Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Our fight is a fight of faith, and the primary battleground is the mind. In this article, we see how the enemy attacks us personally with thoughts that isolate us, discourage us, tempt us, and challenge our unity with Jesus. But God has given us the weapons we need to overcome. Love and unity are two of these weapons, and they are essential at every level of warfare.
As soldiers in a battle, we are not called to fight alone. Often we can assume that because Jesus lives within us, we should be able to overcome every attack of the enemy by ourselves. However, Scripture is clear: we are all parts of a body, woven together in love. And in the same way that we need each other to function as a body, we also need each other to overcome as an army.
We can see this in the way worldly armies work. All armies are organized in a hierarchy, with different groups having different skills and functions. In modern warfare, the basic unit within an army is a team, made up of two or three soldiers. Teams join together to form squads, and squads combine to make sections. Sections join to form platoons, which then combine to form companies, then battalions, then regiments and so on, up to whole armies. It has been said that soldiers are trained to fight first and foremost for the life of the men in their team: the one or two soldiers by their side.
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
One of the most valuable, yet often overlooked expressions of love is encouragement. Scripture calls us to meet together and encourage one another day after day so that we will not fall into sin. The Greek word translated as encourage is relational in nature and has the sense of encouraging one another from the place of intimacy.[i] This need for intimacy is the reason Jesus builds His army upon teams of two or three.[ii] He knows that love flows strongest in the smallest numbers. In these groups, we are at our most real, our most vulnerable and our most loving. The more real we are with one another, the more we live in the light and the less the powers of darkness can affect us. The more vulnerable we are with each other, the less vulnerable we are to the enemy. And the more we love one another, the more devastatingly powerful we become in the spirit.
If meeting for encouragement is God’s command to keep us safe from sin, we can be sure that Satan’s command to his demons is the opposite: “Discourage them day after day! Keep them from meeting together so they cannot encourage one another! Isolate them and cause them to quietly rebel. Then discourage them and swamp them with doubts! Cause them to question the love of God and to disqualify themselves from his goodness! Then watch their hearts harden and their faith fail. Tempt them to sin and then heap shame, condemnation and guilt upon them. Make it a mire for them to wallow in.”
God clearly wants better things for us which is why He gives us the insight we need to overcome. In these passages from Hebrews, God shows us how He made us to be fueled by mutual encouragement. This is not just for our own spiritual growth. As soldiers in Christ, we are called to fight the good fight, and encouragement is our morale for battle.
Authority and Government
Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.
This centurion understood the nature of authority. Everyone who is under authority must obey. In the spiritual realm, every demonic spirit is under the authority of Christ and therefore must obey Him. When Jesus speaks through us, they must leave. In Scripture, every single demon instantly obeyed Jesus, but this was not the case with His disciples. They did not move in the full authority of Christ. This is because our level of spiritual authority is connected to the depth of our unity with Jesus and our level of obedience to Him. No king sends a rebellious and self-willed ambassador out to represent him, fight for him, or govern on his behalf. Instead, he invests his authority in those who are loyal and fully aligned with his will. It is the same for us. Our spiritual authority and right to govern is connected to our loyalty and obedience. The more we become one with Christ and the more we obey His voice, the greater authority we have over the powers of darkness.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Obedience always starts with the most important commands, and our obedience to Jesus starts with the new command: to love one another. When we keep this command, we love God as He wants to be loved: through His people. This command of love means that no one person can displace a demonic principality alone because no one can be fully obedient to God on their own. Instead, the only way we can have the spiritual authority to fight the battle at this level is to love one another and fight together with our combined corporate authority.
As soon as we take up our corporate authority in Christ, we will see immediate impact. In And He Will, we look at two examples of this. One is a young girl who was bound by a lying spirit. As soon as the lying spirit was bound, she was instantly set free to embrace the truth. For another woman, as soon as the spirit of offense was bound, she was set free to give her life back to Jesus. In both cases, breakthrough was immediate, and it will be exactly the same on the corporate level for entire societies. The very moment as we overcome the powers of darkness that presently reign over our lands, people will be free to receive God’s love and embrace His design for their lives. Therefore, by calling us to act together as an army under one command, God is preparing the world for a massive harvest of souls. Like elite soldiers, we must fight the good fight of faith and take hold of eternal life, not just for ourselves, but for our families, communities, cities, regions and nations. If we are willing, loving and obedient, the victory is guaranteed. Love never fails.
[i] See HELPS Word Study #3870. The word parakaleo, combines para (meaning “from close-beside”) and kaleo (“to call”). In various contexts it means to exhort, admonish, build-up, urge, and comfort from close-beside. This closeness is found in intimate relationship. As we form loving relationships, we can open our hearts to receive true encouragement and correction from one another as we spur each other on to love.
[ii] As we saw in First Love, we can be a part of multiple groups of two or three, and these groups can overlap and evolve as the Spirit leads. Teams can then meet together with other teams and become home groups or house churches. These can then come together as assemblies. Our combined strength will enable us to fight greater battles and overcome greater forces of darkness.
This post is taken from material taken from And He Will and One Another. Get your free copy.