Week 1: [THE WAR SERIES: DRESSED TO KILL]: The Decision-Making Process
Updated: Jul 4, 2022
Welcome to The War Series, Dressed To Kill which is our 2nd Golden Series on the website, and our first series of this year. In our last post, we touched on a few things as we began our journey in The War Series.
As a Mini Recap, we discussed the importance of understanding what Spiritual Warfare is, why it’s so important, and the overall concept of why we are being attacked by the enemy in the first place. Today, we are going to dive even further into some of the prep work that we all must be aware of before we are ever ready to face the enemy and win. Y’all know we keep God first over here so, let’s say a quick prayer.
Spiritual Warfare Prayer: Heavenly Father, I lift up my heart and head to you. I thank you for the things that you are working out on our behalf and in our favor. Lord, as we embark on our quest to put on the Full Armor of God, I ask that you give us strength and power over our minds and thoughts. For we know that the devil’s tool is to provoke us with lies and plant hatefulness in our hearts. Forgive us of our sins and protect us from the seen and unseen troubles of this world. Father, we love and honor you and you are forever in our thoughts and minds. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Now, Let’s Get Into It!!
Before we can do anything regarding battle or combat, we first have to prepare by starting at ground zero. I know you're asking yourself, “What on earth does that even mean?” Hold on, I'll explain further. Before you achieve a set goal or idea, the first thing that needs to happen is to think of the idea itself and brainstorm the possible steps that you have to take to accomplish that set goal or task.
This procedure is called The Decision Making Process. As human beings, we decide on a lot of things throughout the day and even throughout our lives. On average many people make 35,000 decisions per day whether they are big or small. When it comes to deciding to follow Christ, be ready to face the enemy as well. This is just what happens when you choose to be a follower of Christ. It’s almost like the enemy fights you harder once you make this conscious decision.
When we do decide to make this pivoting decision we must prep ourselves for the intensive training that we will soon begin to start. This part of the spiritual war training is called Target Practice.
Target Practice: This term comes from the military in which they practice shooting at a target or several targets. These are sessions, drills, and exercises that are done to military personnel or recruitees to improve their aim and handling of their desired weapon. The more target practice they do, the more proficient they will be at aiming techniques and handling machinery and weaponry.
Spiritually, of course, let’s keep in mind that we are not handling any physical weapons, remember this battle is in the spiritual realm. So the weapons we do have to use for war are unseen and the weapons that we can physically see are the ones that we used to strengthen us and boost our resilience during spiritual combat.
Prepare Yourself Spiritual: Strengthen Your Aim!
In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul writes about the need to strip away your former life to get ready and prepared to put on your new one. During this phase of Target Practice, God will ask a lot of you. This phase is so critical because it requires discipline and consistency, both are vital traits that will need to be exercised continuously.
I encourage you to read all of Ephesians 4:17-31, and really focus on the overall message Apostle Paul was trying to convey. Here are also some mini questions to ask yourself to help you understand this chapter.
What are some words or phrases that were interesting about this chapter?
What did you think of Paul’s message?
Make a list of all the things that you do/ did in your “Old Life” In comparison to what God considers to be Holy in his eyes! This list can be any activities, habits, or things that are not considered righteous to God.
What are some “New Life” things and good habits that would be pleasing to God that I need or would like to work on?
In this next section, we will be discussing some ways to strengthen our aim and practice preparing ourselves for spiritual battle. Let’s Go!
1. Establish a New Mindset. You might not think that this is a weapon but once we get into the pieces of armor required for the full set, you soon will. When we make the decision to follow Christ and take up this armor, we must get to a point where we don’t take old habits to new places. This new mindset or a new way of thinking is about focusing your attention on God and His Word. This means that no matter what’s going on around you, you will not fold under the pressure. This is a hard skill to acquire, let alone master. To train your thoughts to be fixed on God is a lot of work because your worldly learned behaviors are wanting you to handle it yourself or freak out at the sight of danger.
This was my problem for years because I wanted to fix it myself. I’ve always been the one to handle anything that life throws at me, I hated asking anyone for anything or for help. So I took that same mentality in my relationship with God. I learned rather quickly that this is not the approach He wanted for me. He wanted me to do the opposite, which made it that much harder to do. When God asks you to do things that are out of your comfort zone, you should be eager to do it, but let’s face it, it’s a hard task because our learned behavior is to rebel.
This requires trust on our part. Trust is a virtue that will also come into play when we start to change our mindset and begin to align ourselves with what God says. Remember to always ask God for help in this department. Take your time and be patient with yourself. Everything happens in God’s perfect timing anyway.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion
raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
2 Corinthians 10: 5
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth
2. Seek God For Everything. Once you have your mind right, we now should be about to seek God in every aspect of our lives. God wants to hear from you and he wants to be included in your plans, hopes, dreams, and perspectives. This is something that he desires and longs for. Oftentimes we make plans without Him and wonder why some of them fall through, planning with God makes all the difference. We should be able to come to God as our first response and not our last resort. Amen!
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:10-11
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land
2 Chronicles 7:14
3. Seek the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is there to help and guide you along this journey. The Holy Spirit is there to make us more and more like Jesus Christ and helps with renewing our minds, to keep us on track and focused. It’s there to convict us of our sins, that way we can humbly repent to our Heavenly Father.
