Show Notes: Episode 23 Spiritual Warfare – Part II
Welcome to The Greg Amundson Show. This is a podcast where Greg will educate and inspire you to live with purpose, passion and a burning desire to develop strength in your mind, body and spirit. Through a disciplined use of our words, thoughts, awareness and attention, we can achieve a mindset of positive expectancy, personal belief and an unshakable faith in God.
Hello, friends. Welcome to Episode 23 of The Greg Amundson Show. Today we have Part 2 in store for you of understanding spiritual warfare. The message of spiritual warfare that is found within the totality of the Bible Old Testament arching through the entire narrative, concluding at the very end of the Bible in Revelation, I think, is absolutely awesome.
In many respects, spiritual warfare, the idea of being at war with forces that we cannot see is a concept that is challenging to wrap our heads around. I have been a churchgoer my entire life. I visited a great variety of congregations. I’m a lover of God’s word. Yet, I have yet to sit through a church service that has taught the principles of spiritual warfare, which is shocking to me, because throughout the totality of the Bible, the theme of spiritual warfare is right in your face.
Within just a few chapters of Genesis, we’re introduced to one of the first homicides ever recorded. There is conflict, there is battle, there is struggle, there is warfare, both in the world that we sadly witness and in spiritual realms that we cannot witness, yet, nevertheless, have a profound effect on the totality of the experiences of our life. So understanding spiritual warfare then even more important than understanding engaging as a modern-day spiritual warfare in the conflicts set before us is so important.
In law enforcement, military operations in regards to having a backup gun, which means the officer or the operator would have their primary weapon system; yet, they have a backup; and one of my early mentors said these words to me. He said, “You know, Greg, a backup gun, it’s like this. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” I’ll tell you what, to this day every time I’m on duty I have a backup gun. Understanding spiritual warfare is like having a backup gun because it’s not a matter of if we engage in spiritual warfare; it’s only a matter of when.
As a modern-day warrior, we’ve got to understand the totality of the rules of engagement. Therefore, without further ado, we pick up where we left off. If you recall we are investigating spiritual warfare in three arenas. The first arena, which was the totality of our first episode together on spiritual warfare Part 1, was understanding, generally speaking, what is spiritual warfare, then investigating spiritual warfare on the large scale arena. Well, now that we’ve understood the large-scale conflict, we move to single combat. As I mentioned at the conclusion of our last episode together on spiritual warfare, one of the best places to investigate single combat spiritual warfare is, of course, the epic Bible story of David versus Goliath. That, my friends, is where we pick up today. However, if you recall in our last episode together I thought it was fitting given that we are studying spiritual warfare to begin with a theme song.
Oh, yeah! Boy, do I love that song. The Eye of the Tiger, baby! Here we go!
As we continue our journey tracing spiritual warfare through the Biblical narrative, we turn our attention from the large-scale conflict to the arena of single combat, hand-to-hand combat. Progressing the nature of the battlefield from the entanglement of large armies to the small and intimate clashes of will against two people is an excellent typography to understand the Biblical narrative of spiritual warfare. Specifically, my friends, the critical progression from macro to micro battle further exposes the manner in which God utilized aspects of the warrior archetype to reveal himself both within the narrative of the Bible and in our very soul.
As I mentioned, for the specific investigation of single combat, we are going to focus upon the battle of David and Goliath. This unique narrative within the Bible, I think it best represents the significant advancement of several key principles of immense importance for the modern-day spiritual warrior and follower of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy plants a towering stake in the ground for those who would confront injustice, evil and discord in the world. Deuteronomy says, “The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.” That’s from Deuteronomy 28:7. Now David, from David and Goliath, certainly understood this promise well for in the natural, his bold advance upon Goliath would seem foolish at best and absolute suicide at worst. However, building upon the principles established within large-scale spiritual warfare, we discover that David employed both a perfect combination of faith in God and decisively courageous action in the defeat of his opponent.
We begin by noting that David arrived on the battlefield as a shepherd boy, bringing food to his brothers who were serving in King Saul’s army. Now, in other words, David was not an enlisted soldier in the army. However, although not a soldier bearing arms and trained in military maneuver, David was a warrior at heart and his faithful actions would ultimately win the day.
Arriving on the scene just as the battle lines were being drawn, we read that David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. That’s from 1 Samuel 17:22. As David approached his brothers who were set near the front of the battle lines, Goliath stepped into view and shouted disgrace at the army of God. Although the Israelite army was terrified and dismayed, David stood his ground and he asked what will be done for this man who kills this Philistine.
