IV. Warfare Disciplines

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In this section weíll 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, weíll 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 ďpersonĒ of the Holy Spirit.     

4. Read Psalm 18:28-39.

1.  Who trained David how to fight the enemy?    

2. What was David specifically trained to do?    

 

3. How was David equipped for battle?    

 

God will provide all of the equipment we need, so that we may stand against the devilís 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?  

 

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

           

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

 

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? 

 


 

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 ďmasters,Ē 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:   

1 Corinthians 4:14-16:   

1 Corinthians 12:27-28:   

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

 

11. With that in mind, what does the scripture exhort us to continue doing? Read Hebrews 10:23-26:    

 

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?    

 

 

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 enemyís schemes, more effective response in battle, and sharper discernment of Godís 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 dayís 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 unitís combat readiness. This morning muster is critical to the unitís 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 Godís army, we canít afford to miss our daily quiet time with him!  

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

 

Read Psalm 63.

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

 

16. What did he do in response?   

 

17. What were the results? 

 

Quiet times can be a strategic time for us to seek Godís wisdom about the challenges weíre facing in the natural or spiritual realms.   

Read Joshua 9:1-19

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

19. What happened as a result? 

 

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:   

Psalm 100:4:    

Ephesians 6:10-13:   

Ephesians 6:18:   

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, weíll need to develop the skills of testing doctrine, spirits and people.   

Godís 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 Godís word to the challenges that we face in life?

 

22. What were the key phrases that Paul used to describe Godís word in Hebrews 4:12?   

 

 

Just as bank trainees study real money to better recognize fake money, so we can study Godís word to better recognize Satanís counterfeits of the truth.    

Read Luke 4:1-14.

23. How did Jesus use the word of God to fight Satanís temptations?  

 

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

 

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

 

The scriptures help us recognize Satan, his minions and his schemes, typically by the fruits they produce.  Jesus said, ďA 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 grapesĒ (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?    

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Colossians 2:8:   

1 Timothy 4:1-2:  

2 Timothy 2:24-26:  

2 Peter 2:1-2,18:  

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

 

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:    

2.  Matthew 16:21-23:    

3.  Acts 5:3:    

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 ďthought-sinĒ in Matthew 5:27-28.  What did thought-sin did Jesus equate adultery with?  

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

 

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:   

Ezekiel 14:7-8:   

Matthew 13:22:   

Romans 1:18-32:  

 

 

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

1.  Luke 21:34:   

2.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5:   

3. Philippians 4:8:    

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:   

2. Colossians 3:1-4:   

3. Philippians 2:1-5:   

4. Hebrews 3:1:   

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:  

2. Philippians 4:6-7:   

3. Romans 8:6:   

4) Exercising Godliness

a. Physical & Spiritual exercise compared

Any exercise involves working against a resistance.  For example, weightliftersí resistance consists of the weight on the barbell or dumbbell.  A swimmerís 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? 

 

Read 1 Timothy 4:6-8.

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

 

42 What did Paul liken spiritual training to? 

43. In what way is spiritual exercise superior to physical exercise? 

 

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.    

2.     

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

 

 

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                                                        .

47.  Summarize:   

 

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

48. We exercise godliness by serving                                                         .  

49. Summarize:  

 

3) Galatians 5:16-25

50. We exercise godliness by following                                                            .

51.  Summarize:  

 

4) 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

52. We exercise godliness by controlling                                                              .  

53. Summarize:   

 

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

54. We exercise godliness by controlling                                                 .

55. Summarize: 

 

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

56. We exercise godliness by fleeing                                                                  

57. Summarize: 

 

 

7) 1 Peter 1:13-16

58. We exercise godliness by pursuing                            .

59. Summarize:  

 

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

60. We exercise godliness by keeping                                               

61. Summarize: 

 

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 Godís will? 

 

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

5) Continuous Prayer 

Prayer is the Christianís 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. Itís 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, weíll be more effective in spiritual warfare and more efficient as an agent of Godís kingdom.  Continuous prayer is like an open dialogue with God throughout the day, whether spoken or in our thoughts.  Itís 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?  

 

64. What will we receive in return?   

65. What can we assume the condition of our heart and mind will be when we donít take our requests to God in prayer? 

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

 

b. Frequency of prayer

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

67. What did Paul say about the frequency of prayer?    

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

1.       

2.         

Read Ephesians 6:17-18.

69. What did Paul say about the frequency of prayer in this passage?   

 

70. What kind of prayer did he mention?   

71. What topics were the people to pray about? 

 

c. Persistence in Prayer:

Read Luke 11:5-13

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

73. How did Jesus apply this to prayer?
  

Read Luke 18:1-7.

74. Why did Jesus tell this parable? 

75. How often were people crying out to God? 

76. What was the presumed conclusion of the parable?

 

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:  

 

Mark 14:32-39

 

Luke 3:21-22

 

Luke 5:15-16:  

 

Luke 6:12-13

 

Acts 1:12-14:
 

 

Acts 2:41-43:   

 

Acts 6:3-5

 

Acts 10:1-23

 

 

 

Acts 16:24-26

 

 

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? 


 

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