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Spiritual Warfare – It’s Bigger than Me

I’m posting about the spiritual battle that we have to contend with as believers.  I’m using Christ as our example.  In my last post, I talked about the devil attacking who we are in Christ.  The next attack is more subtle.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Matthew 4:5-6

Remember that I said it’s not about mindlessly quoting the Bible.  That doesn’t bring about the victory.  In this verse, we see the reason for that.  The devil has the Bible memorized.  He can quote it better than we can sometimes.

What is this attack?  By using the Bible, Satan is trying to attack the church.  He wants to go through you to bring down other believers.

If you’re a warrior, then the enemy needs to bring you down so that he can attack the church. That’s what the verse meant that said that the battle entails persistency and petition around all the saints. (Ephesians 6:17-18)

Other Christians aren’t really watching the battle.  Many times they’re off in “praise land,” never realizing that they’re being protected.  There are those whose ministry is interceding for them – protecting them.

Why would the devil have told Christ to jump from the temple?  The angels would have protected Him and it would have fulfilled a prophecy from Malachi.

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
Malachi 3:1

Had He jumped off the roof, Christ would have appeared suddenly in the Temple.  The people would have flocked to Him.  But what would they be following?  In a word – sensationalism.

God doesn’t want us following the spectacular.

“He’s on TV, he must be spiritual.”

This attack asks; am I going to build God’s kingdom?  Am I going to protect God’s people?  Or am I going to live for self?  This attack happens after a victory in another area.  I’ve overcome the temptation to sin, now I want the fame, recognition, and money that I deserve.

This attack is all about whether I want to advance myself or God’s kingdom.  Many choose to exalt themselves.  The body of Christ is not a place for self-advancement.  It’s got to be the Lord who exalts us.  Christ’s answer to this attack was simple.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:7

This is making God the focus of our examination.  The fact is, God doesn’t have to prove He’s going to bless me before I serve Him.  I obey Him because He’s God.  He’s done so much for me already; the Lord has nothing He needs to prove to me.

It’s when we need something more than what Christ has already provided that we fall victim to this trap.  Instead of testing God, our goal should be simply to hear and obey Him.

Question: What are some of the things we chase after that are unneeded in our Christian walk?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Are You Positioned to Receive Spiritual Power? #powerofthespirit

PlugI’ve been posting about how Christ walked and ministered in the power of God.  It’s all about how He positioned Himself to receive it.

A good example of this is found in a parable that the Lord told to His disciples.  We usually call it the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-collector.  They were both in the temple praying next to each other.  The Lord lets us in on what they were saying.

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
Luke 18:11-12

We read this, but we don’t take it to heart.  We know how it ends and who the Lord commends.  But do we really listen to the prayer of the Pharisee.  If we look closely at it, it sounds like a prayer that a modern Christian would offer up, filled with good confessions.

“I thank you that I’m the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath. I thank you that because I tithe you will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of heaven so that I cannot contain your blessing.”

His prayer was filled with good confessions and it was all true.  He was different than the tax-collector.  He did fast and tithe.  The problem was that he had no power.

But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Luke 18:13

Which prayer produced life changing power?  Christ was clear about it.

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 18:14

It’s obvious, from the Lord’s perspective, that the person who dealt with relationship tapped into God’s power.  The Pharisee was focused on self.  The tax-collector was dealing with that which separated him from God.

Is the power of God about what I’ve done or what the Holy Spirit wants to accomplish in and through me?  When I go before God, my telling Him what I’ve done doesn’t impress Him.  It will never move Him to work through me.

It’s only as I work on my relationship with Christ that I’ll see the changes necessary.  If you want to flow in the power of God, then your relationship with Him is the positioning agent.  It’s not about what you’ve done, but what He is able to do in you.

Questions: How well are you positioned for the move of the Holy Spirit?  What do you need to do to make it better?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Ministry, Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

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