled down to drink.” Now this is amazing, I think, because in the Book of Proverbs it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Suddenly, through the unfolding biblical account of Gideon’s assessment of the 10,000 soldiers, this verse from the Book of Proverbs it comes to life with tactical combat relevance. We discover that 300 true warriors drank from the stream with cupped hands, all the others kneeled down to drink and in doing so they lost situational awareness of their surroundings. In other words, by kneeling down at the water’s edge, 9,700 soldiers lost their vision and they were sent home.
Well, let’s do the math. We only have 300 remaining soldiers and with this 300 remaining soldiers armed with just trumpets and jars containing torches. That’s not sophisticated weaponry but with that tool, Gideon defeated the vastly superior Midian army. As Gideon and his army advanced on the enemy soldiers, their battle cry was “For the Lord and for Gideon.” Hearing this battle cry we discover the ultimate crushing blow came upon the Midian army not by the hand of Gideon’s warriors but by the very hand of God. The Lord caused the men throughout the Midian camp to turn on each other with their swords. Wow.
Now as we advance through the biblical narrative in pursuit of really faithfully understanding the full implications of spiritual warfare, let’s pause for just a moment to identify the critical elements of spiritual warfare that we have thus observed. All right, my friends, let’s take some notes here. One, God’s selection of Gideon’s 300 warriors was not random or arbitrary. God chose men who employed sound battlefield tactics and situational awareness. Therefore we can discern through this part of the Old Testament that God works best through those people who have discipline. This reminds me of one of my warrior mentors named Londale Theus. Londale was a SWAT operator with the Santa Monica SWAT Team when I met him in 2001 and he was the first American law enforcement officer to receive his black belt in Krav Maga. Londale told me, “Greg, there are two types of pain that you will experience throughout your life. You will experience the short-term pain of discipline or the long-term pain of regret.”
Wow, those are some amazing words of wisdom and as we use this very first insight into the word of God, the words of Londale really ring true and bring to our awareness the full implications of what the Bible is telling us. In order for the power, the strength, the might, the ferociousness of God to work through us, we have to be willing to experience daily the short-term pain of discipline. We have to discipline ourselves to think, speak, and act with decisiveness and with the courage of a warrior.
Number two, it just gets better, Gideon and his warriors wholeheartedly knew their victory and strength was to be found in the Lord. Therefore, we can determine through this account of the biblical narrative that God works best through those who rely on his strength. In CrossFit for example, one of the most popular biblical verses from the New Testament is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That’s such a beautiful verse from Scripture and essentially that is exactly what we are discerning and observing through this particular account of the Old Testament. The reason for Gideon’s success in battle was that he and his 300 warriors relied solely exclusively independently on God for their strength, they were not relying on any capacity of their own.
Now that can seem counterintuitive to a warrior because essentially what God is calling us to do is surrender before the battle has even begun. Now wait a minute, you’re saying, you want me, a warrior, to surrender? And my response is, absolutely. However, we’re surrendering to a higher power, we’re surrendering to God, we are enabling the strength of God to work on our behalf, to work through us in our battle. That’s what it really means to pick up the sword and the shield of God is to surrender to his power then utilize his strength in battle. Oh, man, I just love it.
Moving on, number three, success in Gideon’s battle and all battles engaging in spiritual warfare, it was not dependent upon advanced weapons or the overwhelming proportion of allied forces, God works best through those who have a bold faith in him. Wow, I just love it, my friends. Now, as we continue our investigation of spiritual warfare we move on to I think one of the greatest accounts of single combat in the entire Bible and this of course is the battle of David and Goliath. However, we are going to save this part of our investigation for our next episode. The reason for that is this content, this information, this way of viewing the world is bold, it’s new, it’s challenging. It requires time and a patient desire to understand the implications of spiritual warfare in our life because what I am essentially proposing to you, my friends, is that in addition to the physical world that you can see, there is a metaphysical or invisible or spiritual world all around you that you cannot see and it’s so tempting for those of us that enjoy strengthening the warrior spirit within us, those of us who enjoy training physically, those of us who enjoy the archetype of the warrior and the very real tools of the warrior. It’s so easy for us to focus almost exclusively on the battle in the world, yet we have to understand and remember that the battle we are observing and oftentimes engaging in in the world is being fueled by an entirely other battle that we cannot see yet nevertheless we are engaged in. That battle is raging day in and day out within the temple of our mind.
In February, I have a new book coming out called “The Warrior and the Monk.” This is really an exciting project of mine, I’m thrilled for this book because it’s my first time writing a book in the genre of a fable. I used a fable and storytelling to impart really, really important biblical truth in a manner in which is I think a little bit radical yet absolutely necessary to really grasp what it means to be a modern day warrior. I want to share with you a small discussion, a conversation in the book between the two main characters. The main characters in the book are a young warrior and a wise monk. Now, up until this time in the story, the young warrior has been pursuing happiness and in addition to pursuing happiness which he believes will be achieved through the accomplishment and the acquisition of treasure which is a metaphor for anything external in the world, he is also engaged in battle with the dragons of the earth and of course a dragon of the earth is another metaphor for any problem, challenge, or adversary that we face.
Now is it that the day-to-day condition of so many of us? We spend an equal amount of time pursuing treasure as we do defending ourselves against the onslaught of dragons. Well, this young warrior, despite his best effort has reached a state of great depression because he is focusing exclusively on the external world, he is focusing exclusively on objects of the world, on the material nature of the world. Well, thankfully, this young warrior has for a mentor a wise monk. We pick up on a conversation in which the wise monk is doing his very best to help open the mind of the young warrior to realize that the real tools of the warrior mean mainly the sword and the shield, the real tools of the warrior are best employed within the ultimate battlefield in which we all engage upon which is that space between our ears.
The wise monk looks at the young warrior and says, “You see, young warrior, although I now walk the path of a monk, at one time in my life I was a warrior and as a warrior I pursued with a vengeance the dragons of the world.” “Did you carry a sword and shield?” asked the young warrior. “Yes, and like you, my sword and shield were put to use exclusively in a world of effects.” The young warrior looked intently at the wise monk and the wise monk paused for a moment to ensure the young warrior was listening very, very carefully. And then the wise monk said, “But soon, young warrior, I realized the greatest use of my sword and shield would be to serve and protect the world of cause.” And as we continue that conversation we discover that the cause of every effect we experience in our life is our thinking.
Well, my friends, as we opened our episode today in prayer, I’d like to close our episode today in prayer as well. God, thank you for this precious time you have given us as we faithfully attempt to understand the word that you provided us in the Holy Bible. God, you reveal yourself to us through your word, every word of Scripture is your desire to share with us your mind. As we are made in your image, God, our mind thinking, our thought processes, we are desirous of uplifting the quality of every thought within our mind to be in greater alignment with the image in which you made us in. Therefore, God, we pray the words of Paul in Ephesians, God, that you would give us spiritual wisdom, give us spiritual revelation, give us spiritual knowledge of you.
Well, my friends, thank you so much for joining me today. May God bless and keep you safe as you engage in spiritual warfare and I will speak with you again soon on our next episode together of The Greg Amundson Show. Take care.
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