Are You a Spiritual Worrier or Spiritual Warrior
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By quick definition, a spiritual worrier is a born again Christian who is consumed with fear and so wrapped up with the concerns and affairs of this life that he/she is dysfunctional in the post salvation spiritual life. Such a believer is born again & eternally secure as all Christians are, but has not come to “…know the truth…” (John 8:32 NIV) that delivers the spiritually mature believer from such bondage.

Spiritual worriers will eventually suffer from burnout leading to a passive interest in God or of the things of God. Due to a misconception of what the post-salvation life of the Christian is all about, worriers will sooner or later retreat when their unrealistic expectations do not materialize.

The primary cause of spiritual worrying is a result of failing to acknowledge their eternity security, which leaves such a believer with no other alternative but to try to retain salvation & live the spiritual life by one’s own power, talents, and abilities and religion. (Religion is anything that Man has added to or taken from the Word of God.) This approach to spirituality, coupled with an excessive attention to the distractions of life, will ensure defeat in the spiritual battlefield of the mind.

Distractions can come in the form of overt blessings as well as adversities.

Failure to resolve the issue of eternal security of one’s salvation is a tremendous impediment to spiritual growth and sanctification. In fact, it will taint such a believer’s ability to accurately interpret, comprehend, and apply virtually ever other doctrine of the faith. Satan knows the significance of a believer reaching this milestone in the post-salvation spiritual life & has attempted to undermine this spiritual principle (eternal security) since it was taught in the founding years of the early Church. In fact, nearly the entire book of Galatians was written to address this very issue. Due to false doctrine promoted by religion, the issue continues to be a bone of contention among even the most sincere of Christians to this very day. Any target that Satan persistently attacks is obviously of great significance in his plan to assault the family of God.

Satan, the commander in chief of the demonic forces (Eph.6: 12) uses deception as his primary modus operandi. He will use both overt blessings and adversity to distract and or neutralize anyone who advances in the spiritual life and thus becomes a threat to his kingdom. He will even misuse passages of Scripture as he did when tempting the Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt.4: 6) & with Eve (Gen.3: 1) in an attempt to secure his objectives.

Our fallen natures (Rom.7) are receptive to satanic philosophy. Satan knows exactly when, where, how, and what to approach each individual with in order to secure his objectives. His ways will always appeal to the fallen nature within us as we are predisposed to do so. Satan is a master at his trade and has had thousands of years of experience in exploiting this fundamental weakness in the human nature. (Prov.14: 12/1 Cor. 2: 14).

Both the spiritual worrier and the spiritual warrior have the same objective in mind, that is to pursue a “good” life that God will approve & bless. The issue is determining exactly what is the “good” life from a Biblical perspective and the means to secure it.

The spiritual worrier is under satanic deception and thus believes that his own works are needed to obtain and retain salvation. He believes that the “key” to this problem free life is his own good works that will be the basis for God blessing him both in this life and in the life to come. The basic flaw in this philosophy of salvation/sanctification by works is that salvation and sanctification are neither obtained nor retained by human good works or through Satan’s chief weapon of mass deception, religion. (Romans 11:6/Isa.64: 6).

Our part in salvation is belief and our part in sanctification is submission, but it is the work & power of God made makes both possible.

The “good” life to spiritual worrier is one that is problem free and a life in which all of one’s desires are obtained & retained. Thus anyone and/or anything that threatens to cause problems in the spiritual worrier’s life must be identified and addressed. The spiritual worrier uses every human means available to avoid or rid themselves of problems or people who are “raining on their parade”. The spiritual worrier believes that the secret to life is the avoidance or elimination of problems and fails to come to the realization that adversity & suffering is the very means for advancement in the spiritual life.

Truly anyone who is trusting in his own good works or in “religious” rituals to save him DOES have a lot to be worried about!

Man’s works and “religion” has never and will never save or sanctify anyone.

Man’s works of self-righteousness are nothing but “filthy rags” according to Isa. 64:6 (NIV) & religious rituals (as far as salvation is concerned) are at best false doctrine and at worst acts of blasphemy as they attack the integrity, completeness, and security of the Person and Works of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Religion is anything that Man had added to or taken from the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God. Religion is Satan’s counterfeit plan to draw the individual away from true spirituality. In order for anything counterfeit to work, it must have the appearance of the real thing & it takes spiritual discernment to be able to distinguish which is which.

The best way to counter attack counterfeiting is not to keep up with the endless manufacturing of phonies, but to have a solid knowledge of the Truth and thus the discernment to identify a phony when it comes along.

For those who have spiritual discernment, to be called a very “religious” person is actually an insult of the highest degree. The Pharisees who opposed our Lord were otherwise very “moral” and “religious” persons.

Prior to his conversion, the Apostle Paul was a very “religious” man who perceived his calling at that time to be the total destruction of the Church of Jesus Christ. To his credit, he became one of the greatest spiritual warriors of the Christian faith as he faced tremendous opposition both from within and from outside of the Church.

A spiritual warrior is one who acknowledges that glorifying God in the midst of spiritual warfare is the primary reason for which the human race was created and very purpose for every human soul being placed on this planet.

God is glorified whenever an individual exercises his own free will and believes in the Person (who He is) and the Works (what He did on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ. This belief is what saves an individual and rejection of this truth is what condemns him for all of eternity. Anything added to or taken from this truth is from religion and has nothing to do with true spirituality.

Once saved, it is the same power that enables the born again believer to proceed to and through the sanctification process and brings maximum glory to God. There is no need to worry about succeeding, as it is the work of God, not Man.

The spiritual warrior’s only goal in life is to seek and accomplish His will, not our own. We can then engage the enemy with confidence and assurance of the security of our relationship with God and have no fear because everything and anything that happens to us has its purpose in His will.

