40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 8 – Spiritual Warfare


1The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. (Jonah 1:1 – 3)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Yesterday’s commentaries related to the Discipline of Bible Study provided some superb testimonies.  I strongly encourage you to read them if you haven’t done so yet. Thank you very much to all who shared!

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Spiritual Warfare.   When we decide to work in God’s army the one thing we can be assured of is opposition.  Here are just a few Biblical examples:

  • Moses opposed by Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8)
  • Nehemiah opposed by Sanballat and Tobiah (Nehemiah 4)
  • Jesus opposed by Satan (Matthew 4:1 – 11)
  • The Apostle Paul opposed by Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

Sometimes spiritual warfare doesn’t show up as an external adversary.  There are also internal battles that have the potential to blow us off course.  The story of Jonah in our passage for the day is a good case in point.  God issued clear instructions to Jonah.  Yet, instead of heading to Nineveh as God instructed, Jonah heads to Tarshish, which is thousands of miles away from Nineveh.

Please read the passage above and consider the question below.


What are some key pitfalls (external or internal) we should be mindful of that run counter to God’s direction?

9 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 8 – Spiritual Warfare

  1. There are many situations where we can end up “falling into a pit” if we choose to make wrong decisions.

    Some of these situations come from us just following what’s popular, or what co-workers or friends are doing, and some of these situations come from us going along with our own thoughts where we rationalize what we want, and what we’ve convinced ourselves is okay and “not so bad”.

    We can make the decision to just be “stubborn” and just do what God wants us to do every time in every situation. It makes life so much easier. People will notice you don’t compromise, and won’t even bother asking you to join them in doing certain things. (This was a situation I encountered with my teammates as a teacher.)

    Running counter to God’s direction will never, ever work out for good, so it’s best to just suck it up and deal with the opposition or ostracism that may come with not following what’s popular. Your determination to do what’s right may also make a positive impression on the people around you.

    No matter what, doing what God directs us to do, is the way to go. He’ll equip, guide, and walk with us. In the end, our conscience won’t bother us.

  2. Murmuring… which really comes from a heart of ingratitude… daily those temptations come at us…. as we encounter others…murmur about our jobs, the government, our financial situation, our country,, and the list goes on.. we have to be careful to not join in the chorus but ….find all the ways we can thank and praise God and share them as our response….We should openly thank Him for blessing us with life, Good Health, His protection from danger, our jobs, our family, our friends , our successes…etc

  3. One of the awesome things about the way God designed our brains is that they are quick to establish a pattern. Once you learn a specific way of thinking, your brain resorts to this way of thinking more quickly and efficiently to save you time. This is a great aspect of our mind, but can also be to our detriment if we feed our brains things that are not beneficial for us.

    A pitfall we should caution ourselves against is being undisciplined in our thinking. For example, I might momentarily allow a negative thought, believing there isn’t much harm in it. Meanwhile, my brain is forming that as a habit. The next thing you know, what once started out as a “momentary” thought is the suggestion your brain resorts to the next time you face a similar situation. It’s like beginning the steps down a slippery slope.

    Jonah’s original thought may have started as a small dislike or judgement of the Ninevites, which, while unkind, is not a disastrous thought to have. But encouraging that thinking resulted in him running thousands of miles away from Ninevah when God called him to go. This is why it’s so important to guard your mind and your thinking – 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take our thoughts captive. The alternative is that you are captive to your thoughts, even ones that you didn’t notice were being reinforced in the first place.

  4. This is a big topic!, but I’ll comment on the internal, briefly, which in a word, is… self. We are called to be living sacrifices, but as a dear friend says, “The problem with living sacrifices is that we want to crawl off the alter!” So true. We forget, get distracted, discouraged, seduced (by our own evil desires – Jam.1:14), and so on. So He gives us ways to deal with the ever-present “self”, but I suspect that’s coming next! (but I agree with all the suggestions above – “stubborn” obedience, thanks & praise, guarding our minds…)

  5. There are a few pitfalls that sees emerging in the text of Jonah 1:1-3. These pitfalls have implications for me and every child of God in every generation and geographical jurisdiction.
    1. Even though God is absolutely clear in his instructions to us, there is no guarantee that the hearer will be willingly obedient.
    2. Every child of God has free will and must choose to obey God when he speaks to us in his word, through preaching / teaching or when we are impressed by his Spirit consistent with his word.
    3. It is quite possible that what God specifically wants me to do might not be what I would prefer doing.
    4. I have got to settle the question, who is really the Lord of my life? Is it me or is it God?

  6. The external and internal sometimes overlap so i will not categorize them but here are some pitfalls: mistaking our will for God’s will, believing we can run away or hide from God when we can’t, failing to realize that wickedness in our cities, lives or wherever is a big part of spiritual warfare and our wickedness “comes up before God.”

    Additionally, failing to preach against wickedness is repulsive to God and detrimental to the very survival of cities/nations/people in general. Other factors include believing we can use our economic independence/financial resources to circumnavigate God’s will and purpose in our lives (as seen in Jonah’s confidence in himself as he underwrote his voyage independently, as commendable as that was). Paying the fare was not the problem but paying it to the wrong destination believing he could hide from God, and ending up not doing God’s will. Simply striving to obey God, and undermining the sovereignty and power of God are serious spiritual warfare. .

  7. These pitfalls highlighted by all are ones we should be very mindful of. Thank you very much for sharing!

  8. Some pitfalls we should be mindful of are anger, pride, and not being aware of the schemes of the devil. When I’m angry especially when someone wronged me and I know that I am right, I’m sometimes overwhelmed by emotions and can forget focusing on what or how God wants me to handle or face it, then that’s how easily one can fail God. Also, I’m a very transparent person and sincerity is so important to me. So there was a time when I was deceived or betrayed by friends/ people I trusted or know for so many years and that was very sad and upsetting experience. Sometimes even if your anger is “ righteous” it can convey wrong message to others because in your anger, you allowed the schemes of the enemy, the devil to play with your emotions, and that doesn’t glorify the Lord but makes the devil really happy. In my case, I have a circle of Christian sisters who are really compassionate , rooted in God’s word and prayerful women. I cherish friends who are not condemning their fellow sisters when they fail but help them to bounce back. I tend to listen more to friends who are humble and upfront with me than those who never acknowledge the problem itself but just insist that you’re a Christian and not supposed to fail God or sometimes there are people who believe that Christians especially leaders at church don’t make mistakes, sometimes that can be a pitfall too. We are all prone to sin and of course each day our prayer and aim is to glorify God in all that we say and do, so it is important for us to always be mindful of God’s love and forgiveness. When we fail, don’t dwell on the mistake but learn from it, move forward and obey the Lord in everything. .

  9. I seem to fall into pitfalls very easily with one of my daughters as she is not in the Word like my younger daughter.
    I fall into this trap over and over again especially when I am not focused on My Lord.
    Guess a lesson for me is to spend more time on His Word..

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