Illustrating a Truth of Kingdoms in Conflict
Did you know that you have a personal enemy, even legions of enemies, who know all your weaknesses and will stop at nothing to bring you down? Sure, these creatures will burn to a crisp one day, but in the meantime, we have been given free will in a real world that is besieged by an invisible enemy.[i] None of us volunteered to be involved in this war--we were born into it! We can learn to fight in the great battle of our age, or we can be rendered ineffective, taken captive, or destroyed.
C. S. Lewis wrote that every square inch of the earth is contested territory.[ii] Either the Kingdom of God advances, or the kingdom of darkness gains ground. If that's true, then the most important and most contested real estate on the planet lies inside each one of us: in our hearts and minds where all the crucial decisions are made. Paul tells us that the reign of God's Kingdom on earth is characterized by right ways, peace, joy and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.[iii] Does this seem true of the Christians you know? Does it describe you on an average day?
In his day, Joshua embraced the call to fight the good fight of faith.[iv] He boldly declared that the giants they were facing would be "bread for us." What did he mean by that? You remember the story. Moses sent out a team of twelve to spy out the land that God said would one day be theirs to possess and enjoy. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who saw the challenges and still believed that the land could be taken. In fact, Joshua was convinced that fighting the giants would make them stronger. They would grow in faith and grace--as they looked to God for help!
So it is with us. Our giants may be demons guarding emotional strongholds standing in our way. But Jesus promises us the victory, if we embrace the battle to enter our promised land. The Kingdom of God on earth (where peace and joy await us) is ours for the taking!
"Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them." Numbers 14:9 ESV
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:11-12 ESV
Father, You know that part of me would prefer not to have to fight these battles of the spiritual life. Whenever it is possible take this cup from me; nevertheless, may Your will be done. I ask for every grace that You supply, especially courage and patient perseverance, and timely reminders to put Your armor on! Thank You for all of the ways that You are training my hands and my heart for those conflicts with the enemy that cannot be avoided. May I always trust that You are also fighting with me and for me. I fully accept this calling upon my life: to fight the good fight of faith.
[i] Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
[ii] See the brief original Preface to The Screwtape Letters.
[iii] Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
[iv] 1 Timothy 6:11-12: But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.
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An Illustrated Guide (64-page eBook)
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Crispy Critters (illustration only)
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