(Thirty plus years ago God put Don Rogers in my life. He trained and mentored me in spiritual ministry. When he was no longer able to minister, I had the privilege of taking over his “Spiritual Warfare Ministries”. He had written many articles about spiritual warfare. I have edited and added to his work for this blog.)
I have noticed throughout nearly forty years of ministry a passive approach to the Christian walk that many Christians adopt without realizing it. When I speak of “passivity” I mean the lack of engaging the scriptural truths that God has provided in His Word and working them out in everyday experiences.
Too often, Christians are satisfied to fill up on knowledge and do very little with it. Many seem to believe that acquiring the knowledge is sufficient concerning their obedience to God. But in reality, it is only the beginning of the process that God has called us to partake. We are told to study the Word (2 Tim. 2:15 – “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”), meditate on the Word (Psa. 119:97 “O how I love Thy law! It is my all the day.”), and work out the Word daily in our lives. (Phil. 2:12-13 “… work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”)
There used to be a saying, “let go and let God.” My, how that expression has been misused. It became a spiritual excuse to not be actively engaged in the Christian struggle; just wait on the Lord to intervene. If He doesn’t, it must be His will.
Christian passivity is extremely detrimental to personal accountability in our living for God. So many Christians today lack personal commitment and a submissive attitude. It is quite apparent on the local church level.
Fewer Christians are making the time to daily study their Bible and then spend time meditating on what they have read. If this is not done, it is like gulping food down without chewing it. This does not help the digestion process.
It is not enough to do your duty and read a bit of scripture each day. Have you noticed how little of it you retain? God wants us to desire His Word like food, and chew on it and digest it with the enlightenment that the Holy Spirit provides. When we hunger and thirst for the riches of the Word, it will be opened up to us. A superficial reading of the Word will not cut it as far as spiritual growth is concerned. It is also very disrespectful of the wonderful revelation that God has provided us.
There are other reasons why passivity has crept into the lives of Christians. One has to do with “wrong priorities.” We live in a fast paced society where there are many demands upon ourselves and our family members. There will be little time for our spiritual lives unless they are given a place high on the list of our priorities. If we just hope to find time after we have taken care of other responsibilities, we will never have a consistent time with God, His Word, His people or for His service. Trying to squeeze everything in to a given day does not work either.
We have to take inventory of our lives and start pruning away the non-essentials. God has to be first, the marriage second, the family third, work and then other things last. Setting right priorities is often painful at first, but in the end it is liberating. The enemy will provide you with many reasons why you should continue to hang on to some things in your life.
Another symptom of passivity is evident when it comes to the biblical teaching of spiritual warfare. The apostle Paul is very clear in Ephesians 6 that Christians are in a struggle with spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. There are many Christians who choose to let God fight the battle rather than get involved. It is clear that they feel ill-equipped to deal with such a battle and they are not eager to find out. But all through scripture we are commanded to resist our enemy (Ephesians 6:13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8 -9).
Spiritual Warfare is about having a biblical world view which includes the reality of an ongoing battle with the forces of evil for the souls of mankind. To join this battle one must have faith in the sovereign power of our God, assurance of our identity in Christ and faith in the promises of God.
God uses the struggle to strengthen His people in their faith and teaches them to not depend on their own strength or understanding. We learn to be led by the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Passivity can be all encompassing. It affects people mentally, emotionally and their wills. Mentally, we do not challenge the thoughts that come to us that are inconsistent to the Word of God. Many of our thoughts have their source in the enemy. We are told to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5
Emotionally, we let our feelings have undue influence in our lives, even at times having more weight than the Word of God. The enemy is very effective in stirring up our emotions with his intimidating suggestions.
The will is powerless to take any action or stand firm against what is being experienced. The enemy likes to suggest the hopelessness of our situation and that God will not be there when we need Him. As a result, people get into a fatalistic acceptance of the inevitable. These are some of the dangerous outcomes when passivity is allowed to become a way of life for the Christian. God has called each of His children to an active relationship with Himself and with others. The enemy wants to isolate us into passivity, but we must resist this. Our faith is about an intimate relationship with our Savior and a daily resisting of the temptations of the world and our enemy.
Passivity in and of itself can provide an opportunity for the enemy. First, we are living in disobedience and lacking in faith. Second, we are not prepared to stand against temptations and persevere during trials. We are not trusting in the omnipotent power of God to enable us and to protect us. We have allowed the enemy to become as big as God in our lives by blaming everything that happens in our lives on demonic activity. That is exactly what Satan wants you to believe. We allow ourselves to become easy prey to fear and stop trusting in the promises of God, the victorious finished work of our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross and His triumphant victory over the enemy through the resurrection ( 2 Corinthians 13:5).
© Copyright 1999 Spiritual Warfare Ministries, Inc., © 2013 Christian Training Organization. https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/