If you’re a Christian you’re in for a fight.
Sure, it’s a wonderful blessing to remember that upon receiving Christ as Saviour our feet are set upon a heaven-bound path. Our ultimate destination is heaven’s rest. Just knowing this is true can put a spring in our step on our daily walk.
But this heaven-bound path we’re on is also a warpath. We are engaged in a fight every single day of our lives. It’s a fight about truth, trusting God, and believing His Word. It’s a fight against lies and deception. And if we are not vigilant we will find ourselves led into deception, unbelief, and apostasy.
HERE’S HOW THE BATTLE GOES.
Sin begins by whispering through the desires of the flesh, the worldly rationalizations of the mind, and the lies of the enemy. It tells us our personal happiness is the goal and the only hope of it is to do things like cheat—for example fudging the numbers, twisting the truth, or not paying for something. Sin tells us integrity won’t make us happy so compromising our standards just this once won’t matter—no one will know anyway. It tells us we don’t want to be disliked or rejected so keep silent about injustice and go along with the crowd. It tells us God isn’t fair the way He seems so good to some and not others.
These lies bombard us constantly. It’s easy to become worn down and be deceived. When we’re deceived the lies lodge in our hearts and become thoughts and intentions. The reason we sin is because at some level we believe lies instead of the revealed truth of God. When we accept lies as truth our hearts harden. By not believing the promises of God we come to a place of unbelief and eventually fall away.
How do we win the war and keep from being deceived? The answer is by allowing the Word of God to penetrate into the deepest part of our hearts. It is in this context of reaching heaven, not being deceived, and not hardening our hearts Scripture says,
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13 NASB)
Our only hope in this daily fight is that there is something sharp and powerful enough to penetrate through all the deception and shed light on our thoughts and intentions. The good news of God's promises and the warnings of His judgment are sharp enough and living enough and active enough to penetrate to the bottom of our hearts, assess what’s there, and show us that the lies of sin are indeed lies.
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY?
FIRST, we need to remember we’re accountable to God, we are to be immersed in His living Word, and we must diligently take every thought captive to bring it under its scrutiny. God’s Word has a vitality and energy, which can penetrate to the bottom of all our defences and deceptions and expose our belief or unbelief. It assesses our thoughts and intentions. Study the Bible and pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).
SECOND, we are to mix what we read in the Word with faith. Believe it. I find it helpful to ask myself these questions. Am I trusting the promises of God or aren't I? Am I subtly beginning to put my faith in compromise, or half-truths, or expediency? Am I becoming callous to the truth and slipping into unbelief in the promises of God? Do I question the Word or do I let it question me?
THIRD, we must obey God. Obedience is the proof of faith. “…faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
FINALLY, it’s important to keep in mind whose we are and to keep fighting. If we fall we need to get up. Failure is not fatal unless we don’t get up. If we become discouraged we must remember God is with us. His strength will support us. When we fix our eyes on the prize of heaven’s rest and be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power He will help us stay on the warpath.