Now, this question asked by David provides insight into his brilliant mindset, and it encourages the cultivation of a key quality for the modern-day spiritual warrior. David, in this moment, employed perhaps the most important and vital weapon on the battlefield, which is the power of a positive mental attitude. Rather than fearing Goliath in the fashion of the totality of the army, David had disciplined his mind to maintain optimism based on unequivocal faith in God. His question regarding the prize for the defeat of Goliath revealed that the battle had already been won within the temple of his mind. David knew that through a combination of his ultimate trust in God and mastery of the tools of his trade he would surely succeed.
As the nature of spiritual warfare in the Biblical narrative progressed from large-scale to single combat, the psychology of the battle, well, it likewise advanced from the external to the internal realm. For example, as we further investigate the battle of David and Goliath, we observe the following: Number one, antagonists would attempt to elicit our self-doubt; number two, antagonists would challenge an individual’s identity; and number three, antagonists, this is key, would focus on the problem not the solution.
No sooner had David began to set his ultimate plan for the destruction of Goliath in motion then did David’s own brother, Eliab, ridicule and insult him. Eliab said, “With whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness?” Note the subtle leverage of insult upon injury within the single verse. First, Eliab reminded David that he was not a soldier but merely a lonely shepherd boy. And adding fuel to the fire of the insult, Eliab further ridiculed David for only tending to a few sheep. Where? In the wilderness, rather than a large flock within a shepherd’s grazing field. You see Eliab was attempting to dissuade David from achieving his destiny as a true warrior for God by enticing David to identify with this title, position and inferior stature.
However, rather than surrendering to a negative mental attitude David remained positive by aligning himself with God. Certain of his ability to succeed in battle, David requested that King Saul allow him to fight against Goliath. Building upon the principles of spiritual warfare employed in large-scale confrontation, we take note that David also utilized these exact same strategies with resounding success. When challenged by King Saul as to David’s ability to confront a trained warrior such as Goliath, David immediately replied that his success would come through God, not his own strength. Furthermore, David’s retort was based on the evidence of God’s deliverance from the jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear, which David knew would assure his victory. So David reflected on the manner in which God had already delivered him from danger, from challenge, from opposition. He knew that God had done it once and God would do it again. He had disciplined his mind to remain positive. David, he even refused to wear armor in the battle and trusted solely in God and the tools of his shepherd’s craft.
Then David ran towards Goliath with the full confidence of god’s word on his tongue, emphasizing the wisdom and knowledge that God wins the victory when his children act decisively and with a full measure of faith. As David ran towards Goliath, David shouted, “It is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.” Isn’t that beautiful? It’s not by the sword or spear, which means that it’s not by external artifact that our faith is made strong; it is solely by faith in God. Then losing a rock from his sling, you know the story, my friends, David struck Goliath squarely in the forehead. The Bible tells us the stone sank into Goliath’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground.
As we build our momentum in this investigation of spiritual warfare, it is imperative, my friends, absolutely critical to reflect on a key principle of battlefield victory God revealed through this moment in time. In all instances of spiritual warfare — guys, get this down into your soul — in all instances of spiritual warfare, the definitive strategy of God was for his creation, for you and for I to maintain ultimate trust in him. For this reason, we observe the manner in which seemingly impossible odds of victory in the natural are achieved through the supernatural deliverance of God. As we have learned thus far through our investigation, fewer soldiers overcome vast armies and a single stone defeats a giant.
Well, as we further progress our investigation of spiritual warfare from large-scale engagement to this intimate arena we see of David and Goliath, we ultimately arrive at the unifying battlefield waged within our very heart and mind. We, therefore, conclude our investigation with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who continually admonished his apostles that the new law and the ultimate covenant with God would be experienced and achieved by turning one’s attention away from the world and into the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, Jesus, he intensifies the battle by focusing not only upon human evil; in other words, Jesus focused not solely upon the evil already within the world, but also on the cause of evil within the world, which he identified as the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. That’s from Ephesians 6:12.
Only through the cultivation of a mind and heart like Christ can you and I ever hope to defeat the flaming arrows of the evil one. Now the flaming arrows, that’s also from Ephesians. Only by ultimate faith in Jesus Christ can you and I arrive before God at the end of our life on earth as a victorious warrior ready, willing to receive our full inheritance.
My friends, when I see God face to face, I want God to look at me and say well done, my good and faithful servant. And my friends, I want the same thing for you. And in order to hear those words, we must be victorious in the spiritual warfare set before us.
Our final arena of confrontation, therefore, takes place not on a field of battle, which is so often associated with strife and with struggle on the worldly battlefield. Yet rather, my friends, you and I, we are assaulting within the secret place of our very heart and mind. To investigate this sacred place where the ultimate victory must be secured, we turn our attention to Jesus Christ’s decisive conquest over evil and the temptation of darkness as the perfect example of true spiritual warriorship. We observe the type of confrontation Jesus faced. And even more importantly, we observe the manner by which what was intended to harm him God used for good. Consider that, my friends. Everything that you may be perceiving in the world as set against you or for your harm, God is intending to use for your good. Wow! That is awesome. That is a call to arms for the modern-day warrior.
