15 Common Mistakes in Warfare, Part II
Welcome to Part II of “15 Common Mistakes in Warfare”! In Part I, we discussed ignorance as it relates to the battle and our identity, open doors to sin, improper position (posture), and not knowing the Word. In this segment, we’ll be kicking things off with not praying the Word.
6. Not praying the Word.
Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. (Psalm 103:20)
There is a common misunderstanding (and erroneous teaching) in Christendom that Believers can “command angels.” This is simply not true. The Psalmist told us plainly that the angels, those fiery ministers, hearken to the voice of [God’] Word. some synonyms for hearkening in other translations include obeying, carrying out His commands, heeding, listening for each of His commands, quick to hear and do what He says, do His bidding, etc.
In Luke 1:19, the angel Gabriel describes himself as one “who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you...” Even he simply stands in the presence of the Lord, waiting to carry out God’s commands! And the context of Psalm 103:20 lets us know that this is not simply a messenger-angel’s nature, but the nature of all angels.
So how do we translate this into a modern-day context?
Outside of assignments stemming from the sovereignty of God, our angels have no employment until we pray the Word! Prayer is the legal conduit and technology through which God has chosen to operate; therefore, outside of prayer - and specifically prayer that includes the Word of God in context - God and His heavenly hosts can’t move on our behalf. So get in the Word and start actively making it a part of your prayer life. And for several references on warfare, I recommend the Psalms.
SEE ALSO: Bootcamp Prayer Album
Also, there is an even more basic reality we must understand: the Word is a weapon.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Throughout Scripture, words are often related to swords, knives, and daggers. Now naturally, the nature of the words denote the type of weapon they represent. Evil words are typically daggers, while the Word of God is a double-edged sword. So when we pray, speak, and declare the Word of God IN CONTEXT, we have a powerful weapon that we are using against the enemy!
7. Not praising.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand…
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (Psalm 18:3)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. (Psalm 28:7)
To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy. (Psalm 59:17)
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. (Psalm 96:4)
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. (Psalm 98:1)
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before, “My praise is a weapon.” Well, it is! The Psalms are full of not only examples of praise, but examples of praise as warfare, of praise that brings about divine victories! Praise is a phenomenally overlooked weapon whether you’re in your proverbial (or literal) prayer closet or whether you’re in deliverance, praise is a mighty weapon on our arsenal. We would be remiss to not use it.
I’d also like to point out that praising God in the midst of warfare is a show of faith that we KNOW our God is mighty and that we KNOW that He will come through and deliver us. Take a gander at how praise wrought victory in Scripture:
20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. 26 And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah until this day. 27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. 28 So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. 29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around. (II Chronicles 20:20-30)
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. (Acts 16:25-34)
Praise is indeed a weapon! Praise reminds you Who is truly in charge! Praise confuses the enemy! Praise is a many-splendoured thing! Thus, neglecting it in our warfare is a grievous mistake.
I’ll tell you what: in my experience, whenever I am in a church that has a culture of exuberant praise, they also have a culture of frequent deliverance! You see, God is enthroned upon (NKJV) or inhabits (KJV) the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Therefore, no praise, no habitation; no praise, no throne. When God inhabits a place, the glory is present. And when the glory is present, that means God comes down HIMSELF and moves on our behalf! Don’t forget to praise!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Psalm 105:6)
8. Not worshipping.
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:1-3)
21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” ...
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-22, 25-28)
We’ve been addressing the weapons of the Word and praise in warfare, so naturally, we need to also address worship. Worship is not a slow song (although many worship songs are indeed slow). Worship is a posture of the heart. Everything that has breath is commanded to praise the Lord, but God cannot command worship because it is something that is born of relationship, born of the heart. Worship is a choice. It speaks to the worth and value of the focus of that worship in your own eyes.
The image I’m getting now is that of a woman who is speaking into her man; not just praising him, but telling him what he means to her, how much she loves him, how much she respects him, speaking to the very core of his being. This is what worship does for God. It’s something that must be done in truth, and in spirit.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
Worship cannot be contrived, nor can it be false. It must be done in truth and from our spirit-man, and when we posture our spirit to worship in the face of warfare, it positions us for victory!
It is also believed that Lucifer was once upon a time, the praise and worship leader of Heaven.
