V. Battle Wounds and Recovery

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A. Introduction

In fighting spiritual warfare and in serving Christ in general, we should be aware of the real possibility of being wounded.  Wounds can come from a variety of sources, including the devil, his forces and people.  As we saw in the story of Job, just about anything can be a target for the enemy, including our health, family, possessions and livelihood.  Here are some examples of battle wounds:

Obviously such things may not always be the result of spiritual warfare, but they certainly can be.  Such wounds can be part of the “sufferings of Christ” that scripture says we will share in when we follow Christ.  The enemy’s intent, short of destroying us, is to convince us to lay down our arms and turn away from God.  Knowing this in advance, we can prepare ourselves mentally for the attacks and wounds we may suffer.  We can also familiarize ourselves with how to heal and recover from attacks, such that our relationship with God remains intact and ever-growing.    

B. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ

The reality is that as believers in Christ, we will suffer to some degree for our allegiance to him.  When we start going on the offensive against the enemy in spiritual warfare, we can expect that the enemy will try to retaliate.  Thankfully, in Christ we have the power of faith and hope working from within us to help us endure and overcome the sufferings we may face. 

1. Read John 15:18-21.  What did Jesus say we could expect from the world? 

 

2. Read John 16:32-33.  Though we may have trouble in the world, what will we have in Jesus?  What truth will help us endure the trouble?

 

 

3. Read Philippians 1:27-30.  What did Paul say had been “granted for Christ’s sake”?   

 

4. Read Romans 8:16-18. What promise can we cling to as we face the possibility of suffering for Christ’s sake? 

 

1) Examples of Suffering

5. The Bible offers many examples of suffering.  Let’s look at a few of them here.  Notice that many are tied to spiritual warfare and God’s kingdom work in general.  For each reference, please summarize the suffering that occurred and note if it was linked to spiritual warfare/God’s kingdom work. 

2 Corinthians 11:22-28: 

 

Galatians 4:12-15:  

 

Acts 5:12-41

 

Acts 6:8-12, Acts 7:57-60:    

 

 

Acts 8:1-3:

 

 

Acts 14:1-6,19-20:   

 

 

Acts 16:16-24:

 

 

2) What suffering accomplishes

Knowing the positive results of suffering will help us prepare ahead of time mentally for what we might face.  In general, suffering can deepen our relationship with God, verify our identity as his followers and ultimately bring him glory.  Let’s consider some passages that further discuss the purpose and results of suffering.   

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

6.  Once we’ve suffered, what can we then do for people who are suffering? 

 

7. When the apostles were “greatly afflicted” to the point of despairing of life, what happened?   

 

8. What did this experience cause them to do concerning hope? 

 

Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

9. What truth was God impressing on Paul through the thorn experience? 

 

10. How did Paul choose to react? 

 

11. How did the suffering impact Paul’s relationship with God?

 

Read James 1:2-4.

12. What purpose of suffering does James discuss? 

 

13. What is the result of this suffering when we endure it? 

 

14. What attitude should we have when we encounter various trials? 

 

Read Revelation 2:10.

15. What kind of suffering did Jesus say would happen to the Christians? 

 

16. What was the purpose of the suffering? 

 

17. Why did Jesus tell them about the impending suffering?   

 

Summarizing, suffering can:

3) How to go through suffering

As with other aspects of our spiritual walk, our mindset during suffering can make all the difference.  Our survival of the enemy’s attacks and recovery from battle wounds will likely depend on our mindset.   No matter what suffering we may go through, we should remember that God will comfort us.  He knows what it is like to suffer!    

18. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.  What does this verse say concerning God’s comfort to us? 

 

God is especially well equipped to comfort us in times of suffering. Through Jesus, he endured every type of temptation known to man and suffered greatly.  He sympathizes with us and makes intercession for us (Hebrews 2:14-18, Hebrews 4:14-15, Hebrews 7:25). 

19. Read 2 Timothy 2:1-13.  Though God sympathizes with our condition, what does he instruct us to do as good soldiers of Jesus Christ? What promise do we have if we do so? 

 

 

20. Read Revelation 2:10.  What did Jesus tell the people not to do regarding suffering? What would the people receive if they were faithful even to the point of death? 

 

 

21. Read 1 Peter 4:12-14.  What instructions did Peter give to the Christians concerning the trial they were facing? 

 

A great example of rejoicing in suffering is found in Acts 5:12-41.  After having been imprisoned and beaten for doing the work of the ministry, Peter and the apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ name. 

22. Read Philippians 1:27-30.  What did Paul tell the Philippians to do in facing suffering and adversaries? 

 

This scripture underscores the importance of staying connected with the body of Christ when trials and tribulations come (also Hebrews 10:24-25).  Often when wounding comes from others in the body of Christ, the temptation is for us to disconnect and isolate ourselves.  Doing so will only increase our vulnerability to the enemy.   

