March 19, 2009

The Voice of Truth

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

Life is hard. Sometimes I think the Christian life is harder. As if the command to stay on the narrow path isn’t challenging enough, an enemy prowls like a roaring lion looking to alter our course. To devour. To destroy. (1 Peter 5:8) From the first pages of the Bible all the way through to last, Satan is ever-present. Seeking to annihilate God’s plan and set up his own kingdom on earth, with us his loyal subjects.

Sure it’s a thought we’d probably rather not explore. After all, it’s hard enough to grasp the Holy Spirit, but now to grasp Satan. It’s too much.

But we must. Because there’s a spiritual battle and we’re the target. After a weekend like we just had with the Alpha retreat, the Devil is none too happy.

Let me pause a moment to make clear: God and Satan aren’t fighting a cosmic duel to see who prevails. Ultimately the battle has been fought and won. Jesus is the victor. (1 Corin. 15:57) But until Jesus comes again, the prince of this world seeks to expand his territory. (John 12:31)

Ever since he first appears in the Garden of Eden, Satan is a master of deception. He’s sneaky, covert. He sets out to instill doubt, fear, skepticism, confusion, worry, guilt. . . anything that takes our eyes off God. He knows our weakness and aims his flaming arrows straight into them. You know the soft spots I’m talking about.

“I lost my patience again. I’m a failure as a mom (or dad).”
“Do you really think God has a plan for
YOU?”
“A loving God would never allow the suffering that exists today.”
“I can’t go on that mission trip, it might be dangerous.”
“Others have so much more to offer than I do.”
“I can’t attend the retreat/go to church/volunteer, my kids have things scheduled.”

(Yes, Satan can even tangle us up with a great thing, like our families.)

In a way, understanding spiritual warfare brings me comfort. It explains why I’ve been unsuccessful in ridding some of my personal “demons.” It's not that I lack willpower, don't try hard enough or possess an irreparable character defect. It's because this battle is past my personal resources. Beyond the limits of my sufficiency. (Which, I think, is exactly where God wants us to be.)

Thankfully, I’m not (and neither are you) in this alone. God never intended us to be. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, God sent a paraclete -- one who comes alongside us, who intercedes on our behalf -- the Holy Spirit.

In Ephesians Paul shares with us the battle plan and trains us for victory:
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. . . Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (6:11-17)
God gives us everything we need for victory.

I need Paul’s words today. To soak in their truth. Heed their guidance. Follow their lead. Claim their victory.

Maybe you do too.

Satan is an accuser. . . The Holy Spirit is an intercessor.
Satan is a destroyer. . . The Holy Spirit is the Giver of Life.
Satan is an adversary. . . The Holy Spirit is a consoler.
Satan is a slanderer. . . The Holy Spirit is Holy Breath.
Satan is a defamer. . . The Holy Spirit is the voice of truth.
Satan is a thief. . . The Holy Spirit is a comforter.
Satan is an enemy. . . The Holy Spirit is a helper.
Satan is a tempter. . . The Holy Spirit is a supporter.
Satan is the father of all lies . . . The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.
Satan is the prince of the world. . . The Holy Spirit is the Lord of Grace.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. None.

9 comments:

Peggy said...

Thanks Kelli....
It is always good to be reminded that we are porceted and constantly cared for by the Holy Spirit.
What an awsome God you remind us that we have.
Thanks and have a great first day of Spring.
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Melanie Dorsey said...

Good teaching here!

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, I like the way you compare the Holy Spirit's life-giving attributes to the destructive ones of Satan. I'm so thankful we have the Voice of Truth fighting for us. How I need Him!

saleslady371 said...

I was just thinking about this in the book of Jude this morning. Deception may sneak in, but we have our armor, our authority in God's Word as believers and can choose to overcome today. Happy Friday to you!

Chatty Kelly said...

I liked this alot. "The Voice of truth" is one of my favorite songs too. Good writing.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

If we could truly see the battle being waged on our behalf from both sides...

truly, it is beyond us, but not beyond God. I feel the battle more profoundly in these days, and yes, I do think that our surrender to Jesus is a costly decision and a huge obedience to the holy flames of his purifying love.

I know that God is asking me for more...more obedience, more faith, more time, more diligence, because I am sure that he is after something more in me and through me.

But I'm tired even as I'm trying. He understands, yet still he prods me further. By his grace and through the power of his Spirit living within, I offer him what's left of me. It's all that I can do.

Keep to the road, friend. You're such an encouragement to me.

peace~elaine

Chanda said...

I love this so much, Kelli. Thanks for your transparecy in your sharing. I know God will use it, and bless you in that truth you are proclaiming in His Name.

Julie Gillies said...

I SO agree with you, Kelli. Life IS hard, and in some respects it IS harder for believers, because the enemy opposes us with such a vengance. It sometimes seems like unbelievers lead charmed lives. Not true, I know.

I'm just grateful that we are more than conquerors. Amen!

Sue J. said...

I understand and believe this whole truth more than ever. What I continue to find, though, is that I can get wrapped up in Paul's analogy to the point of getting into the battle myself, which is not what he intended.

We can stand dressed with the things he tells us, but, as we read elsewhere, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7

I think we need to take these Scriptures in tandem. God doesn't want us going up to Satan in our "armor" looking to fight. He wants us, through the Spirit--as you've said--to stand in Him! Resisting, but not going on the offensive. In the midst of all that goes on around us, we need to hear His voice of truth and to stand firm in His Word--speaking the truth in love, yes, but not a head-to-head battle with the evil one.

When I choose to fight, even with His armor on, I'm not making the right choice. And I've tried to do that....