Jeff Strite tells the story when heavyweight champion of the world Joe Louis took on challenger “Two-Ton” Tony Galento.
Louis was favored to win, so he was surprised when Galento threw a punch that knocked him sprawling onto the mat. Quickly Louis jumped to his feet.
When the round ended Louis’ manager scolded him, “You know you’re supposed to take the full count when you go down. Why didn’t you stay down for nine?”
“What, and give him a chance to rest?” Louis responded.
Joe Louis was annoyed, because he knew he was better than Galento. He wasn’t about to allow a sucker punch to get the best of him, which is why he quickly got back into the fight.
Strite then makes the point that “we are better than our opposition. In fact, if we fight the way we should we cannot lose against our enemy.”
That’s just not Jeff Strite’s opinion. The Bible says so.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”
(1) We are in a war.
While some are averse to the metaphors of warfare, the Bible abounds with such analogies. “Fight the good fight of faith,” Paul urged Timothy. Put on the Christian armor, he admonished the Ephesians. Be “a good soldier for Jesus Christ” (I Tim. 6:12; Eph. 6:10-18; 2 Tim. 2:3).
We are fighting against the Devil and his minions. Against idolatry. Immorality. Indifference. Ignorance. Atheism. Agnosticism.
(2) The war spiritual, not carnal.
The war is not against people, but worldly ideas. Secular ideals. Carnal strongholds. Ungodly world views. Religious error. Our weapons, however, are not physical, but spiritual. Politics is not the answer to the ills facing, nations or homes. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(3) The struggle is inward.
The heart of the problems we both face and fight are problems of the heart. Outward actions are but manifestations of an inward issue.
Jesus warned, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt 15:29). That’s why the wise man instructed: “Keep your heart with diligence for out it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
Satan is seeking to control the heart. To cloud the mind. To corrupt feelings. To compromise values. To curb the appetite for spiritual things. And to contaminate the soul.
The war within is a battle against ignorance. Satan wants us to blind people to the truth. Keep us in spiritual darkness. And to remain unlearned and illiterate regarding God’s will and Word.
The war within is a battle against immorality. Lust that foments in the heart will finally express itself in unrighteous actions.
The war within is a battle against wrong attitudes. Envy, jealousy, pride, and selfishness are sins of the heart that ultimately are acted out in ungodly actions.
The war within is a battle against apathy and indifference. Our hearts can grow cold and our ears become dull of hearing Bible teaching and gospel preaching.
To win the war, we must begin within ourselves. Our hearts must be right with God. And then the battle is really for the hearts of lost souls. Winning outward and secular battles may make us feel good, but they are not the supreme reason why we are here on earth.
(4) God’s cause will win.
While it may seem at times like we’re losing, the Bible teaches that Christ’s cause will ultimately be victorious. The devil is going to lose. His cohorts and comrades will finally fail. Truth will win out. Righteousness will prevail. And God will rule triumphantly.
So, when Satan knocks you down. Get up. Get back in the fight. And know you’re better than that.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman