April 10, 2009

High Stakes

Life is not a game but a war to be waged.

Yesterday I was reminded of the power of my enemy. Satan does not come at me with full frontal attacks. He sneaks in, gets me distracted and anxious. Many times I am not even aware that there is a battle, never mind that I might be losing it. Without my Bible, I would join the many who are in the dark yet think life is normal.

Even as I try to list my areas of vulnerability, I realize that if I knew what they were, I would not be so vulnerable. Without my Savior who protects me, I would join the many who are totally defeated yet think that life is normal.

Of course the devil wants me to dishonor God and instead honor him. That is one reason he whispers (or shouts) his many lies. However, there is another reason he wants me to sin. If those who love the Lord are caught up in evil, then we and the Gospel we share has lost credibility before them. Instead, we must fight Satan and sin.
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12)
My first defense is along the lines that I’ve been thinking about during the past few days; I do not belong here. God has spiritually seated me in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6) and my stay here is temporary. I serve my true country and King as an ambassador and like an earthly ambassador, I have diplomatic immunity. The evil “laws” or lifestyles of this world have no power over me. I do not have to become engaged in sinful behavior.

Yet even if I was able to pull that off, like Jesus, I still will be accused of doing evil. He did no wrong yet the people of His day hated Him so much that they crucified Him. People can and will do the same to anyone who lives a godly life.

However, these verses from 1 Peter offer an alternative. People who do not like a righteous person “may” (not a guarantee, but may) see the good that a Christian does and glorify God “in the day of visitation.”

Some think this day of visitation means the time of judgment. I have another idea, perhaps influenced by my personal experience, but there was a day in my life when I was “visited” by God. He paid a call, actually brought a call to me, inviting me to join His family and be part of His kingdom. It was impossible to refuse. I’d experienced the kindness of His people and seen their good works.

I believe that every person receives such a visit. What will they do when He comes to them? After reading these verses again, I wonder what might have happened on that “day of visitation” in my life if the Christians around me had been caught up in “fleshly lusts” and dishonorable conduct. Instead of glorifying God, where might I be?

This is motivation to live in such a way that honors the Lord, and to resist all the junk that the devil throws at me and uses to tempt me to sin. We Christians are not perfect, but by paying attention and doing what the Lord asks of us, we “may” influence someone else, first for His glory, but also for their eternity.
NOTE: Tomorrow’s post will probably appear on Sunday, April 12 as I will be away from my computer and not sure if I can borrow the use of one from our relatives. Have a blessed Easter!

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