The Weapons of our Warfare
My boxing career was short-lived! A friend of mine, Mark, who lived in our apartment complex, asked if I’d like to try boxing, as he had an extra set of gloves. If my memory serves me well, he was 12 years old at the time, and I was 10. After my one and only attempt at boxing, perhaps the memory is a bit impaired. I was knocked silly!
When you have to ask how to properly put on the gloves, you know you’re in trouble! It’s one thing to have proper equipment for the fight. It’s a whole other matter to actually utilize it in an effective manner. Mark pummeled me that day, teaching me a valuable lesson — boxing was not my thing!
As we noted in our last submission, our Christian life is lived in a proverbial boxing ring, the universe. In this ring, a perpetual fight rages, commonly known to us as spiritual war. Thankfully, God, through His splendid provision, has given us the gloves and power to effectively fight this fight.
You see, since the redemption of human beings is foundational to God’s redemptive plan, our evangelistic efforts will be opposed by Satan and his minions. And not only that, our spiritual enemy works to keep unbelievers in the dark regarding the light of Christ!
Therefore, personal evangelism is difficult because we’re smack dab in the middle of a spiritual war where the eternal destinies of men and women hang in the balance.
The Apostle Paul apprised the Ephesian church of this spiritual war and exhorted believers to put on the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. Putting on the armor of God implies an act of the will where we utilize that which God has provided for us in the battle.
A spiritual war requires taking up not only spiritual armor, but also spiritual weapons:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
What weapons has God given us to fight the good fight of faith as we seek to parry the fiery darts of the wicked one while sharing the Lord with people? Those divine resources are God’s Word, the gospel message, the Holy Spirit, and prayer.
Remember, we are not sufficient of ourselves, rather our sufficiency comes from God, who has qualified us as ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
One of the reasons we are sufficient for all things He’s called us to – including the work of personal evangelism – is that “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). In His grace He has made us sufficient and in His grace we are able to engage all to which He calls us.
There is no way to overestimate the power of these resources in our hands as we seek to reach the lost. Certainly volumes could be written on each of these resources and the impact they can have on our witness. In simple terms, we need to understand them and strive, by His grace through His Spirit, to effectively wield them for His glory. For our purposes, we’ll only introduce them.
First, let’s touch on God’s word. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), both for the Christian and for the one who hasn’t yet met Christ!
In Ephesians 6:17, when the Apostle Paul described the spiritual war, he noted the only offensive component of the armor – the sword of the Spirit, or the word of God.
In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus wielded the word of God in overcoming the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. In our witness, you and I should use God’s word when we’re tempted with attacks in our hearts and minds that say things like: “You can’t do this.” “They won’t listen.” “If they do speak with you about Jesus, you won’t be able to answer their questions or objections.”
When we do share the LORD with people, get the word of God to people, and allow it to do what it does, it will accomplish God’s purposes.
Whatever methodologies and strategies we or anybody may employ, at the end of the day, we must share God’s word with people we’re seeking to reach. For God tells us in Isaiah 55:10-11,
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
In our present day of media abundance and technological tools, how we share it can vary – via Facebook and other social media, books, tracts, personal notes, via audio and video recordings, etc. We can also share the time-honored way — verbally person to person with Bibles open. The point is there is no end to the delivery systems. The goal is to share the word of God and let it do what it does – accomplish His will!
In God’s word we find His message, the message that saves, the gospel message, which we’ve also unpacked in previous posts:
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Next, personal evangelism is done in and through the power of God. In the book of Zechariah, Zerubbabel was encouraged to complete the temple rebuilding project after the Lord brought the Jewish people back to Jerusalem in 538 BC. God spoke about this effort by saying it would be completed “’not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of Hosts.”
More directly, Jesus in John 15:5 said “without me you can do nothing.” The point is our evangelistic efforts need to be both Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered.
Finally, prayer is our constant companion and essential to the evangelistic endeavor. In fact, whatever we do should be bathed in prayer, including our efforts in the arena of personal evangelism. Go to God on behalf of people before you go to people on behalf of God! So imperative is prayer to our witness, in our next submission we will begin a series of devotionals on prayer.
We should follow Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian church in Ephesians 6:18 by “praying always with all prayers and supplication in the Spirit.”
Additionally, evangelism is so connected to the spiritual battle, Paul exhorted the Ephesian church to pray for his witness at the end of that Ephesians 6 section on spiritual warfare:
“…that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
May the Lord grant you and me boldness to make known the gospel in our respective spheres of influence.
Onward Christian soldier! By faith access and appropriate these divinely bestowed resources and walk in the manner in which you’ve been called – in victory! “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:5).