BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
Battles are a reality of life. Anyone who does not know he is involved in a battle is already defeated. We are daily involved in battles with Satan and his cohorts, which include his human agents.
As a child of God, you must not only know the reality of battles, you also need to know how to fight your battles God’s way. A child of God is not permitted to fight his battles the same way non-believers do. The Kingdom of God does not approve of the Machiavellian principle of the ends justifies the means. God is interested in the means – how the result is achieved.
As an introduction, let me show you from 2 Chronicles 25 how to fight your battles God’s way. “Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together and set over them captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, according to their fathers’ houses, throughout all Judah and Benjamin; and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them to be three hundred thousand choice men, able to go to war, who could handle spear and shield. He also hired one hundred thousand mighty men of valor from Israel for one hundred talents of silver. But a man of God came to him, saying, ‘O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel — not with any of the children of Ephraim. But if you go, be gone! Be strong in battle! Even so, God shall make you fall before the enemy; for God has power to help and to overthrow.’ Then Amaziah said to the man of God, ‘But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?’ And the man of God answered, ‘The LORD is able to give you much more than this.’ So Amaziah discharged the troops that had come to him from Ephraim, to go back home. Therefore their anger was greatly aroused against Judah, and they returned home in great anger. Then Amaziah strengthened himself, and leading his people, he went to the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand of the people of Seir. Also the children of Judah took captive ten thousand alive, brought them to the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, so that they all were dashed in pieces” (verse 5-12 NKJV).
From the passage above, we see that Amaziah, the king of Judah, was not satisfied with his army of 300,000 select troops and decided to hire 100,000 experienced fighting men from Israel – mercenaries from Israel, a kingdom God was not pleased with at that time.
Amaziah had already paid the mercenaries for one hundred talents of silver for the services to be rendered and Amaziah raised this matter with the man of God whom He sent to warn him not to go to war with these mercenaries as Judah would be defeated. The answer of the man of God is very instructive: “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” One hundred talents of silver is nothing to God. He is able to give much more than this as a reward of obedience.
Amaziah, therefore, decided to forgo the fees he had paid the mercenaries to be used to fight his battle. He went to the battle with his 300,000 soldiers he had thought were not sufficient to give him victory, but God surprised him. The army he underrated recorded an outstanding victory in that battle. God taught him a lesson that what he needed was God – not experienced fighters. The presence of God with a man is superior and more potent than the alliance with any indomitable army.
Did you notice the reaction of the mercenaries from Israel whose services Amaziah rejected, acting upon the Word of the LORD? They were annoyed and raided several of the towns of Judah between Samaria and Beth-horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off great quantities of plunder. Notwithstanding this, God had made a point: they didn’t hold the key to Judah’s victory; God did.
Beware of men who love to parade themselves as holding the key to your destiny. Never allow them to appropriate to themselves the power and position God has not given them over your life. They may think that without them you could not make it. Don’t believe that. Such a statement from any mortal, no matter the spiritual authority he has and despite any spiritual power he has, amounts to playing God. All power belongs to God and His Son, Jesus.
It is, however, unfortunate that Amaziah whom God demonstrated His power to by helping his army to defeat his enemy, the Edomites, returned from slaughtering them and brought with him idols taken from the people of Edomites. This is unbelievable! Amaziah actually acted foolishly. He set up these gods as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them!
One wonders what came upon Amaziah. He couldn’t remember that these same gods couldn’t deliver the Edomites. Of what benefit would they be to him? “This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, ‘Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?’ But the king interrupted him and said, ‘Since when have I made you the king’s counselor? Be quiet now before I have you killed!’ So the prophet stopped with this warning: ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel’” (verses 15-16 NLT).
As the adage goes, a dog destined to be lost does not hear the hunter’s whistle. Even when the foolishness of Amaziah was pointed out to him, he wouldn’t listen to the prophet of God. He refused to repent; he was arrogant, shouting down the man of God. That was the beginning of the end of Amaziah. He was surely destined to perish and he did but I don’t want to go further into that.
