You weren’t in the trenches

I was being tempted to waste my time, and the temptation was strong. Considering the position I found myself in, I gave up. Temptation being that strong, I just decided right then and there I wasn’t going to fight it. I know it sounds convoluted, but I found I could muster up enough strength to do my devotions first and I had sorta decided I’d waste my time doing purposeless things later.

In my devotions God spoke to me. I found new strength and will to fight my selfish desires, and I did not waste my time afterwards.

That day I learned a lot about myself. You see, I didn’t have the strength to make the decision to fight the temptation head on, but I knew where to find it. God strengthened me, and I escaped. But my whole attitude was off.

I had convinced myself that I was helpless against temptation once it became strong to a certain extent. It’s almost as if I had courage against little trials, but I couldn’t imagine putting in the effort to overcome big ones.

It reminds me of a verse in Hebrews 12, it says,

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

Think about that.

The word “resisted” there, means to line up for battle.

Imagine coming back from a fight, a battle, a war- without a scratch. Usually, if a person doesn’t have a scratch on them, they weren’t involved. Essentially, the writer of Hebrews is saying,

“You didn’t get in the trenches”

“You didn’t fight”

“You haven’t begun to fight”

I think that applies to many of us. A lot of times we sin because it’s convenient, or because we feel like it. The addiction is too strong, we say.

I would suggest to you, that we aren’t feeling the pain that our sin causes.

We’d rather live comfortably, than live purely.

Our sin is tolerable to us, our discomfort is not.

This is the crux of the issue.

I challenge you to follow after God. Make Him the ultimate need in your life. Don’t live comfortably with sin.

Resist. Unto blood.

 

 

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Castles in your mind

I hear Christians speak all the time about how they have a weakness about this or that. They say that they have a weakness towards gambling, or gluttony, or white lies. It’s so easy to mindlessly excuse such faults.

“It’s a weakness of mine”

It sounds innocent, but it isn’t. Children are weak, sick people are weak- Bible believing Christians who have the Lord working in their lives should not be weak! And they should not be content with sinful thoughts or actions in their lives.

Living rightly before God is a war. It’s a war between our carnal desires, and His desires. We can’t afford weaknesses. Soldiers don’t mention a weakness and then continue on as if it is acceptable. Weaknesses are a matter of life or death to them.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 communicates this idea perfectly, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations . . .   and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

I would encourage you read the entire chapter, but for now we will focus on these verses. God tells us that even though we are living an earthly life, we do not fight an earthly war.

We fight a war that is in the spirit and in our minds.

We fight against imaginations. We fight against thoughts. And sometimes they are hard to notice. Perhaps you are thinking of exaggerating a story, eating more dessert than you should, or letting your thoughts stray to immoral things.

When you succumb to those temptations, that’s not weakness, that’s allowing the enemy to cross into your territory. When you allow sinful thoughts to occupy your mind it’s like allowing the enemy army to occupy your land. Eventually they’re setting up camp, getting used to being there, and they start building castles- and they’re harder to drive out.

Just like an enemy army is hard to evict once they’ve been in your country a while, evil thoughts are hard to banish from your mind once they’ve set up camp.

But don’t give up! There’s hope!

God promises that his power is strong, even unto the “pulling down of strongholds.” There may be a castle of sin in your mind, but it doesn’t have to stay. God has the power to remove it!

What sinful thoughts or actions are hard for you to resist?

What castles of sin are in your mind today?

Won’t you ask God for the power to remove them?

Unto Blood?

Imagine a great battle, where people line each sides of a field. They draw swords, and charge. As they meet each other, they begin to fight, but then one army retreats. They leave the field in defeat and say that the battle was too hard. When you inspect the troops however, you find that not a single soldier has a scratch on them. They are alright except for a few bumps and bruises.

What would you think of an army that retreated only because they were uncomfortable in a fight? Would you write of their bravery in songs of poems? Would you tell others of their greatness. I think not.

Most likely, we would scoff at such wimps who would call themselves men. We would not praise such people. Those who selflessly sacrifice for the cause, those people are worthy of praise.

We may think little of an army that retreats without any real cause, but in many ways, our Christian life can probably be viewed the same way. How often do we retreat from our daily spiritual battle because the cross of Christ is uncomfortable to bear? Hebrews 12:4 says, Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. What is an army that retreats before even one of their men looses a drop of blood? Not many wars have been won by such a noncommittal group.

And yet, how can we expect to be triumphant in our spiritual warfare unless we are willing to commit wholly to the cause of our Savior?

The war that faces the Christian is not hard. Christ says, Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. – James 4:7

I challenge you, you are in a battle against sin, take it seriously. Have a warfare mentality when it comes to unrighteousness. Don’t give up on your battle because things get a little difficult or fighting your flesh isn’t fun.

Make a conscious decision to commit to standing for righteousness and holiness. Secure the thought in your mind that there is no other option. And you will find your impulses weaker, and you will find that Satan will be fleeing from you. Never forget, God is with you, and the battle is His. All that remains to you is to make a decision to stand.

Won’t you?

So it was a very great trembling

Do you ever fall short of complete victory in your life? It would seem that no matter how hard you fight, you keep loosing your battle. God wants us to live a victorious life. He wants us to succeed. In order for us to win our battles, we must step out in faith that He is willing to work the victory through us.

In 1 Samuel chapter 16 we find an account of a a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. 1 Samuel 14:6 tells us how it began, “And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for

there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.” Jonathan had faith that God could work the victory through them. Jonathan knew that God had the power to give victory. With that faith, Jonathan and one other guy took on an entire garrison.

In a later verse we find that Jonathan and his armorbearor killed about 20 men, I’m sure they could have easily kept going, but the circumstances change. In verse 15 we find, “There was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.” Did you catch that? The Philisines were so scared that they were shaking. And they were shaking so much that the earth began to shake!

In verse 16 we find that the Philistines were fleeing the battle and killing each other! King Saul learns of this and then he joins in fighting the Philistines. Other Israelites who had been cowering in fear joined in! And verse 23 says, “So the LORD saved Israel that day.”

I would like to challenge you, step out in faith in your spiritual battles. I don’t know what sin or shortcoming you need deliverance from, but whatever it is, trust God that He can give you the victory. Believe what He says. Just like Jonathan and his armorbearor stepped out in faith, you can step out in faith. You can gain victory over any sin or downfall in your life. Just like Jonathan’s victory encouraged others, your victory may too. As other’s see how God has used you, their faith will increase. Will you step out in faith? If you do, God can use your actions to encourage others, and work a great victory. Will you believe in God’s ability to give you the victory today?

“And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” – Leviticus 6:8

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7