In high school, I took two years of journalism during my junior and senior years. Our assignment was to publish the weekly school paper. I can still remember the day our teacher told us about the 5 W’s and the H. She said each story would need to cover six elements in order to be good news copy. Before we began writing an article we needed to discover the who, what, where, when, why and how of our subject. Some journalists stop writing after the first four in the list are discovered, never arriving at the why and how. The last two elements actually give what is written a depth of insight that a sloppy writing discipline misses. This journalistic principle also applies to spiritual discernment and warfare.
Many times well-meaning people in the church discover the “who, what, where and when” of various issues yet fail to discern the why and how. The why and how would give them the ability to wisely war against the unseen spiritual personalities that are the dark puppet masters attempting to pull the strings of human response in every spiritual conflict.
A form of sloppy spiritual journalism is being played out before our eyes in the current presidential election cycle where the undiscerning believe the race is actually a battle between two individuals. It is far deeper than the back and forth personality assaults and entrenched positions we see played out on our favorite news feed.
In any conflict we need to follow the strings of manipulation into the unseen realm to discover the source of the input as instructed by Paul in Ephesians 6. He was telling us to not limit our battle plan to only the who, what, where and when of the obvious, but to look into the unseen realm to discover the why and how of an issue. The “why” of spiritual warfare is discovered by following the puppet strings into the unseen realm to discover who or what is requiring our worship. The “how” string is revealed when we discover what spirit is providing the input for our life telling us how to play out our part on the stage of life.
Paul also said, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.” (Galatians 5:17) Our greatest weapon is fighting in the opposite spirit by responding to the tug of God’s Spirit instead of the tug of the flesh.
The next time you find yourself confident about the who, what, where and when of a conflict, be careful. This is a dangerous place to be if you have not yet discovered the why and how. When the next tug on your life-string comes pause and ask the Lord to reveal the why and how. This will help you discover who or what is pulling your string.