SEVEN STEPS TO OVERCOMING SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Step #4: Be committed to prayer since our fight is not against people but principalities, powers, rulers in the dark world and spiritual wickedness in high places.
The first rule of warfare is: Know your enemy
Even though David was his son’s best friend and was, for a time, his personal musician, Saul did not really understand who David was. He did not fully know that David was “a man after God’s own heart” and destined to be the next King of Israel.
In a more contemporary context, ISIS was able to take over a large piece of Iraq because the the Iraqi military did not realize the true nature of their enemy (to be fair, neither did most of the rest of the world).
The three most vital truths to know in order to defeat an enemy are:
1) Who am I really fighting?
2) What are their tactics?
3) What is their greatest point of weakness? How can they be most easily defeated?
As kingdom business leaders and owners, we have to understand the right answers to each of these questions.
Who are we really fighting?
Even though it does not feel like it, even though everything inside of us screams out the opposite, we are not fighting people. Your spouse, employees, suppliers, creditors, even the government are not your enemy. They may be used by your enemy but they are not who you are really fighting. Ephesians 6:12 makes that very clear, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Yet, fight we do. We feel like if we can just get that person to understand, cooperate, or see things from our perspective then everything will be just fine. James 4:2 says, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” We lose the battle because we are not even fighting the right enemy. So, if we are truly fighting against evil spiritual forces, we would need to know their tactics.
What are my true enemies’ tactics?
In 2 Corinthians, Paul challenges us by reminding us, “For we are not unaware of his schemes.” Interestingly here, Paul makes it clear that one of the tactics he is referring to is Satan’s work to divide us by hindering us from forgiving each other. He does that by use of his greatest tactic, lies. Recent studies in practical psychology has highlighted the power of what is called “reframing”. In other words, changing how we look at situations. Satan and his demons are experts at using reframing to discourage and defeat us.
When some set back comes along, or even the threat of one, even though God has promised for us His followers that all things will work together for our good, that is not the message we hear in our heads. Too often we hear: “It’s all going to crash and burn”, “You will be left alone and broke.”, “They are out to get you, you need to stop them at all costs, now!”, “They are disrespecting you, make them stop.” Satan is reframing what is happening in the most negative way possible. This brings us to our third point.
What is my true enemies’ greatest point of weakness? How can they be most easily defeated?
Now that we know that our true enemy is not people but spiritual forces, and we know their tactics are primarily using lies to reframe what happens to us in the most negative way possible, the best way to defeat them then is obvious, prayer and lots of it. In Ephesians 6, after telling us to put on the whole armor of God, Paul exhorts us to pray. Specifically, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Take note of a few points that he seems to be emphasizing. Pray in the spirit. Certainly, this is an encouragement to use the gift of our spiritual language in prayer but also to be asking the Spirit to lead us in how to pray. Ask Him, “Spirit, how should I pray today?” and let Him lead you.
Paul exhorts us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. We can not afford to limit our praying to church, over meals or even just to our devotional times. Since we can be attacked at any time, we must be ready to fight back at any time, with a prayer led by the Spirit that is fitting for the challenge that we are facing at that moment.
Finally, we are reminded to be alert. It is easy to let down our guard and forget about the battle. However, Satan will never forget you! He will never forget that he wants to destroy the work of God’s artistry that you are. Be alert when there is a conflict. Those people are not your enemy. You are not fighting them. Be alert and always be ready to move into the true, spiritual battle through prayer.
– posted by Randall Sanford