Thursday, April 1, 2010

To Live is Christ — armed for war

The readings for these few days from my devotional book are about praising God for teaching me how to fight. This is not the same kind of fighting as the battles experienced by the original author. Psalm 144 was written by King David who ruled the nation of Israel. He had literal enemies who tried to dethrone him, even enemies within his own family. David continually relied on God for help and God continually rescued him. This is why he could say:
Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle — my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.  (Psalm 144:1–2)
I’m not a king nor do I have anyone literally trying to kill me. When I rely on God for battles, they are of a different nature than the battles David fought. Nevertheless, I cannot fight these by myself.

My biggest enemy is my old sin nature. It continually jumps into the fray of life, trying to unravel me and keep me from trusting God and doing His will. That sin nature has a mind of its own with objectives that run counter to the will of God. It was for this that Jesus died. My sinfulness was forgiven when Jesus bore my penalty for those sins. With Him, I am also given the power to overcome that sin nature. Apart from Him, I am helpless. This enemy is too strong.

The second enemy, who knows very well how the sinful nature operated (he has it himself) is Satan. He continually jumps into my life with lies that counter the truth of God. He continually attempts to dupe me into doing my own thing, which would suit his foul purposes. He slanders God, slanders God’s people, and pours doubt like acid whenever he thinks he can get away with it. This enemy is also too strong for me. He fooled sinless (at that point) Adam and Eve — what hope would a sinner like me have against his power? Praise God that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has already sealed his fate!

The third enemy is the lure of the world, the temporary, the things around me that I can see, that appeal to my desires for comfort, ego boosts, possessions, power, popularity, and all things temporary. Of course this enemy is a tool of Satan who uses it to appeal to my old nature. The three of them usually work in cahoots to bring me down.

But God teaches me how to fight. First, He shows me how to recognize the enemies, how to tell a lie from the truth, how to recognize self and not confuse that with the voice of the Holy Spirit. He shows me how the world enters the picture too. Knowing the enemy is paramount when it comes to fighting and winning battles.

He also gives me weapons to use in my battle. The most important are listed in Ephesians 6 and called the armor of God. Some pieces of this armor are defensive, such as the helmet of salvation and the shield of faith. One of them, the sword of the Spirit, is offensive. This is my best weapon, for it is the Word of God.

Using Scripture, God teaches me how to discern my motivations and intentions. Familiarity with God’s Word can nip selfishness in the bud, before it expresses itself.

The Word is truth also, the only weapon against Satan’s lies. No matter how he presents them, whether suggestions to doubt God or through worldly enticements, Scripture puts his lies into bright light, exposing them and destroying their power over me.

Besides being trained for battle, God also shows me how to be fortified before the battles come. Read His Word. Stay close to Him in prayer and obedience. Know His perfect will and go with it. Be strong and know God, rely on God. Don’t give Satan a foothold. Recognize and resist. Obey God and be strong.

To live is Christ means giving no place for selfishness, sin, lies, or temptations. Of course I am not there yet, but knowing the goal makes it easier to keep my eyes on it rather than be distracted by the ruses of my enemies. For this, I praise the Lord who is my rock, my high tower and refuge, my shield and deliverer. Without him, I would quickly be totally defeated.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

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LC said...

For me to reply, you need to leave an email address.

Just a reminder, do not copy anyone's work from the Internet and use in a college assignment without giving credit to the author, or without getting permission from the author. This is plagiarism, which is both illegal and unethical.