III. ALL SPIRITUAL WORK IS A WARFARE
Since warfare exists between the kingdoms of God and Satan, all the spiritual work we are doing for God, whatever form it may take, as long as it touches the things of the spiritual realm, is in nature a warfare. For example, preaching the gospel, according to Acts 26:18, is “to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God.” This shows us that preaching the gospel is not only to open men’s eyes and turn them from darkness to light, but also to deliver them from the power of Satan. Again, Colossians 1:13 says, “Who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.” To be delivered from the power of darkness is to be delivered from the power of Satan or the kingdom of Satan. And to be translated into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love is to be translated into the kingdom of God. Therefore, preaching the gospel is wholly a spiritual warfare to drive out the power of Satan in men and bring in the kingdom of God. A person who does not believe in the Lord obviously rejects the name of God, does not have God’s reign in him, and has nothing to do with the will of God. Instead, he is fully under the power of Satan, and his whole being is in the dark kingdom of Satan. When a person is saved, he first believes in the name of the Lord; second, he calls on the Lord’s name; and third, he is in the name of the Lord; he belongs to the Lord’s name. Hence, he is delivered from the power of Satan and belongs to the name of the Lord. Once the name of the Lord is upon him, the authority of the Lord follows. Once the authority of the Lord comes upon him, Satan’s authority is removed. Therefore, strictly speaking, preaching the gospel, bringing salvation to men, and leading them to the Lord, is a kind of spiritual warfare.
Edifying the saints is also a matter of spiritual warfare. To edify the saints is to deliver them from the rule of Satan, that is, from sins, the world, the flesh, and everything relating to the old creation, all of which are used by Satan to rule over man. Thus, they will be further delivered from the satanic power of darkness, they will know the name of the Lord more deeply, and they will allow the Lord to increase His reign in them and thereby let the kingdom of God come more fully upon them.
Second Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” This word shows us that even after a Christian is saved, it is possible that a large portion of his mind and thoughts remains the stronghold of Satan, and many of his ideas and concepts still serve as the base usurped by Satan. Therefore, when the apostles edify the saints, their purpose is to cast down through warfare all the strongholds and bases of Satan in the saints and eventually bring their thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Hence, edifying the saints is also a kind of spiritual warfare.
Moreover, even administering the church is a warfare. The purpose of administering the church is to deliver the church out of the power of darkness, to let God gain the place of rule in the church, to let the name of God be exalted in the church, to let His will be done in the church, and to let the glory of God be increasingly manifested in the church. Hence, administering the church is also a kind of warfare.
Even all our prayers, whether they be for ourselves, for our family, for the revival of the church, or for anything else, are for the purpose of delivering us out of the satanic power of darkness; hence, they are also a kind of warfare.
If our eyes have been opened by the Lord, we will see that the nature of our work in serving the Lord is that of warfare. All our spiritual work, whether it be delivering men from sin, from the world, from illness, or from problems, has an ultimate goal: to rescue men out of the power of Satan and drive out the satanic power of darkness from within men, so that men might be gained by God and gained even more by God. Thus, God’s name will be sanctified in men, God’s kingdom will reach unto men, His will shall be done in men, and thereby His glory will be manifested upon men. Therefore, the nature of all this work is that of spiritual warfare.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)