Casualties of war cannot only be counted among the physically dead and wounded, but among those living silently in mental, emotional, and spiritual torment…
I remember a time, a few years after I started walking with the Lord, just feeling so stuck in my life. It seemed no matter what I tried, it never brought forth lasting fruit. I could see what I wanted in the spirit, I could see who I was in Christ, but somehow my life was not expressing that reality on a daily basis, and I was still just struggling. As I was seeking the Lord in prayer one day, complaining about this very issue, I heard the Holy Spirit begin to deal with me about the old weapons I was using.
He said, “Rheanna, you’re spinning your wheels because you’re trying to fight a new war with old weapons. I’m going to need you to lay those old weapons down, so I can teach you a new way and then you will prosper.”
It was in that prayer time and the many that would follow, that He began teaching me the areas of my life that I was using old weapons of control, anger, impatience, ideals, self-indulgence and manipulation to maintain my sense of peace and order. With the fear of not knowing what my life would look like without those weapons of survival, I started laying down the old things by obedience: I chose to keep my mouth closed instead of getting that last word. I chose to respond in love instead of fear. I chose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. I chose to forgive instead of punishing. As I would lay down the old, I began to discover the revelation of the new in the scriptures: love, patience, joy, trust, humility etc. I allowed the Lord to teach me to use the new weapons to finally win my battles and occupy my freedom in Him. My life has never been the same since that journey of laying down the old weapons and picking up the new ones.
Our five physical senses seem most real to us as we wander this world in search of significance, we spend much of our time measuring all things by what we can see, taste, smell, feel and hear, but then God calls us out of the flesh and into the spirit; to walk by the spirit, to live by the spirit, and experience by the spirit. It is then that we discover an eternal reality – a new war. We quickly find the futility of fighting the spiritual battle with carnal weapons; A new war requires new weapons.
One of the most frequent questions we get asked in mentoring or counseling individuals through deliverance and healing is, “Now that I’m free from the bondage, how do I live every day in freedom.” We have to learn how to lay down the old ways of thinking, responding and getting what we need and learn to pick up the new so we can move from simply surviving and start thriving.
Identifying Old Weapons
A weapon is defined in the English dictionary as any instrument used in attack or defense in combat. When you decided to make Jesus Lord of your Life you enlisted into a new war, one that is spiritual in nature, therefore requires spiritual weapons. In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul gives us this insight:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” – 2 Cor. 10:3-4
In short, old weapons are rooted in the flesh and produce temporary relief
Let’s take a look at two primary manifestations of the flesh when it comes to old weapons: 1. The benefit of our flesh, and 2. The struggle against others in the flesh.
1. The benefit of our own flesh…
Romans 8:5 – “Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities (what pleases God)” (TPT)
Our mission is not to pursue what benefits ourselves but to pursue what pleases God in Christ and colonize the kingdom.
2. The struggle against others in the flesh
Ephesians 6:12 – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NASB)
People are not your enemy! We are not called to tear people down, but to tear down the spiritual evils that they hide behind & operate in.
How do we identify when we’re fighting with an old weapon?
“For although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons, using manipulation to achieve our aims. Instead, our spiritual weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle the defenses behind which people hide.”
– 2 Cor. 10:3-4 (TPT)
We understand from the verse above, that our weapons are energized or motivated by some form of power.
We must ask ourselves this question, “what is motivating my response?”
Old weapons are motivated by fear-based questions like, how can I protect myself? How does this affect me? How can I benefit from this?
New weapons are motivated by love-based questions like, how can I protect the other person? How can I serve others? How can I come into agreement with truth? How can I pursue the Lord regardless of how I feel?
What are some examples of what old weapons might look like?
Paul lists some examples of the works of the flesh in his letter to the Galatians. Let’s keep in mind two key things he mentions: first, the deeds of the flesh (old weapons) are evident, meaning they’re clear and apparent to those who want to see them. Second, this list is not exhaustive which is why he ends the list with the phrase, “and things like these”.