Being around other Christians who can minister to us will help us endure and recover from suffering. 

23. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5.  What did Paul send Timothy to do for the Thessalonians during their afflictions?

 

Summarizing, when going through suffering, we should:

C. Recovering from Battle wounds

1) Battle damage assessment

While in the Navy, one of my roles was the “damage control” officer on a ship.  If the ship was hit by enemy fire during battle, the first action I took was to send repair teams out to assess the damage, determining its impact on the operation of the ship.  Using the repair team reports, I could then direct repair efforts to recover from the damage as quickly as possible.   

Consider that each of us can function like a damage control officer over our lives.  When we take a hit from the enemy, it behooves us to inspect the damage and evaluate its impact on our lives.  We also should consider how to repair the damage so that we can return to full combat readiness.   

Applying this idea, we can ask ourselves some key questions when we’re wounded, such as:

We can use such questions to explore the nature and extent of the damage in the wounds and then pursue healing and recovery in the affected areas.   

2) Unforgiveness and other sin

A common area involved in recovery is forgiveness.  When we are wounded, there can be a tendency to blame people or God for the hurt we’ve suffered.  Our human nature is to desire justice and hold on to our right of vengeance by not forgiving those who have hurt us.   

Our desire for justice may also be expressed in anger.  It is OK to be angry when we’ve been wronged. 

24. Read Ephesians 4:26-27.  What practical steps does Paul give concerning anger?

 

 

The reality is that true justice can only be carried out through God, who is the one and only true Judge. By forgiving those who have hurt us, we release our right to vengeance to God, who will settle the score in his perfect timing.  We also clear the way for God to forgive us and heal us from our wounds.   

Read Matthew 6:12,14-15 & Mark 11:25.

25. When we have been hurt by people, what are we required to do? 

 

26. If we will not forgive others, how does this attitude impact our relationship with God? 

 

27. Read Matthew 18:15-17 & Luke 17:3-4.  What additional steps are we to take when we have been hurt by other Christians?   

 

 

Forgiving someone does not mean we are condoning what they did.  What it does mean is that we are turning the case over to God, the righteous Judge, to handle it as he sees fit.   

Read Romans 12:17-21

28. What is God’s promise concerning vengeance?

 

29. When we surrender a situation to God for vengeance, what does that require us to give up? 

 

30. What specific instructions are given for us in regard to responding to our enemies? 

 

31. Jesus took this concept even further in Matthew 5:43-45.  Please list the specific actions we are to take toward our enemies:

  1.  

  2.  

  3.  

  4.  

Realistically, it may only be in the strength of Christ that we could love our enemies, bless them, do good to them and even pray for them.  The miracle of God is that with the Holy Spirit living in us, we can do these radical things and in so doing prove that we are God’s children.   

32. Take a moment to think through your own experiences. Are you holding on to any anger concerning the events of the past?  If so, please summarize the events briefly:

 

 

 

Next, if ready, surrender each event to God and ask him to carry out justice. Tell the Lord that you are leaving the events in his hands permanently.   

33.  Is there anyone associated with the above events that you need to forgive?  Please take a moment to pray and ask the Lord to bring anyone to mind that you have not forgiven.  Please list any names he gives you and verbally forgive them.  

 

 

34. Sometimes people become angry with God for the wounds they’ve suffered in warfare.  Are you are harboring any anger, unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness toward God for the things of the past?  If so, please briefly describe your feelings: 

 

 

If you are ready, in prayer tell God what you are feeling.  Feel free to be honest and to the point with him – he can handle it!  If you are ready, forgive him as well. 

Having released the offenses and forgiven those who have hurt you, you can now ask God’s forgiveness for holding on to unforgiveness.  Here’s a simple prayer to do so:  

Father in heaven, I repent for not forgiving as you commanded me to do. I have now forgiven _____________ (list from above) of all the things they did to me.  Please forgive me, Lord and fill me with your supernatural love. Please enable me to use good to overcome evil.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

If there are other sins that we’ve committed during battle or as a result of our wounds, we must also repent of them.  Examples might include:

35. Please take a moment to ask the Lord to reveal any sin that you need to repent from.  List any sins that come to mind: 

 

 

Next, confess and turn away from the sin that you listed and ask for God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.  A simple prayer for this is:   

Father in heaven, I confess that I have sinned by ________________ (list).  I repent from this sin and ask for your forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Thank you, Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.   

On the basis of 1 John 1:9, you can be sure that God has now forgiven you of your sin and purified you from it!  

