28 Jun 2014
Have you considered that you are a critical component in the cosmic chess game that has been going on for centuries? Consider this perspective. We each play a key part in the great battle between the forces of Satan and the forces of God. While we know who will win and we know that we will be on the winning side, still how we participate in this battle has enormous eternal significance.
We may be like a pawn or more like a queen; it depends largely upon our choices. As we look at the micro part of the front line where we participate, we find we have three serious opponents: the world, the flesh, and the devil. We have however three more powerful allies: the living word, the Holy Spirit and prayer.
Satan is very clever. Like a chess master he uses his weapons in a synchronized manner. For example he tempts us to slowly sidle up to the world while singing his familiar song: “This never hurt anybody and it sure isn’t going to hurt you.” If we buy into his sweet sounding song we have simply helped him soften our stand against the flesh. When we are barely standing with a shaking stance we are a push over for his next round of tantalizing temptations for our flesh.
Of course God’s weapons are vastly superior but we must choose to use them. For example the temptations of this world are spelled out in God’s word and further highlighted by His Spirit. We have been given the promise that the Spirit will guide us into all truth. But we must consult Him! Further God has given us a promise that if we lack wisdom we can have it on two conditions, first we must ask (pray) and second we must believe that He will provide it.
An interesting thing about this micro part of the big battle is the effectiveness of our fighting in our little battle not only impacts us, it impacts God’s glory and our effectiveness significantly impacts other individuals. Not one of us is an island. We have relationships. If parents, we heavily influence our children. If grandparents we further expand our influence. How we fight in our corner of the world impacts not only our family but every individual with whom God has placed us in relationship. And even beyond the impact on individuals is the collective impact on our communities.
Sociological statistics show that arguably the most significant problem in our society is the absence of fathers in our families. There are many believing and non-believing fathers who are being beaten up by the world and the flesh and Satan and the impact of their losing individual battles is leaving a wide swath of destruction on the landscape of our nation.
Satan loves secrets, particularly when the secret is sin. But do not be deceived; He will ultimately do all in His power to publish our transgressions to the planet. He delights is seeing believers fall into sin. The more public and pronounced the failure, the more significantly it detracts from the Glory of God. But any deception of those who know Jesus as Savior can only be accomplished by the willing choice of omission or commission of the believer himself. We have been equipped by God with superior provisions.
How does the world or the flesh or Satan attack your walk and testimony? Most bible scholars believe that the first place of confrontation is the mind. How we think will invariably determine how we act. As we consider all the possible areas of thinking perhaps the most significant is what are we worshipping? God designed us to worship and we will worship something.
If you want to understand what you worship, simply take note of what you think about when you have no pressing issues and your mind can take up anything by its own choice. Do your thoughts go to yourself and your need to feel significant? Do they move toward a sport or hobby? Or do you tend to think about money or possessions? Perhaps you can say with confidence that your mind tends to lean toward God? If we truly love God with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength, will we not think of Him at every opportunity?
Perhaps we need to learn how to practice synchronizing the powerful provisions God has given us? Have you practiced praying God’s word as directed by His Spirit? This is a good place to start the practice of using God’s provisions in an integrated way. However it is important to note that it is not what we know about God’s provisions that will make the difference in battle. But it is how we choose to use them that will make an eternal difference for us and for those we are to influence.
In Matthew 28 Jesus, in His final hours, commands His disciples by what has been historically called The Great Commission. He commands that they make disciples teaching them to obey all that He has commanded. Today we have slid into the sly lie of Satan that tells us if we learn and understand God’s word it is enough. Of course our enemy knows that if he can seduce us into this belief he has neutralized the power of the word, as its power comes not from the knowledge of it but from the obedience to it.
Of all three of our provisions, the Word, Prayer and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is our foundation. While we should pray for the Holy Spirit to fill and control us, we cannot bring glory to God unless we are walking in the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:15-18 (NASB95)
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
Galatians 5:16-17 (NASB95)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Another means of using the three provisions in a cohesive manner is to search the scriptures for specific ways to bring glory to God. Then pray that the Holy Spirit will guide and empower us to obey God’s word and thereby bring glory to God. Example: John 13:34-35 (NASB95)
34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
In chess attention to every detail is absolutely critical. Even the most trivial oversight or distraction can be disastrous. Satan’s initial sinister strategy is distraction. What is he using in your life to distract you from your purpose of bringing great glory to God?
When our attention is consistently and intently focused upon the provisions of prayer, the living Word, and the power of the indwelling Spirit we will make an eternal difference in many spheres both now and for all eternity.
What change does the Spirit desire to make in the focus of your mind? If you ask Him to reveal His thoughts it is likely you will find the answer in His Word.