The only belief system that has an “Open Season” sign on it is Christianity. Soon there will be pictures of Christians and Bibles with instructions to “Shoot On Sight.” Of course I am not talking literally but figuratively. The weapons of our foes are designed to maim and destroy our spirits. Remember this familiar verse well:
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
I actually know Christians who believe this verse is talking figuratively and not literally. It is amazing to me how we take the literal and make it figurative and take the figurative and make it literal. It is high past time to become more diligent in our Bible studies, but I digress.
Spiritual warfare is not a modern-day phenomenon or just a New Testament teaching. The Prophet Daniel wrote of it over 2500 years ago:
“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them…” (Daniel 7:21)
So why is it we as the church seems to be losing the battle in the cultural arena? Very simply, we fight in our own strength instead of the might of God. We need not do so:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
I’ve come to realize in my own life that I struggle more with God than I do His enemies. Why is that? It is because I still have too much stinking thinking when it comes to the character of God. I try to apply my human understanding to Whom God is instead of allowing the Holy Spirit through the Word to teach me and bring the glorious light of the gospel to my mind and soul. My faith grows through God’s Word by illumination and participation:
“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:32-39)
We must live by faith because as Pastor Henry wrote, we are encouraged “to hope and trust in God; in His power and providence, and His gracious presence with His church in the worst of times. We may apply it to spiritual enemies, and the encouragement we have that, through Christ, we shall be conquerors over them.”
Beloved, we don’t just have to contend with our spiritual enemies; we can conquer them. When we are attacked instead of asking God why is this happening to me, let us unsheathe our swords of the spirit, which is the Word of God, and slay our already vanquished foe. Instead of questioning God, let us rebut our lying adversary. Nineteenth Century author Ellen G. White, in her book Great Controversy: Between Christ and Satan, wrote:
“It is Satan’s constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine law and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes them to cherish false conceptions of God so that they regard Him with fear and hate rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in systems of religion and expressed in modes of worship.”
It all comes down to not trusting ourselves anymore. Tuesday I wrote on finding firm footing and that is only possible and completely dependant upon where we choose to put our feet.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers