My Assignment: Guard Duty

There is a war going on, a spiritual war, between the forces of light and darkness.  They are fighting for our thoughts.

What we think directs who we become. Who we become determines who we belong to. Who we belong to defines who we are. Who we are shows everyone Who we worship.  It all starts with what we think, our thoughts.

The battle is a fight for our will.  It is fought silently.  Sometimes overtly but usually subtly.  On the outside the fight is through our senses; what we see, hear, smell, feel, all influence what we think.  Within our minds thoughts begin to develop.  How they develop depends largely on which of the armies has the designs or characteristics or qualities most attractive to us.

Here is where we decide what is truth and what is lies, what is faithful and what is folly.  This is where we choose to follow wisdom or fools.  In this place we acknowledge and proclaim our God…or gods.

Though we cannot see the battles being fought we can see the results.  Some of the results are seen or felt only within ourselves; calm or quarrels, forgiveness or desire for retaliation, peace or pandemonium.  But much is seen and felt by others; love or hatred, warmth or coldness of heart, service or slavery, kindness and compassion or selfishness and cruelty.

If we do not admit to ourselves that there is a spiritual war taking place, a war with constant fighting and hostility we will be vulnerable.  Our defenses will be weak and not at the ready when the assaults come.  And they will come, this is war!

But remember, this is spiritual warfare being fought by spiritual forces.  We are not the ones actively engaged in fighting the war. Still, we are not to be passive onlookers.  The battles are being fought for the possession of our thoughts.  We are to do what we can to protect our minds, our thoughts, during this warfare.

We must know what the deceptions are and recognize the arguments against the truth.  When we see the lies and foolishness we are not to entertain them!  We must sweep them up and lock them away.  We are to capture and imprison all thoughts and things that raise themselves above God until the time they acknowledge Christ and are obedient to Him…and only to Him.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 kjv

My mind may be the battlefield but it is a comfort, to me, that I am  not assigned as one of the soldiers fighting the war.  My assignment, in God’s army, is to be a guard.  Keeping the disobedient thoughts captive until they see the light, bend their knees, and bow down to the Victor, Christ.

I wonder how good a guard I am?  Sometimes one, or more, of those captives do seem to escape on occasion and have to be captured again…and again…

Just wondering…

Facing Goliath

 

All of us have a Goliath in our lives at one time or another. They look and act differently at different times and seasons of our lives.  A Goliath can be many things.  Financial, physical, mental or emotional trials for ourselves or those we love.  Difficult decisions that must be made can seem too big for us.  The loss of friendship or job; divorce or a dream that never comes true, death of a loved one.  The list is endless.

Sometimes our Goliath seems small and inconsequential to others but to us they are giants.  How we face our Goliath determines the outcome.  Are we beaten down and overcome by our circumstances or do we overcome the adversary and have victory?

How do we face Goliath?  And how effective or successful or even sensible are our strategies and methods?

We can cry and wail and feel sorry for ourselves.  This helps a bit at first but long term it has no value.  So get it over with and move on.

We can run and hide.  At first it may be comforting to curl up in our bed and pull the blanket up over our head.  We may even get some much needed rest.  But giants are stubborn and persistent and will just wait for us to come out of hiding.  So get up and get ready for the battle.

We can be strong and brave and fight the giant all by ourselves.  Silly notion.  Goliath is big, a giant, with lots of experience in conquering the arrogant, prideful and foolish.  This is just not a good idea.

And my personal favorite.  Denial.  A problem, a crisis, a giant in my path?  No big deal.  Just let it be, ignore it, it will go away.  Never works. A Goliath never just goes away.   It must be dealt with and the sooner the better.

So how do we accomplish the impossible?

Face Goliath!  Acknowledge that it exits, know what it is and what brought it into being and why it is in your life.

But do not face Goliath alone!  There is One who desires to share our burdens, trials and troubles.  One who will not leave us no matter how big the Goliath.  One who will give us all the strength, courage, wisdom and fortitude needed to fight the battle and to slay the giant.

We only have to ask.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of  God in Christ Jesus our Lord.    Romans 8:37-39

But I wonder how often do we ask?  And I wonder when we do ask do we believe, really believe, that we will not be abandoned to face Goliath alone?

Just wondering

Preparing for Goliath…

I have been thinking about David and Goliath. About how a young shepherd boy encounters a giant who has Israel’s armies quaking in their sandals.

The Israelites had reason to fear this Philistine. He was nearly 10 feet tall and had been at war since his youth. He was experienced in the ways of warfare. He was intimidating to see and knew how to intimidate with words. And he was confident of his strength and fighting prowess. He was a champion warrior. He has Saul and his troops terrified and feeling hopeless.

And along comes this boy on an errand for his father. He hears Goliath’s taunt. Is he afraid like the men? No, he wants to know just “who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God”? David then tells Saul not to give up hope for he is ready to fight this Philistine.

Saul wants to arm David with helmet, shield and sword. But David goes off to fight the giant with his shepherd’s staff, five smooth stones, a sling and in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel’s armies. And David slays the giant Philistine, Goliath.

It would seem the impossible had been done. However, we also learn in this story that David had lots of practice with stones and his sling. As a shepherd he protected his flock from predators. There were times when he and his sheep were endangered by lions and bears. With his stones and sling he killed the beasts. I imagine David spent many hours slinging those stones to be prepared for the time he would need the skill and precision and confidence that only the dedication and perseverance of practice could accomplish. So David was prepared for Goliath.

Because I had not practiced with patience and perseverance I did not hone my skills to gain victory over the small everyday fights of life. So when the giants came with their weapons and fierceness and confidence I was unprepared for the battle. And because I was not prepared I was not victorious.

How do I know what skills will be needed and what to practice to be ready for the next Goliath? And what will it cost me?

If I look at all the little challenges I face day in and day out and at the battles that have been lost I can see what I need. I need clarity of thought that comes only with a pure and teachable heart. I need wisdom that comes only from spending time with my Lord in prayer and in His Word. I need discernment that comes only from the Holy Spirit. I need friends who love me and hold me accountable to truth. I need to be honest about who and what I am. I need patience to grow into who I am meant to be. I need to be humble and accept correction and discipline. I need strength that is not my own but His. I need to trust in His faithfulness. I need faith to believe what my eyes cannot see. I need the grace of God. I need Jesus.

And what will all this practicing of skills cost me? Nothing. Jesus paid the price for me.

With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.

Ps 60:12

In reality I have all I will ever need to be victorious over any Goliath in my life. I wonder why it seems so hard? Is it because too often I, like the armies of Israel, listen to the taunting voice of Goliath? Do I listen to the shouts of the enemy rather than the quiet voice of the Shepherd? When will I stop insisting that I know what to do and do not need help?

Just wondering…

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