Friday, December 16, 2016

The Warfare Within

Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Existential philosophy prevails the culture, where if you were to say that there was a spiritual war going on within everyone, they would wonder what you were talking about. Living in the moment produces a shortsightedness that forgets yesterday and never looks up to see tomorrow. Trendy distractions surround us and send their alluring call to our flesh and heart desires. When we become “born again”, born from above, born of the Spirit, we entered a spiritual battle, where our old nature wars against our new one.

Romans 8:1-4 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

I read that Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, writer of “The Four Spiritual Laws and producer of “The Jesus Film, would describe these old and new natures as two dogs: a black dog and a white dog with a customary behavior to fight viciously. Dr. Bright said, “Which dog will win is determined by which dog you feed. Feed the black dog and starve the white dog and the black dog will win; feed the white dog and starve the black dog and the white dog will win. Which nature are you feeding? Much in our culture feeds the “black dog” of the sinful flesh desires. We feed our sin-filled natures often – not always, but often – when we watch and listen to immoral, unethical, unrighteous, ungodly things that distract us from that which is “right in the eyes of God”.  

.Romans 8:5-11 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind isenmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Dr. D. James Kennedy commented on Dr. Bill Bright’s assessment, saying: “But, we have a bountiful feast from which to feed the “white dog”, by mindfully walking in the Spirit and living aligned with the perfect Word, Will and Way of the Lord. As we read Holy Scripture, God prepares us for the spiritual warfare we face. To be strong warriors standing firm for Christ, we need to dwell less on things of the flesh and instead delve into the Bible – the living Word of God. We need to write God’s words on the slates of our minds and the tablets of our hearts. We can also feed our new nature by spending quiet time with God, especially praying for wisdom, guidance and counsel.”

Galatians 5:16-17, 24-25 “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

If we are ever to win the warfare within, we need to obediently engage evil with God as our guide. Choose to feast upon God’s Word and on time spent with Him. Do so and you’ll gain the strength you need for the battles ahead.

In Christ, Brian

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