Developing a Warfare Mentality
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4
To be effective in warfare against the invisible foe, one must understand what it means to have a warfare mentality. There are some basic principles and personal disciplines that we, as believers in Christ, can develop and operate in, that will secure the victory for our personal lives, families, ministries and others.
In Matthew 17:14-21, we find an interesting account of Jesus engaging in spiritual warfare against demonic powers in the life of a young man. "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
In these verses, we have a desperate daddy who does not know what to do with his son, who has obvious demonic activity in his life. The Bible says he was sore vexed by the devil. My friend, the Devil is still vexing men and ladies of all ages today. Young people are dropping like flies to drug addiction, alcoholism, sexual immorality and rebellion.
Our nation has been plagued with a demonic, occultish spirit and it is sweeping thousands into its grip. The breakdown of the family is destroying teenagers and children. It is a day of unrest in the hearts of America's youth. I praise God for the many thousands of teenage men and ladies that are in our fundamental Baptist churches that are making their mark in our day. But, there are thousands of teenagers, children and even adults in and outside of churches that are being destroyed because of the spiritual warfare ignorance in our churches. Hosea 4:6a speaks loud and clear, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…"
Due to my calling as Pastor of the Harvest Baptist Church and the founder of the Anchor Character Training Center, it has allowed me to work with disturbed teens from across America, many coming from Christian homes.
I was reading the text in Matthew 17:14-21 and my heart was convicted. It was an indictment on my life as a man of God who preaches that Jesus Christ is the answer to all problems. Yet, year after year, I have sent many young people away because I, like the disciples, could not help him/her. The Lord said simply that it is because of our unbelief. There are some cases that there is absolutely no way to experience a breakthrough without spiritual warfare prayer and fasting.
Victory for the church is proclaimed!
That day, Jesus Christ proclaimed the most powerful and dynamic truth to His church. This truth is found in verse 20, which says, "…nothing shall be impossible unto you." If that is really true, then there is no one out there that cannot be touched by the power of God and be delivered. We must come back to the belief that God is able to salvage any life, anywhere, under any circumstances. He desires to perform deliverance through His local church. So, to be that man of God and be that church that He can use to do that through, I realized how important it was to develop a warfare mentality. When Jesus engaged in the warfare against the powers of darkness, He had a warfare mentality.
I have encountered many young men and ladies that had destructive and demonic influences in their lives. I find that the Enemy was not going to give up territory in their lives without some type of conflict. When Satan has control of a person's life, and the chains of sin and demonic powers have been influencing that person for some time, it takes the right kind of mind set to help deliver that person.
We must develop a warfare mentality!
I Timothy 1:18 says, "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare." No man can enter into warfare, and war well, if he does not have the mind set for it.
To have the warfare mentality, one must:
Understand and accept the commitment of a soldier.
In John 15:13, Jesus' powerful message is this, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Paul said in Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself." Jesus said in Revelation 12:11, "And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their own lives unto the death."
To be a good soldier we must:
Understand that there will be no effective warfare if we are not willing to dedicate our lives to the cause of seeing people set free.
We must be willing to lay our lives down. Note on Revelation: They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and their testimony. They did not love their own lives. What mattered to them was not that they did what they wanted to do, what was convenient to do or what was comfortable to do; but that they loved not their own lives. They died to self. Their cause was more important than their own lives. In the book of Acts it speaks of men who "hazard their lives for the gospel cause." The greatest need of this hour is men and ladies who are willing to hazard their lives for the cause of setting captives free.
When a soldier enters into battle, he must be able to face that battle understanding he could lose his life. I am not so sure that we must lose our physical lives in this warfare. I do believe that for one to be effective, he or she must be willing to deny their own life and their own passions, to die to self so that the resurrected life of Jesus Christ can manifest itself. The life of Christ is the life that will overcome the Wicked One.
Excerpt taken from Chapter One: "Developing a Warfare Mentality" from Pastor Marvin E. Smith III book, We Wrestle Not, published on Harvest Baptist Press, Fort Dodge, IA.
Pastor Marvin E. Smith III is pastor of Harvest Baptist Church, located in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He has been pastor of Harvest Baptist Church for 11 years and has been in the ministry for 28 years.
At age eight, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior under the preaching of his grandfather. He surrendered to preach at age 18. After serving as an assistant pastor for 17 years at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, St. Clair, Missouri, God called Pastor Smith to Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The Harvest Baptist Church now serves the following ministries: Harvest Baptist School, training kindergarten through twelfth grade; Harvest Baptist Bible College; Anchor Character Training Center, ministering to drug and alcohol addictions, gang members, runaways and rebellious teenagers; Amazing Grace Pregnancy Crisis Center; Harvest Broadcast; growing prison and nursing home ministries; Spanish and Laotian ministries; Bibles for the World, a world-wide missions printing ministry; and Harvest Baptist Press, printing guides for the Christian's toughest battles.