Let me quickly highlight some points that will guide you to fight your battles God’s way. Don’t forget I said God does not approve of the the-end-justifies-the-means attitude. If it didn’t matter how Amaziah got his victory, God wouldn’t have stopped him from using the 100,000 experienced mercenaries he had hired from Israel. The excuse that he had already paid them one hundred talents of silver could not even make God change His mind.
How can we fight our battles God’s way?
1.Trust in God. Don’t depend on mercenaries – some help somewhere. The best help can still fail if God decides to teach you a lesson. Don’t trust in horses and chariots. “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm” (Psalm20:7-8 NLT). The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Don’t be desperate that you act contrary to God’s Word. God was angry with King Ahaziah of Israel for consulting Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, instead of the God of Israel. “One day Israel’s new king, Ahaziah, fell through the latticework of an upper room at his palace in Samaria and was seriously injured. So he sent messengers to the temple of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether he would recover. But the angel of the Lord told Elijah, who was from Tishbe, ‘Go and confront the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is there no God in Israel? Why are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether the king will recover? Now, therefore, this is what the Lord says: You will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’ So Elijah went to deliver the message” (2Kings 1:2-4 NLT).
2. Don’t trust in numbers. Amaziah had 300,000 but hired 100,000 mercenaries because he wanted a higher number of solders. Gideon’s army that won the battle against the Midianites were fewer in number than he had wanted to take to the battle. God reduced his army of the initial figure of 32, 000 to 300 men (Judges 7:1-25).
If not that God was the Master Strategist on the side of Israel and not Gideon, such a strategy would have been a foolish gamble by any war commander. Jonathan, the son of Saul, was apt when he told his armourbearer: “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” (1Samuel 14:6 NLT). The Bible also says in Psalm 33:16: “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.”
In 1Chronicles 2, God regarded the counting of the Israelites by David as reliance on human resources. God knew his motive was not right, unlike the previous census in the book of Numbers chapters 1 and 2, which God ordered. For his reliance on human resources and not on heavenly resources, the LORD was angry with David. 1Chronicles 21:1 says, “Satan [an adversary] was against Israel and stirred up David to number Israel” (The Amplified Bible). Verse 7 says, “And God was displeased with this [reliance on human resources and He smote Israel.” Seventy thousand men were killed in the pestilence that God sent upon Israel for this act of David. What a colossal loss!
Psalm 147:10 says, “The strength of the war horse is nothing to him, it is not infantry that interests him” (The Jerusalem Bible). We all face the temptation of relying on some people who we think can help us to secure victory in the battles of life. It can even be through dependence on their prayers, prophecies, etc. Never let any of these replace your trust in God. The best of men can’t be compared to God. Human beings may disappoint you but God will never.
3. Don’t seek or receive help from someone God is against. Be careful whom you partner with in fighting your battles. If you partner with someone God is against, you will lose the battle or you will expose yourself to unnecessary danger. If there is no right person immediately available, fight your battle alone.
Abraham fought with just 318 servants who had been born into his household. What was the result? “Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives” (Genesis 14:16 NLT). Abraham knew these servants very well and the LORD gave him victory.
As we saw in the passage on Amaziah, he would have suffered a great loss by allowing the 1OO, OOO mercenaries from Israel to fight alongside his army because God was not with Israel. By strength shall no man prevail. “He will protect his faithful ones, but the wicked will disappear in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone” (1 Samuel 2:9 NLT).
4. Take advantage of the support and assistance of the saints. This balances the first two points I discussed. Man was not created by God to be alone. It is not only a wife or a husband that a human being needs; Christians need spiritually mature Christians with whom they can face their battles in life. It is not a wise show of strength, power, or maturity to face the battles of life alone.
Without making human beings to replace God in his life, one should have Christian partners whose partnership will not become a liability in fighting the battles of life. They will not only share with one the burden of prayers, they also stand to encourage one in times of weariness in the battles of life when one feels like giving up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (NLT).