3) Rejecting the enemy’s lies

The enemy loves to capitalize on our battle wounds by offering faulty conclusions that are designed to sabotage our faith in God and isolate us from other Christians.  Some common lies the devil uses include:

  1. "God doesn't love you"
  2. "If God loved you, he would have protected you from this"
  3. "You can't trust anyone in church to help you.  They'll only judge and reject you"
  4. "God has finally given you what you deserve!"
  5. "You've sinned so much that God could never use you now.”
  6. "A good God wouldn't have let this happen to you"

We must discern the devil's lies and reject them.  It will help greatly if we will find and state the scriptures that refute the lies we’re being tempted with (i.e. use the Sword of the Spirit!).  

36. Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.  What two actions are we to take with the lies of the enemy when they enter our thoughts?

  1.  
  2.  

37. If you’ve been wounded in warfare, what are the lies that the enemy has been telling you?  What is the truth about each lie?  Can you think of or find a scripture reference that expresses the truth about each lie?  If so, please write it down.   

Lie                                                      Truth                                                    Scripture Ref.

 

 

 

4) Reconnecting with the Body of Christ

It is vital that we connect with the Body of Christ, especially during recovery from battle wounds.   

38. Read John 15:4-5.  What does our fruitfulness to God depend on? 

 

39. Read 1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:4-8.  How is abiding in Christ linked to remaining connected with other Christians?   

 

 

40. Read Hebrews 10:24-25.  What are two purposes mentioned here for meeting with other Christians regularly?

  1.  
  2.  

During recovery from battle wounds, we’ll need the help of the other members of the Body of Christ.  For example, meeting together affords us much need encouragement, which strengthens our faith and stirs up our resolve to return to the battlefield once we’re healed.   

Another important benefit of the body of Christ is the healing ministry.  When we’ve been wounded, we need God’s healing!  Too often people just want to gut things out and live with their wounds, instead of asking God to heal them.   

41. Read James 5:15-16.  How will being connected with a group of believers (i.e. the Body of Christ), help us heal? 

 

 

Another thought to consider is that the Bible says that some people have special gifts of healing and miracles (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).  When we’re willing to allow other Christians to pray for us, we give God an opportunity to heal us through those people’s prayers and spiritual gifts.   

5) Seeking God for Healing

God’s will for each of us is that we are restored to wholeness in our body, soul and spirit. Do you believe this?  Let’s examine what the scriptures say concerning this.   

42. Read Psalm 103:2-5. What four “benefits” of following God are mentioned? 

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  
  4.  

Read Isaiah 61:1-3.  Jesus recited this passage when he began his earthly ministry in Luke 4:14-21

43. What specific tasks did God want to accomplish for his people?   

 

 

 

44. Isn’t it amazing how many, if not all of the tasks Jesus was sent to accomplish also address the needs of those who have been wounded in spiritual warfare?  In the above passage, what was God’s desired end result for his people?  

 

Consider that God’s desire for the wounded warrior today is that he or she would be healed and whole. 

45. With that in mind, as you consider your own situation, what wounds have you received from spiritual warfare or from living for God?   

 

Prayer (preceded by worship) is the best way I know of for approaching God and seeking healing from the wounds we’ve sustained.  As previously mentioned, it is perhaps most beneficial if you can pray with other Christians for your healing.  Even if you don’t have others you can readily pray with, you can still go ahead and seek God for healing.  

What to Pray 

Taking your list of wounds from the above section, you can now go to Jesus in prayer and ask for healing.  I suggest using a simple set of prayers that include:

Here is an example prayer that you can use for each area:    

Lord Jesus, I believe that you are God and that you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek you.  I believe that you are the God who heals.  I take authority over every spirit or power that is not of God and I bind them from interfering in any way during this prayer session.  I declare this room and this body to be holy ground, dedicated to Jesus Christ exclusively.  I loose the peace of Christ in this place and in my mind right now.  

Lord, I lift up this wound of ____________ to you now. I ask that you please heal me from any negative effects of this wound on my life, including inner wounds in my conscious and subconscious states.  Please help me to see the circumstances and memories of the wound from your perspective and no longer rehearse the pains of the past.  I release all the pains of that wound to you right now. 

(Pause and take some time now to pray silently and/or pray in the Spirit, waiting on the Lord

Lord, please now fill me afresh with your love, peace, joy, life and light.  I receive these now in my body, soul and spirit. 

(Again, pause and take some time to pray silently and/or pray in the Spirit, and receive from the Lord

Thank you, dear Jesus, for all that you have done in me today.  I praise you and glorify your name! Amen. 

