Francisco Franco was the leader of the revolution in Spain. In trying to capture Madrid, Franco had four columns marching on the city, one from the north one from the south, one from the east and one from the west. But according to Franco’s strategy, the most important force of all was what he called a “fifth column” — those forces that operated from WITHIN the city itself.
We are engaged in a life and death war. I’m not talking about terrorism. Even more deadly than terrorism is the threat of spiritual death. The most deadly force of all is a “fifth column” waging war within–a force led by the Devil and the unholy alliance of our sinful lusts.
But there’s a way to victory. Let me take you to the war‑room for a briefing with Paul the apostle. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that there are three keys to victory in this war:
1. We must stay loyal to our Commander and His cause. Every war strategist will tell you that winning requires an army that is patriotic, fully convinced of the rightness of the cause and is absolutely loyal to the Chief of Staff. Paul says in Romans 8:9, if you truly belong to the Messiah, then you will be “controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit.” In the Lord’s army there’s no such thing as a reluctant draftee. To win the battle for our minds we’ve got to be sold out completely to the Messiah and His mission.
2. We must slay the sinful deeds of our old sinful nature. The battle of the mind is a matter of life and death. When it comes to fighting against the terrorism of the flesh, it’s a “shoot to kill” policy. In Romans 8:13 Paul says, “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” If you compromise with your sinful nature, it could kill you.
3. We must use Spiritual weaponry. Paul says in Romans 8:7, “…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” It takes more than an act of parliament to put to death our misdeeds. It takes more than the law of Moses to master our minds. Even self-discipline is not enough. Consider that ‘superman,’ Samson. He vowed to maintain three disciplines: He watched his diet. He didn’t drink alcoholic beverages. He never went near the dead. But deep within he had a deadly deficiency: He is unable to restrain his lusts.
We might be able to control our external environment, but if our weapons are carnal, we will be defeated within. So Paul says in verse 13, “…but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” We can win this battle, but it demands no less than the power of the Holy Spirit.
How much power is at our disposal? In verse 11 Paul says, “…he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” The Spiritual weapons that God supplies have the same power that raised the Messiah from the dead. In our battle for the mind, we have all the power we need to defeat the “fifth column” and win the war.