The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/20

Posted on | June 20, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/20

Scripture reading: Joshua 5:13–15

The Good Fight

Fight the good fight of faith. (II Timothy 6:12)

When I was a boy there was nothing I loved more than playing army. While my sisters stayed inside having tea parties with their dollies, I was outside pretending to blow things up, shoot the enemy, and save civilization. Any stick was a potential gun, and any clod of dirt a hand grenade. With the help of other boys in the neighborhood, we dug a foxhole in our backyard where we huddled together and decided strategy. Once our plans were made we would leap from the trenches and run forth onto the field of battle to perform heroic deeds of valor and courage. There was no greater honor than “dying” a dramatic death on the field of battle in the fight to save the world.

Psychologists might suggest that boys who play war games like this suffer from some pathological disorder and need therapeutic attention. I beg to differ. The God who created us in his image is “a man of war” (Exodus 15:3). The desire to fight is part of our spiritual DNA. It is a tragic fact that human conflict is usually ugly and destructive. When God is absent, we fight for the wrong reason, in the wrong battles, on the wrong sides, with the wrong weapons. The results are always bad. However, things change dramatically when we invite Christ to be Lord over everything in our lives, even Lord over our conflicts. When Jesus reigns in our hearts, we don’t cease to fight; rather, we learn to fight rightly. The Lord does not want to eliminate our warrior tendencies; he wants to sanctify them! According to the Bible, there are at least three things a Christian soldier needs to know:

_ Know your Commander-in-Chief. Which side are you on? In warfare, no decision is more basic than this. Until we acknowledge Jesus as Lord, we may not even be aware of the battle going on around us. But knowing him enables us to see clearly the issues that are stake, the participants in the conflict, and the choice that we are called upon to make. The real question is not whether or not Jesus is on my side but whether I am on his! (Joshua 5:13–15)

_ Know your enemy. Our enemy is both shrewd in his tactics and ingenious in his many disguises (II Corinthians 11:14). Although our conflicts are often focused upon people and groups, we must remember who the real adversary is. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

_ Know your weapons. To fight spiritual battles with worldly weapons only makes the situation worse. We need spiritual arms for the battles God is calling us to fight (II Corinthians 10:3–4). Paul enumerates the Christian’s armor in Ephesians 6:13–18: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God). But our ultimate weapon, our nuclear option, is prayer! In God’s battle we arm ourselves and go forth to fight so that we can stand and pray!

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm . . . praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance (Ephesians 6:13, 18).

There is a battle going on. The destiny of the world is hanging in the balance. General Jesus has sounded the call to arms. So put away your dollies and tea sets and take up your weapons. You and I are needed at the front!

Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is more flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.  —Martin Luther

point to ponder • Are you in the battle or on the sidelines?

prayer focus • A new generation of sanctified soldiers of the cross.

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