Friends

Have every wondered why people fight all the time?  If you turn the TV on that is about all you hear.  Everywhere you turn somebody is fighting about something.  It is everywhere all over the world.  If you look through history it is a part of our lives.

If we were to make a list of all the famous battles in history we could start with ancient battles like Thermopylae, Marathon, Tours – famous battles of ancient history.  We could go to battles of the Revolutionary War – Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Yorktown.  We could go to wars in the Civil War in America.  Gettysburg and Antietam, which was by the way the worst battle ever in history for American soldiers– twenty-three thousand people were killed or majorly wounded in Antietam.  Go to the great battles of World War II.  The battle for Stalingrad, the battle for D-Day, the ‘Battle of Midway’, the ‘Battle of the Bulge’.  Some of us still battle that one; oh, I see that some of you have furniture problems too – your chest has dropped into your drawers!

The Bible says that one day there is going to be a great battle called the ‘Battle of Armageddon’ which will be the end of history.

This coming Sunday I want us to look at the personal battles we are facing right now.  I don’t mean the battles going on around you; the war on terrorism, the cultural wars, all the media induced wars. I want you to consider the battles going on inside you.  The fight that goes on every day, the battle that perhaps no one even knows you are fighting. The struggle that you have been fighting in some way your whole life.

The fact is, life is a battle.  Everyone want to agree with that?  Nothing comes easy in this world. It’s not a picnic.  It’s not a party.  The Bible explains to us the reason too.  Ever since Adam and Eve ate the apple, the world has been broken.  Ever since then, the struggle has been around us, and IN us! 

You are going to have to fight for anything that’s worthwhile in your life.  Here’s a great example: health and fitness.  It does not just come automatically.  You don’t wake up one morning with a six pack (too bad huh?).  You must fight for good health by working out every day.  It takes energy to do that. 

In the Bible, there is a lot to say about the personal battles you go through.  In fact, the second most used analogy in Scripture for the Christian life is that of a soldier.  Number one is an athlete and number two is a soldier.  In the Bible, there are words that are used to describe the way you are going to live if you follow the path God has for you.  Words like “fight… conquer… strive… battle… war… overcome… victory.”  These are war terms, friends.  As I said life is not a picnic, not even a Sunday picnic in the park.  It is a battle. But GOD gives us what we need to WIN!

There is an entire book in the Bible about fighting.  It’s called the book of Joshua.  God promised the children of Israel the Promised Land, but He didn’t hand it to them on a silver platter, they had to fight for it.  And there are things that God wants to do in your life the rest of this year but you are going to have to fight for those things.  The questions I ask you are, “What are you fighting for?  Who are you fighting with?”

Remember there is a spiritual battle between good and evil that is constantly going on around us. It’s easy to ignore them, or to not recognize them for what they are, since the spiritual forces at work are usually invisible.  Angels and demons are no less real than other people are, however, and their impact on us is significant.

The Bible urges us to pay attention to the battles taking place in the unseen spiritual realm that surrounds us.  We cannot afford to waste away the gifts that God gives us by ignoring our roles in battles that will have eternal consequences. As Christians, it’s vital to engage in spiritual battles, because the more we do, the more we can overcome evil in this fallen world by God’s power working through us. This is where reading the Bible on a regular basis will really help you. (I told you He already gave us the tools to do battle!)

Here are a few more ways to fight and win spiritual battles for eternity:

•Ask God to give you spiritual eyesight.  Pray for the ability to see how unseen spiritual forces impact your daily life.  Ask God questions about anything you wonder about angels, demons, heaven, and hell.  Keep in mind that God welcomes your questions and wants to give you the knowledge, wisdom, and discernment you need to fight and win spiritual battles.

•Get to know how Satan operates.  Don’t let the unpleasantness of thinking about Satan prevent you from learning what you need to know about this demon who leads the spiritual forces of evil in our world.  God created Satan as a holy angel, but Satan rebelled against God and fell into sin, becoming the leader of the fallen angels who are caught in sin and now work for evil purposes.

Satan tries to lead people astray by appearing desirable even as he pursues evil actions with evil motives. He twists the truth with lies designed to pull us away from God. Satan’s primary strategy for tempting us to sin is urging us to focus on selfishness and pride rather than on trusting God’s purposes for us.  Keep in mind, though, that Satan’s power is limited, while God’s power is unlimited – and if you are a Christian, you have the spiritual authority you need to overcome any of Satan’s schemes against you. Pay attention when you get that nudge in your heart/mind when you are making a decision-you know the one that feels like maybe it’s not really the right one? - that’s the battle going on between you and Satan. And the Holy Spirit is giving you that nudge to get you going in the right direction. LISTEN TO THAT NUDGE.

•Use the power of prayer to fight.  When you pray, God will bless you with power, protection, and provision.  Pray in Jesus’ name, calling upon His resources, merit, and strength.  Aim to pray by faith, in humility, with a pure heart, consistently, and with devotion as an act of worship.  When you pray like that, your prayers will be effective against evil and help usher good into any situation.

Make Every Day Count!

Barry