The famous martial artist Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee was a very wise man.
I was preaching at the United Gospel Mission’s Restoration House last night when the Holy Spirit connected some dots for me right in the middle of my sermon. That actually happens a lot; I think I’m giving a message to others when in fact God is giving a message to me! Here’s what the Holy Spirit showed me.
We’re told in scripture to meditate on God’s word day and night (Joshua 1:8). In today’s parlance, we tell the church to do daily disciplines – read scripture, pray, study, and all that. But the truth be known, most in the church don’t really read their Bible daily or are they really meditating on His word. They do pray, but not deeply or intentionally. Fewer are actually studying the word of God and even less are trying desperately to live it out.
This is why the church in many respects doesn’t look much different from society. Instead of being a light to a dark world, the church has just as many divorces, just as many abusers, just as many men addicted to pornography, just as many anything as the non-believing world. It’s really kind of pitiful when you think about it.
But here is what the Holy Spirit had me share with the men at Restoration House last night. The reason we’re like that is because we don’t understand the battle we are in and we don’t have the courage to fight the battle as Jesus taught us.
You see, our fight is not against flesh and blood, according to scripture, but against spiritual things called rulers, and authorities, and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12). Every day not just we Christians but the entire human race is in a battle against Satan!
I love telling a room full of people this truth to see how they react. Usually about half don’t buy it while the other half nod their heads in agreement. So, from the moment you tell people we are in a spiritual battle you lose half of them, which means half have already lost that battle because they don’t even realize there is a war!
As for the other half, we talk about the armor of God. Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us from verse 13 forward, “13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Yes, the church is great at putting on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, and sandals of the gospel of peace and the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. And then they stand their and just get pummeled by Satan, hoping all these defenses will protect them and are surprised at how brutally they are attacked and wounded. This is because they miss the most important part of this armor – the sword of truth which is the word of God.
No knight would ever go into battle without an offensive weapon! Imagine a knight all kitted out in his armor with no sword, ax, mace or any other weapon! The guy would get killed! His armor would only take so many blows from those with weapons before it would collapse under the weight of the attack!
That is not how war works! The armor defends you while you wield your sword to kill your enemy!
And what is our sword? The word of God!
When Satan was tempting Jesus in the desert, Jesus showed no fear. He simply responded to Satan’s attacks with His sword – the word of God! Each time Satan tempted him, Jesus responded with a verse from the Book of Deuteronomy which completely shut Satan down. Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are (Hebrews 4:15) yet He did not sin. Of course, He didn’t – He knew how to wield his sword!
So, let me get back to meditating on the word day and night. The Holy Spirit wanted me to tell those men last night (and you today) that you cannot fight a spiritual battle without knowing God’s word because God’s word is your sword – your only offensive weapon – and without knowing God’s word you cannot defeat Satan’s attacks; without a sword you’re just going to get pummeled!
Bruce Lee didn’t fear someone who knew 10,000 techniques they only practiced once. Satan doesn’t fear the Christian who has read 10,000 verses only once. Do you see what I mean by that?
Bruce Lee feared the man who had practiced one technique so many times that the technique had become part of him. Like anyone who is proficient with a weapon, that weapon becomes an extension of them!
Satan fears the Christian who has read scripture over and over and over and over again so that scripture has become a part of them. Like someone who is proficient with a weapon, scripture becomes an extension of them in this spiritual battle!
Scripture tell us that if we rebuke the devil he must flee (James 4:7). Scripture also shares that there are demons that only flee through prayer (Mark 9:29). We are told that a demon can be sent out and will return with seven more demons if that space has not filled by God (Luke 11:24). Scripture tells us that Satan prowls around like a lion looking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
Yet, the church seems oblivious to this war not taking seriously the command to meditate on His word and in essence sharpen our sword for battle! How can we stand our ground if we don’t have a weapon with which to fight?
My message to the men last night was about courage and my message today to my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith is about courage. We need to have the courage to not just take Satan’s blows but to fight back! We must know God’s word so well that when we are under attack the Holy Spirit can bring to mind just the right verse so that we can defeat that attack swiftly and completely! Satan has nothing to fear if you have no weapon but has everything to fear when you wield the sword of truth which is God’s word! I pray you take this war seriously and that you read your verses 10,000 times so that this sword becomes so much a part of you that Satan wants no part of you.