You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
The cherubim are a class of angels who guard or cover the presence of God. That’s why they’re always associated with the Ark of the Covenant, Holy of Holies, and even the Garden of Eden. We know that the Mountain of God also has to do with His presence because we see the Psalmist ask, “Who may ascend into the hill (or mountain) of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart...” (Psalm 24:3-4 emphasis mine). And as for stones, they are associated with the altars of God as well as praise.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord… (I Kings 18:30-32)
37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:
“‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”
40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:37-40)
Many times in ancient warfare amongst Believers and pagans alike, altars of worship complete with sacrifices were erected to draw the favour of their deity to the conflict. In parts of the world where the spirit world has infiltrated everyday life and even in the heights of Western society, worship is done in order to invoke the favour of certain spirits on a business or venture. Spiritual warfare is real and you cannot and should not separate worship from warfare.
9. Not fasting.
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:16-18)
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:25-29)
In Matthew 6, Jesus lets us know by His statement “when you fast” that fasting is not a suggestion, but something that should be automatically a part of the Believer’s life. It’s right there with prayer, praise, worship, tithes, and offerings; it’s a foundational element of our faith. And apparently, when entering into certain types of warfare, it is impossible to succeed without it.
In Mark 9 above, a distraught father brings his demon-possessed son to the disciples for them to deliver. The boy was bound by a deaf, dumb (mute), and epileptic spirit that would cause him to have epileptic seizures that would try to cause him to fall into the fire and be burned or fall into the water and drown. He’d had this his whole life and the disciples could not deliver him. So Jesus takes notice and is frustrated with the disciples’ lack of faith, and casts the demon out of the boy Himself. And once alone with Him, the disciples asked, “Jesus, why couldn’t we cast it out?” And He tells them that a lack of fasting is the cause.
Fasting is bringing your body under subjection. So if you’re doing a traditional fast from food or drink, you’re bringing your natural appetite under subjection. If you are fasting some type of media, then you are bringing your habits and schedule under subjection. Whatever it is, you are proving through your abstinence that that thing does not control you, and that you control its existence in your life. The Apostle Paul mentioned those who were once Believers who fell away because their god was their belly (Phil. 3:19).
The good news is that if we can overcome our various appetites (not just diet-based), then we can overcome the enemy.
10. Underestimating and overestimating your enemy.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8)
Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
C.S. Lewis made a very interesting statement that says, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” Even today, we see these unbalanced extremes.
Another way these extremes manifest is to either believe that all supernatural demonstrations are of God or to believe that no supernatural demonstrations are of God. I LOVE Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time Quintet (please DO NOT judge the books by the movie as the movie was EXTREMELY inaccurate!!!!); however, one of my complaints throughout the five books is that the author and thus, the characters, seems to believe that all supernatural phenomena are divine such as kything (which is the book’s version of a highly mature ESP or telepathy), the use of runes, or signs in the heavens and elements (e.g. a well-timed thunderstorm that messes up plans for an intended “witch” burning). NONE of these things in their literary context are of God!
In the same way, we as Believers often do an excellent job of overestimating AND underestimating the enemy of our souls. There are those who believe they are untouchable by the enemy and it is not confidence in who God is in them, but rather in who they think they are. When I was attacked by witches four years ago, one of the threats they breathed against me was, “We’ve killed Christians before!” And while that is sad, they were likely Christians who were either arrogant in their own self or would not bother to wage war in the spirit because “the devil’s already defeated,” even though we still have to appropriate our victory and the promises of God for our respective lives.
Please understand the enemy never lost ANY of his power; however, he did lose ALL of this authority. What does this mean? It means that the enemy is still powerful, he can still form weapons and even harm you depending on the situation. However, anything he does against you is illegal. We, however, as sons of God have authority over all the works of the enemy.
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:1)
Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)
If you were deployed to the military front and you made the mistake of over underestimating or overestimating your enemy, you could very well be the next casualty of war. Be sober in your warfare; don’t get drunk on your past warfare successes. Don’t overshoot your position, power, or authority. And don’t think more of yourself than you should, nor less of your enemy than you should.
Peter said Satan was LIKE a roaring lion, not that he WAS a roaring lion. He does in a sense, however, devour. But always maintain a balanced view:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Stay tuned for the next and final installment of this three-part series!