Choose Your Weapon
The Bible is full of stories and accounts of conflicts and situations that brought about death and destruction to those who entered into such places. As a result of these conflicts people have either become the victors or the victims. I recall reading the story of Jesus being arrested just before his crucifixion. One of his disciples, Peter I believe, drew his sword and attempted to decapitate one of the men that came to arrest Jesus. I'm sure if someone was swinging a sword in your direction you would probably try to get out of the way of it as did the man to whom Peter was swinging his sword. The story goes that due to the man's reflexes Peter missed his neck and because he didn't get completely out of the way of his swinging sword cut off the man's ear.
Can you imagine this scene? Its around mid-night, there are hundreds of temple guards not to mention the Roman soldiers present and in the middle of all these people coming to arrest just one man Peter has taken hold of his weapon to defend Jesus. Now in my imagination I see this man grasping the side of his head, blood flowing everywhere and Jesus tells Peter to put up his sword, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Then Jesus picks up the man's ear and places it back on the side of his head and heals it. No more blood and no more pain. I've often wondered about that man. He didn't asked to be healed but I can't help but wonder how such an encounter with Jesus must have affected his life.
There are other kinds of conflicts that the Bible speaks of as well. In Ephesians chapter six Paul says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Paul goes on to say that there are weapons that we have at our disposal that can assist us when we encounter such evil. He even lists the various pieces of armor; truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, and above all the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and particularly the sword of the Spirit. Just a word about the shield of faith: faith as I am beginning to understand it has everything to do with Jesus who is the author and perfector of faith. In Galatians 2:20 Paul says that we live by the faith OF the son of God. In other words, its not my faith that saves the day its the faith of Jesus. So if I substitute the name "Jesus" in Hebrews 11:1 for the word "faith" all of a sudden the words of that verse take on an amazing new meaning. Think of it, "Now Jesus is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen." He is the visible representation of the invisible God!
Now I don't know about you but I have wrestled with various kinds of temptations that would seem to come out of nowhere and before I knew it I was yielding to them. I can certainly agree with the Apostle Paul as to what he communicates in Romans chapter seven. Let's pick up his letter in verse fifteen, "This is how the sell-out to sin affects my life: I find myself doing things my conscience does not allow. My dilemma is that even though I sincerely desire to do that which is good, I don't, and the things I despise, I do." He goes on to say in verse nineteen, "Willpower has failed me; this is how embarrassing it is, the most diligent decision that I make to do good, disappoints; the very evil I try to avoid, is what I do."
Paul cries out in desperation, "Can anyone deliver me from this body of death?" I believe this struggle that Paul so well describes is exactly what each person living on this planet encounters. Reflecting upon my own struggles and in the desperation of many dark nights of the soul, My encounters with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have revealed a weapon that I was not aware of until recently.
This reflection is centered around 2 Corinthians chapter ten verses four and five. From the Mirror Bible it reads, "The dynamic of our strategy is revealed in God's ability to disengage mindsets and perceptions that have held people captive in pseudo fortresses for centuries! Every lofty idea and argument positioned against the knowledge of God is cast down and exposed to be a mere invention of our own imagination. We arrest every thought that could possibly trigger an opposing threat to our redeemed identity and innocence at spear point! The caliber of our weapon is empowered by the revelation of the ultimate consequence of the obedience OF Christ."
In other words I can't be obedient enough. The more I try to live a life that I feel would be acceptable to God the more I condemn myself when I mess up. I recommend you give this a try. I am using it everyday. When you are being bombarded by temptations that, as Paul describes, "the sin that doth so easily beset us" simply present the obedience of Christ to the temptation. Say to the temptation, "The obedience of Christ is what makes the difference in my life." That is the "spear point" that arrests the temptations and sends the principalities packing. They will come back but as you become increasingly aware of this power of the Spirit and you continue to present the obedience of Christ you might just be amazed at the results!