In Acts 12, Peter benefitted from this kind of support and assistance when he was arrested and imprisoned. The church prayed for him earnestly and he was miraculously released. “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (verses 1-5 NkJV).
Suppose there was no one to pray for Peter in this battle with the forces of darkness represented by Herod Agrippa. What would have happened? But thank God there was a praying church. That’s one of the benefits of church membership. Only God knows how many battles Christians have lost because they did not have those partnering with them in fervent and earnest prayers or their partners were not faithful in praying effectual prayers. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV).
Look at what Peter, James, and John did in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’ Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Matthew 26:36-41 NKJV).
Jesus came to meet them three times to make them pray and on each occasion, they were busy sleeping. They couldn’t even pray for themselves so that they would not give in to temptation not to talk of keeping watch with him and praying for him having told them that his soul was crushed with grief to the point of death.
Hear what Paul wrote to the Corinthians showing both personal dependence on God and reliance on the prayers of faithful believers – one does not cancel the other. “In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us. He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered” (2 Corinthians 1:9-11 NLT). Paul and his team not only gave reliance on God number one priority, they also did not despise or underrate the prayers of saints. That’s how it should be if we have a proper understanding of the body of Christ and a healthy relationship with fellow believers.
It is not a sign of weakness to request for the prayers of saints. But it is unscriptural to ‘contract’ out your prayer issues to some prayer warriors somewhere while you sit back enjoying and expecting answers from their prayers.
5. Guard your heart, especially in victory. Don’t be deluded in victory and act foolishly like Amaziah did as we saw earlier in 2 Chronicles 25. How foolish was he to have taken the gods of the Edomites and start worshipping them – the gods that couldn’t prevent the Edomites from being defeated! Let not your victory draw your heart away from God; let it not make you lose your head.
6. Follow divine leading and instructions. Amaziah followed divine instructions in 2 Chronicles 25:5-8 by discharging the hired troops; he sent them back to Ephraim and the LORD gave him victory.
Ahab followed divine instructions in 1Kings 20 when King Ben-hadad of Aram with his army, supported by the chariots and horses of thirty-two allied kings besieged Samaria, the capital of Israel, and launched attacks against it. A certain prophet brought the Word of the LORD to Ahab and divine leading which gave them victory in that battle. “Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the LORD. So Ahab said, ‘By whom?’ And he said, ‘Thus says the LORD: By the young leaders of the provinces.’ Then he said, ‘Who will set the battle in order?’ And he answered, ‘You’” (1Kings 20:13-14 NKJV). Ahab did exactly as he was told and the LORD gave Israel victory.
The many victories of David in battles were due to his reliance on God’s leading. He was always enquiring of Jehovah (1 Samuel 23:2, 4; 2 Samuel 5:19, 23). Someone who feels self-sufficient won’t do that.
7. Be careful not to be weary in battle; never give up. Proverbs 24:10 says if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (NKJV). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “If you fail under pressure, your strength is not very great.”
The LORD told Jeremiah: “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5 NLT). God was telling Jeremiah he had not seen anything yet and he was already complaining – what would he say when he saw worse things? The battles of life are in various degrees and sizes – don’t let anything wear you out to surrender. If you are wearied and you give up over what you consider a fierce battle, do you know if there are still more fierce battles ahead? No matter what, never give up.
David says in Psalm 18:1, “I will love You, O LORD, my strength” (NKJV). He goes ahead in verse 29 to say, “For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall” (NKJV). David says further in verse 39, “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me” (NKJV). Did you see that? David was not a superman; he was God’s man. He was only a wise man – a man who knew how to ask and follow divine instructions from God and draw strength from Him. David reveals copiously in his psalms the secret of his success in battles. I encourage you to study these Psalms. When you are weary (because you will be weary sometimes), draw strength from the LORD. Never give up!
