Monday, February 28, 2011

Battling evil

We don't have to look very far to find evil. It surrounds us everywhere. There is a battle of good and evil going on not just around us, but in our hearts as fight our flesh daily.

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." Galatians 5:16-18

So, to overcome evil we must walk in the Spirit. We overcome sin, by turning away and calling upon God for strength. We face battle after battle. Satan knows our weak areas. He knows just what trips us up and where we get caught. He knows just what temptation will turn our eyes away from our walk and into our flesh. Sometimes we can be our worst enemy. We walk as though we can do anything. We think we are the exception. Oh, but pride comes before a fall.

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

We all like to point fingers and say, "How could she?" If not for the grace of God there go I. We look at another and wonder, "Oh my, how could he do such a thing?" If not for the grace of God there go I. We are only one temptation from falling. One sin from being in a pit of despair. Our flesh eats away us as we turn an eye away from  the Word of God. We know right from wrong, but we choose to ignore the right because the wrong, in the world's eye, feels so good.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

We must turn completely from evil. We gotta do a 360 degree move sometimes. That means taking out of our sight all that tempts us. It means leaving behind everything that takes us away from Christ. Wow! If we are putting on the Fruit of the Spirit we will walk in love. If we walk in love we cannot help but to share a joy. When we are sharing joy how can we not find peace? In having peace in every situation we will be long suffering. We will share a kindness for those around us. We will open our hearts to goodness and therein we find a life of faithfulness. In being faithful to God we become gentle where are hearts were once hardened. And yes, in that gentle Spirit we find self-control. When we place on the Fruit of the Spirit we are truly allowing God to live through us. We in fact are living a God-centered life. when He is at the center no battle no matter how much it surrounds us will take us captive.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 'For your sakes we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 35-39

Do you hear that? Nothing, not nothing, can separate us from the love of Christ. Those are powerful words to stand upon. We are more than conquerors. I love that!! Christ makes intercession for us. He stands in the gap of evil and gives us a way out. Our choice is do we stand in the evil that dares to steal us away from God or do we stand firm in our beliefs?

We need to remove ourselves from all evil. There is no such thing as just a little. Evil is evil. When we allow just "a little" to enter our homes Satan now has a stronghold in an area that is precious to us. What could those evil things be? Anything that is not of God. Take the television for instance. Turn on any station and what do we find? Darkness. Somehow we are drawn to it. The blood and guts. The vampires. It is all of darkness. There have been times I have turned off some of my favorite shows because of the darkness that was being portrayed. Some might argue it is a vision of fighting good against evil. I don't see it that way. If it is evil we need to stay clear of all that takes us out of the light for a moments enjoyment. What about books? Now there is a battle line drawn right there. You have those lovers of the vampire series and those who soak up all of Harry Potter. These books might be a little about good and evil, but do we really need witchcraft and sorcery to show us that? We have children pretending they attend a school of witchcraft. That alone should terrify us. This world makes it look glamorous. This world makes it look tempting to dive in just a little. Just a little darkness stirs the soul. It should. It should stir our souls to turn an about face right into the presence of God.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13

We can stand against all evil with the strength of the Lord. He will give us all we need to battle the rage that takes place all around us. We all have our own battles. Battles that try to not only take us down but keep us down. When we openly take part in anything evil are we inviting Christ into our lives at the moment or are we pushing Him aside? We are not to take part in evil but we are to bring it to the light. We are not to indulge ourselves in things that just make us feel good. Those popular things. The very things this world tells us is okay. Most likely if the world is doing it is something that will take us farther away from Christ as we too dabble in it.

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.'" Ephesians 5:11-14

We like to say, "It's just a movie. It's just a book. It's just a website. It's just...." You fill in the blank. We all do it. We all take things that seem harmless and bring them not only into our lives, but into the lives of those around us just by simply speaking of them. I can't tell you how many people I have heard say they love Harry Potter and the Vampire Series. I don't care who says they love them. They are works of darkness. There is no good that can come from peeking into the darkness of this world. All it does is invite more into our lives. Then we are standing facing another battle wondering where it came from. Sometimes it is because we invited it into our homes.

"And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:19-20

"When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or one who conjures up spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord your God, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you." Deuteronomy 18:9-14

It's easy for us to look at the ancient pagan rituals and see that they are wrong. Why is it so hard for us to see the evil that is in our own backyard? We turn an eye to it because it's popular. We see others doing it, those very people we look up to, so how then can it be bad? We must look to what others are doing and look to the Word of God. His Word is truth and He is our guide in keeping us in the light and on the right path. When we face darkness of this world we call out to Him, say His name, Jesus Christ and He will cast out all evil. But we must be careful what we ourselves invite in and invite into the hearts of others.

We can stand firm in the Word of God. The more we stay in His Word the more we will be able to see evil and stay clear of it. The more time we spend with Him the more strength we will gain to fight all that attacks us. We must begin within our own heart and protect our families by not allowing darkness to invade our homes. Don't get caught up in the things this world has to offer. May we show this world another way. A better way and be examples to help one another fight the good fight.


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