I wrote Jesus in Warfare and Stopping the Mouth of Lions at the same time, over a thirty-year period. I had always seen them as two parts to the same book, but the more I wrote the more I realized they were two distinct aspects of spiritual warfare. The one is what happens to us through people and the other is what happens to us in our heads. Both books are over a 100 pages in length, beautifully printed, with space to include your own notes, many practical assignments, QR codes and web links that lead you to ongoing studies and audio files, and a large question and answer section, which help shed more light on the subject.
They are available on our website and on Amazon, both in print and as e-books.
JESUS IN WARFARE
During a time when I felt particularly embattled in my ministry, I decided to study what Jesus taught and demonstrated in terms of personal spiritual warfare. I took a paperback edition of the Bible and, with an orange highlighter, began to mark the occasions when Jesus was in some form of spiritual conflict.
My criteria for defining warfare were the moments when the enemy tried to hurt Jesus or hinder Him from fulfilling His purpose. I marked out every time His life was threatened or He was assaulted with physical violence, false accusation, slander, betrayal, plotting, traps and trickery, deceit, gossip, condemnation, intimidation, name-calling, and other forms of rejection. He also experienced what is now called “spiritual abuse” by the hands of those who were in authority. These are all the same tools the enemy uses against us today.
Once I completed the mark-up, I fanned through the four gospels with my thumb and was amazed to see how orange it was. Jesus was in constant conflict from conception to the cross.
I began to see a pattern of how the devil preferred to use those who were closest to Jesus to hurt and hinder Him. For example, he used Judas Iscariot because of his proximity to Jesus. Then, there was Peter. One minute he was speaking revelation by the Spirit and the next minute he was being used by the enemy to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His purpose.
None of us like the idea that the enemy can momentarily use those who are closest to us in order to speak aloud those things that he wants spoken, often hurting and hindering us. The fact is, the enemy wants to use the closest warm body to us to keep us from doing the will of God. He could use a family member, a friend, a pastor, or a board member, anyone who is supportive one minute and then can be pitted against us the next. He knows that this can blow us away more than if he used someone we don’t know.
If it happened to Jesus, why should we be surprised when it happens to us?
STOPPING THE MOUTHS OF LIONS
The apostle Peter gave a graphic reminder to pastors about our adversary, who like a roaring lion, is roaming around seeking whom he may devour. It was popular in the early 1980s to proclaim that the devil was only a "roaring" lion because Jesus had kicked out his teeth at Calvary. This was a real crowd pleaser, intended to reduce our fears that the devil could really hurt us. I understand the sentimentality behind this idea, and agree that we should not be intimidated by the devil's roar, yet this notion minimizes the fact that Peter was warning us of a very real danger. He said that the devil is seeking whom he may devour. All we have to do is look at the number of Christians who are out of the race, or how many ministers have been removed from ministry, before we dismiss the devil as toothless. This warning clearly states that the enemy cannot devour us at will but, if we let him, he can and will. We may not always be aware that he is doing this because he tends to devour people from the inside out. Peter’s description of Satan as a lion is right on and, just like this predator, his hunting strategies are ancient, predictable, and few.
When the enemy eats someone, the enemy always eats their heart first, removing their passion, zeal, and spiritual life. I have seen pastors eaten from the inside out. They go through the motions, but they have no heart for the people, the lost, or the hurting. They care more about their “ministry” than they care about people.
Here are some other facts about the way lions hunt:
- Lions roam the darkness where some Christians carelessly stray.
- Lions watch for those who become isolated from the flock.
- Lions tend to prey on the young and the weak.
- Lions prey on the sick.
- They divide and conquer. All he needs is an issue, preferably a non-essential one, which will generate enough mistrust and confusion to divide us.
These study guides have an extensive question and answer section that helps clarify this unique perspective and shed even more light on the subject. There are several QR links to other on-line studies and audio files.