There are so many benefits that the Holy Spirit works on and helps up with. One, in particular, is being of service to others in sharing and spreading the Gospel. In times when you might feel shy about speaking up, the Holy Spirit can use you to make a bold and assertive moment to share with people.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
The Holy Spirit keeps us in truth and in order. John 16:13, says “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” God is love, and he is also true, and because He gives us the Holy Spirit we have to walk in truth.
4. Ask for Spiritual Vision. As I mentioned earlier, this battle is in the spiritual realm, so we cannot see it. So, asking God to show you the attacks that you will and may be currently facing will allow you to understand the strategic plans of the enemy. We have to recognize the invisible strongholds that bind not only your life but the lives of your family and friends as well. Ask God to help you see not only in the natural worldly realm but the spiritual too.
Back in the days of the Roman Empire, the requirement for new recruits to join their army was that they needed to have lively eyes and great vision. They needed to be observant and steadfast in overseeing their territory and the territory of their fellow soldiers. In order to plan for your attack, you have to see it with your spiritual vision. The enemy will not come up to you and say, “Hey I am the Devil and I am going to attack you.” Um no, you have to sniff him out and see the trail of the mess he has left behind in your life. You have to recognize the patterns and see the failed tests to know that this particular area in your life is the one that’s under attack.
5. Pray Fiercely. The bible talks about prayer in countless areas throughout it. So much so that God asks us to pray without ceasing, and to rejoice while doing so. In this decision-making process, we have to decide if we are going to make an effort to pray fiercely to God. Life without prayer is like a life with its source of power. We can’t achieve without God, let alone please Him. He loves when we are giving Him praise and accompanying that praise with prayer. We must condition ourselves in every situation good and bad to praise and pray to Him. Check out what Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” We must “be still and know”, know that God will work it all out for our God if we pray to Him. Check out my post in the Golden Basics about the topic of prayer in Weekly Topic Saturdays #49: Connection Through Prayer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
6. Study and Read Your Word. Study! Study! Study! I can’t press this issue enough. It’s one thing to read the bible and another to study it. I constantly struggled with this concept. It took me years to actually sit down and read anything. Let alone ever want to read the bible. I was always forced to read it so when the thought of actually reading it crossed my mind I was immediately overwhelmed and bored. It didn’t help that I was reading from a version that was difficult to interpret.
If I can encourage you for a minute, don’t get discouraged, what really helped me was finding a translation that suited me and making my bible a part of me. I would use washi tape and buy new highlights and notepads, and a brand new prayer journal to write in to get me inspired to read and write about the Word of God. Everyone is different, so some things may not work for you, but if it does, then yayyy!
I love to create and design things. Creating my very own bible study worksheets and bible highlighter key was critical in getting me inspired to read God’s Word. If you are interested in these bible study worksheets let me know in the comments below!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
7. Let the Bible Transform You. Anyone can read the bible, but reading the bible and letting it transform your way of thinking and your actions is a whole nother thing. The bible is for correction, reproof, and for encouragement, once we know better we have to do better. To live like Christ we have to be able to have self-discipline and walk-in righteousness for His name's sake. This requires being transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
8. Share Your Experiences with Others. This sentence is truely how I started A Golden Dream. As I mentioned in a previous post, sharing what I’ve learned about Christ and the start of my journey was very important to me. You know that cliche saying, “Be the person you want to see in the world.” Yea, that was really it, I wish I had a blog like this when I was growing up, Oh My! What a difference it would have been for me then. We are all connected to each other through our experiences; we may not have all experienced the same thing, but the people who haven’t can lean on the people who have and find comfort in that.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.
9. Prepare Yourself for the Attack. The enemy has been observing you ever since you were born. He has been strategically planning for your downfall. He's been feeling you out and taking notes on what makes you tick, your weakness, and your strengths.
When you start moving differently and being consistent in your Target Practice and strengthening your aim, best believe the enemy will take notice. Anticipate the attack and know in your mind that he’s coming, but don’t be afraid. If God is before you, who can be against you? Remember that no matter what is going on ask God to provide you with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalms 23: 5
“The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.
Now that we have discussed the required fundamentals of our target practice that we will need to strengthen our aim, we now have to practice using them consistently to be more proficient at them, hence the term “Target Practice”. The enemy loves to creep in and stir up inconsistencies and poor habits, but once we adopt that new mindset we talked about earlier we can then sharpen our aim and fight against being lethargic in this process. This phase is so essential because it's the building block for other heavenly traits that are also required for this journey. Traits like peace, hope, love, fellowship, humility, faith, meekness, and resilience to name a few. So brace for impact and get ready!
Golden Words of Wisdom:
Knowing the areas that are under attack is vital and anticipating the attack makes you aware. This can line up your defense by praying and strengthening your aim. Be strong in the Lord, and do not lean on your own understanding, God sees the attack before it is even a problem for us.
Consistency is key in seeing or feeling results. Keep pressing and pushing!
There’s no limit to how much time you stay in this phase, but continue to focus on God and he will direct your path.
Questions To Consider: Ask yourself these questions and try to answer them to the best of your ability.
What does your ground zero look like to you?
Do you want to improve your spiritual life?
What are some areas in your life that pose the greatest threat to the enemy? Be sure to think about it and ask God for help.
Are you ready for Target Practice?
What are you going to do in your Target Practice process?
Out of the nine steps listed in preparing you spiritually, What will be the most difficult for you to do?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Stay tuned for the next blog post!!!
WEEK 2:[THE WAR SERIES, DRESSED TO KILL]: Basic Training Details