IV. Warfare Disciplines - Answers page

Return to questions page 

In this section we’ll examine disciplines that will help us in combat.  Conventional military armies typically spend much time training in the various skill areas needed to fight wars.  In this fashion they are best prepared to face potential threats when war comes.  Similarly, spiritual warriors can train in key skill areas, i.e. warfare disciplines, so that they are prepared to face the enemy when he attacks.  We know that we are already at war and the devil is prowling around like a lion, looking for whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  If we train in the various disciplines needed to fight him, we’ll be better prepared for his attacks. 

A. Our Trainer and trainers

1) God as the Master Trainer

As with most disciplines, it makes sense to be trained by a master.  God is the Master Trainer in spiritual warfare and works through the “person” of the Holy Spirit.     

4. Read Psalm 18:28-39.

1.  Who trained David how to fight the enemy?  God  

2. What was David specifically trained to do?  God taught his hands to make war (vs 34).   

3. How was David equipped for battle?  God armed him with strength, agility, firm footing, strategic positioning, vision and protection.  

God will provide all of the equipment we need, so that we may stand against the devil’s schemes, survive and overcome!  

5. Read Luke 3:21-23, Luke 4:1-2. Who trained Jesus and prepared him to face the devil in spiritual warfare? The Holy Spirit 

6. Read Hebrews 4:14-16.  How did Jesus prove his own expertise in spiritual warfare?

He was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin           

7. Read John 14:15-18. Who has God sent to live in us and act as a counselor?

The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) 

8. Read John 14:26, 1 John 2:27. What will the Holy Spirit do for us? How can this help us in spiritual warfare?

Help us, train us and remind us of Christ’s words; He will also give us an “anointing” that will help us learn spiritual things, such as using spiritual weapons.  For example, by reminding us of Christ’s words the Holy Spirit helps us use the Sword of the Spirit with greater accuracy.

2) People as trainers

God will also work through godly people in our lives to facilitate our warfare training.  While these people are not our “masters,” they can be agents of The Master in our lives.  

9. In the following verses, what people are mentioned who could be involved in our spiritual training?

Ephesians 4:11-12: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors 

1 Corinthians 4:14-16: Spiritual fathers; mentors 

1 Corinthians 12:27-28: Apostles, prophets, teachers, people with gifts of miracles, healings, helps, administrations and various kinds of tongues 

10. Read Acts 13:1, 1 Corinthians 12:28. Where are we most likely to find people who can train us?  In church 

11. With that in mind, what does the scripture exhort us to continue doing? Read Hebrews 10:23-26:  Hold fast to our confession of faith without wavering, consider how to encourage one another to love and good deeds, and continue meeting together with other Christians for mutual encouragement in the faith. 

12. Considering the above verses from Hebrews 10, how can being involved with a church help you when you fail or get discouraged in warfare?  Being part of a church body  affords us the benefits of the various ministries of the people in the church.  For example, if we are discouraged, we can be encouraged by people in the church.  If we’re struggling with doubt, we can benefit from someone with the gift of faith in the church.  If we’re feeling spiritually lazy, we can be stirred to action by people who are zealous for the Lord.   

13. Take a moment to evaluate your current church situation.  If you are not attending a church, how might this affect your training in spiritual warfare?   

 

B. Disciplines to promote combat readiness

In this section we will look at five disciplines that will help us in fighting spiritual warfare battles. Specifically, mastering these disciplines will contribute to increased endurance on the battlefield, quicker recognition of the enemy’s schemes, more effective response in battle, and sharper discernment of God’s guidance.     

1) Quiet times

Military units typically muster in the morning each day for several reasons.  The commanding officer needs an accurate account of his forces and the forces need their orders for the day’s evolutions.  The commanding officer may use this time to communicate with his soldiers on pertinent matters, such as providing praise, rebuke, warning, guidance, encouragement, etc. He may brief the soldiers on the latest intelligence reports and explain how that might affect the unit.  The soldiers may brief the commanding officer on important developments in the field that could impact the unit’s combat readiness. This morning muster is critical to the unit’s mission accomplishment for that particular day.   

Likewise, it is important for us to meet with God, our commanding officer, each day in order for us to meet our mission objectives in spiritual warfare.  Though not a difficult task, it can be a big challenge for people to simply have a Quiet Time consistently.  The cares of the world, lack of sleep, or busy schedules so often vie for priority over time with God.  If we hope to be valiant warriors in God’s army, we can’t afford to miss our daily quiet time with him!  

14. Read John 15:4. What happens when we fail to connect with God?

We get separated from the vine (Christ) and cannot bear fruit for his kingdom 

Read Psalm 63.

