The following is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, THE MASTER BUILDER: Wisdom For Today’s Apostles. Follow this link to obtain your copy of THE MASTER BUILDER today.
“You therefore must endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NJKV
Paul understood the soldier’s life and undoubtedly had all the qualities of a good soldier within himself, including the “warriors” heart, which is a heart willing to fight and die for its beliefs. Paul faced death many times in his defense of the Gospel, as did those who were part of his “apostolic team.”
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NKJV
Paul’s understanding of the soldier’s life came as a result of living under Roman rule and being a Roman citizen himself. Paul’s personal experience with the Roman military included being chained to a soldier during travel, living with a soldier while under house arrest and being saved by two hundred soldiers when the Jew’s sought to kill him for speaking the truth of the Gospel. Amazingly, it was Roman soldiers who put him to death after being tried for the same crime. Paul saved a soldier’s life by refusing to leave the prison after the angel shook the place apart and loosed him from his stocks, opening the prison door for their escape. By remaining a prisoner after being freed supernaturally, he saved the prison guard who would have been executed for allowing his prisoners to escape. Paul actually saved this soldier twice, once from physical death, and then from spiritual death by leading him to salvation through Christ.
“Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:29-30 NKJV
As a “soldier’s soldier,” Paul was teaching Timothy the warriors heart as well, who would then impart it to others. The teaching included five areas of warfare that were under attack at that time (only two are covered in this article), and continue to be the target of destruction by the enemy in our day. Much of Paul’s writings were actually manuals on spiritual warfare, and showed the way of victory in every battle. Paul was truly a “general” of the faith.
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR FAITH.
Paul instructs Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith.”
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV
Satan is ever attempting to undermine our faith in the promises and provision of God. This is the faith that “is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” This is the faith that brings healing, miracles, deliverance and provisions to our lives. This is the faith that Jesus compelled people to use, and commended them for using it. This is the faith that is “rewarded” by God with manifestation. F.F. Bosworth said in his healing classic, “Christ The Healer,” “God gives a promise, when the promise produces faith, God produces what was promised.” The enemy seeks to put our attention on “things that are seen” with the natural eye so that we may not focus on “things which are not seen” those “things” seen by revelation.
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV
Walking by faith means we walk independently of our five senses and rely totally on God’s Word for evidence that we have what we have desired from the Lord. The “prayer of faith” is taught by Jesus in the following verse,
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24 NKJV
According to Jesus, we must “believe” we have what we prayed for before we will “see” (with our natural eye) that we have it. The battle for faith is simply this, “to stay in faith” as long as it takes. Satan is working to get us “out of faith” by putting pressure on us to observe the five senses, like Peter when he was walking on the water. He had begun to walk by faith in the word that Jesus spoke to him, “Come,” until he began to observe the “wind and rain” which caused fear to enter and he began to sink. This is the enemy’s strategy that causes us to lose the “fight of faith” – look at the five senses, fear comes in, and our faith sinks.
Many years ago, John Osteen, the late father of Joel Osteen, tells a story of how he lost a faith battle in his life. He was conducting a leadership conference at his church in Houston, Texas where he expected hundreds of pastor to attend. He prayed and asked God for two cows to butcher and prepare for the pastors. After a week or two when the cows had not yet “appeared,” he told his secretary to purchase the two cows. That night, in a dream, Pastor Osteen saw two large snakes, each had the outline of a cow in it. The Lord spoke to him and said, “You let the devil steal your cows.” He had started out in faith, “believing he had two cows he had prayed for,” but he got impatient and let go of the answer, he didn’t “stay in faith long enough.” Winning the battle for faith means we must be able to look past the five senses and see with the eye of faith (our sixth sense) and continue to believe we “have” what we asked for, until it is manifested in the natural realm. Nothing else is “faith.”
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR SOUL.
The apostle informs the believers at Rome regarding the warfare against their soul, that when won, will bring great glory to God.
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11-12 NKJV
The soul is comprised of mind, will and emotions. Another way to say it would be, “thoughts, feelings, and choices.” So how does the devil work his will upon our souls and cause us to lose our testimony before the world that would otherwise be the thing that convinces them to believe in God for themselves. First we must recognize what the devil is using against us, the “fleshly lusts” that already exist in our carnal nature. It is only the spirit man that has been affected in the New Birth, being made a totally new creation. The “outward man” our human bodies, have developed desires based upon the former life of sin, and it will continue to desire these things all thru this life until we receive our glorified bodies in the resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21
The warfare goes like this, if we allow the desires of our flesh to constantly be “on our minds,” those ungodly thoughts will soon produce “feelings” that lead to “actions.” So the process of losing the battle for the soul is “thoughts, feelings and actions,” in that order. For example, if we are trying to lose weight and our mind is continually thinking of a huge slice of chocolate cake, we will soon have an irresistible craving aroused that will lead to the Bakery. If immoral thoughts continually come to mind and we dwell on them, unholy passion will fan into flame and we will be too weak to resist if the “wrong” opportunity presents itself.
The battle of the soul against fleshly lusts is won by “taking thoughts captive immediately” before they “light a fire” in us. We have the power to control our thought life and to resist temptation.
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.” James 1:14 NKJV
The world is waiting to accuse us as believers, as Peter told the Romans who were being spoken of as “evildoers.” This is parallel to our situation today as the “liberal” controlled media make Christians out to be the “evildoers” in our society, even labeling us as potential terrorists. The goal of this brainwashing is to have an excuse to eliminate us from existence, just like the enemy wants to eliminate the Jewish state from the face of the earth, he desires the same for Christians. By losing the battle for the soul, we are helping the enemy to find cause to condemn us, we must win this battle and live the Christ life that is within at all times, letting the light of our new life in Christ shine. When our soul is controlled by fleshly desire, it is like putting a “lampshade” over the light of God’s life in our spirit.
What you just read is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, THE MASTER BUILDER: Wisdom For Today’s Apostles. Follow this link to obtain your copy of THE MASTER BUILDER today.