Things with which we wrestle
I was planning on presenting another topic this morning but during my AM prayers Father put this on my mind and my heart.
I love SciFi, Fantasy and Action movies and shows. You know, Hercules, outer space, mythology, etc. and there were two shows I just loved back in the '90's. Well, cable has just started replaying them recently, and yes I've been watching them, but Father gave me a choice this AM.
He reminded that over the years I had to make choices to 'give up' things.
When I was in Vietnam, I took up smoking, out of boredom. I wasn't in the field but I did 'babysit' electronic communications equipment having to fix any issues that arose. Our station was in the Cholon District of Saigon with our main base being out at Ton Sun Nhut Air Base. The biggest thing unique to our station was that we were the initial connection between Saigon and Seoul, Korea as the signal routed through Ton Son Nhut then to Clarke AFB in the Philippines. If we went down, nobody else could talk with the Korean sub station. The equipment we used was excellent and reliable and our primary problems came from the Korean sub station transmitting at the wrong rate. Point being, there wasn't a whole lot to due each day on our 12 hour shift, even the Korean sub station had issues about once month We were on one man swing shifts for those 12 hours and it did get a bit tedious. So I picked up puffing on cigars in my 'spare' time. I continued this after I returned home from Vietnam and even after I married my wife a few years later. She didn't like the cigars so I included pipes in my repertoire. Yes, I eventually canned the cigars after about a total of six or seven years and the pipes about a year later (back in the 70's).
Over the years I've had to make other choices to eliminate things from my life. Music, movies, etc. Although with the music I found that it wasn't necessarily the music that was bad but my attitude towards the music. My attitude has changed and some of that music has come back - not not like it used to be. The music was never really 'evil' but my attitude towards that particular music had to change before it could come back into my life.
So now I've coughed up a couple of other things I've enjoyed. Not so much because they're inherently evil, but again because of my attitude towards them. I still have some growing to do. Maybe down the road they'll come back into my life - and maybe they won't. But they are gone for now.
Father gave me four scriptures to remember pertaining to this situation, giving things up, and these points apply to every choice we need to make in our lives.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul tells us "All things are lawful to me, but not everything is expedient; all things are lawful for me but I won't be brought under the power of any."
In other words, unless something is clearly in direct conflict with God' law and/or will, I have the freedom to do it, but even so I have to be in control of my attitude in the situation (as I yield myself to Father). I don't let the situation dictate how I am. Should I watch a fantasy movie, I enjoy it but then I put it down and don't act out what I see in it. I watched it for my entertainment. I do act out what God tells me to do as I abide in His will.
Father brought Ephesians 6:12 to my mind which says "For we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness in this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Who is my enemy? Satan and he operates according to Ephesians 6:12. As the ruler of darkness in the world he abides in principalities (our leaders), powers (those who have authority over us) and spiritual wickedness (those who have position to influence us) and he tries to mold our lives according to 'his' will, not God's.
So even though I'm exposed to many things in my life, I don;t let any of them take control of my life, rather I assure that I yield to the will of my Father in heaven.
Father also reminded me of Jacob and the Angel of God in Genesis 32:1-29. Take a sigh, I'm gong to summarize and not quote the whole passage. In chapter 31, Jacob assured his father-in-law Laban that he would take care of his daughters (Rachel & Leah) and treat them right as God had told him to return to hs own country. they sealed the deal with a meal and went back home. Jacob was on his way when the angels of God met him. Jacob then sent messengers to his brother Esau desiring to meet with him, but he didn't trust his brother so he planned accordingly as well as offering gifts. He encamped by the ford Jabbok and sent his family and all across the ford to the other side while he stayed. Now he was alone when he began to wrestle with a man until daybreak. As they wrestled, the man realized that he was not going to beat Jacob so he put the hollow of Jacob's thigh out of joint and said "Let me go, for dawn is coming." and Jacob responded "I won't let go unless you bless me." Jacob became Israel at that point AND received his blessing.
When we ask Father for something, it may not come easy, but if we hang on and don't let go, Father will bless us. Though I make the decision to give something to God, I may still struggle to see the fulfillment of that desire. But it will come. I need to stand firm and when the enemy comes to steal my victory I remind him and Father, that is indeed Jesus via the Holy Ghost within me which is my strength.
The final verse speaks to my worthiness for Father to answer my request. Matthew 10:32-38 Jesus tells us that what we confess before men, He will confess before Father, but where we deny Jesus (go against God's Word or will) we lose that support. Jesus knows that not everybody receives him and when we do those might reject us. then we have to out them behind us and move onward with our Lord. Jesus tells us in verse 38 that if we're not willing to take up our cross and follow Him, we're not worthy of Him. the kingdom of heaven is lost to those who don't yield and follow Him. When Jesus called James and John (Luke 5:10-11) "... they forsook all and followed Him."
So who really is my enemy? Satan? Not really, however 'I' find that I am my own worst enemy.
Yes, Satan is the 'tempter' and tantalizes me, but I make the choice to do what I do. Nobody forces me (Romans 7:18-25, read the whole chapter!). I can't put anything before Jesus. If I do, I put myself in jeopardy. Therefore I need to ask myself "how does this impact my walk with my Lord? Does it take away, or does it add?" If it takes away I need to leave it, whatever 'it' may be and move on with my life. If it adds then I need to grab hold and go with it (Philippians 4:8).
Do I still wrestle with things? Of course! But those things change as time goes on. That is Father gives me victory in one area, and it is solid, than He reveals another area with which I need to deal. I suspect this will go on until the Lord calls me home, But with the victory I repent of the issue, set it behind me as God does (Isaiah 38:17), determining not to pursue that area again, I then move on with my life.
By the grace of God I stand.