Over the past couple of months I have been part of a Bible study group which meets every Wednesday.
Last evening’s discussion dealt with the subject of spiritual warfare and how we can resist evil.
This may seem to be an oversimplified topic but it’s one that should never be underestimated. For instance, I have absolutes in my life which are not open for debate. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I believe that He was offered up by God to be sacrificed for our sins so we may have eternal life. These are firmly held beliefs of mine which no evil spirit can wrest away from me.
However, the enemy is very subtle. He’ll attack us on levels where we may not be acutely aware we’re being persecuted. It can be simple things which distract from developing an intimate relationship with Jesus, whether it’s a sporting event we attend, something on TV to watch, etc. Now I’m certainly not condemning those activities. But how often are people talking about “the big game” or the latest reality show craze as opposed to Jesus?
For me, it was NFL football. On Sundays I use to be this raving lunatic whenever I watched the Minnesota Vikings play. I would often do and say things which, admittedly, were not “Christ-like”. Letting a football team dictate my well-being was beyond absurd. As a result, I no longer partake in watching the Vikings play.
What about consumption of alcohol? While it’s never been something I’ve enjoyed to excess, it certainly isn’t sinful to have a glass of wine with dinner or enjoy a can of beer on a hot summer day. But for those who have struggled with being an alcoholic, just one drop of such beverages could plunge said alcoholic back into the depths of drunkenness.
The one consistent prayer my wife and I convey is that we want to be good ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, I have occasionally fallen short in that area (as evidenced by some things I have written in this space before). That is why I have resolved more than ever to embrace each and every day as an opportunity to be a blessing unto others.
The fact of the matter is Satan will use any situation in an effort to keep us from reaching non-believers. The failings of such high profile men of God like Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Ted Haggard has resulted in some people questioning the Christian faith. Some have even gone so far as to take pleasure in their demise. As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Unfortunately, Swaggart, Bakker and Haggard all succumbed to the temptations of this world. They were definitely sought by the devil himself because of the hundreds of thousands which came to know Jesus as a result of their respective ministries. I would venture to say that nothing inflames the enemy more than souls being saved.
One passage I always lean on is 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which says “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” We certainly aren’t thankful for the circumstances surrounding the aforementioned ministers. But in their circumstances, we learn a valuable lesson: Until the day the Lord calls us home, there is a constant battle for our souls. We must maintain our resolve against an enemy who seeks, kills and destroys.
And that resolve all starts with his Word.