December 18, 2017
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For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. - 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Combatives is a term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques. The military teaches this for self-defense and how to restrain a combative enemy. Last weekend we had a two hour class as one of the activities for a Christian Menís Retreat.

Our instructor demonstrated simple and effective defensive techniques that use natural reflexes to respond to threat. He went on to show how to manage balance, strength, speed, and body mechanics to subdue an assailant. We practiced on each other to prove the strategies and gain confidence.

One of the men asked how our spiritual warfare might be influenced by these principles, which opened up an interesting conversation.


The simple idea of self-defense in the physical realm is to keep the body from being harmed. This includes defending the vulnerable parts of the body as well as your personal space. No one has the right to hurt you or constrain you. We practiced blocks and escape moves in our class because when an enemy approaches either a fight or flight response may be appropriate. When you are protecting yourself, you are protecting your body.

Things are a little more complex in the emotional realm. The self is your identity, and the greatest measure of self is the ability to exercise free will. You must be free to express your values, opinions and character without constraint. No one has the right to harm your personal worth or constrain you from engaging in all that God has in mind for you.

We do not wage war in the same way as the physical realm, though there are similarities of purpose. We protect the vulnerable parts of our identity by blocking verbal or emotional attacks from others. We protect our personal space with boundaries and limits. This self-defense guards our freedoms in what we choose and believe. It is appropriate to protect our identity from enemies in the emotional realm.

Your spiritual identity is an eternal reflection of the image of God. Self-defense in the spiritual realm protects your freedom of expression in all things. The enemies in this realm are not limited to other humans, but include spiritual beings. Therefore, our weapons must have divine power.


Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. - Ephesians 6:18

The first condition of self-defense is to keep alert with all perseverance. Our Combatives instructor described the different levels of awareness, and encouraged us to stay mentally engaged in our surroundings. Pay attention to possible threats and you can be prepared to take action. That is not to say that we should live in fear nor expect calamity. When we are alert we can walk in confidence.

How do you stay alert in the spiritual realm? Walk by the Spirit. Be in tune with the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit and you will be aware of all spiritual influences. Pay attention to possible threats, such as personal vulnerabilities or other dangerous places. Address your personal weaknesses before conflict arises.

The second condition of self-defense is to maintain your personal space. You must have room to maneuver to exercise your freedoms. In the emotional realm that means to establish healthy boundaries that provide you with freedom of choice. In the spiritual realm that means to be free from strongholds and legal ground that the devil will use to oppress you.

We also practiced the technique of assessment in our class. When a person approaches you may not know their intentions. You may need to block them for a moment while you assess the situation. If you are still unsure, you may need to test their intent without making yourself vulnerable to attack.

Assess your daily situations in the emotional and spiritual realms along those same lines. Block the incoming message or temptation and consider its implications. Test the spirits and resist the devil. Not every encounter is an attack, but you can be wise in your assessment.

Finally, we learned about the use of leverage in self-defense. Your body mechanics are designed by God, and there are ways to use your physical structure to amplify power through leverage.

In the emotional and spiritual realms we have increased leverage by the power of God flowing through us. When we are engaged in spiritual warfare it is our right to tap into that power and repel the enemy.


God designed us to freely express His character and nature. It is His plan that we be unconstrained in our acts of worship. In fact, He loves us so much that He will always allow us to make decisions, even when those choices are to our detriment. He protects our free will.

When we protect our free will it is a true reflection of Godís image. No one has the right to override our ability to choose, for to do so is abuse. We can stand against that combative enemy with all the power and authority of God. This is true self-defense.

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