Part Five in Our Series “Demolishing Your Strongholds”
Part 1 – The Weapon of Forgiveness
Part 2 – The Weapon of Generosity
Part 3 – The Weapon of a Clear Conscience
Part 4 – The Weapon of Wisdom
This blog series poses the challenge that our lives can be changed in 2017 if we are willing to demolish the strongholds we have allowed to be established in our hearts and minds. We can break free from encrusted attitudes, set old fears aside and know victory over behaviors that have become unhealthy habits. For me, I want to experience the Holy Spirit’s work of “restoring in me the joy of my salvation.”
How about you?
In these beginning weeks of 2017 it is critical for us to acknowledge that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Our enemy seeks our destruction and his tactic is to set up “strongholds” in our lives; places where we have allowed the seeds of sin to blossom into attitudes and behaviors that are at war with the values of the kingdom of God to which we belong.
If we want a different story to unfold for us this New Year, then we must understand two very important truths about our life with Christ. In this battle God secured the final victory, and God provides everything we need for daily victory.
We claim this victory and demolish the enemy’s strongholds when we deploy the weapons of spiritual warfare. We defined a weapon as anything you use that destroys the enemy’s ability to wage war against you.
Over these next few weeks we will focus on five such weapons available to every follower of Jesus:
- Clear Conscience
Today we will look at the final weapon – fellowship. This is such a powerful weapon because isolation is such a dangerous state; perhaps the most vulnerable position in which we can find ourselves. In warfare, you never fight alone. The U.S. military operates on the principle of two-by-two. Every:
- Ranger has a Ranger Buddy
- SEAL has a Swim Buddy
- Aviator has a Wingman
- Soldier has a Foxhole Buddy
- Marine has a Fire Team.
The military never sends anyone into battle by themselves. It is always two-by-two at a minimum.
Jesus intends for it to be the same way in His army, in this great battle of good versus evil, the Kingdom of Light against the kingdom of darkness. This was never intended to be a battle we fight alone. The weapon of fellowship destroys Satan’s ability to divide and conquer or to isolate us where he then can take us out. But the weapon of fellowship does more than this. Jesus specifically sent His disciples out two-by-two. Here are several reasons why this is such a powerful weapon.
Two-by-two provides protection. It provides another set of eyes to watch and ears to listen, to be on the alert for the enemy. It allows also for one to rest while the other is on watch. This keeps both in the battle. Two-by-two provides a system of accountability. By laboring together one can help the other stay on the narrow road.
It is the two-by-two relationship that enables love to become a reality and confirm the message of the Gospel. Jesus said,
By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
Love needs relationship in order to be expressed and two-by-two is where it starts.
But most of all, two-by-two is a warfare strategy. Every disciple needs a “wingman” and every one of us needs a “life buddy,” someone to journey with through life, providing protection, accountability, love and a continued awareness that we are engaged in something greater than ourselves. Two-by-two accomplishes all this.
Two-by-two is the basic battle formation in which we engage the evil one. We use it to destroy Satan’s strategy of luring us into believing that real life is found in a rugged individualism where we hold tightly to control, depend on ourselves and never show a sign of weakness. To so many in our culture, the need for fellowship is a sign of weakness. When we buy the lie and choose to live in isolation we become easy prey for the enemy.
Jesus recognized this when He sent His disciples in teams. This may give us pause when we consider that this two-by-two is not taught in our seminaries nor is it the way we often plant and operate our churches. Young seminary grads are sent out to minister on their own. Pastors often feel they are battling alone. Christian leadership can be a very lonely place. Perhaps this is at least part of the reason why the church has become weak, ineffective and marginalized within the culture. Too many in leadership are journeying solo in life and ministry.
What we find modeled in the New Testament is something completely different. We need only look to Peter and John, Paul and Silas, Paul and Barnabas, etc. Could it be that the churches were never meant to be led by one single individual? Should we not follow the New Testament model where our churches are led by a community of believers, at least a minimum of two-by-two?
Here at the end of this study we can see how these five weapons work together to destroy the strongholds of the enemy. Fellowship is the weapon that provides the framework in which we become proficient at using the weapons of forgiveness, generosity, a clear conscience and wisdom. May you wield each one with humility and passion and watch as the Holy Spirit works in you to destroy all strongholds and sets you free to live and flourish this year.