Friday, January 9, 2009
Spiritual warfare & the thinking mind
Let's explore the fact that we must be thinking appropriately in spiritual conflict. Spiritual warfare is primarily a battle for the mind. Essentially, Satan would have us ignore or distort the truth by giving all thoughts we have "free air time." Our task is to know, understand, and correctly interpret the truth in order to renew the mind. The basic framework of spiritual conflict in our thought processes is focused on knowing and understanding correctly the truth. The spiritual disciplines we are to cultivate in regard to our thought processes include (but are not limited to). We must Immerse ourselves in the Word of God through learning, studying, memorizing, and meditation on Scripture. Some basis truths about God's Word and the consequences of those truths may be noted from Psalm 19:7-11. "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; the are sweeter than honey, than honey for the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." 1. God's law is perfect; reviving the soul. Law (Torah) means "teaching." God, motivated by love, reveals to man basic insight into how to live with each other and how to approach God. Through the law God shows his interest in all aspects of man's life which is to be lived under his direction and care. Law of God stands parallel to word of the Lord to signify that law is the revelation of God's will (Isaiah 1:10) Specifically law refers to any set of regulations, in this light law is often considered to consist of statutes, ordinances, precepts, commandments, and testimonies. The fundamental idea of "perfect" is completeness. In ethical terms, it is that which is ethically sound, upright. It is all sided so as to cover completely all aspects of life. It revives the soul; it turns the whole person to God, a beneficial reviving effect that permeates the very life and soul of a converted child of God. 2. His statutes are trustworthy, making the simple wise. Statutes (or testimony) comes from a root meaning "to bear witness. it is always used of a testimony of God. It specifically designates the two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them. The law of God is his testimony because it is his own affirmation relative to his very person and purpose. The law is a reminder to man of what he is to do and where he has failed to do it. It is a trustworthy (or sure) foundation on which a man can unhesitatingly build. At the heart of this term is the idea of certainty, including constancy. The net, when applied to God, is total dependability. It is the term from which "Amen" comes. It makes the simple wise; imparting true heavenly wisdom to all who will keep their soul open to its effects because it teaches us about our Creator. 3. His precepts are right, giving joy to the heart. Precepts" is used only in the Psalms, this is a general term for the responsibilities God places on his people. The root idea of "right" is to be level or straight. When used ethically, it refers to uprightness or blamelessness. It maps out a straight course for any man that would be guided by it. Giving Joy to the heart implies deep and satisfying joys. 4. His commands are radiant. Giving light to the eyes. Commands refer to the particular conditions of God's covenant with men, used of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 24:12. In addition to being radiant (or pure), they are variously described as true (Psalm 119:151), reliable (Psalm 119:86), righteous (Psalm 119:172). Radiant (or pure) refers to a product that has been thoroughly purified and is thus unadulterated; there are no unwholesome elements in it. Giving light to the eyes indicates that it imparts a freshness and Joy to the very looks of the eye. 5. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. Fear: not specifically referring to God's word, but the effect it should have on us. In the Old Testament meaning ranges from emotional fear to reverence or awe to formal religious worship. In Deut. 10:12-17 it is linked to what follows (walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him, and keep His commands) and conveys the idea of living properly before God. We fear God in that, as He is awesome and completely beyond us, we stand in a state of fright for what He can do and in a state of awe for who He is. It is this fear that is the beginning of true wisdom (Proverbs 1;7). Godly fear is more than just an attitude, however; it involves a response of obedience and right living. Pure (or clean) literally means clean and pure, it refers to ethical blamelessness. Because it endures forever, it will never lose its value. Proverbs has much to say about fearing God. A practical application. we must know, understand, and correctly interpret the truth in order to renew the mind. We must learn, study, memorize, and meditate on God's Word. We need to gain knowledge of basic truths (including God's sovereignty, glory, character, and priorities; our nature as people, identity as Christians, and authority as Christ's followers; our responsibilities in spiritual conflict (e.g. knowing about the armour God gives); Satan's character, schemes, tactics, and agents; the nature and ministry of God's holy angels. Why is this important? because Satan would have us ignore the truth, distort the truth, and allow any thoughts we have free air time.