Approaching our life in the context of spiritual warfare gives us several advantages over those who would appear to have all the advantages of an uncomplicated and easy life. And though many would like to live their lives not bothered by the condition of the world or the lost souls that live in it, and though they are busy with pursuits that focus on monetary and momentary gain and the approval of others and taking care of ourselves, they have gained nothing of lasting value. None of these things, or titles, or tributes can bring any reward or protection from the disasters of either this life or the next.
Though their houses are well supplied with food and the latest forms of entertainment with which to escape the nasty pain of reality, many of them are still lost. And though their whole life is consumed with protecting themselves in trying to anticipate the next threat, and hedging themselves in with well padded accounts and investments, “what will a man give in exchange for his soul”, (Matthew 16:26), and what will it profit them when the fire of God passes over?
Psalm 37: 1 – 4, tells us to “fret not, nor be envious of the wicked”. Instead we are admonished to “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
The stakes are high. Eternal life with God or eternal damnation with Satan awaits every man, woman and child ever created. And even though the full price for freedom and eternal life with God in Heaven has been paid, how will they know, unless someone tells them? That is why, even though “It is finished”, and our eternal life and righteousness has been restored and there is a place reserved for us in heaven, the final count in not yet in on the issue of eternity. Who will end up with who – is yet to be determined. That is why the battle still rages in the world and in the hearts of all of us.
Satan’s strategy against the saved is to make life too hard, to fill it with distractions, urgent needs, troubled relationships, sickness, and discouragement, anything that can get us feeling overwhelmed and side-tracked from the call to preach the Gospel of Grace or tell people about the way of salvation.
To make sense of the battle we must understand that almost everything we have come to believe as true is only, at best, real, and that real truth as contained in the Word of God, has been twisted and obscured and discussed and disregarded by the great majority of humankind. What an unthinkable tragedy? And because there are only a few good men and women willing to make the sacrifices needed to lift up the banner of truth, the battle field is strewn with casualties and the corpses of the once living.
Making sense of the battle comes with understanding your personal trials. Through the fire, God is refining us. As silver is purified in the refiner’s fire until the silversmith can see his reflection in the molten silver, so too, our faith is tried. Malachi says it well: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire …”.
James encourages us to “count it all joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience…that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4). Most people do not consider it fortunate when things go wrong. They do not see problems and opportunities but as obstacles. They do not rejoice when they are under pressure, or misunderstood, or in pain. Immediately they look for a way out.
The Enemy is right there to blame us, condemn us, criticize us and make us feel stupid for something he talked us into doing. OR, he is right there to give us an alibi, an excuse, a reason for justifying our behavior, and give us a way to get even.
Both of these paths are futile and filled with folly. Jesus told us that when we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we are to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is our reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:12).
Fire-proofing your life and its contents, including stewardship over the precious relationships God has given you, begins with trusting God to provide for us and bring justice in the end. Knowing He is the righteous Judge gives us peace in surrendering all that we had used to fortify ourselves, to the will and purposes of God Who is good.
This means we can turn our full attention to the work of the Harvest Field of souls without reservation. Only that which is of real value will remain. God has already told us what those things are. We have no excuse. We have been given His Spirit that dwells in us. He is the One Who fire-proofs our souls and makes us mighty in God.