In case you missed it, we are at war.
I will say it again. Every time I read scripture, I am amazed at the wisdom, truth, and daily application of words written two thousand years ago in a foreign language. Yet, everything still holds true. Paul said it best:
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12, NKJV)
Every day we Christians are faced with challenges to follow God's precepts or not. Some of these are simple – tell a lie that makes life easier or tell the truth, give back the extra $5 the cashier handed me by mistake or keep it, join traffic at 64 mph or stay in the right lane at the posted 55 mph speed limit. Others are not so easy. Should I see that blockbuster everyone is talking about even though it is rated R for nudity? Should I go to the graduation party where all my friends are gathering, even though I know they will have alcohol and I'm only 18?
Some are just plain impossible. She said she loves me. We're practically married anyway and we've been dating since high school, but we're not really married – should I give in? I miss him so much. Just one drink will dull my pain, my feelings of loss, but I've been sober for six months. What's one drink? She's not naked, it's a swimsuit calendar. What's the harm in that?
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." (Rom 7:15-19, NIV)
I opened this article by saying how amazed I continue to be with the daily applicable truths in the Bible. What application does God's word hold for when we have to fight that overwhelming carnal desire to view pornography, or that chemical dependence to opiates, or that emotional bond we have with alcohol?
The Bible is clear, our flesh is weak and even though we are God's creation, we have no power or authority on our own to defeat Satan, sin, or bad choices. But God does, and He has given us His Spirit to help us in these times of weakness. In John's gospel, we are told of God's intention for His Spirit living within us.
"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17, NIV)
What an amazing promise, Christian. God himself will live within us, reside in our hearts, live in our minds as a constant reminder of His power, His grace, His mercy, and His ability to overcome everything we face, to His glory! We only have to make the right choice. We simply have to choose His path, move His direction, and let Him do the heavy lifting.
Geesh – if it were only that easy. Christian, let's be real. I haven't told you anything you don't already know. God is amazing and His power is overcoming, transforming, and life changing. But we are still weak. If choosing God's plan and moving in His direction was so easy, I wouldn't be writing an article about it. God isn't some magic genie whose bottle we rub when we need advice. He is the God of the universe!
I titled this article, "Phenomenal Cosmic Power – Itty Bitty Living Space," because I imagine that is how God feels sometimes. That quote comes from the Disney movie Aladdin and is used by the Genie to describe being stuck in a bottle for generations. Imagine the God of the universe, who will never force Himself on us and will always respect our free will, waiting for us to make a move. He lives in our past and our future, and He knows how many times we are going to make the wrong choice before we finally get our heads on straight and make the right one. Every second ticks by – tick, tock, tick, tock – while He sees that ultimate moment, yet He waits. The God who created the Earth* cares enough about you** and me to wait until we are ready to do the right thing.
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matt 6:26, NIV)
If the God that created the Heavens and the Earth cares enough to feed the tiny sparrow, He cares enough to feed me and you. I don't doubt our God is a God of miracles, but sometimes we are just so stubborn that a miracle won't do justice to our need. Sometimes, God wants us to take little steps, baby steps. Don't start by facing your own Goliath; rather, say no to the easy things and do it consistently. Say no to one more drink. Say no to that cable TV show. God will build our faith so that the next time the drink is easier to decline and the TV show doesn't even interest us. Next, tackle something bigger. Pretty soon, we will have replaced bad choices and bad habits with a holy God.
God's power never changes, but He does rely on us to change his living space.
*The Earth has a surface area of 196.9 million square miles with an equatorial circumference of 24,901 miles and a mass of 6.6 sextillion tons.
**The average human male has a surface area of 1.9 square meters and a waistline of 39 inches. His body mass index is 29 and average weight is 198 lbs. (That means the Earth is 33 thousand trillion times larger than the average man, or 33,333,333,333,330,000,000,000 x larger)
– Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.