Here are the suggestions of David, the great veteran warrior for God, on engaging the enemy in spiritual warfare:
1. Focus on God, not your fear. (Psalm 27:1-3)
Notice how David extols God first. Then, in comparison to God, he has no need of fearing his enemies.
"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?"
Undoubtedly one of the greatest hurdles to overcome in battle is fear.
David did not let fear take the song out of his life.
Author Max Lucado shares the story of a parakeet named Chippie who had a very bad day. It began when the bird’s owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. She was almost finished when the phone rang, so she turned around to answer it. Before she knew it, Chippie was gone.
In a panic she ripped open the vacuum bag. There was Chippie, covered in dirt and gasping for air. She carried him to the bathroom and rinsed him off under the faucet. Then, realizing that Chippie was cold and wet, she reached for the hair dryer! Chippie never knew what hit him.
His owner was asked a few days later how he was recovering. "Well", she replied, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore. He just sits and stares."
Have you ever felt like that? One minute you’re whistling through life, and the next you’re caught up in a whirlwind of stress. Life sucks you up into its vortex and just when you think you’ve recovered from one trouble another wind of adversity blows in your direction.
Don’t be like Chippie the parakeet. Don’t let the song go out of your life.
But how is this possible? It becomes possible when we focus on who God is, how great He is, and what He means to us.
He is our light. He is our salvation. We are no longer living in the darkness of sin. No enemy can take God’s salvation from us!
David said in verse 2 and 3, "When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell."
"Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident."
Spiritual warfare requires confidence. But that confidence is not solely in our strength and abilities. If that were the case we would have occasion to be afraid.
Our confidence in God is what challenges the enemy. Our enemy begins to see our confidence and becomes the one experiencing fear.
Psychological warfare plays a tremendous role in our battle with the enemy. If Satan and his demons can get believers to fear, they know they have gone a long way in winning a spiritual battle.
David, the veteran warrior for God, knew the secret to winning the fear game - focus on God.
He also knew another secret to success in battle...
2. Practice consistent fellowship with God. (Psalm 27:4-10)
"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple."
When David says "all the days of my life" he is talking about constant communion with God. He is not talking about coming to God only when he’s in trouble!
David puts it this way in verse 5, "For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock."
Why did David have assurance in times of trouble? Because before trouble ever got to him, he had been dwelling in God’s house "all the days" of his life.
One of the greatest mistakes you can make in spiritual warfare is to wait to train for battle in the midst of battle. The time to train is before the battle ever begins.
It is not by accident that David mentions several titles for God’s house when he talks of consistent fellowship with God. Some of our greatest training for battle takes place in the house of God.
David says, "That I may dwell in the HOUSE of the LORD all the days of my life", in verse 4, and "to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his TEMPLE."
In verse 5 he mentions the TABERNACLE and refers to it again in verse 6:
"And now shall mine head be lifted up above my enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his TABERNACLE sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD."
David made it a consistent practice of his life to attend worship in God’s house!
David was an excellent warrior for God because he was faithful to the house of God. 21st Century children of God are losing a great battle here.
Rencently the governors of the western United States were warned by the Federal government about possible terrorist attacks on their bridges. Transportation officials scurried to tell people that the bridges were safe in spite of the warnings. (The FBI later said the threats were not credible, but it was too late, word had gotten out.)
If you watched the news you saw video of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fracisco as a backdrop to this news story. One transportation official standing by the Golden Gate was telling why this particular bridge was secure.
Every bit of concrete, all the pavement, and every bit of steel in that entire bridge - all of it, relates one piece to another. Every piece of metal in that bridge finally relates to two giant cables, that finally come up to two great piers that go down into bedrock, and two anchors out on each side. That’s the genius of a suspension bridge - EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF METAL, EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF CONCRETE, IS PREOCCUPIED WITH ITS FOUNDATION.
David’s life was like a suspension bridge. Everything was tied into God. He used the house of God as a focal point for his relationship to God.
When he arrived at God’s house he sang praises (v.6), and he prayed: "Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me and answer me."
Look closely also at verses 8 through 10:
"When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up."
When David cried out to God - God answered him. What was God’s answer? "Seek my face". To which David immediately replied, "Thy face, LORD, will I seek."
What are you seeking today? Comfort? Riches? Popularity? God never asks us to seek any such things. He asks us to seek His face.
To seek someone’s face is to seek intimacy. You don’t get into a person’s face with whom you are not close.
God wants us to get close to Him.
It is even possible to lose closeness with your parents (v. 10), but God does not hide his face from those seeking communion with Him! He has adopted millions of orphans.
The key to victory in spiritual battle is consistent communion. Do you walk with God face to face, or is your relationship with God "on and off"?
Strive for consistency. Especially in your attendance at God’s house. Make it a priority to worship.
One more piece of advice from this great spiritual warrior.
3. Live an upright life. (Psalm 27:11-14)
Verse 11 - "Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies."
The words "plain path" from the authorized version could be translated "straight or upright".
Very little is said today about the value of a morally good life. It is not politically correct to even say that one way of life is "good" and another is not, that one action is "moral" and another is not.
Traditional values in society have been torn down in the name of fairness and tolerance.
This has also led to weakness in spiritual warfare. The enemy tries to persuade us our values are outdated or "intolerant".
We should pray like David did in verse 12, "Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies; for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty."
People will be cruel to you when you live a morally upright life. They will falsely accuse you of being "holier than thou".
Yes, there is such a thing as "goodness". It begins with God - look at verse 13 - "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the GOODNESS of God in the land of the living."
There is a "good" and "right" way to live and there is a "wrong" way to live. Moral relativists may attempt to erase the lines but we all know there is a difference between right and wrong.
The only way we can overcome society’s impulses to compromise is to do what David counsels in verse 14 - "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
We must look to the LORD, not to society around us for our guidelines on what is right and wrong. If we wait to see which way the moral winds are blowing we will be lost at sea.
Are you winning life’s battles? Consider this advice from a veteran. Make the adjustments the Word of God calls for and your life will be victorious.