The nations of the world make battle plans to successfully fight battles and wage wars. Likewise, Christians need a battle plan to fight spiritual battles. Do you have a spiritual battle plan?
A battle plan is simply a strategy to defeat an enemy. In modern warfare, these plans can be very complex. Plans include an assessment and analysis of the enemy’s capabilities, resources, alliances, terrain, and logistics, among many other factors. Military options are weighed considering multi-domain (air, land, and sea), command structures, weaponry, communications, training, equipment, priorities, short- and long-term objectives, contingency plans, and other considerations.
The Bible records the history of battles between various nations, particularly with Israel, along with Judah after the kingdom of Israel was divided. Battle plans and tactics are sometimes mentioned, though not in great detail.
True followers of Jesus Christ know they are subject to attack and must wage spiritual battles daily in their defense and in carrying out the will of God to grow in righteous character. To be successful in those battles, we need a battle plan.
A good spiritual battle plan has some similarities with the battle plan of an army, despite not being based on physical war, violence, or militarism. But the adversaries and the weapons are much different, and they have much different goals and priorities.
Consider Jesus’ questions to the multitudes in Luke 14. Jesus explained that no one could be His disciple unless they made Him their first priority (vv. 26–27). He asks them about building a tower but first considers the costs and whether they have what is necessary to complete the job (vv. 28–30). Then He asks about a king going to make war, but first considering whether said king is able with ten thousand soldiers to defeat his enemy who has twenty thousand soldiers (vv. 31–32). To be a soldier of Jesus Christ requires complete commitment (v. 33).
A good battle plan requires good counsel from wise and knowledgeable counselors. Proverbs 20:18 advises: “Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war.” The wisest counsel of all is the Lord. “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). We need God’s guidance to make a sound plan. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
For command structure, we have the “Captain of our salvation” (Hebrews 2:10, King James Version). There are many Bible stories showing our Supreme Commander easily having His will over the armies of the nations that oppose Him (e.g., Exodus 14). He will do so again when He returns to establish His kingdom on the earth (Revelation 19).
The enemy Christians face is Satan, the adversary, and his spiritual “hosts” (Ephesians 6:12). But Christians must also fight a war against our human nature (Romans 7:23) and fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11), which Satan uses to try to defeat us.
What are the weapons of a soldier of Jesus Christ? We cannot fight a spiritual war with physical weapons, as explained in 2 Corinthians 10:3–6. “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, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
In Ephesians 6:10–18, we see specific equipment of spiritual warfare, “the whole armor of God” listed: our waist girded with truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the only offensive weapon mentioned, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God—the Holy Bible and its truths.
As the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy, we are also encouraged to “wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). To be a good soldier, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:4).