Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spiritual Warfare

Scripture tells us that one of the greatest - if not the greatest - angels rebelled against God, because he wanted to be like God. He and a third of all the angels declared war on God. But he and his angels were defeated. They abandoned or were ejected from God's Kingdom. Now, he and his minions live to steal glory from God. He achieves this in two basic ways.

(1) In a world of humans that also rebelled from God, God is working to reclaim them and the world for himself. So, if the enemy can undermine those efforts, he can keep humans from God, who reaches out to them. He throws every lie, threat, innuendo, and subterfuge possible at the humans God invites to be with him. And many do choose to go away from God.

(2) But many do choose to follow God. And God chooses those to live in relationship with him, to demonstrate and proclaim that life with God is great, blessed and the way man was designed to live. God intends them to live as a community if transformation and superior living, walking in intimacy with God. If the enemy can subvert the relationship or conduct of this redeemed people, he steals glory from the image God wants projected. He divides this holy community from the source of its strength and power. And he hides the light that enables all people to see God. People who might move toward simple do not. Attacking God's people is the enemy's most strategic action. He hinders the display of God's greatness. He hinders a move by other people toward God. He accomplishes both objectives with one move. 

There are a number of ways the enemy can attack God's people. Whole books have been written on this subject. I want to mention a few.

Because of man's rebellion at the beginning of time, man is born addicted to sin. It is fashionable today to identify specific areas man is addicted to. In reality there is only one  addiction: sin. The enemy ensnares the hearts and minds of man with sin. If he can trip them up a particular sin, he can trap them in a maze of glory stealing activity.  

The sin itself robs God of glory by placing a human activity above him. It calls him a liar, saying any activity - even a God-given activity - is above God. 

But not only the sin, people seeking righteousness many go through a cycle of regret, confession, repentance, strategic planning, pontification and struggle to resist being drawn into sin again. Such a cycle would seem to honor God, but it can steal people's attention from their relationship with God, and from God's purpose to draw people to him. Their attention is on themselves. 

The sin moves people to plans, strategies and 12-step programs rather than the Giver of life. I am not saying that these programs are not worthwhile. But a person's focus and trust can reside in them, instead of its proper -- the Lord of all.

These things, plus others, can move man's focus from God and man's relationship with God. It will cut him off from God's power and wisdom. It is best to see the enticement as an attack of the enemy to create distraction, and discouragement. Man should consider it as a spiritual attack.

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