Date : 18-07-02 10:39
The Twilight Zone (2) (Eph 6:12)
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If you served in the military, you remember as a soldier, you were trained to keep the code of conduct, to battle with enemies, to honor country...and etc. The apostle Paul said that we, Christians, are the soldiers of Christ...set aside our personal lives for the Lord.
You are in the army now
We have been drafted to serve in a life-and-death battle for the future of the universe. Understanding that our Commander in Chief has enlisted us to serve in this cosmic war helps us remember our purpose in life and keeps us from needless distractions that would hinder our service to God. It also will encourage us to fight with every ounce of energy we have, so when our tour of duty is completely, we, like the apostle Paul, can say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2Tim 4:7-8).
Beyond some future reward for our service to God, there is a more immediate reason to awaken from our "drugged and hazardous condition" and comprehend the spiritual war in which we are engaged. As a Christian, you are in the cross hairs of the Enemy's artillery. Whether you believe you are living in the middle of a cosmic war between God and Satan is immaterial to the devil. In fact, he prefers that you stay oblivious to the real battle raging in the universe and to your place in that battle. Like any combatant, Satan always operates more efficiently in the darkness than in the light. He has placed a giant X on your back and has marked you for destruction. The less award you are of his goal, the more certain he is of success. Regardless of your level of awareness, you do have an enemy intent on destroying you.
Peter does not warn you to be on the alert and of sober spirit because God's adversary, the devil, prowls about. Instead, Peter describes Satan as "your adversary, the devil" (1Pet 5:8). Frankly, this is one of the consequences of becoming a Christian that is rarely discussed. Before you became a believer, you were part of Satan's kingdom. You were his indentured servant and existed to serve his purpose. But when you trusted in Christ as your Savior, you were delivered "from the domain of darkness, and transferred...to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col 1:13). You have been freed from Satan's tyrannical reign and maniacal plan for your life. That's the good news.
The bad news is that as part of God's kingdom, His enemies have become your enemies. God's chief antagonist is now your chief adversary. Before you get discouraged and think, "I'm not sure I'm up to the fight," you should know that Satan is already a conquered opponent. In spite of the certainty of Satan's ultimate demise, he is still a powerful adversary capable of inflicting great harm. Satan possesses the power to disrupt your marriage, discourage you from trusting in God's faithfulness, destroy your physical and mental health, deceive your children into following him rather than God, divide your church, damage your influence for Christ's kingdom, and deny you of eternal rewards in heaven.
Time for the crucifix and garlic necklace?
Perhaps you are one of those people who is understandably skeptical about the whole subject of spiritual warfare. You believe in the existence of Satan. You are aware of the reality of demons. You sense there is a battle going on between the forces of good and evil. You'd like to protect yourself and your loved ones from Satan's assaults. But you are not sure what, if anything, you can do about it. You sure don't want to engage in anything weird, like trying to exorcise demons from your friends and family members. Spinning heads, levitating bodies, and creepy voices are beyond your comfort zone. You don't want to be one of those people who attributes every problem in life from cancer or hangnails to satanic attacks. Carrying a giant cross or wearing a string of garlic to ward off the evil spirits isn't for you.
Christians tend to go to one of two extremes when it comes to the subject of spiritual warfare. Those who are unaware and, therefore, unprepared to fight the real battle that Satan is waging against them are destined to become spiritual road kill. Others become so fixated on Satan and his minions that they become demon obsessed.
Pastor Kent Hughes recounts a spiritual revival that touched a number of professional families in a large city years ago. When a group of doctors, lawyers, and business executives gained a new interest in Bible study, their marriages were restored and churches were energized by their spiritual fervor. But some of the leadership of the renewal movement, fascinated by the subject of spiritual warfare, started giving more attention to the work of Satan against them than the work of Christ for them. One night their group became convinced that demons had inhabited the chandelier in the dining room where they were meeting. They concluded their Bible study by disassembling the light fixture so they could take the parts of the chandelier and bury them in different parts of the city. Not long afterward some of the children of these leaders were seen running down the street shouting, "The devil is going to get us, the devil is going to get us.“
Satan is just as pleased by those who obsess about him as by those who ignore him. In our journey together we will seek to be both intensely biblical and extremely practical as we discover what we can do to protect our faith, our families, and our future from the powerful attacks of our enemy. But even though Satan and his forces are real and powerful, we need not fear them, nor do we need to become obsessed with them.
Author Neil Anderson compares the world of Satan and his demons to the world of germs. We know that germs, though invisible, are all around us, he says. They inhabit our food, our water, our air, and other people with whom we come in contact. Some people are absolutely phobic about germs and spend their lives trying to insulate themselves from any contact with them. But the right diet, appropriate rest and exercise, and simple principles of hygiene will protect us from most infections. We don't have to obsess about germs to be free from them. Yet without an awareness of these microbes and the ways to protect ourselves from them, we should be more prone to illness and death.
Yes, we need to exercise balance in our understanding of this complex subject of spiritual warfare. But please don't equate the word "balance" with the word "passive." The ancient warrior Sun Tzu observed that the art of war is of vital importance. "War is a matter of life and death," he said, "a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence, under no circumstances can it be ignored.“
You are in the middle of an invisible, though very real, war. The stakes are high. Your enemy is skilled, armed, and determined. The possibility of losing everything important to you is real. You must be aware of and prepared for the fight.
And next week, I am going to talk about how to win the greatest battle of your life.