Monday, March 15, 2010

Our Daily Battle and Having a Heart of God

Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Yes, this is what we fight on a day-to-day basis. I used to discount this long ago a religious craziness, but I have seen this with my own eyes. This struggle is real: a struggle between good and evil, lightness vs. darkness-between God and Satan. I recommend Father Corapi's Immortal Combat series as he is someone who has seen greater depths of this in his own life.

Yes, we live in a fallen world. Who controls it?

  • 1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Even Jesus didn't refute Satan's control on earth:

  • Matthew 4:8-11: Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

But we know that Satan is fighting a losing battle, his time is short and that goodness wins out over evil:

  • Revelations 12:12: Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.

Satan - the Master of Lies and Division

Unfortunately, until the end of time, Satan will try to inflict as much damage as he can. He is the Master of Lies and tries to blind you from the truth:

  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Satan takes great delight in dividing and destroying anything that is good or Holy. He accomplishes this when we don't stay close to Christ, when we are wounded, when we make things of the world (money, alcohol, drugs, material things, etc,) our god and when we lack forgiveness:

  • 2 Corinthians 2:10-11: If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

This is why it is important to stay close to God, through prayer, reading the bible, hearing the word in church and fellowship with other Christians. We all need friends, acquaintance friends and close friends. But we must be careful who we chose to be close friends with.

As Christians, we need to be out in the world but not "of the world." Christ ate with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus said in Mark 2:17: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

But unlike us, Christ was free from falling to temptation from Satan. He could not be influenced to do wrong, he influenced to do what is right. Jesus helped raise the spiritually dead through example and teaching.

Therefore, we need good Christian friends around us that can lift us up and be positives influences in our life and in our spiritual journey. We need to be a light in the world and be surrounded by the light can make our light burn brighter.

"Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are." ~ Unknown

This is why we need really good Christian friends if we truly are Christian. Steel sharpens steel. If we are called to be the light of the world, then think of ourselves as candles in a world filled with darkness. A candle that burns and gives off light needs oxygen. The Holy Spirit is our oxygen. The Holy Spirit is replenished by reading scripture, hearing the word in Church, praying, Holy Communion, listening to spiritual music and fellowship with other Christians.

If we don't do these things, then we chance having our light get blown out or dimmed.

How can we can tell a Christian? By the fruits of their spirit:

Galatians 5:22-24: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Having a Heart of God

One of the fruits of the spirit not identified above is forgiveness. Why? Because forgiveness is love. God is love. So forgiveness is key to having a heart of God:

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” -- Bryant H. McGill

Jesus taught the importance of staying free from things that cause sin and the importance of forgiveness:

Luke 17:1-4: Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

When you do things that don't glorify God, watch out! God is a loving god and he will do whatever it takes to bring you closer to Him.

Here are some great quotes on forgiveness:

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.

~ Robert Quillen.

He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.

~ Martlin Luther King Jr.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.

~ George MacDonald

Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again. ~ Saint Augustine

Having a Heart of God is greater than having a Heart of Gold. Because God is love and love is worth all the gold on earth.

I love you all,

That means I will always be ready and willing to forgive you,

© Michael J. Cox

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