There are a hundred men hacking at the branches of evil to every one who is striking at the roots of evil.
I have ever found that when I have thought the battle was over and the conquest gained, and so let down my watch, the enemy has risen up and done me the greatest injury.
Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
[Spiritual strongholds] begin with a thought. One thought becomes a consideration. A consideration develops into an attitude, which leads then to action. Action repeated becomes a habit, and a habit establishes a “power base for the enemy,” that is, a stronghold.
As in all warfare, the two essential elements in victory are knowing your enemy and knowing your resources.
In heaven we shall appear, not in armor, but in robes of glory. But here our arms are to be worn night and day. We must walk, work, sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ.
Spiritual warfare is an ideological conflict, fought in the mind by assaulting the proud fortresses of ideas that sinners erect against the truth.
A well-trained soldier is not afraid of his adequacy in battle. In fact, in some ways he looks forward to the challenge of using his skills and equipment. It is not the fighting that scares him. It is the realization that out there somewhere may be a bullet with his name on it. But the wonder of the Gospel is that God promised there is no such bullet for the believer. Though we are in for the fight of our lives and may experience great loss – even of our lives – we know that the enemy is ours. God has promised that our souls are secure, and that He will ultimately defeat all our spiritual foes (John Murray).
[Jesus] did not consider the political dominance of the Romans to be any infringement of the sovereignty of God. It is not the rule of foreigners over the nation, but the rule of all ungodly powers in the inner life of men, that the sovereignty of God aims at removing (Gustaf Dalman).
I mean a struggle within the heart between the old nature and the new, the flesh and the spirit, which are to be found together in every believer (Gal. 5:17). A deep sense of that struggle, and a vast amount of mental discomfort from it, are no proof that a man is not sanctified. No, rather, I believe they are healthy symptoms of our condition, and prove that we are not dead, but alive, A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.
The Christian fight is a good fight – really good, truly good, emphatically good. We see only part of it as yet. We see the struggle, but not the end; we see the campaign, but not the reward; we see the cross, but not the crown. We see a few humble, broken-spirited, penitent, praying people, enduring hardships and despised by the world; but we see not the hand of God over them, the face of God smiling on them, the kingdom of glory prepared for them. These things are yet to be revealed. Let us not judge by appearances. There are more good things about the Christian warfare than we see.
There is another warfare of far greater importance than any war that was ever waged by man. It is a warfare which concerns not two or three nations only, but every Christian man and woman born into the world. The warfare I speak of is the spiritual warfare. It is the fight which everyone who would be saved must fight about his soul… It has its watchings and fatigues. It has its sieges and assaults. It has its victories and its defeats. Above all, it has consequences which are awful, tremendous, and most peculiar. In earthly warfare the consequences to nations are often temporary and remediable. In the spiritual warfare it is very different. Of that warfare, the consequences, when the fight is over, are unchangeable and eternal.
Christians often spiritually fail for one of two reasons. Either they deny the reality of spiritual warfare or they try to win the battles in their own strength.
It is important to note that that though most of the attack on believers seems to come through humans, we must see the devil as the ultimate force behind it all. It’s easy to get frustrated and even resentful toward others who oppose the cause of Christ, but they must not be seen as the primary cause or the primary enemy. People are only prisoners of war being used like puppets in the hands of Satan. People are to be loved as deceived as they may be. They are the mission field that needs to be set free from their bondage as they exist entombed in their false beliefs. Our enemy is not the liberal media or the gay community or the atheist or even the devil worshipper that lives down the street. Our enemy is the devil himself. We struggle not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12).
When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge.
Spiritual warfare makes us think of demon possession, horrific demonstrations of satanic control, and dramatic exorcisms. But Scripture presents spiritual warfare not as the violent, bizarre end of the Christian life, but as what the Christian life is!
The thing that makes men and rivers crooked is following the line of least resistance.
Be very careful, then, how you live (Eph. 5:15), put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:11), prepare your minds for action (1 Peter 1:13), make every effort (2 Peter 1:5), be self-controlled and alert (1 Peter 5:8). These are battle cries, and Scripture is full of them. But unlike our old conception of warfare, where battle lines are clear and the times of battle can almost be predicted, this is modern warfare in which you are not always sure where the enemy lurks. It is guerilla warfare. There are strategically placed snipers. You let down your guard for a moment and the village you thought was safe suddenly opens fire on you.