We are living in an imperfect world, alongside imperfect people. The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink are all polluted.
The numerous world systems — capitalism, socialism, communism, democracy, apartheid, liberalism, humanism and others — are flawed. They help a little but do work against humanity as a whole.
Added to our disadvantage, the Bible declares there are evil invisible forces upon the earth led by Satan. He is referred to as “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). This means he initiated and is in control of the world systems.
One of the ways he comes to us is as “an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). He has been deceitfully destructive from the beginning of time and is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). He may use ninety-nine truths to float one of his lies. He is described as our “adversary” “roaring lion” seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Lions are worldwide admirable celebrities. Thousands travel to national parks and zoos to admire this majestic creature yearly. In the parks in Africa, during the day tourists hunt them down with their cameras as they roam freely in the parks.
Yet these deadly cats by nature are potential man-eaters, though they lie unconcerned, and appear harmless under the trees during the day with their families as people pass them by. In the night they hunt, destroy, and devour the same men whom they ignored during the day.
Lions are the most disciplined and highly strategic hunters, and stick diligently to their rules, which has allowed them to survive millions of years. No wonder they were likened to man’s greatest enemy. (1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Our young and innocent men and women are gunned down by street gangs fighting each other; our young women are raped, and pimps and drug dealers prowl our city seeking to befriend our young. 9-11 also tells us that we are living in a wilder, colder and dangerous world; we need to be more “sober and vigilant” in order to overcome them. A park ranger in Africa discovered that the victims of these night killers have violated at least one or all of the five rules of survival in the wilder world when killed.
We can draw a parallel of each of these five violations as rules of spiritual warfare.
RULE # 1: AVOID NIGHT TRAVEL
Lions are nocturnal hunters; it is at night that they are most sensitive and become most accurate and deadly in the pursuit of their prey. In the day most of them sleep duped with their fillings of the previous night. In Africa, the killing of people by lions is done mainly at night, especially the refuges who travel alone to escape being captured during the day.
Avoid spiritual darkness and stay in the light in all that you say and do. Go into only to try to save or help someone out, and be well prepared to defend yourself if attacked. Never enjoy any dark thing while there. Always remember…“God is light and in him there is no darkness” (I John 1:5B).
RULE # 2: NEVER TRAVEL ALONE
Travelling alone in the wilder world is equivalent to a death wish. It is the single opportunity that a lion exploits and attacks. Always prepare for warfare by enlisting true and experienced prayer warriors that are experienced in the areas of your battle.
In Proverbs 24:6 God says “for waging war you need Godly guidance, and for victory many advisers.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “ Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble”.
RULE # 3: ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH WEAPONS
Always travel with the best weapons available that you can afford. Remember David used a slingshot and God went along with the stone to destroy Goliath. God can give you victory also with the least you can afford.
One must fight offensively and defensively. We must put on “ the whole armour.”
Paul in Ephes. 6:10 “In conclusion, strengthen yourselves in the Lord and in the power which His supreme might imparts. 11 Put on the complete armour of God, so as to be able to stand firm against all the stratagems of the Devil.”
RULE # 4: NEVER EXPOSE YOUR WEAKNESS
The wise saying of the old is “never let them see you sweat.” Interpreted appropriately, it means never show your weaknesses to your enemies. Spiritually, this means that we confront or face our enemies in faith of what God will do for us. Trying to face this spiritual world with our own strength is fighting a losing battle. The world and the God of this world is too powerful for us alone. Our greatest strength is the power of the Spirit of God through Christ our Lord and deliverer.
Psalm 27:1–3 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”
RULE # 5: NEVER RUN AWAY IN FEAR
Lions nearly always become defensive, and sometimes when confronted. Predators are always confused with confrontational behaviour with their victims. It causes them to check their aggressive assault even at the last possible moment, giving the possible victim a moment of opportunity.
We must never run from challenges in fair (Prov. 25:26), though avoiding in advance when a fight is risky (Proverbs 27:12 ) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
We must confront evil treats in the power of the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:5-10 “ God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing.
INCORPORATION OF DISCIPLINES
1. Seeing Clearly: As helpers we must not always spiritualize everything. Jesus was never more frustrated but with people like these (Matt 23:1–6), fighting demons that don’t even exist or are not even around in many situations when the people they minister to need medicine or treatment of a different kind. On the other side, there are those who can only see the cause from the natural side and never see the effects from a spiritual or psychological dimension. They never acknowledge the war in the invisible world. An effective helper will expose the needy to spiritual and natural agents of healing together with the right mix to bring healing.
2. From Defeat to Survival: In many situations, survival is a great gain and far better than living in bondage of anger, addiction, and sinful behavior and dividends thereof. Sharing in these victories gives great satisfaction and fulfillment as helpers.
3. From Survival to Surfing. Believing Christians will not settle for just survival, they will rise up and press towards what God has promised and prepared for them. They will settle for nothing less than the winning warrior. They will live and die for the purpose of freedom. Though the cost is high, they will spend their time and money in the personal choice of freedom. In this God rejoices.
4. The Choice of Discipline: This is where we come face to face with the personal choice of discipline. In other words, this is where the rubber hits the road. Will I humble myself to the disciplines of God’s will for my daily pursuit in life; will I cease to pleasure myself in “works of the flesh” or will I allow death to come to it daily by the power of God’s spirit and other agents of help? Will you go all the way for wholeness? If you chose to embrace gods will, the reward is a life of fruitfulness in all dimensions as God intended.