Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 & 11
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
In the first century church, God’s people were in a battle, not against the Roman Empire, but rather against spiritual wickedness from on high.
There is an ongoing spiritual battle against the lusts of the flesh. Lust is over desire. It is anything that we desire more than our love of God and walking in fellowship with Him. The forces of the power of darkness are real. Our western culture is blind to the spiritual battle that encompasses us. Satan is the deceiver hiding in the darkness to manipulate the culture from behind the scenes.
The day of evil is alive and well. Evil enters the hearts of men who have not surrendered their will to God’s will. Wherever you look, the spiritual battle is raging behind the scenes. The world’s “sophisticated” mindset says that there is no spiritual cause… that there is no such thing as evil. The doctrines of “Vanity Faire” say that as long as I have “good intentions” there is nothing wrong with cheating, and serving the lusts of my own flesh. Our culture dismisses the powers of darkness. The devil conceals himself in the darkness and causes carnal Christians to underestimate his power and pervasive influence over them.
At the other extreme are carnal Christians who “see the devil behind every bush.” They realize that they are oppressed and depressed by spiritual forces over which they have no power in the flesh. They revel in their victim mentality. The evil that pervades their lives has overtaken and defeated them so that they live in depression and spiritual oppression.
The devil, the thief, cometh not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy. The culture of this world produces men of fear, subject to the powers of darkness. Men who are fearful of loosing their possessions, their health, and their very lives.
In The Silence of the Lambs, Officer Starling said “what could have happened to him that he could do such evil things.” Hannibal Lector answered “I happened to me.” In this world of relativism, the “inconvenient truth” is that there is pure evil in this world. However, to acknowledge that evil exists and that men are sinners, is to defy the prevailing doctrine of “moral relativism.”
God has called men of God to be lights in a world of spiritual darkness. He has called men of God not to be influenced by the darkness, but to influence the world… to shine as lights… the darker the night, the brighter the light shines.
God’s exhorts us in Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God that passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Prayer is powerful because it connects our hearts to God’s heart. Communion, i.e., co-union with God starts with prayer. Prayer is simply confessing what the Word of God proclaims. Prayer is making God’s Word our word, God’s heart, our heart. Therefore pray for them, do good to them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, for great is your reward in heaven.
The devil constantly tempts men by showing the bait and hiding the hook. He appeals to that which is earthly, sensual, and devilish. He tempts us to sin and then accuses us when we fall. He reminds us of how far we have fallen from the standard of righteousness, of how we have missed and dismissed God’s divine appointment resulting in disappointment.
The devil will attack men of God by separating them from the flock so that he can prey on them and use them at his pleasure. He celebrates when men of God fall into his snare, enticed by lust.
The Adversary uses the deceitfulness of riches, the pressures of this life, and the pleasures of sin appeal to the lusts of the carnal fallen nature. He tempts men to say “not thy will, but mine be done.” He distracts us from the righteousness in Christ and the focus on the Word of God. When we turn from God and toward the enticements of the flesh, we are bound to fall. In the words of Martin Luther, “Did we in our own strength confide, our battle would be loosing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Doth ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He, and He must win the battle.”
The devil is the deceiver and the accuser. He accuses the brethren of falling from grace and righteousness. He reminds us that our flesh is corrupt and that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing. He tempts us and accuses us where we are weakest at times when our resistance is diminished. These are the times when men of God must be committed to fellowship with other men of God in fellowship. God has called us to the body of Christ harmoniously fitted together so that we can strengthen, edify, encourage and comfort one another in love.
God has called us as a men of God’s own choosing. In the face of the adversary’s slanderous accusations, only God can deliver us through the truth of his word. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
He has called us as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, an holy nation. We are acceptable in God’s sight, not because of our own righteousness, but because of the Jesus Christ, the righteous sacrifice and full payment for our redemption from unrighteousness. Therefore, in him we live and move and have our being. I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live, I live by the faith of him who loved me and gave himself for me.
Your brother in Christ,