Today’s Battle

For men, the word battle brings up images of Civil War, WWII, Vietnam, or Gulf War battle scenes.  In this sense the word battle is a noun, referring to a hostile encounter between enemy forces.  For the warrior engaged in the battle itself, the word battle is an action verb, meaning to fight or forcefully accomplish.  We all see the physical battles and the warriors, but we so often miss, are naïve about, or do not even recognize the spiritual battle for our souls or the souls of those around us.  Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  We are bombarded with thoughts and spiritual attack daily.  Our forceful response determines our actions and the consequences.  A thought permeates the mind, the soul is stirred, a personal response emerges, the physical body moves, and the actions have consequences.  A good thought, one of hope or love or faith, that is responded to positively, yields positive actions and fruitful consequences.  A negative or evil thought, when yielded to has consequences negatively affecting us and those around us.  What evil thought will you yield to today that will elicit a negative consequence? Anger, pornography, jealousy, or selfishness? And what will be the consequence? A relationship severed, an exploitive industry and culture perpetuated, a heart hardened, a person made bitter, truth not defended, or perhaps a great God not served?  The alternative is a stark contrast.  The writer of Philippians encourages men to stand firm (to forcefully accomplish) in the Lord and “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”.   What consequences come from this purposeful focus?  Loving relationships are forged, evil industries are starved or defeated, friends are supported, great visions of good are cast, and a great God is honored.  Today’s truth is, that there are really only two sides in the spiritual battle for men’s souls.  In Matthew 12:30, Jesus says, “You are either for me or against me.”    In Joshua 24:15, Joshua puts is so clear and so direct for men when he says, “…choose for yourself today whom you will serve”.   Joshua’s response was clear and forceful, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.   Will your stance be as strong and purposeful today?

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