15.  What was the condition of David’s soul and body (while being chased by Saul in the wilderness)?

David’s soul longed for the Lord; his flesh thirsted for the Lord 

16. What did he do in response? 

David sought the Lord early in the morning and worshiped him  

17. What were the results?

His soul was satisfied and he rejoiced; God upheld him with His right hand; his enemies were (to be) destroyed; the liars’ mouths were (to be) stopped 

Quiet times can be a strategic time for us to seek God’s wisdom about the challenges we’re facing in the natural or spiritual realms.   

Read Joshua 9:1-19

18. What did Joshua and the elders fail to do? 

Joshua and the elders did not seek the Lord about the proposed peace treaty with the strangers

19. What happened as a result?

As a result, they were deceived and made a treaty with the very people God had instructed them to remove from the land 

Elements of meaningful quiet times

There are perhaps an unlimited number of things we can do in our quiet times.  What matters most is the condition of our heart.     

20. Please read each verse reference, and write down the Quiet Time activity mentioned:  

Joshua 1:8: Bible study (scripture study, meditation and memory work) 

Psalm 100:4:  Praise & Worship 

Ephesians 6:10-13: Put on the full armor of God 

Ephesians 6:18: Prayer 

2) Testing doctrine, spirits and people

Satan often uses false doctrine, deceiving spirits and people to divide churches and lead people away from Christ.  If we plan to survive and be victorious in spiritual warfare, we’ll need to develop the skills of testing doctrine, spirits and people.   

God’s word is the most important source we can study in order to recognize the various counterfeits that the devil uses. 

21. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. How relevant or useful is God’s word to the challenges that we face in life?

The scriptures are perfectly relevant and useful - all scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and training in righteousness; this directly contributes to our readiness for warfare and fulfillment of God’s mission for our lives  

22. What were the key phrases that Paul used to describe God’s word in Hebrews 4:12

Just as bank trainees study real money to better recognize fake money, so we can study God’s word to better recognize Satan’s counterfeits of the truth.    

Read Luke 4:1-14.

23. How did Jesus use the word of God to fight Satan’s temptations?

Jesus used the word to expose and refute Satan’s temptations.  Jesus quoted the scriptures that revealed Satan’s true motives.

24. If Jesus had not known the scriptures, how might the outcome of this confrontation been different?

Had he not known the scriptures, Jesus may have succumbed to any of Satan’s three temptations.    

25. Read Acts 17:10-12.  How did the Bereans test the apostles’ teaching?

They searched the scriptures to see if what the apostles were saying was correct.    

The scriptures help us recognize Satan, his minions and his schemes, typically by the fruits they produce.  Jesus said, A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes” (Luke 6:43-44 KJV)
 

26. Read 2 Peter 2:1-19.  Please list the fruits (or qualities) of the false prophets that Peter recognized/described.

 27. Read Revelation 2:2. What had the people done with the people claiming to be apostles?  They had tested them and found them to be false.   

28. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22.  What did Paul say concerning testing things?

Test all things; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil 

29. Read 1 John 4:1-3.  What test did John describe in this passage?

Test spirits; don’t believe every spirit; test them to determine if they are of God; those who confess that Jesus came in the flesh are of God 

30. What are some of the possible outcomes of failing to test doctrine, spirits or people illustrated in the below verses?

Colossians 2:8: taken captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ

1 Timothy 4:1-2:  fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons

2 Timothy 2:24-26: taken captive to do the devil’s will 

2 Peter 2:1-2,18: led astray/enticed into sensuality  

31. Read John 16:13. Who will help us recognize the deceptions of the enemy, provided we are listening to him?   The Holy Spirit

3) Controlling our thoughts

Controlling our thoughts could be the most difficult discipline to master in spiritual warfare.  It is particularly difficult because there are three different sources that can feed evil thoughts into our minds.   

32. What are the three sources of evil thoughts mentioned in the below verses?

1. Matthew 15:18-20:  The Heart 

2.  Matthew 16:21-23:  People 

3.  Acts 5:3:  The devil  

No matter what the source of an evil thought, once it is in our mind we have the choice of whether or not to entertain it.  If we entertain an evil thought with our imagination, we sin. 

33. Jesus explained this principle of “thought-sin” in Matthew 5:27-28.  What did thought-sin did Jesus equate adultery with? Lust 

34. What other example did Jesus use to illustrate the thought-sin principle in Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus categorized hatred, anger and speaking evil of a person with murder 

35. Entertaining evil thoughts can bring a variety of unpleasant consequences.  Please write down the example consequences mentioned in the below verses:

Psalm 66:18: Blocked prayer:  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” 

Ezekiel 14:7-8: God opposes you:  If the people set up idols in their hearts, God would set his face against them and cut them off from the people 

Matthew 13:22: The word can be choked by the worries of life and the deceitfulness of riches 

Romans 1:18-32: Thinking can become futile and darkened; can be given over to lust & depravity; can be filled with every kind of wickedness 

36. What are three actions we can take concerning our thoughts?

1.  Luke 21:34: Guard your heart 

2.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5: Cast down sinful imaginations and take every thought captive to obedience of Christ 

3. Philippians 4:8: Fix thoughts on good things (things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy) 

What can we fix our thoughts on? There are many different things that we could think on that fit the qualities Paul mentioned in Philippians 4:8.   

