Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Not Against Flesh and Blood" Part 3

At the root of every temptation lies the devilish attempt to cause either neglect of God's dynamic involvement in our lives, or wrong understanding of it.

The Apostle Paul declared that "in Him, we live and move and have our being," and that God gives to us "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25; 28). James wrote that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17). We live God-originated, God-saturated, God-centered, and God-circumferenced lives. Nevertheless, the history of humanity involves continual neglect of the great fact of our existence, or perhaps even worse, misguided response to it.

Satan and his minions are very effective regarding both distraction and deception. Either mode of attack, if successful, leaves us disconnected in practical terms from God's source and supply. We are not actually disconnected because our very being depends on the One in whom "we live and move," and who gives us "all things." Nevertheless, succumbing to devilish temptation causes us to live as if we independently provide and sustain our own existence. We either ignore God or we think about Him so wrongly that we do not properly relate to Him. Both deceptions result in the sad wickedness whereby reality is replaced with blindness and delusion. "We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night" (Isaiah 59:10).

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ gives us eyes to see the Divine environment in which we live. "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9). The truth of God begins to shine within us and upon us when we trust in the Lord Jesus, and "the light shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). Our spiritual enemies, however, do not end their quest to cloud and enshroud the wonder of life in Christ, and Christ as life. Savage - but subtle - assaults begin in the moment of our new birth as the devil and his angels work through the world and the flesh to hinder our growing awareness of the dynamic presence that encompasses the center and circumference of our lives. Our enemies cannot take from the fact that "to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). They are allowed, however, to tempt us to ignore or wrongly perceive our Lord's involvement in our lives. If we fail to understand the plain New Testament teaching that "many adversaries" war against us, great loss will result as both the fact of God's involvement and Satan's attempt to thwart its power are missed (I Corinthians 16:9).

We fight from the victory of the risen Lord Jesus rather than for it. But we do fight. We "wrestle" against spiritual enemies who utilize the world and the flesh (both of others and ourselves) against us (Ephesians 6:12). Whatever the nature, mode, and measure of the temptation, let us realize that the underlying enticement involves devilish attempts to cause us to live as if disconnected from the Life of our lives. God is the issue. Truth is the issue. The Lord Jesus is present among us, and within us if we have believed. Nothing presents itself to us apart from His determination and allowance. We overcome by remembrance and affirmation of such blessed reality, as defined and directed by the Word of God. May we grow in His grace and knowledge as His light "shineth more and more unto the perfect day." And may we arise and fight!

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."  (II Timothy 2:3-4)
Tomorrow: The world, the devil, and the flesh

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