Thursday, March 24, 2016

God loves a good battle

I woke up this morning with this thought on my mind:  God loves a good battle!  I've been teaching some of the Old Testament stories to the kids on Wednesday nights and last night, a little boy asked me, "Where do you get these good stories?"  They are good stories!  And those Old Testament stories were given for our instruction.  Think about the stories you love from the O.T.:  David & Goliath, Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Moses vs. Egyptians, Deborah (a woman!) leading men into battle.  I could go on and on.  We don't like to think that God has enemies (people).  But because He made a covenant with Abraham and Israel, anyone who came against them chose to take a side against God.  And He wanted them utterly destroyed.  Sometimes His leaders didn't completely obey that order.  But because God had said that their sins would be passed down to the third or fourth generation, He wanted every generation destroyed--because God knew the next generation would perpetrate the same sin against His covenant people.

But then in the New Testament, Jesus began teaching a different way.  The battle moved into the heavenlies.  It became a spiritual battle.  But God gave us the strategy in the Old Testament we can use in this new war.  There will be different battles, different seasons, different battle plans, different places, and the enemy may look different each time.  And Jesus showed us who our battle is with:  Satan and his demons.  That's who God's ultimate enemy is--Satan--since the time he tempted man and messed up God's perfect plan.  He challenged God and wanted to rule over God.  In the New Testament (new covenant) every man became responsible for his own sin--no more passing down to the third or fourth generation--even though there may be sins common to generations. When we are in Christ, we are seated with Him in heavenly places.  So we have access to everything God offers for this battle and we can rise above anything Satan throws at us.  God even told us what our weapons were and how to use them in this spiritual battle:  truth, righteousness, the peace of the good news, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer.  He told us to be alert because our enemy was seeking to devour us.  He never intended us to just walk peacefully through this life.  James 1 tells us that His whole plan was to strengthen us through the battles we would face.  God's plan, from the time sin entered into the world, was to raise up warriors, overcomers, victors!

It's so easy today to fight people instead of our true enemy because so much of the time Satan uses people!  We forget our battle is in the heavenlies now.  God told us our battle wasn't against flesh and blood in the New Testament.  It's against our true enemy: Satan.  So when people come against you, look beyond them and fight on a different playing field.

I've found in my lifetime that there are different battles for different seasons.  When my children were growing up, my battle was intense.  I met with friends and we poured our hearts out to God.  We battled for their future and it was a very broad battle.  As they became young adults, it became more focused and my strategy became different.  God led me in each of these battles and He gave me the different battle plans.  I'd say now my battle is even different.  Satan battles my mind and I really have to be alert to whose thoughts I'm thinking.  And God is using the weapons of rest and laughter against the enemy.  Satan wants me to worry, stress, and be fearful.  But when I'm at rest, it's a clear indication he's losing the battle.  And when I laugh over my future, he knows that I know Who is in control!

So rise up, Warriors!!  Know that you're in a battle---and always have been--even if you didn't realize it.  God has given you strategy and this world is not your battleground.  The war has been moved to the heavenlies.  Pick up your shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit and strengthen those muscles.  Be alert!!  Your enemy wants to devour you.  Satan knows God will win--he just wants to deceive us and keep us from knowing.  He's hoping to keep us out of the battle so he can take as many as he can to the place of ultimate defeat.  God doesn't just love a good fight--He's fighting beside you and WILL ultimately destroy your enemy.  It's a battle He won't lose.

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