Spiritual Warfare Basics: Know Your Enemy And Know Yourself

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 9, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Sun Tzu in The Art of War says: “Know your enemy and know yourself and in one hundred battles you will never be in peril.”

Every successful general in world history understands this statement extremely well. You cannot survive in a battle if you do not know who your enemy is, what personnel and equipment you are fighting against, who you are, or what you have at your disposal. You need to know your enemy’s strengths, his weaknesses, his assets, his goals, his reasons, his purposes, etc. You need to know yourself. You need to know your strengths, your weaknesses, your assets, your goals, your reasons, your purposes, etc. If you can get a handle on all these issues, you will never be in danger in the battles you fight. And this concept applies to so many different fields. It applies to government, it applies to politics, it applies to business, it applies to sports, and it also applies to our spiritual walks.

Our spiritual enemy comes in three forms: Satan and his minions, the worldly system, and our sinful “old nature.” Satan comes for the purpose of stealing, killing, and destroying. He is not just the enemy of God. He is the enemy of you. And even if you are not allied with God, he is still your enemy. Even if you are fighting alongside Satan, even if he is appearing to be your friend, he is your enemy and he has one goal for you: destruction. If he tricks you into sinning, he won’t have pity for you. He hates you with the purest hate you can imagine, and like The Joker in The Dark Knight, he sees you as expendable, and a tool to see the world burn.

Satan is a liar, a murderer. He has no truth in him. He will speak partial truths, but they will be out of context, misused, and twisted. Satan quoted Scripture too. He tempted Jesus to fulfill Scripture. That is what Jesus was set out to do: fulfill Scripture. But what Satan was doing was a misapplication. It was not in God’s timing, under God’s prompting, or in the context of which the quote was being used. He is a liar and deceiver and every time he speaks of Scripture and towards Scripture it will always be in the form of “Has God really said?” And he will use anyone he can, including those who profess to be Christians to push his agenda.

But Satan is also a defeated foe. He is very brilliant and he knows us and he knows Scripture far better than we could ever hope to, but he is a defeated foe. Jesus defeated him at the cross. The only power Satan has in your life is that which he has permission to have. There are times where like Job, God will allow Satan to harass us. But most of the time, when Satan messes with us, it is because we let him. He is very crafty in how he tricks us into “inviting” him in. But ultimately his power is broken and anyone who is under the authority of Christ can tell him where to go.

That is a very brief description of Satan. For more, check out blog posts by Bill Seng here and here. The worldly system is how this world thinks and acts, and our flesh is our sin that God is in process of working out. I’m not going to deal with that too much in this post. I will now turn to who we are, as Christians. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord, if you have not been born again, what I am about to share won’t apply to you. And if you have not been born again, I strongly long that you do - that you let Jesus do his work in you so that you can be equipped for the battle that you are in the middle of. Without swearing fealty to Christ, you can’t wear his armor, and you will be stuck in this battle armorless, weaponless, and very easy prey for the enemy.

So that being said, let us recognize who we are as born-again Christians. We are made in the image of God. We are not a mere “highly evolved animal.” We are a special creation, made in God’s image and with the unique ability to have an intimate relationship with him. That is what we are made for. But sin broke that function and we need God to repair it.

As Christians, we are called children of God. We are also called the Bride of Christ. God sits on the Throne. Jesus (who is also part of the Trinity and is God) is the King of Kings. This relationship makes us joint-heirs to the Throne of Heaven. That means because we bear the name of Jesus, we also bear his authority. But we must also understand the principle of authority. The Centurion got it. He bore the authority of Rome. What he said was as though the Emperor, Caesar himself, said it. But he only had that authority by submitting himself under Rome’s authority.

The same is true for us. We bear the authority of Christ himself, but only if we submit to his authority. James 4:7 says this: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee.” Most of us love to quote the second half of this verse, but we frequently forget the first half. If we want to be able to resist Satan and his wiles, we have to be submitted to the authority and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And we can know what Jesus would say and do by knowing Scripture. Not just the Gospels, but the entirety of Scripture. Everything in Scripture points to Christ. John 1:14 says the Word of God became flesh. Jesus is the fulfillment, the personification, the written Word represented in human form. If you want to know Jesus, know Scripture. If you want to understand Scripture, know Jesus. They complement each other and are from the same source (Word of God made flesh, and Word of God made text). Chew on that for a bit. It took me a while to work that one out.

To know yourself in this spiritual battle, you need to know who you are in Christ, and what your position in Christ is. You also need to know what equipment you have. I will get into that next week. I’ll address the Armor of God, and other weapons we have to fight in this spiritual battle. But today, take notice of who you are, where you are in this battle. Take note of who your enemy is. Where is he? What is he doing? What is he up to? Jesus knew what was up. Nehemiah knew what was up. I’ll explain what I mean by this later in this series. But first, we have to know our standard equipment: the Armor of God. That’s next.