The Battle

Where has the time gone?  Am I the only one who thinks that the summer months have gone by way too fast?  It seems like it was only days ago when we were planning our summer vacations, mission trips and church camps.  Or maybe you were just planning on all the sleep you were going to catch up on and relieved that there were going to be zero homework assignments for the next few months!  Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the days of “freedom” are drawing to a close.  Whatever you are starting up again, whether school or a job, you are ultimately diving back into “real life” with all of its various complications, situations, and temptations.  You might be coming off of a summer filled with huge “spiritual highs” from summer camps and mission trips and you are ready to start back up again, ready to reach your world for Christ.  We all have good intentions, right?  We make commitments at camps, wanting to read our Bibles everyday and vowing to stop sinning in a certain area that the Holy Spirit has convicted us about.  However, there is something that happens when we jump back into our daily routines.  What is it?  How do we lose momentum?  What lulls us back into the sin that we vowed we would never slip back into?

It is a hard struggle to resist temptation.  The message I hear often about resisting sin (and maybe you have as well), is that we are sinners and we will always struggle with sin.  This is a true statement, but the result of this statement usually ends with the perspective that we are going to fail and that sin is too hard to resist because of the fleshly bodies we live in.  On the flip side, we also hear that the Holy Spirit is inside of us, giving us discernment, convicting us, and guiding us.  We are left with this conflict of our fleshly bodies drawn to (and usually falling into) sin, and yet God’s Spirit within us drawing us to holiness.  How does this work?

If you went to Boot Camp this summer, you studied the armor of God in Ephesians 6.  Verses 11-12 explain the reason for the armor: “…so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Paul is warning us of the gravity of the situation we are in, living on this earth.  It is a battle every day, and some of you may feel the weight of the battle and the sin that so easily entangles.  BUT, because of the new covenant and Jesus shedding His holy blood on the cross to cover all of our sins, there is another promise!  He promises to fight for us, and no one and no sin can beat Him!

I have been reading a book by Andrew Murray called Abiding in Christ.  He explains this paradox so beautifully with this illustration:

“I have read of a young lion that could only be kept down by the eye of his keeper.  With the keeper you could come near the lion, and he would crouch, his savage nature unchanged, thirsting for blood – trembling at the keeper’s feet.  You might even put your foot on his neck, as long as the keeper was with you.  But to approach him without the keeper would be instant death!  And so it is that the believer can have the sin nature and yet not practice sin.  The evil nature, the flesh, is unchanged in its resistance to God, but the abiding presence of Jesus keeps it down.”

So how do we abide in Jesus?  It seems that we can be attacked by temptations in an instant and in many different directions.  It must be at the present moment that we must completely surrender to Him.  It would be wearisome to think about battling sin for your entire life, but trusting His power in the present moment is all that He asks from us.  If we could see the spiritual battle we are in and all of the “spiritual forces of evil” we might just give up.  Therefore, take one moment at a time and trust Jesus to fight for you as you give Him control.

Trust in His power, and call on Him in times of temptation.  Will He not deliver you?  For you are His chosen and He will fight for you!  You cannot fight on your own.  You need His power and constant presence with you.  Are you desperate for His presence?

I’ll leave you with one more encouraging quote from Murray,

“While we remember our weakness, we forget His all-sufficient power.  While we acknowledge that apart from Christ we can do nothing, we do not rise to the height or depth of Christian humility: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’  While we trust in the power of the death of Jesus to cancel the guilt of sin, we do not exercise a reliant and appropriating faith in the omnipotence of the living Savior to deliver us from the bondage and power of sin in our daily life.  We must remember that Christ works in us mightily and that, one with Him, we possess strength sufficient to overcome every temptation.”

Engage in the battle friends!  Stand firm!

 

Holly was a part of the first intern program in 2008.  She is also a newlywed of 2 years and is continually realizing the importance of her new role as a wife, as it mirrors the image of Jesus and His relationship to the church.  She puts her foot in her mouth many days and is competitive to a fault.  Her one desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord, to gaze on His beauty and to seek Him in His temple.

 

 

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