Sunday, February 22, 2009



As I have said earlier the spiritual warfare is really a battle for your soul-a battle for your mind. This is why Paul references "taking every thought against the Lord to the captive obedience of Jesus." It's also imaged by the flaming arrows or darts of the evil one that Paul discusses in Ephesians 6. These seem to be that same mind attack against your faith and they can only be defused or deflected by the piece of armor he calls the shield of faith.

John references this same battle for the mind in his smaller letters. In I John 2:14-I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Here the reason for their strength against the evil one is mentioned. He says they were strong enough to actually overcome the evil one. The secret is that the word of God abides in them. This is an important insight for us today. It's again making sure we are into the genuine message, heart and person of Jesus, so that we are better able to clearly see the counterfeit message of Jesus.

Later in the same letter John says: We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (I John 5:19-20) What a powerful reference to being in Jesus-in Him who is true-the true God and eternal life!

One of my favorite passages from Paul is found in the twelfth chapter of his letter to the followers of Jesus in Rome. It's here that I see a 6 step approach to living your life in the strength and empowerment of the true message of Jesus.

The first two steps are embedded in the first eleven chapters of Romans. FIRST-Observe what God has done for you. There is only one command in this section. He is diligently outlining what God has done for you. SECOND-Open yourself up to the Spirit of Jesus within. One of the primary themes throughout the Scriptures is for the Creator-God to come down here and dwell or make Himself at home among His people. Be aware of this in your own life.

THIRD-Offer your body to God for His mission (12:1). This is in verse 1: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. On the basis of what God has done for you (the mercies of God), now you are urged to present your body to God as a living sacrifice. He is no longer interested in dead beasts, but live bodies who are separated unto God for His special mission and calling on their lives.

The biggest problem with live bodies is that they are continually getting down from the altar of sacrifice-taking back their lives after offering them to God.

FOURTH-Overhaul your mind (12:2). And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Now he turns the discussion toward the mind. You might make the decision to offer your body to God for His mission and calling on your life, but what is going to allow you and empower you to hang in there and do it is what you do with your mind.

You have a choice. You can either be fit into the mold of the world system-its values and its thinking. That is what he means by "conformed." Or, you can be transformed-totally changed-by the renewing of your mind. He uses the word metamorphosis-a complete change. This kind of spiritual transformation will only come by overhauling your mind with the truth about who God says He is and the truth about who God says you are. And, by overhauling your mind-continually ruminating and meditating on what is true, you can put to the test what the best is for you.

FIFTH-Obtain a servant's heart (12:3). For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Here Paul says it is so important to have a right evaluation of yourself before God and man. Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. This kind of thinking naturally moves into the last step given here.

SIXTH-Operate in a small group (12:4-8). For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

You are not to operate alone, but within the support and relationship of others. We are all given different giftedness and strengths to be used to cultivate the oneness of walking together in one body-the body of Jesus. We need one another to function most effectively.

Practice these six steps and you'll be prepared to participate in the battle for your soul. This is how to be proactive. Ignore them and you will still be in the battle for your soul, but you will only be able to be reactionary. You choose! Be victorious or be victimized by the spiritual forces of darkness.