My wife and I love to watch spy shows filled with high tech gadgets, political intrigue, and cleverly crafted plot twists that punch you in the gut. What we enjoy is witnessing the game between good and evil and in the spy game, the most cunning side always wins. After watching a number of clandestine storylines, there seems to be one thing in common though - enemies don't stay dead for very long. The classical "good guy" either can't pull the trigger, or he sends the equally classical "bad guy" to prison where he ends up escaping. Sometimes, the evil character suffers from a condition The Princess Bride refers to as "mostly dead," where said villain shows up later in the story to the protagonist's dismay with bigger and badder intentions.
In all of our lives, there are things that need to die, and not passively I mind you. You may be thinking of a bad habit that has taken root in your life. You have hoped it away, prayed it away, fasted it away, but at the end of the day, it still exists because it wasn't killed. In Ecclesiastes 3, the wise king made it quite clear that there are seasons of killing. Now we know that according to Ephesians 6:12, we do not wrestle according to flesh and blood, meaning that our enemies are not people but rather evil influences controlling people. There is a fight. We do have to kill. We have been made warriors to slaughter the presence of principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness. To sit on our hands and let these unseen forces twist and manipulate our lives is not only immature, it is foolish. I know first hand what happens when an enemy is shown compassion and allowed to live unchallenged. It not only destroys you, but it destroys the people around you.
Let's talk about some of these enemies that need to be killed. Paul gives us a few lists in his letters (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-6), and all of these enemies that Paul describes are not people, but wicked manipulators hoping to take dominion of your life. Don't be like Adam who was asked to take dominion of the earth and because of his sin, the earth took dominion of him. Our spiritual fight is not about wishing these antagonists away or strictly submitting our bodies to harsh discipline in efforts to work it out. These enemies stem from much greater heart issues. Unlike the world and it's spies who use fancy weaponry and destructive devices to conquer their enemies, we win our fight by drawing close to our Savior who is the only one who can truly change a wicked soul.
Solomon describes seasons of killing and seasons of healing. The ironic mystery of spiritual warfare is that our heart needs to be healed in order for God's gracious empowerment to work through us to kill the nasty tyrants of sin that weigh us down. An instructor in Bible college once told us that the strongest place of authority in battle is inside the general's tent. Since Jesus is our General, our battle needs to be fought from a place of abiding with Him in order to gain true victory, lest the enemy rise up again and bring with him seven more spirits stronger than himself (Matthew 12:45).
In most spy stories, when the antagonist returns, he has regrouped with greater forces and a more convoluted plot to kill the hero. He realizes his old tactics were not enough and he needs to bring in the big guns to get the job done. His tactics of biological warfare go nuclear in attempt to gain victory over his perceived foe. He performs this upgrade of munitions because he is afraid of losing a second time. In other words, your enemy is afraid of losing to you again because you have the biggest guns of all - Jesus and all the host of heaven.
Healing takes place before the killing process, during the killing process, and after the killing process. Jesus is our Healer and He is a Killer - the healer of our bodies and souls, and the killer of wicked forces. Submitting to Him through both seasons will decide how much we walk in victory and freedom.