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Rules of Engagement 

Nearly twenty-five years ago, The Iraq War inundated our military forces with daily chaos.  When an innocent-looking ten-year-old boy may have a bomb strapped to his waist, no soldier could be too cautious.  Fighting men were taught the “rules of engagement,” that is, what is permissible in engaging the enemy.  General Ron R. Vines said: “We continually evaluate and investigate the loss of each life to determine whether the rules of engagement were applied correctly, whether the rules are still valid, whether additional training would have precluded the loss of innocent life, whether additional equipment will do that. What we must never do is deprive a soldier in harm’s way of the ability to protect himself and his fellow soldiers, to make the decisions based on the threat they believe they have on the ground. We will do everything we can to provide them with the best training, the best equipment and the rules of engagement that allow them to operate with maximum safety.” 

We often find ourselves frustrated by the battle of living for God, as though there were rules of engagement when fighting the devil. We pray, read the Bible, come to church, worship, give and get involved in ministry, and yet still seem to have a hard time. We wonder why we don’t have more joy, peace, love and other spiritual graces in our lives. We analyze issues, exegete scriptures, research books and magazines, and talk to othes. Still, certain problems persist. The problem is that we fight the real battle in the realm of the Spirit, not on the level of human effort, human wisdom and understanding. We have an intellectual grasp of the issues, but we will not find comprehensive answers without spiritual insight and power.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.“  Ephesians 6:12. We must engage enemy forces in the realm of the spirit. 

One man remarked that the devil would like nothing better than for his prey to deny his existence. Jesus acknowledged their presence without diverting glory or ceding superiority to them. He identified the source of opposition to his mission. Of the religious leaders who resisted his ministry, he said, You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  John 8:44. With this statement and others like it, Jesus laid out the battle of spiritual warfare for the church. 

We ignore the reality of this battle at our own peril. Opposing spirits will not respect human efforts but will flee only as we wage spiritual war against them. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. For example, why do some people become jealous? Or why do others suffer from a heavy heart? Or why do still others fall into adultery?

The scriptures reveal the origin of these conditions. The operative word in each of these instances is spirit. Such unseen spirits often lie at the root of our problems. These elements defy understanding. Spiritual enemies must be attacked through spiritual means. Scriptures learned must be scriptures applied. The devil still trembles when the church falls to her knees. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4. How can we be mighty through God? There is only one rule of engagement you need to remember—no holds barred! You can unleash the powers of intercessory prayer, fasting, boldly wielding the sword of the Spirit and separation from the world and its influences. We must adjust our thinking from the natural to the spiritual realm. Victory and revival burst forth from spiritual endeavors, not from fleshly efforts.  Soaking yourself in prayer will ignite an inner fire that drives your enemy away!

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