37. What are four general categories of things we can think on mentioned in the below verses?    

1. Joshua 1:8: The word of God 

2. Colossians 3:1-4: Things above, rather than earthly things 

3. Philippians 2:1-5: On the interests & needs of others 

4. Hebrews 3:1: Fix your thoughts on Jesus 

38. Take a moment to evaluate your track record in controlling your thoughts.  How well have you been guarding your heart, casting down sinful imaginations and re-directing your thoughts toward pure things?  In what areas can you improve?   

 

39. There are some awesome benefits of keeping our thoughts obedient to Christ. Here are three examples:

1.  Isaiah 26:3: God will keep us in perfect peace 

2. Philippians 4:6-7: God’s perfect peace will guard our hearts and minds 

3. Romans 8:6: We will receive life and peace 

4) Exercising Godliness

a. Physical & Spiritual exercise compared

Any exercise involves working against a resistance.  For example, weightlifters’ resistance consists of the weight on the barbell or dumbbell.  A swimmer’s resistance comes from the friction or drag of their bodies moving through the water.  Overcoming the resistance is the work that breaks the muscles down, so that they will grow stronger.  The same principles of resistance and strength-building apply in spiritual exercise.   

40. Read Romans 7:21-25.  What is the internal resistance we face in exercising godliness?

The law of sin in our members wars against the law of our minds (God’s laws) 

Read 1 Timothy 4:6-8.

41. What did Paul instruct Timothy to do regarding godliness?

Exercise himself toward godliness 

42 What did Paul liken spiritual training to?  Physical training (or exercise) 

43. In what way is spiritual exercise superior to physical exercise? It is profitable for all things, both now and for eternity 

Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Paul used the comparison of physical training to illustrate spiritual training principles here, just as he did in1 Timothy 4:6-8.

44. What two recommendations did Paul have for spiritual athletes, drawing from his own experience with spiritual training?

1.  Run to get the prize, i.e. take it seriously and keep the eternal reward in mind

2.  Be prepared to exercise self-control in everything; Paul disciplined his body and brought it under strict control, so that he would not be “disqualified” from the race 

45. What did Paul have to bring into submission during his spiritual training?  What was at stake if he failed to do so?

his flesh; he could be disqualified from his inheritance in Christ (i.e. the eternal prize) 

The race analogy of the Christian life emphasizes the ongoing battle we must fight against our flesh.  The body constantly is gravitating toward sin and will resist yielding to the desires of the Holy Spirit.  Even Paul struggled with this ongoing war, as reflected in Romans 7:14-25.  Thankfully, God has given us power through the Holy Spirit to overcome the slavery of sin (and the flesh) and to bring our bodies into obedience to God.    

b. Examples of how to exercise godliness

What does it mean to exercise godliness?  Scripture describes many practical ways to exercise godliness.   For each of the eight examples below, please complete the statement and then summarize what the passage says concerning that way of exercising godliness.   

1) Romans 12:1-2.

46. We exercise godliness by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices.

47.  Summarize: 

We present our bodies as living sacrifices by using them for righteous purposes.  Paul mentioned that we are not to conform to the world’s pattern of carnal thinking, but rather to be transformed by the renewing of our minds through the Holy Spirit. 

2) Galatians 5:13-14, Ephesians 5:1-2

48. We exercise godliness by serving others in love.  

49. Summarize:

Serving in love means to use your freedom in the Holy Spirit to help other people instead of feeding your sinful desires.  Love fulfills the Law and we are called to be imitators of God, who showed us true love through Jesus Christ.

3) Galatians 5:16-25

50. We exercise godliness by following the Holy Spirit.

51.  Summarize:

The sinful desires of our flesh are opposed to the desires of the Holy Spirit. We are to live and walk by the Holy Spirit, responding to Him instead of the sin nature.  We are to crucify the sinful desires of the flesh. 

4) 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

52. We exercise godliness by controlling our thoughts.  

53. Summarize: 

Instead of letting our thoughts run rampant into sin, we are to control our thoughts by casting down evil thoughts & imaginations from our minds and by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 

5) Psalm 34:11-13, James 3:2

54. We exercise godliness by controlling the tongue.

55. Summarize:

6) 1 Timothy 6:10-11, 2 Timothy 2:22

56. We exercise godliness by fleeing temptations and pursuing good things/behaviors

57. Summarize:

Lust and the love of money are common temptations that we should flee.  The things we should pursue include righteousness, faith, love, hope, gentleness, godliness, perseverance, gentleness and peace.   

