When it comes to fighting for free hearts; hearts that are truly out from under the captivity of pornography and compulsive sexual behavior, we must live in our true identity as warriors.
This is not hyperbole.
Our identity is as sons of God (John 1:12) and Jesus calls us to abide in Him, as He abides in us (John 15:4). We have died with Christ and our lives are hidden with Christ in God such that when Christ, our is our life, is revealed, we will be revealed with Him in glory (Col. 3:3-4).
With that in mind, we need to pay close attention to the reality of spiritual warfare in the life of Jesus, something on which Greg Boyd has written extensively (see: Jesus and the Reality of Spiritual Warfare).
Boyd points out that while Jesus and His followers believed that God was the ultimate Lord over all creation, they “clearly viewed Satan as the functional Lord of earth at the present time.” Satan is depicted as possessing “all the kingdoms of the world” — to the point that he is able to give authority to rule these kingdoms to anyone he pleases (Luke 4:5-6).
Paul doesn’t shy away from labeling Satan “the God of the world” (2 Cor 4:4) and “the ruler of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2). He depicts this entire present world system as fundamentally evil (Gal 1:4, Eph 5:6).
Boyd goes on to say:
In this spiritual battle with Satan and the principalities, Jesus in principle won the war, struck the decisive deathblow, vanquished Satan, restored humanity, and established the kingdom; yet some battles must still be fought before this ultimate victory is fully manifested. Hence Jesus did not just carry out his warfare ministry; he commissioned, equipped and empowered his disciples, and the whole of the later church, to do the same. He set in motion the creation of a new humanity, one that again exercises dominion over the earth, by giving us his power and authority to proclaim and demonstrate the kingdom just as he did.
The part that is especially pertinent for us when thinking of our identity as warriors is that Jesus commissioned, equipped, and empowered His disciples “and the whole of the later church, to do the same.”
It’s not that our great battle is against sin, per se. Rather, it’s a battle against the principalities and powers, as we take our place under the lordship of Christ and live as authentic and free men, no longer enslaved to the corruption of this world.
The battle is real, and every man can sense he is in one, even if he lacks the framework to interpret it or the language to express it.
Many men shrink away from embracing their warrior nature because it isn’t a natural identity for them based on their life experience, or because something about it seems melodramatic.
We have seen a version of warrior identity which is heavily influenced by Bro Culture, and we are – appropriately – wary of that.
For a long time that version of warrior identity kept me from fully embracing my true warrior self.
However, what we get in Jesus is fully good and unabashedly warrior. The more clearly i see Jesus, the more deeply i move into my warrior identity.
We must be warriors if we want to live as men whose hearts are free. Given that the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One (1 John 5:19), freedom is a form of spiritual insurrection against the occupying power.
Men who have struggled with pornography addiction and compulsive sexual behavior know just how brutal an oppressor those things are. Rather than bringing freedom, porn and compulsive lust are tyrannical. Spiritual dictators such as these must be met with the warrior nature of Jesus Christ, and we as His men, are desperately needed in this time to continue on in what He commissioned us to do.
As Boyd says:
He set in motion the creation of a new humanity, one that again exercises dominion over the earth, by giving us his power and authority to proclaim and demonstrate the kingdom just as he did.
That is what it means to take up our true warrior nature and fight for free hearts.