As you pray through each area, be patient and don’t try to rush the Lord.  The Lord will help you know when you’ve received healing and are ready to move forward in your recovery.  This will typically be indicated by your ability through Christ to face the reality of each wound without the pain, fear, anger, bitterness, or other negative emotions that you previously had.   

Because of the potential heaviness and other negative emotions that can be stirred up inside us as a result of this type of prayer, I highly recommend that you pray a "Cutting Free" prayer following these exercises.  Here is an example: 

Lord God, thank you for this time of prayer and healing.  Please cut me free from all heaviness, sadness and negativity that may have been stirred up inside me as a result of these prayers.  Please wash my conscience with the blood of Jesus and help me to not place any undue focus on the wounded areas we have worked on today.  Please help me to fix my thoughts on you, Lord, and now move forward in my walk with you.  Holy Spirit, please now lead me in living for God and walking in wholeness.  Lord God, please send your holy angels to minister to me and protect me.   I praise you and thank you, in Jesus' name, Amen. 

There could more prayer needed depending on the situation.  It’s important to remember that it can take time and persistence in prayer to receive healing.   Even though healing may not come instantaneously, you can be certain that God loves you and desires that you be healed and whole in his perfect timing.   

6) Rest

The concept of rest may not be familiar ground to some spiritual warriors…especially those who are zealously committed to following Christ.  Some consider taking a break from the battle equivalent to retreating from the enemy, or running away like a deserter.   

We should remember that God is merciful, compassionate and kind.  He knows that we are flawed vessels and that we are prone to weakness.  He knows that we cannot live in sustained combat operations without having at least occasional times of rest and recovery.  This is especially true when we’ve been wounded in warfare. 

Solomon pointed out that there is a season for everything. 

46. Please read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 and summarize the points related to seasons, war/peace and healing.  

 

 

Considering that there is a season for war and a season for peace, we need not feel guilty or cowardly for taking time to retreat and recuperate from battle.  Just as in conventional warfare, wounded soldiers need to take time in the field hospital to heal before returning to the battlefield.  A soldier who hasn’t healed will be less effective on the front lines – in fact, he or she could be a liability instead of an asset to the army. 

47. Jesus modeled the concept of resting from ministry and spiritual warfare during his time on earth.  Please read the below scriptures, summarize the ministry situation and what Jesus did: 

Matthew 14:9-14:   

 

Mark 6:30-32:   

 

Matthew 14:21-23:  

 

Matthew 17:1-21:  

 

Our place of rest and recovery from spiritual warfare may not be so much a physical location as much as a spiritual destination. 

48. Read Matthew 11:28.  Who are we to go to for true rest?  

 

Read John 15:4-8

49. Jesus commanded us to abide in him and used the metaphor of a vine and branches to illustrate the concept.  Please explain the metaphor and how rest from spiritual warfare or ministry impacts our ultimate goal of being fruitful for the Father. 

 

 

50. What does it mean to abide in Jesus? (Other translations use such terms as “live in” or “dwell in” or “remain in” for abide in this passage)   

 

51. What are some of major hindrances to abiding in Jesus? 

 

 

If there is anything that has been hindering your abiding in Jesus, please take a moment to pray and ask God to give you some practical ways to remove those obstacles. 

52. Please summarize the ideas for action that the Lord gives you:   

 

 

Concluding Thoughts

Recovery from battle wounds will raise the issue of returning to battle.  As expected, some people may be hesitant to place themselves again in harms way.  Fear is a common issue that many people may face in deciding to return to the front lines of spiritual warfare.  In commissioning Joshua to take command of Israel and lead them in the conquest of the Promised Land, the Lord addressed the issue of fear directly.  

Read Joshua 1:6-9

53. What two commands did God repeat three times in commissioning Joshua?

1.

2.

54. What primary reason did God give Joshua not to be afraid? 

 

55. What other instructions for success did God give Joshua? 

 

In sending the 12 disciples out to minister, Jesus also addressed the issue of fear. 

Read Matthew 10:1,7-10,16-31.  

56. How did Jesus equip the disciples for the work they would do? 

 

57. What adversity did Jesus tell them they could expect? 

 

58. What reasons did Jesus give them not to fear or worry? 

 

 

59. What did Jesus say about giving up? 

 

The call of God for every person is that they would live for him and continue to endure “to the end” no matter what. 

60. Read Hebrews 12:1. What are we exhorted to do? 

 

With that in mind, we can be sure that God wants us to return to the spiritual battlefield and continue to press on.  This must be done, however, in the Lord’s timing and by his guidance.  We must look to see where he is working and then join him in that work as he directs us.  As Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19 NKJV). 

Congratulations on finishing this Bible study!  I pray that it has drawn you closer to God and given you a better understanding of spiritual warfare. 

The End

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