Spiritual warfare: Fighting it

By Steve Canter

If you are a church planter, you are in a war today and your greatest enemy is not a monthly report or an annual budget, but the devil himself. The battle is real and it is savage. Despite Satan’s real presence, many church planters neglect to acknowledge he and his legions of demons are out to destroy them and discredit the cause of Christ they are warring for. Disregarding the spiritual wickedness competing for your effectiveness leads to loosing Kingdom ground.

If you are going to have victory in spiritual warfare, than you will need to:

  • Know your weaknesses, because the devil knows them. The greatest tactic of the devil is not overpower you with his strength, but it is to lay in front of you day-after-day your very own weaknesses to distract and rob you of your affection for God. I have worked with hundreds of church planters in the past 15 years, and I would narrow down the three most common weaknesses in church planters to be arrogance, insecurity and lust. It should not be a surprise that these are three common areas planters fails in. Where do you sense the devil’s attack the most? Once you’ve identified your top weaknesses, then…
  • Know your weapons, because God gave them. There are a number of verses that give us insight into how we are to respond to spiritual warfare. But, the one everyone and their mother knows is Ephesians 6:11. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil,” and then Paul goes on to unpack the “whole armor of God.” But, I want you to see how the different pieces of the armor should be interpreted.
  • Know your role, and let Jesus fight for you. In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul’s tells you to put on the armor and then emphatically instructs us to stand against, stand, resist or stand therefore. “Stand” is the key word and he uses the root word for it four times. It seems our active role is to put on the armor and then stand fast and resist. Does that mean we stand there and take the beatings from the devil and his wicked friends? No, we stand firmly in faith knowing Christ’s “divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” You are not called to fight, you are called to stand and allow Jesus to fight for you and you rest in the security and comfort of the armor.

Armor of God: Who and what it is

Belt of Truth: Jesus is the Truth, John 14:6
Breastplate of Righteousness: Jesus is our Righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace: Jesus Himself is the Peace on which we stand, Ephesians 2:13-14.
Shield of Faith: Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Hebrews 12:2.
Helmet of Salvation: Jesus is our Salvation, Titus 3:6.
Sword of the Spirit: Jesus is the Word of God, John 1:1.

Putting on the armor of God means in every trial and temptation you face, you replace your weaknesses with Christ’s strengths! Which leads me to my final point. The armor of God is not there so you can punch the devil in the mouth and fight him. It’s given to you so that you can face him. So…

When you go into any kind of battle, what you want on your side is the greatest Warrior who can lead your side in the war. Jesus is no less a warrior today than he was 2000 years ago on the cross. And it is within His power that spiritual warfare in your life can and will be defeated. Stand firm, my friend, and resist.

Published April 26, 2017

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Steve Canter

Steve Canter and his wife Jennifer have been married since 1997 and have three daughters. Although they relocated to Brooklyn, New York in December 2013, they felt they were “home” since their first time in the city. They love the density of people and diversity of cultures that only an urban context like NYC can provide. Steve is a graduate of Cumberland College and, before coming to NAMB in 2006, served as a student pastor, church planter and in associational missions primarily in Cincinnati, Ohio. Steve most recently was the Missionary Development Coordinator for NAMB, helping to establish the NAMB missionary Farm System. Throughout his ministry experience, he has focused on developing missionary leaders to provide laborers for the harvest field with a particular burden for indigenous minority leaders. Steve has played an integral part in establishing the Rebuild Network, a network of churches focused on developing multiethnic leaders for the urban context, and is currently the Northeast director. Steve is also an elder at The Bridge Church in Brooklyn, NY. In his free time Steve loves exploring the city with his family. He enjoys eating chicken wings and drinking coffee (not at the same time). His favorite Scripture verses are Isaiah 55:8-9.