Well, following 40 days and 40 nights of fasting and exposure to the wilderness, we discover our Lord and Savior, you know what? He was hungry. Forty days and 40 nights of fasting, Jesus was hungry. Sensing his opportunity for attack, Satan took aim at Jesus and loaded three high powered and potentially lethal fiery arrows into his quiver. Now these arrows that were aimed at Jesus they were aimed at number one, God’s provision, number two, God’s promises, and number three, God’s superiority. For our purposes, it is important to note the effect that physical hunger, exhaustion, stress, fatigue can have on the quality of our thinking. Although the modern-day warrior may never experience a true 40-day fasting from food, through the ebb and flow of the seasons of life, you or I, we may experience a fasting, so to speak, of positivity and of goodness within our mind. I remember one of my mentors in the army said, “You know what? Everyone wants to be a soldier on a bright sunny day.” And guess what? In the army, sunny days are few and far between.
Well, knowing the potential weakness that hunger, stress, fatigue can invoke within our mind, that is exactly when the tempter came to him and said, “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to turn into bread.” That’s from Matthew 4:3. You see, this first arrow was launched and it hit from two different angles. First, it challenged Jesus Christ’s divine identity as the son of God. Second, because Jesus was both fully god and fully human, this attack challenged Jesus’ basic need for food and nourishment. He was a man. He needed food just like you and I do.
Therefore, in our daily striving for wisdom, stature and favor with God and man, we must be prepared for attacks against our mind that would threaten our identity as being made in the image of God. This is because our tendency, unless we really discipline our mind, our tendency is to seek the material objects of the world for our happiness and fulfillment. As you may recall in my upcoming book, The Warrior and the Monk, this is the timeless tale that many people are unknowingly embarking upon. This is the fable of most people’s life. We’re unknowingly searching for happiness in all the wrong places. Like the song goes, we’re searching for happiness and fulfillment in what is transitory, what is temporal, meaning what is not lasting. What Jesus taught us was we have to seek nourishment, fulfillment, happiness from what will always remain the same, which is only the Word of God.
Now anticipating the tempter’s schemes, Jesus, like a warrior, he maneuvered out of the line of fire and then ba-boom, he counterattacked with the Word of God. He attacked with the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. That’s also from Ephesians. Jesus replied with the authority of the Word of God. Jesus quoted Old Testament scripture. Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus was quoting the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 8:3. You see, rather than entertaining or even beginning to wrestle with the temptation of negativity, Jesus immediately invoked the power of God’s word, therefore, employing the close quarters tactic David utilized when he exclaimed, “The battle is the Lord’s.”
We take special consideration that Jesus essentially reinforced the significance of this exact same strategy. By speaking the Word of God, Jesus provided an example or his apostles and for you and I to follow in every instance of opposition that you and I face. In every instance, my friends, our key to victory is to turn the reins over to God. This beautiful example of Jesus encourages the modern-day spiritual warrior to faithfully trust in God for every need, both for verbal encouragement and for physical substance.
Now, the second arrow was aimed directly at Jesus Christ’s confidence in the faithfulness of God. The tempter took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand upon the highest point of the temple. The tempter then said, “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down,” to which Jesus immediately replied, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
In this attack, as the son of God and the son of man, Jesus was pressured to face a very human fear. A fear I’ve had, I’m sure you’ve had, is in our moments of dire need, will God be there? In our moments of need, will God come through? Well, it’s interesting to note that the tempter once again chose to challenge and question Jesus Christ’s identity as a divine child of God. Jesus knew the true meaning of Psalm 91:11 was that in times of trouble, opposition and of fiery attack, that God and God alone would be our sword and our shield.
Jesus offered an example for all those who would follow him that the key to victory in spiritual warfare was absolute dependence on God. And it’s for this reason that I love, to this day I embrace the archetype of the warrior and the traditional tools of the warrior which are the sword and the shield. Even the law enforcement officer to this day in many respects still carries the sword and the shield. The shield is the badge worn over the heart, and the sword is the firearm.
As I discuss in my new book, The Warrior and the Monk, there’s this beautiful scene that unfolds where the monk is helping the warrior to understand that the ultimate battleground for the modern-day warrior is within our heart and mind. Therefore, the tools of the modern0day warrior which are the traditional artifact of the sword and the shield are best employed within our mind. Oh, I just love it, my friends.
