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Tag Archives: spiritual struggle

Fight or Flight

We’ve been looking at Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His trial.  Now, He’s about to be arrested.  You may want to read Mark 14:42-51 before continuing with the rest of this article.

The Lord knew that His captors were approaching.  He woke up His disciples and went to meet the officials.  It’s interesting to see how the disciples reacted.

Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
Mark 14:47

We know from the other Gospels that this verse is referring to Peter.  A fisherman wielding a sword.  I’m surprised that he didn’t hurt himself!  The best he could do was to cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.

When the other disciples saw the futility of resisting, they all ran away.  One of them, when he was grabbed, left without any clothing.  It was the normal, human fight or flight reaction.

The Lord knew where He was headed.  He was looking forward to the victory He was going to accomplish on the cross.  So, instead, I want to talk about what was happening with the disciples.

What they did was the normal reaction that’s built into all of us.  When we see trouble coming, our entire being begins to prepare to either fight or run away.  God placed that in our DNA in order for us to protect ourselves in emergency situations.

The problem is that there’s a spiritual side that many of us fail to grasp.  In the spiritual battles that we face, there are times that we need to apply the lessons of “fight or flight”.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

I think Scripture is clear that the first choice is to stand your ground.  We need to prepare ourselves spiritually so that we don’t fall back into our old ways.  If you’re strong in the Lord and understand your place in Christ, then stand and fight that spiritual battle.

But what about those who aren’t in that position?  They’ve tried to fight the enemy and merely “cut off a servant’s ear”.  They haven’t put on their holy armor.

Many believers find themselves in spiritual struggles with no hope of victory.  They’ve resigned themselves to falling backward for the rest of their lives.  There is another choice.

Look at what Paul advised a young pastor who he was mentoring.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22

Some of the worst problems we face are when the old man tries to reassert itself.  The sins that we thought were long gone are suddenly calling to us again.

This is especially true of addictive sins.  Drug, alcohol, and sexual addictions are a few areas that never seem to let up on their assaults.  What do you do if your spiritual strength is not enough to overcome?  Should you just give in?  Absolutely not!

There is a time to flee.  Get out of the situation that’s causing the temptation.  You must leave the environment that weakens your defenses.  There’s nothing shameful about a strategic retreat.  It gives you the ability to strengthen your position for the next battle.

Question: When have you needed to flee from an overpowering situation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Don’t Let Go

SwordI’ve been sharing about David’s mighty men from the Old Testament. They’re an example to us of the warrior spirit that we need in order to fight our spiritual battle.

The next person I want to talk about is a man named Eleazar.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
2 Samuel 23:9-10

Apparently there was a time when David’s army started making fun of the Philistines. Israel decided that it wasn’t a good idea to provoke them and they took off. David and his men stayed. In the course of the battle, Eleazar’s hand froze to his sword.

Think about what happens in the body of Christ today. It’s easy to taunt the enemy while we’re safe in church with other believers. What about in the middle of the attack when we’re on our own?

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

We’ve been given the most powerful spiritual weapon anyone can use – the Word of God. It’s the sword we need to defeat the enemy. Does your hand freeze to the sword in the spiritual struggle?

Remember the early church. At one point they were commanded not to speak in Jesus’ name anymore. What did they do? Run and hide? Did they compromise to as not to offend?

They had a prayer meeting, praying in the spirit.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

The middle of the battle is when you cling more tightly to the sword. Only then can the victory be assured.

You need to realize that I’m not just talking about reading the Bible. Even though that’s important to our spiritual growth, it’s the Word we hear from God in our prayer time that makes the difference. Even David understood this.

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Psalms 138:3

There’s a boldness that only comes when we’ve heard God’s voice speaking to us. Then we know that there’s no weapon that can defeat us. It’s time for the church to press in and hear from Heaven. Then we must walk in obedience to the Lord’s will.

Question: When have you been made bold as a result of being in prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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The Challenge

ClimberIf you’re not facing any challenges, then you’re not living up to your full potential in Christ. That statement is true, whether we want to hear it or not. As much as we’d like a nice easy road, that’s not what the Lord promised us.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Many Christians would rather bury their heads in the sand than face the truth. We’re in a battle. We’re fighting for the souls of the men and women around us. Most of them are not even aware of what’s really going on in the spirit.

The good news is that Christ has already won the victory. We’re simply a part of the clean-up crew. We’re here to enforce the Lord’s victory on the enemy’s kingdom. We’re to open up the prisons and bring healing to the scarred and hurting – spiritually speaking.

It’s not all about my agenda and what I want to accomplish. I need to yield my life to the will of Christ. After all, He’s the Commander and Chief. He’s the one who gives us our marching orders.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I might be dating myself, but one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies is The Matrix. It had an interesting concept. Because they lived in a virtual world, if they needed to know Karate, they could just download it into their brain. If they needed to fly a helicopter, they could download that knowledge.

It’s too bad that doesn’t work for us – even though some Christians try that technique in their spiritual lives. We sometimes think that we can do our own thing, then when we get into trouble, we can pray.

Many people find out too late that this strategy doesn’t work very well. I can’t wait for the enemy’s attack, then suddenly learn to resist him. The time to prepare is before the problem.

The “secret” to overcoming is in knowing where our strength comes from. We’re told to be strong in the Lord. That’s where we prepare for the struggle.

That’s why it’s so important to remain in Christ. We need to be a people of prayer, even when everything seems to be going smoothly along. It’s when we’re spending time in the Spirit that we’re downloading the weaponry needed to overcome our future challenges.

I’m only ready for the problems of life if I am resting in the Lord. It’s His mighty power that will sustain me. Take the time to draw from the Lord’s ability. Be strong in His mighty power.

Question: How can God’s power help you in the challenge you’re facing right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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