Winning the Unseen War – Part Four: The Game Plan

How do you win the war waged against your soul?  How do you win the daily battle? 

If you are unsaved, you must start with salvation.  You must ask Jesus, the Son of God, to be the Savior and Lord of your life.  The Bible says “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-10, 13. 

If you are saved, the answer is to learn to walk and war in the spirit.  Battles are won by knowing your enemy, knowing yourself and knowing what tools you have at your disposal to win this war.  The Bible says to submit yourself to God, and he will lift you up, so surrender.  Surrender to God.  William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”  God himself tells us we only need to be still and he will fight for us.  The Lord will work in you to sanctify you, to clean you up, if you allow him.  You have to submit to this process.  Sanctification, the killing of self and the transformation into a child of God, is not pretty.  It rips the flesh off of your soul and exposes a vile, selfish heart.  You see the ugliness of your heart just like God does. 

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
Proverbs 17:3

Nothing is life is without effect.  Every choice has a consequence. Riddled with bad decisions in my Christian journey, and, after my ‘goodness’ had reached its peak, I fell.  I spent the next twelve years with the desire to get back on the right path but was unable to find my way back.  I can tell you there is nothing worse than being saved, being a Christian, and being trapped in a pit of your sin.  There is no escaping.  There is no freedom when sin’s chains handcuff you.  There is no peace.  The only way to be free is for God to rescue you and He will, but it might take longer than you expect.  You’ve heard the saying, “sin costs you more than you’re willing to pay, hurts you more than you’re willing to say and keeps you longer than you’re willing to stay.” Well, don’t forget it.  When you start flirting with sin, remember its desire is for you – to keep you, to hurt you, to own you, to throw you down into the bottom of the pit and make you hate yourself and your God.  Sin is deceitful.  You must master it. 

Isaiah says that we should “Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.”  People who have no dawn remain in the night.  Night is a metaphor for spiritual darkness. The Bible says that Jesus is the light of the world and those that don’t know him are in darkness. The Apostle John says that Christians should walk in the light as Jesus is in the light.

The prophet Isaiah spoke to God’s chosen people during a time when the nation had turned away from God and his ways.  The people were living life on their terms.  This not only grieved God, it grieved Isaiah. Isaiah’s message to the people was to turn from their lives of sin and to warn them of God’s judgement and punishment – return, repent and be renewed.  The book of Isaiah was written seven hundred years before Jesus was born and yet, it is full of prophecy (a foretelling about what God had planned to happen) about Jesus.  Chapter fifty-three is considered the gospel (good news) of the Hebrew Bible.  Reading the words of Isaiah, it becomes abundantly clear that God loves his people but his people are not living the life he intended.  Unable to meet the expectations of a Holy and Just God, the people drifted toward worldly, sinful living – even idolatry (loving something more than you love God.)  God, from the beginning knew he would need to reconcile this gap between his holy self and his very unholy people.  To do this, he would need to come to earth and save us himself.  Therefore, he begot a son – a person who is God and who is also human.  That gave us Jesus.  Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life and died for the sinful.  God raised Jesus from the dead and Jesus became the firstborn into this new humanity, a humanity that is reconciled to God through Jesus’ sacrifice.  One man, Jesus, paid the penalty for all of the sinfulness of mankind. The story is simple and yet profound.  Jesus came to deliver all people from their slavery to sin, and through Jesus, God expects us to master sin because he has empowered us to do.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. 

John the Apostle

We live in a time where we think we have it all figured out.  We can have life on our terms and how we live doesn’t really matter.  We want to shape God in our image instead of the other way around.  We dissect parts of the Bible, throw out what we don’t like or what doesn’t really fit into our secularized Western Christianity.  It’s not unlike the many stories told throughout the book of Judges where the people did what was right in their own eyes or in Kings where they did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and in Nehemiah where he recounts that the people threw the Book of the Law (The Torah) behind their backs. What’s acceptable in society changes continually. However, God never changes.  His word, his truth and his expectations never change.  He cannot change.  Change is inconsistent with who he is.  He is the great I AM.  I AM doesn’t change.  He merely is! – always – the same yesterday, today and forever.  In order to have a life that is full we have to find out who God is, how he expects his people to live and then, by his grace, let him do the work necessary to make us into who he wants us to be.  God has a design for life, for living, for marriage and family, for sex, for relationships, for worship and for every facet of living.  We need to stop justifying our sinfulness, return to God, repent and let him restore us.   ‘Be Holy’ is his command.  It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command.  The church cannot continue to compromise with the world.  Come out from the world and be separate – holy unto the Lord.  Examine your heart.  Examine your ways – or better yet, ask God to search your heart.  You may be surprised to find what’s living in there.  

You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

– Paul of Tarsus

Wake up o Sleeper. Stop walking in darkness.  The Lord, your God, has called you to walk in the light as he is in the light.  Pick up your sword – which is the word of God – and fight the good fight.  Stand firm in your faith.  Do not act like those who belong to the darkness.  There is a battle raging for your soul and for the souls of everyone you know – saved and unsaved.  Rescue those being led away to darkness.  God’s design is not antiquated; it’s timeless.  His laws and his precepts are to ensure you have an unencumbered life.  Gravity does not stop being gravity because time marches on.  It is still gravity just like it was the day God created it.  It is the same with his words. It is up to you to know them and to follow them.  God’s laws and designs are eternal, and they are life.  

A Call To the Lost

For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
    he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
    he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
    but formed it to be inhabited—
he says:
“I am the Lord,
    and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
    from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
    ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
    I declare what is right.

“Gather together and come;
    assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
    who pray to gods that cannot save.
Declare what is to be, present it—
    let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
    who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
    And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
    there is none but me.

“Turn to me and be saved,
    all you ends of the earth;
    for I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear.
They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
    are deliverance and strength.’”
All who have raged against him
    will come to him and be put to shame.
But all the descendants of Israel
    will find deliverance in the Lord
    and will make their boast in him.

Isaiah 45:18-25

A Charge to the Saved

If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!
Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Proverbs 24-10-12

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