Now, the third and final arrow was aimed at Jesus Christ’s certainty in the absolute superiority of God. The temptation that many of us face on a regular and consistent basis is this illusion of self-sufficiency rather in God’s ability to supply your need. And in Philippians, we read that God is the supply of everything that we need. Therefore, we observe the tempter propose a shortcut to dependence on God. Satan told Jesus, “If you worship me, everything will be yours.” Now for our purposes, it’s important to know that the “worship” in question may not necessarily be this outright, outlandish worship of the tempter, but rather, as we read in the Bible, the little foxes which spoil the vine. Little foxes which spoil the vine is from the Song of Solomon. That’s a clue into the tendency of you and I to put our faith in anything other than God. Independence, self-righteousness, envy, fear, greed, these are all the enemy forces that limit our ability to access the sovereign power of God.
Now, to both defend and simultaneously counterattack against the final onslaught against his heart and mind, Jesus once again summoned up the mighty authority of God’s word. Jesus said, “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” In this manner, Jesus professed an absolutely critical truth for the modern day spiritual warrior. Regardless of the advancement of our physical assets, no matter how strong we get physically, it matters not in spiritual warfare. Only faith in God, only the supernatural armor of God can assure us victory in this type of engagement.
As we advance through the Biblical narrative in pursuit of a really faithful understanding of the implications of spiritual warfare, you and I, my friends, we are now in a perfect position to assess our terrain and to reach several conclusions. We begin by noting that as children made in the image of God, you and I were gifted by God heavenly gifts that bear resemblance to our creator. That’s amazing to consider you and I are made in the image of God. Throughout the Bible, God continually revealed himself as guess what? A warrior. Therefore, by invoking the word of God and his presence in our life, you and I, we are able to pushback our adversaries. The name of God will trample down those who rise up against us. Isn’t that beautiful? Hear that one’s again. The word of God is able to push back our adversaries. The name of God will trample down those who rise against us. That’s from Psalm 44:5. I just love that. Regardless of our individually chosen profession or career field, within our very heart and mind, I believe resides the archetype of a warrior that was instilled within us while we were still in our mother’s womb. Embracing our identity as a spiritual warrior and not a battlefield victim I think is the first step to insuring our victory.
Ultimately, my friends, the choice is up to us. It’s for this reason I really embrace the metaphor that my dear friend Mark Divine teaches, these principles, asking us the compelling question, are you feeding the dog of courage or are you feeding the dog of fear? That’s essentially what we’re asked through the entire Biblical narrative. Are we embracing our identity as a spiritual warrior or are we embracing our identity as a battlefield victim? It’s ultimately up to us.
Our investigation of spiritual warfare throughout the totality of the Bible, it provides us wisdom to understand the battlefield of the modern-day spiritual warfare has less to do with external reality and more to do with the supernatural reality, this battle raging within the heavenly realms of our mind, of our very thinking. Therefore, my friends, I’ve got something for you. I hope you love this as much as I do. I present and propose to you, my friends, a bold new interpretation of a modern-day warrior. Using the word warrior as an acronym, I propose the following, WARRIOR.
The W of warrior is win first in the mind. Our Bible verse to substantiate this is “Our God gives us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.” That’s from 2 Timothy 1:7. The A in warrior is affirm God as your true source of strength. The Bible verse to substantiate the affirmation of God is one of my favorite Bible verses, Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The R in warrior is run towards the challenge. The Bible verse, “And let us run with endurance the race set out before us.” That’s Hebrews 12:1. The next R in warrior, remain positive and prepared for battle. Our Bible verse right from the full armor of God, Ephesians 6:14. “Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled firmly around your waist.” The I is inhale the presence of God. Our Bible verse from the Old Testament Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God breathed the breath of life into man’s nostrils.” The O in warrior is observe your thinking and speaking for alignment with God’s word. Our Bible verse, we turn once again to the full armor of God, Ephesians, now we’re at verse 6:17. “The sword of the spirit is the word of God.” And finally, the last R in warrior is remain faithful to the promise of God’s word. Our Bible verse is from Psalms 31:23, “The Lord preserves the faithful.”
Wow, my friends, I want to thank you for joining me on today’s episode. As I concluded our first episode on spiritual warfare Part 1, I concluded with the acknowledgement of the investment of time that you are giving to studying, to understanding, to spending this moment of your life in God’s word. This, my friends, is time well spent. You’re making an investment in eternity. Consider that. An investment in eternity, my friends. Thank you for joining me on the show today.
My friends, I pray that God would bless you, protect you, and equip you for every challenge you face in your life. Turning once again to the words of the apostle Paul, I pray, my friends, as you listen to my words that God would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. Until we meet again, my friends, that God would bless you and keep you safe, and I look forward to speaking with you again on our next episode together of The Greg Amundson Show. Take care. I’ll talk to you soon.
Thank you for listening to the show. Please subscribe, rate and share this podcast. You can find more info at gregoryamundson.com. Take care and God bless.
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