In our culture today everything needs to over dramatic and appealing. From the clothes we wear to the movies we watch. The bachelor, sporting game events, and especially scary movies. In my family, we LOVE scary movies. I remember we would all grab blankets, pillows and snack with us and go to the living room, turn off all the lights, then put on a scary movie or show. I personally was terrified the whole time but loved the adrenaline rush it gave me. We specifically would watch movies about ghost and sometimes demon hauntings. You know the story, the family moves into the house that apparently was a Indian burial in 300bc. Things start to be thrown across the room randomly and then they see it, the demon in a ghostly form crossing a room or hovering over them… It gives me chills just thinking about it! I sometimes will still enjoy a good old fashion cheesy scary movie like that.
Growing up, this is what I have always associated spiritual warfare with. It doesn’t help either that my grandpa was a pastor too and the only stories I would tune into him talking about when I was a kid was the intensely spiritual ones he was apart of when he would visit Mexico and deal with witch doctors. So you can imagine at such an early age I was wired to see spiritual warfare as a cinematic climax that always showed it self in the tangible things of daily life. Wether that was something flying across the room or seeing a “ghost” that just was always my expectation. But that’s not where the majority of it is seen and is active. It’s not just over seas in a foreign country where voodoo dolls are everywhere and people have paint all over them. It’s here and we encounter it everyday whether you are aware of it or not! For me as a worship leader, this is actually really important in the role I play as a shepherd and caregiver of eternal souls within my church.
I hard it put this way once;
“Spiritual warfare is a real thing, and worship is our weapon. The Bible calls us to pray for outward events all the way up to world leaders, but the real battles often rage on within us. People in the church struggle with fear, loneliness, rejection, pride, discouragement and many other burdens God promises to free us from. We, the worship leaders, are no exception to the rule. How many times have you stepped on the stage struggling with your challenges and emotions and struggled through your set?”
It is so true! People within our churches are broken and have real hurts. We the leaders of our church are broken and have flaws. People from anywhere of ALL ages come through our church doors with real life struggles and battle scars from head to toe. Maybe some in denial thinking that everything is well and that they can just hide everything that shame constantly reminds them of. Others, feeling like sin has power over there lives and lacking to believe the hope of the gospel. This is spiritual warfare. It’s real and right in front of us! A battle we wage with our flesh and sinful desires to pursue the King who our hearts truly long for, and the bible tells us this.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
I love the beautiful imagery used at the end of verse 4 as it talks about fortresses. There are various types of fortresses that exist in our lives, which are designed to oppose the truth and the triumph of the gospel. This leads to fear, anxiety, pride, and loneliness in our lives. All of those obstacles are strongly fortified. The sins of our heart are fortified by long indulgence and selfish desires. The wickedness of the world that we oppose is strongly reinforced by our strong human passions; that one point strengthens another. These strong fortresses of sin are to be battered down and laid in ruins by our spiritual weapons that only God provides and thats where we the church come in!
We cannot overcome this evil and win the war against something that we have no rule over ourselves. We did not form this earth and everything that dwells within it. We did not defeat death or sin on our own merit and never will. We can’t even use our own creations of weapons and gadgets to defeat darkness in the world because it is not something that we have kingship over. We’re helpless on our own! That’s the beautiful contrast of the Gospel though. God does and always has had power and rule over darkness and these forces we rage war against now in our lives. It is nothing new to Him or anything that catches Him off guard. He even sent His own son to dwell among us, was tempted, and can now sympathize with our every hurt. How comforting is that!? He has defeated death and darkness already. He is the way the truth and the light that cast out all darkness and fear.
God is the author of the doctrines which we preach, the truth of every song we sing, and He attends to them with His Spirit, accompanying them to the hearts of people. This is something that I have missed for so long! It is important for us, wether we are leaders in our church or church goers that counsel others, to know that our weapons are mighty only through God. Conquerors and earthly warriors go into battle depending on the might of their own arm, and on their wisdom and skill they have to plan the battle. In the same way, we should approach our spiritual war, knowing that the truths of scripture which we cling to and speak over our people is our weapon against a real and strong enemy. The only wisdom and skill we have to lean on is God and the work of Jesus on the cross. We have no hope of victory but in God.
We the church have the responsibility of being in the trenches and reminding our brothers and sisters of the truths as well as promises that God has made possible for us His children through the cross. As a worship leader, it is my responsibility to sing over and with the children of God the truths that maybe we don’t truly believe in our hearts but know is the unshakeable, never-failing word of God! Spiritual warfare is real and alive. For the believer we must equip ourselves with the power of the Word of God and lean on His work, not our own to endure this fight.