The Battle … it has been a part of life here on earth since the beginning. We do not know all that preceded it, but it surely has been and continues to be the great narrative in all of our lives and in cultures around the world. Almost every great piece of literature has the battle as its theme.
- The first battle fully recorded in Genesis 3 follows God’s creation of a beautiful, in every sense, surrounding for the Man and Woman, made in God’s image to live in relationship with Him. And then Satan…attacked all that God had made to bring thousands of years of battles as God carried out His plan to redeem all that He had made back to Himself. The victory has been won, but the battle still rages as Satan and his followers seek to thwart God’s plan for His people and His kingdom here on earth.
- We see this story played out over and again…the battle between good and evil…in the Narnia stories, in The Lord of the Rings, in Harry Potter, in Les Miserables, in The Hiding Place, in every John Grisham novel.
- We saw this same idea played out in the history of our country as we declared our independence from unjust rulers, as we fought battles to win our independence, resulting in the surrender of General Cornwallis on behalf of the British to George Washington and to the French Admiral de Grasse on October 17, 1781 at Yorktown. Yet the fighting did not stop here. It took two more years of skirmishes before a final peace treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783.
- We stand in the gap between Jesus’ ascension to His Father in heaven and His return. He is with us, He is praying for us, offering His power, His strength and wisdom as we await His return. What is our part while we wait?
Ryan preached Sunday on the topic of Spiritual Warfare. He addressed three questions that need our response:
- What is spiritual warfare?
- What does it look like?
- How do we fight the battle?
His sermon is well worth listening to as we discern the battle and our part in it.
What do you do when you’re threatened?
I have a goat. Her name is Chloe. Chloe is now 12 years old. When Chloe is faced with danger, her tendency is to turn her body to face the corner of her shed away from what may bring her harm. What do we do when we are threatened? Do we recognize the threat? Do we, like Chloe, escape the threat by denial or distraction? What does God say to us as we await His return?
- Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38)
- …praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,… (Ephesians 6:18)
- …Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. (Mark 13:33)
- …So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
- …Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
- Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children – …. ( Deuteronomy 4:9)
- But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)
- Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
What, you may ask, does this have to do with hospitality? I’m asking myself that question also. Where are the battles around me? What is my part in the battle? What can I do? What difference can I make?
- Look around you – in your neighborhood, at work, in the coffee shop, the grocery store, the auto shop. Are there people that you know, that you need to get to know, that you need to have conversations with?
- Look at your family – your marriage, your spouse, your children, your siblings, your parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandchildren? Do they all know Jesus? Pray and let God tell you what more may be needed.
- Children – neighborhood children, your children’s friends. Can you and your home be a refuge for children?
You, and I, are on God’s kingdom mission until He returns. For, you see, “we have an anointing from the Holy One [you have been set apart, specially gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit], and all of you know [the truth because He teaches us, illuminates our minds, and guards us from error] (1 John 2:20).