7) 1 Peter 1:13-16

58. We exercise godliness by pursuing holiness.

59. Summarize:

We pursue holiness by preparing our mind for action, being self-controlled, setting hope fully on the grace to be given to us when Christ is revealed and not conforming to our former evil desires.  

8) Luke 21:34-36, Ephesians 5:15-16, 1 Peter 5:8

60. We exercise godliness by keeping watch over the heart

61. Summarize:

Walk circumspectly; be vigilant and keep watch over your heart, as the devil walks around like a prowling lion looking for someone to devour. Beware of things that weigh down the heart, such as carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life. We are to redeem the time because the days are evil.   

62. What are some areas in your life where your flesh is having the upper hand, i.e. where your flesh is not submitting to God’s will? 

 

Please take a moment to commit each of those areas to God’s care and ask for his help in gaining control over your flesh. 

5) Continuous Prayer 

Prayer is the Christian’s lifeline, an open communication link with God.  It seems that human nature gravitates away from staying in touch with God, reverting to self-reliance through practical solutions to the daily challenges we face. It’s all too easy to forget God while trying to do things on our own.  This is actually a form of pride that we must resist if we hope to grow in our relationship with God and be fruitful for his kingdom.   

Prayer helps us be in tune with God.  It can open our eyes and ears to sense where he is working in the situations around us.  For spiritual warfare, prayer is the battle communication link that gives us important and possibly life-saving info to help us fight the enemy.   

If we can master the skill of continuous prayer, we’ll be more effective in spiritual warfare and more efficient as an agent of God’s kingdom.  Continuous prayer is like an open dialogue with God throughout the day, whether spoken or in our thoughts.  It’s where we share our feelings, concerns, thoughts and dreams with God.    

a. Strategic importance of prayer:  Read Philippians 4:6-7.   

63. What instructions did Paul give concerning the challenges of life and prayer?

Don’t be anxious about anything, Take everything to God with prayer and supplication 

64. What will we receive in return? 

God will send his peace to guard our hearts and minds in Christ 

65. What can we assume the condition of our heart and mind will be when we don’t take our requests to God in prayer?   Our hearts and minds will not be guarded by God’s peace 

66. Read Proverbs 4:23.Why is our heart so important to guard?

Out of the heart spring all the issues of our lives; an unguarded heart leaves us vulnerable to a multitude of possible attacks from the enemy 

b. Frequency of prayer

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

67. What did Paul say about the frequency of prayer?  Pray without ceasing 

68. What two things did Paul mention that can be done in conjunction with prayer?

1.      Rejoice always

2.      In everything give thanks  

Read Ephesians 6:17-18.

69. What did Paul say about the frequency of prayer in this passage?  Pray at all times 

70. What kind of prayer did he mention?  Pray with all prayer and petition in the Spirit 

71. What topics were the people to pray about?

Be alert in prayer with all perseverance and petition for all Christians 

c. Persistence in Prayer:

Read Luke 11:5-13

72. Why did the man in the house give his friend the food? Because of his persistence  

73. How did Jesus apply this to prayer?  Jesus used the parable of the persistent friend to show how we should be persistent in prayer (ask, seek, knock) because it will yield results 

Read Luke 18:1-7.

74. Why did Jesus tell this parable?  “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart”  

75. How often were people crying out to God? Day and night  

76. What was the presumed conclusion of the parable?

That God will respond to the persistent prayers of his people, even though at times he may tarry 

d. Examples

77. The scriptures give us plenty of examples of people praying.  The below examples illustrate the variety of situations that people prayed in the Bible.  Please read the below verses and describe the occasions that prayers were offered.

Mark 1:29-39:  Jesus takes time out to pray early in the morning just as his healing ministry is getting started; he is in high demand, yet takes time to pray

Mark 14:32-39: Jesus prays in Gethsamene, as he prepares to face his greatest trial ever 

Luke 3:21-22: Jesus praying while he was baptized; the Holy Spirit came down like a dove and God spoke to him

Luke 5:15-16: Jesus would often slip away to the wilderness and pray, in this case when the crowds were seeking his help

Luke 6:12-13: Jesus prays all night before choosing the 12 disciples

 

Acts 1:12-14:  The disciples and others were joined together constantly in prayer after the resurrection 

Acts 2:41-43: The new believers continued steadfastly in doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers – results: “fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

Acts 6:3-5: The apostles appointed overseers for the ministry so that they could devote themselves continually to preaching and prayer

Acts 10:1-23:

Acts 16:24-26:  Paul and Silas were praising God and praying at midnight in the prison 

78. Looking at your own prayer life, what are the typical times that you pray?    

79. What are some things that you can do to foster a habit of continuous prayer? 

Return to questions page