Guerrilla Warfare

August 5, 2023 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Tim Miller  

Many of us know what this is.  We’ve seen war movies where guerrillas are sneaking through the jungles, hiding behind trees and brush, waiting for the enemy and attacking.  They fire some shots, lay out some booby traps and create confusion and disorder among the enemy.  Then they inflict casualties and before the enemy can even gather themselves, the guerrillas have disappeared into the jungle.  For most of you, that either sounded really exciting, or absolutely terrifying.  Maybe it was a bit of both.

We often talk about spiritual battles and spiritual warfare.  But how do we usually fight these battles?  I don’t know about any of you, but I have a bad habit of going into things head-on.  When I see a problem that needs confronted or addressed spiritually, I tend to go straight in, only to end up failing miserably, often times I screw something up badly and end up running away with my tail between my legs.

Have you ever seen shows on the History Channel about the Revolutionary war and other wars of that era? Back then, battles were only fought head-on.  The two armies would line-up in a field, march toward each other and take turns shooting at each other. That sounds insane now, but back then that’s how it was done.  It was during the American Revolution that our soldiers began developing guerrilla tactics because they knew they couldn’t stand toe to toe with the mighty British army.

So, how does that translate to spiritual warfare?  Let’s take a look at how Jesus fought this battle.  We can go all through Matthew and see how he spoke in parables. Some might even call them riddles.  He didn’t usually go straight in for the kill.  He would answer questions with questions.  He’d use a lot of analogies and metaphors and then walk away, leaving his audience to figure out what he meant.  He didn’t come back and try to explain or clarify himself.  He said his peace and left it at that.  I know I often spend too much time over-explaining.  I think I make things worse when I do that.
What Jesus was using was a guerrilla tactic.  He was deep in enemy territory.  These men were looking for him to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  They often tried to trap him or bait him into saying the wrong thing, so they could spring their trap on him. But he never fell for it.  Just like a Navy Seal, he was in, dropped his bomb, and then he was gone before they even knew what hit them.  If we try to go toe to toe with our enemy and face him head on, we will fail miserably.
No guerrilla mission would be complete without air support.  I remember the movie We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson.  Gibson played Lt. Colonel Hal Moore.  There were many times in this battle when Moore’s men were pinned down, and all seemed hopeless. But then they called in air support.  Dozens of aircraft came in, dropping bombs on the enemy to hold them off.
There was one scene I remember well.  One platoon got cut off and was about to be overrun by the North Vietnamese.  They began calling in artillery strikes.  The North Vietnamese had to pull back.  One Vietnamese soldier said to his commander, “The Americans are using artillery as a shield.  It is continuous and effective.”  When I think of this, it reminds me of prayer.  Our enemy can’t see it, he can’t touch it and he can’t stop it.  Prayer is our shield, it is continuous and effective.  No guerrilla mission can survive without it.  This is our air support.  Whether our battlefield is in full time ministry, teaching Sunday school or just every day in our workplace, without continuous prayer, we are leaving ourselves exposed to being overrun by the enemy.

So, how do we do all of this?  It’s rather simple.  As I said, Jesus showed us how in the gospels.  So did Paul throughout his many missions.  Sometimes, we Christians like to be so loud so everyone hears us, but all we are doing is alerting the enemy to our presence.  Let’s try being Christian guerrillas.  We sneak into the enemy camp in the middle of the night; we set our ambush on the enemy.  Before he even knows what hit him, we are gone.  If he tries to pursue us, or send his minions after us, we call on the artillery of prayer.  We use it as a shield.  It is continuous and effective.

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