"So all the cities of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded." Joshua 11:12
As Joshua went in to conquer the land from Jericho and onward he was commanded by God time and time again to utterly destroy the inhabitants and to burn the city with fire. He was also continually encouraged to not be afraid...and that the Lord God was with him. As Joshua spent time praying and waiting upon GOd he heard and obeyed God's commands and was victorious in all he set out to accomplish. When Joshua did not inquire of the Lord and allowed sin in the camp he was defeated.
This serves as a great example for us as to the successful way to conquer the enemy in our own lives. There must be an utter destruction of the enemy in our lives to have complete victory. But how is this possible? How do we have victory over the constant attack of the enemy, our own flesh and the world which wages against us on a daily basis? We do what Joshua did...we seek God daily, we listen to Him and we obey Him. As we take our daily instructions from the Lord by spending time in the Word and prayer each day we are strengthened to go and fight with the right kind of weapon... a sword.
It was the sword...the Word of God which Jesus used against the Devil when He was tempted in the wilderness ...and it's what we are to use when the enemy comes at us each day. As we sharpen our sword each day we are able to fight the enemy...but, we are also able to conquer the enemy and have a final victory as well. The key is the utter destruction of the flesh. We, like Joshua are commanded to not let anything be left breathing. When it comes to the enemy we cannot afford to leave anything breathing...we need to destroy the flesh or it will grow and take over. Practically speaking we need a plan, like Joshua was given a plan of attack from the Lord. Our plan may look different then Joshua's, but the tactics are the same...seek God, obey His commands and destroy the flesh. To destroy the flesh requires death...death to self, death to desires, wants, tendencies, cravings...whatever it it...the method remains the same...DEATH must take place to have victory.
If you are struggling today, as I often do with overcoming the devil and having victory over the things that are waging war against me...do what Joshua did...sharpen your sword through the reading of the Word of God... spend a long time in prayer on your face pleading with God...surround yourself with like minded people who can help you in your battle and go out in confident obedience trusting God completely and knowing that the God who has called you is faithful who also will do it!