Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
September 2021 (2)
August 2021 (4)
July 2021 (6)
June 2021 (4)
May 2021 (5)
April 2021 (4)
March 2021 (5)
February 2021 (4)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (4)
November 2020 (4)
October 2020 (5)
September 2020 (4)
August 2020 (5)
July 2020 (21)
June 2020 (29)
May 2020 (28)
April 2020 (31)
March 2020 (5)
February 2020 (4)
January 2020 (5)
December 2019 (5)
November 2019 (3)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (4)
June 2019 (5)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

A THREE FRONT WAR
by Philip Owen

           Believer, at this very minute you are engaged in a war. Whether or not you are aware of it, you are being attacked on three separate fronts simultaneously by a powerful coalition of forces that wishes to destroy you, namely, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world engages in a full frontal assault, blasting away in full view of your defenses. The flesh acts like a subversive fifth column, working from within to undermine and weaken your defenses against the other two enemies. And the devil sets up ambushes to catch you unawares. Given the differing strategies utilized by your enemies, God provides unique counterstrategies to employ against each one. If you would be an overcomer, you must deploy the forces God has provided and utilize them according to His orders.

           The world.  The forces of the world arrayed against you include both its people who entice you to compromise, and to sin and its many pleasures, both inherently sinful and potentially sinful when overindulged or misused. You are in the world; you cannot escape it; in fact, there are elements of it that are essential to your physical existence. How, then, do you prevent it from destroying you? The strategy that defeats this enemy is provided in John’s first epistle: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world” (2:15a). The word John employs for love is agape. In this context, it suggests a spirit of devotion, of giving yourself over to someone or something. To love the world is to give it a place in your heart and mind it does not deserve, to give to it time, attention, and energy that ought to be expended elsewhere. The assault from the world is usually direct: engage in this relationship or indulge in this activity. Believer, you must love the Lord; you must love righteousness; you must love the church. Your life must be centered around those things—not the world.

           The flesh. The flesh can do only one thing: sin. Paul expressed what is true of every believer when he confessed: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom. 7:18a). Since the flesh is depraved and altogether wicked, the only successful strategy to defeat it is to run from temptations whenever and wherever they crop up: “flee from youthful lusts” (II Tim. 2:22a). It is not wise, clever, or macho to enter the arena where temptations fight. On this front, the key to victory is actually to flee. But the objective is not merely to run away from the temptation because Paul continues, “and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (v. 22b). You must actively seek to produce the fruit of the Spirit, and—this is important—you must do so in the company of other believers. The flesh is defeated as you actively desire to live the character of Christ, and an essential part of that strategy entails being engaged with other brethren, faithfully assembling with a local body of believers in order to be instructed in the Word and strengthened with their aid.

           The devil. The devil will ambush you; his demonic emissaries are ubiquitous, lurking everywhere to pounce. It is impossible to know when and where they will attack and, unlike temptation, impossible to run from their presence. So you must confront the devil and his demonic spirits: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” is the strategy that wins the battle on this front, James says (4:7b; also, I Pet. 5:8). That errant thought that comes seemingly out of nowhere, that persistent prompting to sin that refuses to be squelched, that “bright” idea that is contrary to what you know the Word of God teaches must be recognized as the work of the devil and consciously refused. You must pray, quote the Word to yourself and to your adversary, sing hymns—or all of the above, and Satan will ultimately slink away—for a season. “Put on the full armor of God,” Paul instructed the Ephesians, “so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (6:11; read the passage to learn what the armor consists of).

           In addition to these broad strategies, the Word provides multiple tactics to employ depending on the nature of the individual attacks. God will not leave you defenseless. He wants you to be victorious. And you can be an overcomer as you adhere in faith and obedience to His perfect instructions. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

 

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page