Monday, June 6, 2016

Spiritual Warfare, Part 2

Chuckle: "A mother asked, 'Where did you get that lollipop son?' 'I bought it with the quarter you gave me.' 'The quarter was for Sunday School.' 'I know Mom, but the preacher met me at the door and got me in free.'"
Quote: "Defeat never comes to any man until he admits it." -- Joseph Daniels
"Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some victim to devour" (I Peter 5:8 NLT).
Are there sins in your life over which you seem to have no control? They just keep popping up and continually influence your behavior. Do you have a problem with anger, lying, using profane or vulgar language, pornography, etc.? If you have a pet sin that you cannot overcome, the devil has established that sin as a stronghold in your life. And he will use it to destroy your joy, influence, and witness for Christ through guilt and shame. These Strongholds are sins in our lives we can't overcome -- they control us. We open the door to Satan when we allow sin to creep into our lives. To win the daily spiritual battles, we must understand Satan's strategy for defeating us as Christians. Paul uses the sin of uncontrolled anger to teach us valuable truths about strongholds.
"And don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry. For anger gives a mighty foothold (stronghold) to the Devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT).
Uncontrolled anger is an example as to how Satan can use a weakness in our character to gain control of us. He will use that character flaw to cause us to become bitter and vindictive which can destroy us from within. If we nurse our anger, we give Satan an opportunity to exploit and divide us. Are you angry with someone right now? In this passage, you are advised not to let the day end before you begin to work on mending your relationship with someone, while seeking God's forgiveness and cleansing. The same truth applies to other weaknesses in our characters which Satan can exploit to destroy our influence for our Lord and the joy of our salvation.
There is an old saying that goes like this: "It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe." Many a person, worried for fear he would not be able to cross a mountain, has had to stop some miles before he crossed the foothills because he had not taken the time to clean out his shoes.
That has been the source of failure in many Christian lives. Eager to avoid the big sins, your life may outwardly be one of extreme piety, but if there are hidden imperfections (sins) -- little pebbles in your shoe -- these will cause failure in your Christian life.
As you are reading this lesson, has God revealed to you a sin in your life that you have been unable to conquer? Has his Spirit spoken to you about a stronghold Satan has established that is causing you to be guilt-ridden, unhappy, and ineffective as an instrument of God's grace to those around you? If so, God wants to help you overcome that stronghold. In our next lessons, we will look at the weapons God has given us to fight against the forces of evil that seek to control us.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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