40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline:  Day 8 – Spiritual Warfare

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For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:3 – 5, New International Version)

Theme:  Local Church

Context:

I gained so much from the comments left during our consideration of the Discipline of Bible Study.  Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment.  We turn our attention today to the Discipline of Spiritual Warfare.  As we did for Bible Study, we will dedicate today to answering some questions about Spiritual Warfare and your local church. 

There is always a risk that local churches either underplay spiritual warfare (i.e., act as if it doesn’t exist or isn’t an issue to concentrate on), or overplay spiritual warfare (i.e., describe almost every negative occurrence as demonic).  The questions that follow are meant to promote explicit thinking about the local church’s response to spiritual warfare.  The questions recognize that the enemy often uses deception, greed, pride, indiscipline, and division as weapons against local churches.

Again, please note that you will not be expected to share your answers to the questions. 

Primary Questions:

  1. Does your local church teach about spiritual warfare, including the enemy’s desire to destroy local churches and God’s ultimate assured victory?
  2. Does your local church consistently pray for church leaders, recognizing that Satan likes to destroy leaders?
  3. Does your local church have grievance and disciplinary policies?
  4. Does your church have access to resources to deal with mental health challenges?

Optional Secondary Questions (if you have the time):

  1. Does your local church have a conflict resolution process?
  2. Does your church have policies targeted at protecting the vulnerable (e.g., vetting process for those interacting with children)?

Commentary

While you are not expected to share your answers to the questions above, we would still love to hear from you.  Based on your answers to the questions, what are your thoughts about the treatment of spiritual warfare in your local church?

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

  1. Some of these questions are making me aware of how little I know about the policies or underlying drivers for decisions in my local church. Motivating me to learn more and dig in.
    I can’t recall a direct message from the pulpit about the enemy’s desire to disrupt the church but I am not blind to the activities of the enemy to destroy the kingdom of God and turn our hearts and minds from Him. I am prompted to pray for spiritual leaders and encourage them whenever possible.

  2. Since I’m attending a new church. Just started living in River Oaks, Houston Texas since November of last year, I could not share much about my local church here. But I could share some of my experiences about spiritual warfare from my home church in Japan where I was a member for 34 years.

    There was a time in this home church of mine in Yokohama where one member one Sunday after the service, approached our pastor and said she want him
    to pray for her at that moment before going home. Our pastor started praying for her and while this member is being prayed upon, she suddenly started crying, shaking and murmured words which no one can understand. Some members who were still in the church also laid hands and joined in praying for the woman. Everybody thought this woman was under spiritual attacked. After some time, she stood up , was mesmerized and came back to herself as if nothing happened. But our pastor and other members who prayed for her, were wondering if she was under the enemy’s attacked at the moment. I even talked to my pastor about it ( I sent an email to him) ) and asked him of what he thought of that incident on that particular Sunday. He said to me, it was his first time to experience such thing and suggested that we all should pray for that member and for our church which is under attack of the bad spirit.
    To this day that lady member is back to the church and living a normal life.

    I was also told not to say to others about that incident especially to those Japanese who are not believers yet, and just started to attend church. I can understand that it’s hard to explain especially for non -believerJapanese what had occurred on that day. I know there is a spiritual warfare going on in this world. Somehow I was wondering if our pastor dealt with it the way the Lord wanted him to. I also have this feeling that if there is an argument or issues that arise in the church among members and leaders, and when the pastor or some deacons would always say that the other person is being attacked by the enemy even though that person was only asking questions on the issues being argued about. I get disappointed to hear those statements because it sounded like if some misunderstandings or questioning on issues occurred at church and the leaders and pastor would conclude right away that there is a spiritual attack going on at church, it makes the members feel scared instead of being heard. To me, this makes the members feel that a church with this kind of thinking is not healthy because it’s normal for members to have questions or to disagree with other leaders or members and better to listen and solve the problem
    by prayer and trying to find ways to understand the root or cause of the disagreement instead of just concluding that the member who was asking question or angry at the moment is already under the bad spirit or being attacked by satan. This to some extent was frustrating to me. I hope to learn more about spiritual warfare through this 40 day discipline we have.

  3. My comments are similar to those of Bridget’s.

  4. This passage highlights that spiritual warfare is an attack against truth i.e. the true knowledge of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ that is ultimately displayed in the local body. Looking at Aurora’s example, it appears that there was ignorance in terms of attacks on individuals who succumb to the physical influence of demonic spirits which then lead to fear and discord by the way it was subsequently handled. What began as an attack on an individual now threatened the unity of the body and firm assurance in the power of Christ over evil. The truth of the gospel was not sought to inform this situation.

    Todays passage is instructive in dealing with deception through the influence of false prophets and false gospels (2 Cor 11: 3-4) telling us that the attack begins in the mind with our thoughts. We are therefore called to examine ourselves (2 Cor 13: 5) and test and approve our thoughts – knowledge of God (1 John 4:2-3) because we are constantly under threat of being deceived. Choosing to walk in deception is tantamount to disobedience.

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