God said that David was a man after His own heart. He entered a spiritual battle against Goliath and won. David realized the nature of the battle. He said to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

Later, David had been anointed as King of Israel and was running for his life from King Saul. When he had a chance to strike and kill his nemesis, he said, “The LORD forbid that I should do this to my lord, the king, and attack the LORD’s anointed one, for the LORD himself has chosen him.” David knew how, through obedience, to win the spiritual battles that he faced.

Then, later, when he had been king for a long time, David gave into sin, slept with Bathsheba, had a child with her, and had her husband killed to cover up his sin. What can we learn about how this hero of faith, this winner in the spiritual fight, who ended up so clearly losing this battle?

  1. He had achieved his goals and become complacent. We are in the most danger, not when we are struggling to accomplish the goals that God has given us, but when we are tempted to say “This is enough. I have done all I need to do. I can cruise now.” If we want to win at this spiritual battle we must always be asking, “God, what next? What new goals do you have for me to press towards?” Winners in spiritual warfare are warriors and warriors are always looking for the next fight.
  2. He chose short term pleasure over long term integrity. Satan, and even our brains, tell us that an instant shot of pleasure will make us happy. It may be in the form of alcohol, drugs, or pornography, but they are all part of Hell’s plan for our defeat. The truth is that short term pleasure only results in hiding and looking for more short term pleasure. The end result is not happiness, it is anxiety, depression, and the destruction of our hard won integrity. A pastor friend of mine found himself addicted to pain pills. It gave him short term pleasure and helped him deal with, in the short term, his physical and emotional pain and his stress. Then it began to control and destroy him. It was with great embarrassment when he had to admit to his congregation that he needed to step down for a period of time to deal with this fateful decision he had made.
  3. Instead of being honest and dealing with the consequences of his sin, David entered into greater moral failure to hide his sin. He sent Bathsheba’s husband to his death so that no one would know that he had sinned and impregnated her. That is how we lose as well–we choose to hide rather than be honest about our sin and temptation. Mushrooms and sin grow best in the dark. To win at spiritual warfare, choose painful openness over trying to hide in comfort.

Everyone faces temptation. Everyone misses the mark, sins from time to time. The question is, what do we do then? It is at that moment that the battle really begins. Will we keep sinning or repent and let God restore us?

To win the spiritual warfare, we need to remember these three principles; don’t get complacent, don’t choose short term pleasure over long term integrity and, if we do sin, be honest instead of hiding it and get the help of God and others.

– posted by Randall Sanford