When the Bible says to go on the offensive
Conditions will never be perfect for serving Jesus Christ. Earth is a perpetual disaster area because of the enemies of God. Jesus Christ came into this chaos to attack and defeat Satan and bring us peace. God is calling us, as 21st century Christians, to move out of a defensive mode and onto the offensive.
Jesus didn’t come to make a peace treaty with the enemy. Jesus came to destroy his work. As the Father sent the Son, so Jesus sends us (John 20:21-22). We are called, with Jesus, to assault darkness and destroy the devil’s work. Wherever the enemy is at work, we are called to engage him and drive him out.
When we get on the offensive, hell shakes. A parallel is seen even in the natural world. The famed “Doolittle Raid” that was the United States’ answer to the Pearl Harbor attack lifted the hopes of the American people and shook the enemy. In football, the truth of the saying, “the best defense is a good offense,” has shaken even the strongest teams.
Going on the offensive affects us in other ways. Jesus said, “I want you to go and make disciples.” To bring someone to Jesus Christ, we must confront the enemy. When we’re on the attack, it isn’t easy to backslide. During an aggressive, anointed, empowered offense, the gates of hell give way to us. It changes us.
Even when the odds seem overwhelming, we can still take the offensive. Three people in scripture come to mind.
Samson was once bound with ropes when the Philistines came against him, but the Holy Spirit moved on Samson. He broke free from the ropes and, with no weapon in sight, he spotted the carcass of a donkey, grabbed its jawbone and killed 1,000 enemies (Judges 15). The site became known as Jawbone Hill.
Samson was thirsty after his fight and in that high place, God opened a fountain of water. Samson received refreshment in the place of his victory.
Two lessons emerge. First, even when outnumbered, Samson used a rudimentary weapon and conquered his enemy by the power of the Spirit. Second, we can see that our place of victory will often become our place of refreshing.
At a significant battle in the perpetual conflict between Israel and the Philistines, King Saul and his son Jonathan went into battle with swords while their 600 men were unarmed (1 Samuel 13:22). The Philistine army was well-armed because they were the only ones with the tools to sharpen weapons.
In this midst of this uneven battle, Jonathan called to his armorbearer, “Come on! Let’s go! Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14).
The two young men climbed sharp cliffs to the high ground of the Philistine camp. At the top, they quickly killed 20 enemy soldiers with just one sword between them. Then panic struck the Philistines. God literally shook the ground. They started killing each other and running away.
Jonathan’s great statement, “the Lord can win by many or by few,” illustrates that sometimes God needs just one courageous person to win the victory. When someone stands up and says, “This looks terrible, but I believe God is calling us to move forward,” then by the authority of God’s Word and the sword of the Spirit, battles are won.
An army captain named Jehu was unknown until the day a young prophet sent by Elijah ran breathlessly into his tent. He poured oil on Jehu’s head and said, “God has anointed you to be king of Israel.” Jehu was not in line for the throne. He had no lineage to be king. But he told the other officers what the runner said. They took action, throwing their coats on the ground and blowing a trumpet, shouting, “Jehu is king” (2 Kings 9).
Jehu then rushed into action. Some Bible translations say he drove his chariot passionately; others that he drove like a maniac. His heart was burning. The kings of Judah and Israel came out to meet him and he killed them both. But Jehu didn’t stop there.
Jehu went to the city of Jezreel, where wicked Jezebel had established a thirty-year reign of evil and Baal worship, first as queen, then as queen mother. Against all odds, this young soldier faced down this woman that neither Elijah nor Elisha had been able to topple. She looked out the upper window and mocked Jehu. But Jehu responded by talking to the people around her. “Who is on my side?” he asked.
Some of Jezebel’s officials had worked around her evil for most of their lives. Answering the challenge from one young, anointed, unknown soldier, they grabbed their boss, Jezebel, and threw her out the window. On the ground, she was trampled by horses, and her body was eaten by dogs. Jezebel’s downfall was prophesied, even the detail that she would be eaten by dogs.
But it took decades to happen.
It may take 20 or 30 years to win a battle. But when a person is anointed and has the courage to do what God says to do, God will break strongholds and defeat the enemy.
It looked impossible for Jesus to triumph over the kingdom of darkness. Yet under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit, wherever Jesus found Satan’s kingdom, he tore it down. Jesus came to invade the enemy’s territory, overthrow his kingdom, and bring in the kingdom of God. He calls us to do the same.
God still brings the strongholds down and defeats the devil by His power and for His glory. The impossible becomes possible when God’s servants go on the offensive.
Dr. William M. Wilson is the president of Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dr. Wilson is instrumental in developing Spirit-empowered leaders through whole person education to impact the world. He is known as a global influencer and a dynamic speaker with four decades of executive leadership experience. Wilson’s weekly television program, “World Impact with Dr. Billy Wilson” has been inspiring viewers in over 150 nations and multiple languages since 1998.
As Global Co-chair of Empowered21, which attracts Spirit-empowered principals from ministry, academics, and next-generation voices. Wilson is the Chair of the historic Pentecostal World Fellowship and holds leadership positions with the National Association of Evangelicals, Mission America Coalition, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the City of Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.