Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Seasons and Cycles of Spiritual Warfare





The seasons and cycles of our planet are foreseeable; we understand this and plan accordingly. The same holds true for the cycles of our life. Times of abundance follow seasons of scarcity, seasons of pleasure follow times of discomfort. Christians that accept this reality plan for it and, in so doing, are prepared.

The same concept applies to spiritual warfare, and Scripture reveals this truth when believers study words carefully. Consider the Bible’s warning to Christians: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12).

When one thinks of warfare, images of intense conflict fill the mind. There’s a starting point, a fight, and a conclusion – at which point the forces separate for a period. However, Scripture doesn’t use the word fight; it uses the word “wrestle” (πάλη / PAH-lay). Spiritual warfare resembles a wrestling match more than it does a boxing match. The opponents stay in contact during periods of intense maneuver, and during times of rest.

Wrestling matches aren’t a quick fight; they’re a prolonged struggle and an ongoing battle. Christians that understand the nature of this type of battle can plan their strategy accordingly.

Spiritual warfare is also cyclical; it comes and goes with the same degree of certainty as worldly seasons. The Bible gives an account of Satan tempting Jesus during His earthly ministry. Jesus prevailed (of course), but notice how the story ends:

The King James Bible tells us, “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:13, KJV). The New King James Bible tells us, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13, NKJV). Despite a small variation in words, the message is the same, and it’s important.

In biblical terms, a season reveals two immediate realities: it’s a finite, temporary span of time, and it will return in the future. It also tells us Satan will return at “an opportune time” … for him. Satan’s opportune time will always be the worst time for us.

Christians accepting this reality will plan accordingly, and not pity themselves.  Assuredly, they will be stronger as a result of their efforts.

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Michael I. Kaplan lectures regularly to faith-based organizations on the topics of apologetics (reasoned arguments or writings in justification of theological doctrine), biblical studies and spiritual warfare.

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