The moment we enter this new spiritual life, we are thrust into the middle of a battle, a spiritual war. Since this new spiritual life is unfamiliar to us, spiritual warfare is also unfamiliar. The lack of clarity of this new life causes us to conclude that preparation (spiritual training) for this battle is not necessary. There is a tendency to interpret discipleship (spiritual training) as an invasion of privacy that forces us to submit to the direction of others; however, we should look at it as a training process that equips us for spiritual battle and growth. We have to be taught to understand how to use our spiritual weaponry, armor, and to comprehend the strategies that our adversary is directing to us for our failure in spiritual development.
Discipleship is so essential because this is where most of the casualties of spiritual warfare begin to take place. Just like in a natural battle, soldiers must be trained and developed to prepare them for the battle at hand. We must be taught to understand who the enemy is and the tactics he employs. We must also be taught to understand the rules of engagement–the process of spiritual warfare.
It is ironic that this emerging generation of Christians tends to dumb down or ignore the complexities of spiritual warfare. Psychological and human reasoning solves everything this generation seeks to accomplish. We tend to talk less of Satan, his demons and the strategy to disrupt the course of our destiny, and instead utilize the world’s perspectives to interpret culture and society and its problems. The goal is to be embraced by the world and get along with those who don’t know Christ.
Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians, “to put on the whole armor of God so that we may be able to stand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:13). We put on this armor in order to have the ability to withstand the onslaughts of Satan’s attacks in our lives, yet this is spiritual armor that we have never seen or utilized up to this point in life. Discipleship allows us to learn from someone more familiar with the battle and use the tools necessary to be successful in this struggle.
To ignore spiritual armor and the training needed to wear it is like a soldier going into battle without any sense of preparation, weaponry or defensive capability to engage and win the fight. This is a solider in preparation to lose. Many Christians today sing songs of victory while living a life of loss.
In addition to a soldier’s armor, we also need to understand Satan’s strategies of warfare. We understand that Satan himself is a deceiver, and disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). We must understand the part of his strategy that is designed to distract us or deceive us. It will cause us to think that our enemy is other people and not be of a demonic source (Ephesians 6:12). This misunderstanding will cause the immature Christian to believe that everything of God feels good, and anything that feels bad is the result of bad luck. It also tends to cause an immature believer to think that the Godly life is without challenge, discomfort and loss.
The discipleship process is God’s way of building us up for the challenges to come. Satan does not want us to be successful in pursuing God’s direction for our lives, so he seeks to redirect us. Discipleship is not something to reject but to embrace. Let us train so that we can impact the world!