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The 6 Battlefields On Which We Fight

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

The Spiritual battlefield

Of all the battlefields on which we fight, when we serve in ministry, the spiritual battlefield is the most important. It is on this battlefield where the battles of all the other battlefields find strength to win. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” No matter which battlefield we are on, we must remember that our strength is in the Lord. It is only in His might that we can be victorious and overcome the wiles of the devil. If we are going to fight the good fight, finish our race, and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7), then we must fight in the strength of the Lord.

The Spiritual battlefield: The fight for eternal life

Certainly, the most important battle that takes place on the spiritual battlefield is the one that determines our eternity. It is the battle over eternal life or eternal death and separation from God. Each one of us takes a stand on the spiritual battlefield. We either line up on the side of the kingdom of darkness or we stand on the side of the King of kings.

We all start out on the side of the kingdom of darkness and as long as we remain on that side, we are slaves to sin. Paul wrote in Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” When you defect from the kingdom of darkness and join the King of Kings, Satan loses the battle for your soul.

The Spiritual battlefield: The fight between the flesh and the Spirit

Just because you accepted Christ does not mean that the battle is over. Satan may have lost you for eternity, but that doesn’t mean he won’t trip you up and make you fall flat on your face time and time again. You may have traded in your one-way ticket to hell for The Way, The Truth, and The Life that grants you access to heaven, but Satan does not want you to live in joy and victory. He does not want you to be a witness for Christ so that you take more souls away from him. So, you still fight battles day after day.

Paul put it this way: “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Galatians 5:17) Doesn’t that sound like a battle? It is a battle between the flesh (our sinful nature) and the Spirit that dwells within us. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:27, “give no opportunity to the devil.” But let’s face it – that is often easier said than done.

Do not give opportunity to the devil

So how do we not give opportunity to the devil? Paul tells us how to overcome the flesh. In Galatians 5:16, he says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. So not only must we fight in the strength of the Lord, but we must not fight alone. We must “walk by the Spirit.” If we are going to battle spiritual battles, we better have the Holy Spirit with us!

If you think these spiritual battles are hard, then you can bet that when you begin to work in a ministry role, you will draw the attention of Satan and his minions, and you better believe the battles are going to heat up. Even when your ministry is fully surrendered to God, it doesn’t make the battle any easier…if anything, it becomes harder as Satan fights back even more. Satan is always at work in the unseen, spiritual realm to fight every person God calls and sets apart to a ministry position. Behind the scenes in the heavenly realm, he is always at work in each of the battlefields we face. The spiritual battlefield is only one of six battlefields we fight on. Let’s discuss the other five.

The Sensory battlefield

We find ourselves standing on the sensory battlefield any time Satan’s flaming darts are aimed at one of our senses: what we see, hear, taste, smell, touch.

Satan attacks our visual sense through what we see around us, on TV, on the internet, at the movies, in magazines that can cause us to stumble.

He attacks our sense of hearing through TV, movies, radio, music, and conversations around us.

He attacks our sense of taste through the foods we like but aren’t good for us or if there is a past problem with addictions, he will use temptation of drugs and alcohol again and again.

Satan can also use our sense of smell in the same way. Have you ever noticed how good a pizza smells when you’re trying to lose weight? Or if you have given up smoking, what is your reaction to smelling a cigarette as someone walks by you?

Even the sense of touch can be used. The simple touch of someone’s arm around you could be used as a sexual temptation.

The simple fact is our senses are triggers to memories and emotions and they act as stimulants every day of our lives. Satan sees them as opportunities for attack.

The Emotional battlefield

There is also the emotional battlefield that takes place within our own mind and emotions. Satan will use every emotional gift God gave us against us – making our mind another battlefield. The more exhausted we are, the more prone we are to succumb on the emotional battlefield.  On this battlefield, Satan plants seeds in our minds – the seeds of depression, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame or embarrassments. He then uses the people around us or our circumstances or our financial situation as the fertilizer to make those seeds grow. As a result, we doubt.

The emotional battlefield called “Doubt”

We doubt…

  • …if we are qualified.
  • …if we were really called.
  • …that we have the money needed to do what God has called us to do.
  • …if we have the skills needed.
  • …if we would be willing to be like Abraham and leave our father and mother and go where God is sending us.
  • …like Moses, if we can speak well enough.
  • …because we have a past that was so totally against God that the seed of doubt is “God can’t use me.”

