Monday, March 28, 2005

The Battle: Part 2

The Battle: Part 2

John Eldredge mentions three parts to a spiritual battle with Satan:

Stage 1: I’m Not Here
"You can’t fight a battle you don’t think exists."
John Eldredge
For those of you who have seen The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, this stage one theme is mentioned throughout. The king of Rohan, Theoden, falls to deceit, unaware of the battle. Denethor has the enemy at his gate, but refuses to charge his soldiers to protect Gondor. Unknown to you, the enemy is near and wants you in his clutches. Are we aware of his presence?
1 Peter 5:8 – 9
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (NIV)
Now look at Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of the same scripture:
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.
John’s story of the ministry that dissolved was a clear example of what ‘napping’ can do.

Stage 2: Intimidation
I believe Satan is the creator of doubt and fear. For some time now, I’ve thought about going into a career in ministry for youths. God and Satan both know this. God says, "Have faith – go and do." Satan says, "I doubt you can do it. You worry too much about your family, your friends, your church. You’re a poser and a failure. Go back to your hole."
This is how Satan intimidates us. He may not use doubt or fear, but he may use finances, past sins, regret, etc. Look how often his lies infect Christ’s church:

Want to join the church choir, but afraid your voice will crack under pressure?
Do you feel led to begin a new ministry, but don’t have the financial resources?
Long to give more time to the church, but doubt you can make room in your already busy schedule?

I believe you get the idea.

Stage 3: Cutting a Deal
Satan wants to deal when we take a step and stand for God. Satan says, "Let’s put our guns down slowly and back away so no one gets hurt." Or, "I’ll let up on the doubt and fear if you just forget about that ministry idea."
It is here that we use the sword of the Spirit to cut down Satan. He fears the Christ knowing how powerful Jesus is. Jesus is the ultimate sword bearer. As believers in Him, we too can use the sword. God wants us to use his sword - his word.
John uses Revelation 21:7 – 8 to give us a picture when we don’t fight:
7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
Did you see, "cowardly"? Jesus is not talking about humble, but cowardly. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to be known as a coward in the eyes of God. Living for God, through Christ, takes strength. We all have the strength in Christ to carry on.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


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