How are you doing in the fight against evil? You realize you ARE in a war, don’t you?
(18) Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.
When we accepted Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior, we changed allegiance from Satan to Jesus. We now serve Jesus, which puts us at war with the devil and this world in general.
Let’s take the next couple of days to look at what it means to follow Christ, what it takes to follow Christ, and what we need to follow Christ. Let’s start with what we need:
- Assurance– We need assurance that we are His and that He is with us.
- Support– We need support from the Spirit and from other Christians.
- Strategy- We need a strategy, a game plan on how to fight the enemy on the inside and on the outside.
What it takes to follow Christ is:
- The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit– We get this/Him when we totally surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus. Categorically. There are always pockets of resistance within us, but we generally allow Him to have full reign in our hearts and lives. He will deal with the rest.
- Tenacity– holding fast, persistence. The quality or property of holding together firmly. We let go of the things of this world and hold onto Jesus for life.
- Reset– the ability to reset and begin again. When we sin, when we fail, when we stumble and fall, when we revert, when we give in, we must learn to reset: We go to Him who gives grace; we bow once again before Him acknowledging Him as our Lord and King; we receive His smile, His embrace, and His love and begin again. “God doesn’t count the number of times we fall, but the number of steps we take.”
Now, what does it mean to follow Christ? I’m afraid that some people have gotten mixed up with Christians and the church without realizing into what they have gotten themselves, or for what they have signed up.
- Following Christ means that we have turned from sin and self. We realize that we are not good people and we need a Savior. That’s Jesus!
- Following Christ means that we turn to Him. Just being sorry for our sins doesn’t save us; we must turn TO JESUS asking Him to come into us and give us life. We must move from death to life through rebirth. We are BORN AGAIN.
- Following Christ means that we seek His face, listen for His voice, and obey His commands–ALWAYS. It is the Way of Life for us. When we fail or fall, we allow Him to pick us up, comfort us, dust us off, dress our wounds, kiss us, and then we try again.
The last verse in Chapter 20 sounds horrible, but has great potential:
(30) Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.
If we are, indeed, at war with the devil, we need to understand that WE WILL receive blows and wounds and beatings. We WILL get knocked down, deserted and even wounded by our friends, both lost friends and fellow Christians. The enemy is too good at what he does, and we still live in these sin-ridden bodies with all their habits, tendencies, and lusts. We MUST be forgiving of each other, helping each other up and having each other’s backs. Let’s dress each other’s wounds rather than shoot our wounded. The best way to remove pollutants from water is to distill it (boil it and run the steam into a new flask). It’s the same with sterilizing instruments for surgery, and for refining silver. When making a sword, the metalworker heats the metal to red-hot and then hammers it into shape. Do you feel it? I sure do!
Tomorrow, we will look at Ephesians 2:1-10. You might want to read ahead.
Abba, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ that they would grasp who they are in You, and that we are in a war–and in the middle of occupied territory! Give us insight, strength, and endurance so that we can stand against the enemy, O LORD. May we stand so close to You that we fairly glow with the love, peace and joy that radiate from You. May You renew our hope with Your grace. I pledge allegiance once again to You, my LORD and KING. Amen.