Whatever it is that God is asking us to do, Satan will plant seeds of doubt and then he will use people in our life to water them and make them grow. Every step we take he will plant a new seed of doubt. Those seeds of doubt, in turn, will stir up every negative emotion available and we find ourselves standing on the emotional battlefield.

The emotional battlefield called “self-esteem”

Such attacks are directly against our self-perception. Satan tries to get us to focus on how we see ourselves instead of how God sees us. We get caught up in our “self-esteem” instead of our “God-esteem.” We need to change our self-perception to God’s perception of who we are. We forget that God doesn’t look at the outward appearance but at our heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

The world judges us by what we wear, the color of our skin, how we talk, how we live our lives, the mistakes we’ve made, how smart we are, or how financially sound we are, and we form our “self-esteem” in how we perceive the way the world sees us. Instead, we need to form “God-esteem” and learn to see ourselves in the way God sees us – we need to be reminded of God’s perception of us. He sees us as chosen, loved, a new creation, reconciled and redeemed, righteous, holy, set apart, a child of God, gifted and fully equipped for the task He sat before us.

The Social battlefield

There is yet another battlefield that Satan uses in his arsenal of “flaming arrows” (Ephesians 6:16) against us: the social battlefield.  Since those of us in ministry are imperfect people and those whom we minister to are imperfect people, we can find ourselves on a battlefield made up of human problems, such as differences of opinion, selfishness, hurt, disappointment, and well…sin of all kinds. Even though we (and hopefully them) are saved by grace, as long as we are in human bodies, we all “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  

The social battlefield called “church members”

The social battlefield might manifest itself as those moments where the church members argue over which side of the stage the piano belongs on or if there should or should not be a pulpit on the stage. It’s the arguments over the color of the carpet or if it’s okay for the preacher to preach from his iPad rather than a Bible in his hand. It occurs around the Sunday lunch table, business meeting, or in the conference room when you are criticized for every flaw and every decision you make. It’s those moments where you look around at the squabbles, tired of mediating, and wonder how church ever got to be about these things instead of saving souls from an eternity in hell and helping Christians develop passionate relationships with God.

People in ministry, especially pastors, are so often putting out these flaming arrows that there isn’t enough time to devote to the discipleship of Christians. Consequently, our churches never mature and grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

The social battlefield called “family and friends”

The social battlefield doesn’t end with our relationship with the people to whom we minister. Satan will use the relationships we have with family and friends, tearing them down and destroying them, effectively pulling out the blanket of support from under our feet. These are the people who know us well. They know our past, our personality, our failures, and our faults. They wag their finger saying, “How could God ever use you? He didn’t really call you. You’re just a ‘dreamer.’”

The social battlefield called “social media”

And then there is social media where we can get caught up in how many people “liked” or “shared” my post. Or the public shaming of people and cyber bullying through social media that has made people commit suicide. As a result, we are more “connected” to other than ever before. We can have thousands of “friends” without every actually meeting them or having a single conversation with them and still feel lost, lonely, and sad.

The social battlefield called “mass shootings”

Another social battlefield takes shape in the growing concern of mass shootings within the walls of churches and the questions begin to rise of how to protect the congregation. Should we be concerned about public ministry events at parks or stadiums? Should we be afraid of prayer walking the community where we serve? How do we reach the lost world and still protect the people in our churches?

The social battlefield called “COVID”

As this book is being written, we are in yet another social battlefield that we probably never thought we would have to deal with: the COVID pandemic. As we looked at isolating at home, ministry leaders had to discover new ways of doing ministry. But even isolation itself presents a battle on the social battlefield because God created us to be social beings. As a result, we saw more battles on the emotional battlefield as people became depressed, anxious, and fearful. We have seen enormous grief as people lost the battle against COVID and the number of infected people and deaths continue to soar with no end in sight. At this point, the churches have opened their doors again, but we do ministry around the CDC recommendations for safety of the people to whom we minister.

The social battlefield called “the appearance of evil”

Social battlefields also arise as we try to make sure we protect ourselves, our families, and our ministry from even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). There are always those who are watching and waiting for us to mess up so they can point their fingers. They might accuse of inappropriate conduct with someone of the opposite gender or inappropriate misuse of funds. They might say the message you delivered was not Biblical.

The social battlefield called “The pointing, accusing finger”

Satan loves nothing more than to see a minister (whether that is a pastor, missionary, Christian Counselor, or someone in a non-profit ministry organization) of God fail or give up or walk away because of the pointing, accusing finger. It’s one of his best flaming arrows! It doesn’t even matter if the pointing finger of accusation is verified, or all lies. It doesn’t have to hit the bullseye. Accusations are much like hand grenades and horseshoes – you just have to get close to the target to have an effect.  Once the finger is pointed, damage has been done. Credibility is loss. Effectiveness diminished. And Satan scores a point.