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21
If you’re like me, maybe this translates into managing your feelings of anxiety with controlling behaviors, outbursts of anger, manipulation or isolation. Perhaps your old weapons might look like trying to relieve your tension or stress with excessive alcohol, T.V. & social media usage or spending, pornography or drug addictions. Sometimes we may try to avoid feelings of shame and guilt through prideful attitudes, hiding behind reasoning, and blaming, or excuses.
Whatever the manifestation of the old looks like for you, God has called you to lay down those old weapons and the old ways of the flesh and to pick up the new weapons and live in the new way of the Spirit!
New Weapons of Warfare
We’ve looked at what it looks like to war in the flesh and use the weapons of the old, now let’s dive into the NEW and identify what the new weapons of spiritual living look like…
First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that the Kingdom of heaven is inverted… for example, worldly culture will tell you if you want to prosper, you’ll have to keep tight-fisted and accumulate as much as possible, but Proverbs 11:25 says that the paradox of the Kingdom is that generosity is the key to prosperity. So, when God calls us out of the old and into the new, we find a paradoxical way of living.
We know from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that the old weapons are carnal and produce temporary results for surviving, and the new weapons are spiritual and produce eternal fruit for thriving so, the fruit of the Spirit should be our measuring stick for walking by the Spirit and wielding our new weapons of warfare.
Galatians 5:22 = Fruit of the Spirit; Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self-Control.
One cannot strive to produce spiritual fruit, it can only be birthed from a heart abided in Christ and walking in His Spirit; When we are walking by the Spirit and living by the Spirit, our lives with manifest these fruits.
We also understand that the new weapons are motivated by love, so it’s important to study what love looks like from a biblical, sacrificial, Christ-like perspective – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Here is a link to a document that breaks down 1 Corinthians 13 in a deeper way
GOD KIND OF LOVE
What are some examples of what this might look like?
To understand what new weapons will look like practically, we must look to the word; written, spoken and living (nature of Christ) to find application. Scriptures reveal the nature of the NEW in Christ.
What it looked like for me to lay down my old weapons was, instead of acting out in anger and control to manage my feelings of anxiety, Christ taught me how to cast my anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7) and pick up the weapons of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Perhaps instead of managing stress with self-indulgence, it’s time to go to Him and rest (Matthew 11) and be still and know Him (Psalm 46:10).
The Art of War
To occupy freedom, we must identify the old weapons and lay them down, then we must learn the new weapons and choose to pick them up. It’s time to stop finding tactics to avoid conflict & challenges and start learning to confront the darkness through the art of war!
In war you have to invest in both OFFENSE and DEFENSE
What does the defense look like? Protection
It’s easy to get caught up in your offensive weapons of warfare and feeling like you need to fight battles constantly, but in war it’s wise to understand your defense just as much as your offense.
Open your bible and read how Ephesians 6 lays out the “Armor of God”. The armor only has one offensive weapon, all the others are defensive. The over-arching theme for your defense is abiding in Christ – salvation (helmet), peace (shoes), truth (belt), righteousness (breastplate) is all founded in Him and Him alone.
Seeking intimacy with Jesus is your best and only defense!
Study the word, pray and have conversations with God, worship Him, passionately pursue Him first and He will add all things to you.
What does the offense look like? Action
The sword of the spirit is the one offensive weapon that is listed in Ephesians 6, which is the Word, written and living (Jesus). We understand that the word reveals God’s nature and His nature is love. Love should be our motivation behind every weapon we wield, therefore knowing the Word is essential to the art of war.
Your best offense and only offense is to know the Word!
When you say YES to Christ, you enlist into a new war and a new freedom – new war requires new weapons. He invites you to come out of the survival mentality; wielding carnal weapons of the flesh and come into the thriving mentality; fighting with spiritual weapons of the Spirit!
To listen to the full podcast on New War, New Weapons, click the link:
– Justin and Rheanna