Thursday, January 15, 2009
Spiritual Warfare and the Choosing Mind
In warfare teaching it's always necessary to explore the human will as it involves making choices. Our enemy would have us make choices based on sinful habits rather than thoughtful reflection on Biblical truth. He desires that we deny or ignore our ability to choose. Or if the above fails he would want us to choose some form of distortion of the truth. Our common enemy was a liar from the beginning and he will go to great lengths to keep us from the truth. Our mandate as believers is to choose to glorify God through commitment to His truth. This means we are to choose right "programming" based on the truth and exercise our choosing ability in the areas of: Loving God (repenting before Him, believing in Him, submitting to Him in obedience, enjoying Him, pursuing Him. communing with Him through prayer and worship, fearing Him and trusting and thanking Him in all of life's circumstances). It also means that we ought to be loving others as we love ourselves (being filled by the Spirit stripping off the old self and putting on the new, walking in the light, fellow-shipping, taming our tongues). This really means living in a Scriptural manner, taking God's Word seriously enough to practice it in our daily living. At the heart of spiritual warfare is understanding that we face choices and that, being made in God's image and empowered by the Spirit, we are able to make correct choices. This is a critical area, it is essentially the application of the basic truths that we learn through the study of God's word. It is important to distinguish between desiring (wanting) and choosing (commitment). An example of this would be I want to quit smoking, desire (or want). Or I choose to quit smoking (commit). Or I desire to lose weight (or want). Or I am going on a great eating place and going to work out three times a week (commit). God has set us free in Christ to choose what is right; but He leaves the actual choices up to us. Satan on the other hand, would have us make choices based on sinful habits rather than reflection or deny and ignore our ability to choose or choose some form of a distortion of the truth rather than God's truth. God has empowered us to make the right choices, and He desires that we use that power for righteous choosing. God does not dress us in the morning, and He generally does not tell us what we must wear when we get dressed in the morning-He wants us to choose and do because we are made in His image. The choice we must make is that of the person we will glorify. We must exercise our choice of who we will glorify by glorifying God. We glorify God by consciously acknowledging His sovereignty with our lips, in our hearts, and through our feet. The choice to glorify God, or not is made through out the day. We do this by choosing the right "programming" (through learning God's Word and its correct application). We must learn to walk in the Word. A believer who is saturated with the Scriptures will be better able to discern right and wrong. David said the Scriptures were his counselors. This begins by our believing in God. "Believing in" is more than believing in what He said; it involves assenting to the truth of it in your own life. However, we must be careful not to try to read too much into the word. The basic meaning of the Greek is similar to the English word "believe," and it can also be translated as obey, trust, or hope. We must also repent before God. What does repenting involve? Repenting involves the pain of knowing the beast in my basement and the wonder of knowing that I am still loved and accepted. The enemy would have us deny that we are sinners. Then after we sin he would tell us that we will never experience the favor of God again. Remember he is a accuser of the brethren, and he is most efficient in doing his job. Submitting to God in obedience; "Submit" was a military term used of soldiers under their officers. They were required to submit, and Paul gives us the same requirement for our own good. It involves the surrendering of our will under the will of others (Phil. 2:3-4). We are to submit to government officials, church elders, employers, and any other person God has placed us under. For example Jesus in this life on earth offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission (Hebrews 5:7). We as believers are to "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, (James 4:7). Note submission operative in heaven "Who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him, (I Peter 3:22). Popular author John Piper argues that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. David in the Psalms shares with us a multitude of fountains of praise and enjoyment of God. God has graciously given us the ability to choose and it is for our good and His glory when we choose to come down on His side of every decision.