Your choices affect the outcome of your life. Whatever road you choose, there will be consequences, for better or for worse.
This is part of the Unintended Consequences Series, where I dig deeper into the consequences of our actions and then looked at the truth and consequences of the battle being waged. In this final part, I want to further expose an enemy and look at a plan to win.
About this enemy: Resilient? Yes. Cunning? Certainly. Defeated? Yes. Powerful, wise and able? Only when we relent. You see, our enemy isn’t some authority-wielding foe that defeats us at every turn out of some innate wisdom, but what the enemy of the living God and of our soul does have is strategy.
As Rick Lawrence, author of Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand writes, “…the enemies of God are reduced to deception, illusion and trickery. That is why another of Satan’s names is “the Tempter.” When we sin we unwittingly open ourselves to demonic influence not because Satan’s decommissioned mob has the authority to harass us, but expressly because our shame makes us reluctant to move in the authority Christ won for those who follow Him.”¹
“…the enemies of God are reduced to deception, illusion and trickery. That is why another of Satan’s names is “the Tempter.” When we sin we unwittingly open ourselves to demonic influence…” -Rick Lawrence, Sifted
There it is again. Unintended consequences. Look at the price we pay, the consequences when our decisions and actions are rebellious and sinful. If we recognize that we are in fact engaged in an unseen battle which explains the constant struggles (Romans 7:23), and we allow our flesh to rule the decisions we make, then we’ve already invited further battles: “When we sin we unwittingly open ourselves to demonic influence…”
Here’s the kicker: even if we do not recognize that there is in fact an enemy who is engaged in battle against the Creator and against His creation, namely the human race, this failure to recognize the truth doesn’t change the situation: we’re still unwittingly, unknowingly, unintentionally engaged. Except we’re losing the battle by omission.
Hebrews 12 instructs, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:1-4)
Lay aside or get rid of, dispose of: trash, delete, uninstall if you will, the things that kill your body, mind and spirit. The things that kill your relationships and your witness, the things that so easily arm your enemy against you.
Run, yes run, weary and battle-broken as you are with endurance, with your eyes on the finish line ahead, where Jesus, sometimes maybe with the likeness of a track coach, locks eyes on us, perfecting our faith as we sometimes walk, maybe stumble, lose pace, trip, get back up and run if even slowly.
That’s the plan. Though it isn’t complicated, it certainly is not easy and Hebrews 10:36 warns of the hardships. We feel it even more when it’s our lives or the lives of our closest loved ones deep in the trenches. Don’t miss it though, these battles are won, ironically only by surrender to the Savior, Jesus Christ:
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)
The image Paul gives us there as he quotes Isaiah 35:3-4 is that just like a runner in a race and a warrior in battle, when we’re exhausted we also hang our hands, unlikely to want to lift our arms and most likely unable to do so. However, when we place our eyes on the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), and we return to where He has called us (Proverbs 4:26-27), it is then and there, in surrender that we find victory.
How has God strengthened you and given you victories in your battles? Share below…
¹ Lawrence, Rick (2011-08-01). Sifted: God’s Scandalous Response to Satan’s Outrageous Demand (p. 79). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition