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Fight the Good Fight

The Dark Side of Spiritual Warfare

challenging ministry opportunities in 2016. I am leading a men’s mission trip to Kenya to build a place for widows. I am also developing a men’s ministry at Front Range to help our men to be discipled and to disciple others. These two opportunities, I believe, will be critical to developing and deploying the next generation of men and help ing to cease some of the injustices we face in Castle Rock and Douglas County.

This is a big task and has required a lot of perseverance from me even just this far into the year.

You see, just like any time a person takes a step out in faith to help further God’s kingdom on earth I have come under heavy spiritual attack. And the enemy has been a crafty one. If my life is like a kingdom, then my spiritual disciplines are like the wall around it protecting it from the invaders. And the enemy has been systematically testing pieces of the wall for weakness. A former mentor of mine always use to say that you most likely have a hole in the wall somewhere; a weakness or struggle that has presented itself over a long period of time. A

nd your enemy knows to look for that. So you have to put a man on the wall.

Often times, we as men think we have it all together. That to ask for help or accountability would

show weakness and that would be our downfall. But think about the scene in the second Lord of

the Rings film The Two Towers when the pestilence of Saruman's orcs were attacking the fortress of Helm’s Deep. King Theoden was so in awe of his keep that he didn’t listen to the wisdom of counsel and essentially put his people in a “back against the wall” scenario. And his arrogance shown through when he said “is this all that Saruman can muster”.

But this ego blinded him from truly protecting those in his charge. You see, like many castles in

medieval times, there needed to be a way to get rid of waste to prevent disease. A hole in the wall existed. And in this hole the wall was vulnerable. But Theoden did not even consider this an after-thought. All of his attention was focused elsewhere. On what he perceived to be more important battles. But here laid the enemy’s most important battle tactic.

In our lives, it is much the same way. Those little chincs in our armor that we sometimes don’t want to think about are often where the enemy comes at us. And the hole may not be a very serious issue. It could be something that seems as trivial as watching a show on Netflix or playing video games or shopping a little too much. These things can be good, but they can also distract us from the real thing God is trying to do in our lives, our families, or our vocations. The hole could also be something more serious like an addiction to alcohol, lustful thoughts, or compulsive eating.

If you don’t put a man on your wall, someone who can keep a watchful eye over the holes

it bears, you run the risk of allowing the enemy to run right through with his barrel of explosives. And once he is inside, you will see far more destruction than if you keep the battle on the outside of the castle. You may fear the battle. You may wish to pretend that 10,000 strong are not at your doorstep. But ignoring the battle will not prevent it from waging, no matter what Sun Tzu may argue. Fight the good fight. Your life and those of your family, friends, and circle of influence depend on it.

The most important man to put on the wall is Jesus. Ask him as David did to search you and know you and reveal the hole. He alone can make the lasting change in you. Follow his example in how to do the battle well. But remember, he also chooses to use the people around you in the story he is writing in you. So put them on the wall as well.

You will be tested. Like Jesus desert trial, the enemy comes, probing the perimeter. He

knows your story, knows where the weak spots are. But this is our training. This is the

spiritual equivalent of, “Take a high guard, like this. Strike from high. Like this. Do it. Blade

straighter. Leg back. Bend your knees. Sword straighter. Defend yourself.” This is how we

develop a resolute heart.

The enemy’s first plan is to keep a man out of the battle altogether-through fear, or self-

doubt, through bad theology or ignorance, through his wounds, or through the passivity we

inherited from Adam.

Excerpts from Fathered By God by John Edlredge

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