8. Fear not, be of good courage. Don’t fear the enemy; have faith in God. If there was anything God wanted Joshua to do above other things, it was to be strong and of good courage. He told him this in verses 6, 7, and 9 of Joshua chapter 1. What God told him, He is also saying to you and me.
Philippians 1:28 says, “Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself” (NLT). If you allow the devil to make you live in fear in the battles of life, he has already defeated you. The Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Fear is an enemy; never befriend it.
It may amount to living in denial for someone to say that he has never been afraid when confronted with battles of life. The devil sometimes succeeds in making us afraid but we must recover ourselves and focus on the Word of God especially His promises. Jesus has already defeated Satan – you and I must never forget that whenever he wants to work on our emotions to make us afraid.
Writing in Psalm 56 regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath, David says in verse 3, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (NKJV). Notice that David did not say, “If I am afraid”. He said, “Whenever I am afraid.” This is because there are times when we definitely will be afraid in the battles of life – we are just being human. What we need to do at such times is to trust in God and not in our intelligence, ability to fast and pray, knowledge of the Word of God, etc.
I need to add here that David who wrote this psalm was not a coward. No, he was a courageous and gallant soldier of no mean stature. It was not every time that he was afraid but he knew the right thing to do whenever he was afraid and this we need to learn from his life. For instance, David in his psalm when he fled from his son Absalom who overthrew him as the king said, “LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around” (Psalm 3:1-6 NKJV).
David’s lack of fear was based on his trust in the LORD. He could sleep not afraid because he knew the LORD was watching over him. This explained why he could declare that he was not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surrounded him on every side. Can you beat that! Some of us are dealing with just two enemies and we’re afraid. What would you do if ten thousand enemies surround you? You will not behave differently from the servant of Elisha. “And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’” (2 Kings 6:15 NLT).
The man was taken over by fear but what was the reaction of the servant of God, Elisha? “So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, ‘Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.’ And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha” (verses 16-18 NKJV).
Whenever you are afraid of?? the battles you are fighting, may the LORD open your eyes to see angelic defence all around you. May the Holy Spirit remind you of the promises of God in His Word. David was so confident because he knew about the commitment of God to protect him. He said in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (NKJV). What confidence!
In Psalm 27:1-3, David exuded the same overpowering confidence: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident” (NKJV).
Your faith will give you victory; your faith is the victory. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5 NKJV).
Don’t cast away your confidence –you need it. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (Hebrews 10:35 NKJV). However, never let your confidence be in yourself, or human resources. “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:3-5 NKJV).
Make sure you don’t allow any man to replace God in your life, especially when you are in the midst of warfare. The best of men can still be most unreliable as we saw in the disciples of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The wisest man that ever lived, Solomon warns, and you had better believed him: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint” (Proverbs 25:19 NKJV).
Let your confidence be deeply rooted in God. Don’t forget that powerful statement by Paul which I quoted earlier: “In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT).
Conclusion: The battles of life are already decided in your favour. All you have to do is to follow the Master who has defeated the devil on your behalf. “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15 NKJV).
Maintain unbroken fellowship with Him because without Him, you can do nothing. Obey His Word and follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit. Never forget the promises of God, especially His promises to be with you at all times and in all situations. If you can remember His promises, you will not be afraid of any human being or powers of the devil fighting against you.
That is why David could say, “In God (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:4 NKJV). You should be able to say that too. He repeated this bold assertion in verses 10-11 of the same chapter: “In God (I will praise His word), in the LORD (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:10-11 NKJV).
God is on your side and no man or power that is against you is greater than the power of God. He is your partner in the battles of life and your principal partner for that matter. “And in no way be alarmed or intimidated [in anything] by your opponents, for such [constancy and fearlessness on your part] is a [clear] sign [a proof and a seal] for them of [their impending] destruction, but [a clear sign] for you of deliverance and salvation, and that too, from God” (Philippians 1:28 The Amplified Bible).
Never forget, with God, the end does not justify the means. Fight your battles God’s way and you will be victorious in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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