Family, careers, friends and personal goals have their legitimate place in this life, but everything (Matt. 19:21,22/Luke 9:25) & everyone (Luke14: 26) else must be kept in their proper place in the divine order of priorities.

It is no coincidence that “opportunities” and problems come up whenever the spiritual warrior begins to make some progress in the spiritual life.

Let’s examine the characteristics of a spiritual warrior.

The spiritual warrior’s life will be one of constant conflicts with ever-increasing intensity as he advances in the spiritual life. The Lord Jesus Christ “…I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt.10: 34 NIV). The same will be true of His spiritual warriors.

Whoever tells you that Christianity is the way to an easy life knows nothing about the post-salvation spiritual walk with God. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1Cor.15: 19 NIV).

The spiritual warrior will find himself in daily (Luke 9:23) adversarial situations in which he is either being trained for future conflicts or engaging in actual spiritual warfare. Both training and execution is going to cost the individual his blood (life), sweat (labor), & tears (pain).

God’s spiritual warrior must be born again to enlist in the army of God in order to receive the power that causes him to be trained for and functional in spiritual warfare. (Psalms 144:1). He will encounter conflicts within as he struggles against the influence of his own fallen nature and the influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit for control of his mind & inevitably his actions. He will encounter conflicts from without by the satanic forces operating in this world. (Eph.6: 12). He will encounter conflicts with the fallen natures of others. A daily life void of such conflicts is an indication that such a person is not living the life of a spiritual warrior.

The power source needed to maintain effectiveness in spiritual combat in none other than the filling (control) of God the Holy Spirit. In the spiritual realm, and especially in the area of spiritual combat, Man can “do nothing” by himself. (John 15:5 NIV).

The weapons of the spiritual warrior are found in Scripture (Ephesians 6:13-17). The spiritual warrior masters the use of each and every piece of armor & tool. Of all the weapons, only one is of an offensive nature.

Note that there are no armor provisions for the spiritual warriors back. There will be many occurrences in which the spiritual warrior will be knocked to the ground, but he must pick himself up & continue on in the advance. There are no provisions for willful retreats in the spiritual life. (Matt.10: 22).

The spiritual warrior must not entangle himself with the non-relevant issues of this life. (2Timothy 2:4).

The spiritual warrior does not go off firing in all directions like a loose cannon, but identifies his individual role that was designed for him and carries it out. (1 Cor. 12:17).

The spiritual warrior does not pick and choose his battles. It is not up to him to decided when to hold his ground and when to advance, but waits for his marching orders, and then immediately responds. (Ex.40:36, 37)).

The spiritual warrior maintains a condition & position of readiness. (1Peter 5:8).

He is prepared at all times to engage the enemy and to “…give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1Peter 3:15 NIV). The spiritual warrior, although operating by the very power & authority of God is not arrogant, judgmental, or demeaning towards anyone he is ministering to.

In this sense we see that a spiritual warrior differs greatly from what we would otherwise perceive a warrior to be. ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” (Isa. 55:8 NIV). The only offensive weapon the spiritual warrior is authorized to use is the power of the Word of God (Eph. 6:17/Hebrews 4:12) & it is to be applied with “gentleness & respect” (1 Pet. 3:15 NIV).

The spiritual warrior accepts the possibility of making the supreme sacrifice as his duty (Hebrews 11:37).

He is committed to the daily denial of self for the spiritual edification of others. (Luke 9:23).

Of all the rewards & honors that he may receive, the spiritual warrior’s main objective is to hear these words from his Commander in Chief when his “battle record” is reviewed, “Well done, good and faithful servant….”. (Matt.25; 21 NIV).

All born again Christians are forever saved, but only the minority chooses to advance in the post salvation spiritual life (Mark 4:20). The human nature within us is self-centered. It is, satisfied knowing that “I’m going to Heaven when I die” and quite willing, as demonstrated by behavior, to exchange the eternal honors of a spiritual warrior for a “good life” here on earth.

To some degree, every human being is engaged in spiritual warfare when it comes to his own salvation and sanctification. These are choices that every individual has to make with his own personal eternal destiny & circumstances hanging in the balance. (John 3:18/1Cor.3:15).

There is no such thing as neutrality in the spiritual realm. Spiritual warfare began in an angelic rebellion led by Satan before the creation of the human race and will continue until all that it is to accomplish is fulfilled at the end of time (Matt.25: 41/Rev. 20:7-10,15).

You were created to take part in this conflict, which is the purpose for which you were born & remain on this earth following your conversion. Your life is a living testimony to the doctrines & ways of God or to satanic philosophy & the ways of the world in words and action.

The spiritual warrior is one who sees beyond his own salvation and sanctification and commits his life to fulfillment of the Great Commission. (Matthew 28: 19, 20).

All born again Christians have the equal opportunity to become a spiritual warrior, but only a minority will answer the call in each generation of the Church. It has nothing to do with your gender, age, race, education, social status, human talents & abilities, or location. When God created you, he was aware of all these issues. In fact, it was He that designed & placed you in the midst of your personal circumstances & environment in order to perform the specific works that He prepared for you to accomplish.

Of those who answer the call, many will become casualties and prisoners of war as a result of allowing themselves to be distracted with issues of the here and now to the extent that the eternal issues are placed on the back burner on one’s list of priorities. (Luke 8:14).

The bottom line is this. Are you willing to enlist, be trained, and engage in spiritual combat in the place, time and circumstances of your personal periphery or are you like the majority of believers today who are satisfied to know that they are going live in Heaven when they die, but want what the world has to offer in the meantime & avoid as much adversity as possible?

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.