Monday, January 01, 2007
Spiritual Warfare Starts with Me
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." (James 1:12-18)
This was the text for the morning service at The Gathering. We considered a new year of living with God, and placed this text dealing with the temptations of this life into the context of our struggle for relationship with God.
I believe this is the beginning point of the struggle which we have called spiritual warfare in Pentecostal and evangelical circles. My greatest enemy is myself. My thoughts, my philosophy of living, my passions, my desires, my anger, my impatience, my fears, and my greeds are the frontline struggle in my life. If I can overcome these things, any other enemy will be comparatively far weaker than the enemy which is myself.
I do believe there is a personage called Satan. I do believe that there are demons of varying degrees of power and influence in this world who are fighting against those who love God. I do not believe that I need to know their names, figure out their strategic plans before I can be an overcomer, or that I should spend a significant amount of time considering the works of these dark angels.
My first task in following God, and living for him is to "keep my heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."
This is true in respect to how I think of my own life, and in how I treat other people. If I have lost the struggle of living for God in personal life, and in respect to my social interactions, then I am losing this spiritual warfare, and any amount of rebuking, binding, and loosing will be worse than empty efforts, they will be utilized to further the cause of my impotent Christianity.
That's my cursory thinking on this subject. What do you think?