And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
The Scriptures teach that each of us is involved in a spiritual battle with eternal ramifications (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 5:7-8). Heaven and Hell are at stake in our warfare. In this battle there can be no reconciliation. The combatants, flesh and spirit, will never be at peace (Galatians 5:17). There is no question about who will win, because the winner and loser are fixed. All that is left is for us to pick a side.
If we choose to live in fleshly lust, we have chosen the losing side and we must not expect to win this war (Romans 8:13). To win, we must choose to be in Christ (Galatians 3:27) and to remain in Christ by abstaining from “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). If we are to be among the victors, we must make no “provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof” (Romans 13:14).
This is the battle for the most precious commodity we possess, our souls. Jesus spoke of the value of the soul in Mathew 16:26 when He said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Your soul is most definitely worth the fight.
Our enemy, the devil, is depicted as the tempter (Matthew 4:3), a murderer (John 8:44) and a deceiver (Revelation 12:9). He wants to take advantage of us and bring us into captivity (2 Corinthians 2:11; Luke 22:31; 2 Timothy 2:26). He is like a roaring lion who walks around looking for someone to consume (Matthew 13:39; 1 Peter 5:8).
Like a general at war, Satan has devices, methods and strategies to draw us away from God and His path (Ephesians 6:10; Matthew 7:13-14). While it is absolutely true that “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed”, it is also true that Satan uses our natural desires to lure us off into the proverbial “far country” (James 1:14). His desire is to see us in life’s pigpen with the prodigal son of Luke 15.
The enemy’s greatest and most effective weapons are “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). We see the effects of this deadly trio in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (Gen 3), with Achan (Joshua 7), with David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), with Judas (John 13:2), with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) and with so many Christians who have escaped Satan’s captivity only to be entangled in sin again later on (2 Peter 2:20).
So how is your battle coming? At this moment is the battle for your soul raging? Or have you escaped Satan’s grasp by placing yourself under the power of the spirit (Galatians 5:16)? Is your life characterized by the fruit of the spirit? Do you exhibit characteristics such as love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith and self control (Galatians 5:22-23)? If not, you will find yourself on the losing side of this war. You will be controlled by your fleshly lusts and overtaken in things like drunkenness, sexual immorality, gambling, lying, theft, uncontrolled anger and hatred.
We said a lot about Satan and his activity, but here is the most important truth: Jesus Christ has already won this battle! When He won, He paved the way for us to triumph. He prepared our escape and revealed to us spiritual truth that can set us free from sin and death (2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Peter 2:20 & John 8:32). As Paul said, “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
If you have a Bible question, please call (830) 868-9911, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit worship services. The church of Christ in Johnson City meets on Sunday at 10am for Bible Class, 11am for Worship, 6pm for Worship and on Wednesday at 7pm for Bible Class.