The Physical battlefield

Then there is the silent battlefield of dangers that lurk about in the dark waiting to sneak up, kill and destroy those in ministry. These dangers are fought on the physical battlefield and include health issues, burnout, compassion fatigue, and stress. As a result, pastors, missionaries, and others in ministry professions walk away from the calling. Instead of standing firm, steadfast, immovable and always excelling, they call it quits and leave the task of ministering for someone else to do.

Sometimes they quit but find a different way to minister. If they do decide to stay in their ministry field, they no longer have the passion and zeal to serve. Ministry becomes a “have to” rather than an opportunity to serve our God. They risk facing depression, lack of motivation, and anxiety. Their relationships decline and many physical symptoms begin to emerge.

But Satan doesn’t stop with just your own physical health. For some of us, an attack on a spouse of family member’s health can have a bigger affect than if Satan attacked our own health. Most of us would do more to protect the health of those we love than ourselves and spend countless hours getting them doctors, possibly surgery, therapy, or whatever is necessary to get them healthy again. If we are so caught up in caring for a loved one, there is little time or energy left to carry out the ministry we’ve been given.

The Intellectual battlefield

Another silent battlefield is the intellectual battlefield. Here Satan attacks our intellect either by making us believe we don’t know enough to do the ministry God has called us to, or by stirring up our pride in how much we know.

Another way this battlefield comes into play is when a person believes they don’t need to attend seminary or any type of training for the ministry God has called them to. They believe that because God called them, He will equip them. But sometimes equipping comes from learning and to say that you don’t need the training to do your calling is like saying you know more than God, and this is another form of pride.

God may still use you and you might be somewhat effective because God has gifted you for the ministry He has called you to, but you will never be as effective as God intended without the proper training. It would be like going into battle without ever having learning how to use a sword. Remember that the Sword in the Armor of God is the Bible. If you are going to effectively wield your sword, you need to learn how to use it.

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We know that ministry is hard! When you serve in ministry as staff or volunteer, you are on a spiritual battlefield 24/7. As you serve God, you fight for the Kingdom of God and our adversary is constantly attacking. He wants you to either lose your effectiveness in your ministry role or get you to quit. We must be sure we are reconnecting to the Vine (Jesus) so that we can refill, renew, and recharge. Then we can keep on pouring into others.

If you are feeling like you are losing the fight or struggling to stay in the fight, Jesus says to you, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31) Self-care is both Biblical and necessary, if you are going to stay in the fight and be effective in the Kingdom of God. Stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue are real weapons that the adversary uses against us.

Even if you do not serve in ministry, if you are a Christian, you too are in a spiritual battle. Every Christian fights the same adversary and our Biblical self-care principles are for every Christian.

What you get in this self-care course:

In Part 1 of this video-based course, you will learn about the spiritual dangers in ministry, discover if God is testing you or is Satan attacking you, understand that ministry is battlefield and how to be steadfast, immovable on the battlefield, learn how the devil uses his wiles and schemes against us, and remember how to use your Spiritual Armor. We will also breakdown stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue.

Part 2 is all about Preventing and Recovering from Burnout and Compassion Fatigue as we go through six areas that need self-care. In this part of the course we will provide you with practical ways that you can immediately begin practicing self-care. As you continue to serve God in whatever way He has called you, self-care is vital if you are not going to grow weary in doing good so you can reap at the proper time (Galatians 6:9).

Additionally, this packaged deal will provide 10 group coaching session where we will discuss the weekly assigned videos and do check-ins on where you are in each of the six areas of self-care that include: Spiritual, Sensory, Emotional, Social, Physical, and Intellectual.

Releasing in December 2021, this packaged deal will include the complete video-based course plus 10 group coaching sessions with the author, Julia Bruce. In the 10-week program you will complete weekly videos and assignments and then meet virtually for a group coaching session to help you apply self-care where you need it. 

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BONUS: While this course and group coaching is not releasing until December 2021, if you’re purchasing this material, we know you need help now. So, if you purchase before the release date, we’ll place you in our new private Facebook membership page for free through the end of 2021. In January, this group will require a monthly subscription of $19.99. But it will be yours free through the end of year when you purchase the pre-release of the course and group coaching sessions.  

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