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Battle Tested

mhXQFuII’m taking a few posts to talk about the spiritual battle we’re a part of. I believe that the church needs to develop a warrior mentality. In the natural world, soldiers don’t live with civilians. They live set apart, and they see themselves as set apart.

By looking at the example of Christ, we can see what this battle is all about.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1

In my last post we saw that we’re to fight this spiritual battle with all persistency and petition around all the saints. The fight is not in the center of the saints where the “praise party” is going on. It’s on the edges – in the prayer closet – in the private places.

Notice that Jesus was not in the city or with His disciples when the devil attacked. It was in the place of prayer and fasting. That’s the true place of warfare.

So often I’ve heard worship leaders, in the midst of a great time of praise and worship, proclaim, “We’ve got the enemy on the run!” Far from it. During those times the church is in the mess hall, far from the battle. Warfare occurs when we’re in private.

The Scripture is clear that Jesus was tempted by the devil. It’s important to know what this means. We think of tempt as Satan trying to get us to fail. The actual Greek word means a test, proof, or examination.

Temptation is merely asking, “Are you the real thing?” When you pick up the shield of faith, are you for real? Are you just repeating something you heard, or does it come from your heart?

This is important for believers to understand. Whenever we grasp a new concept in Christ it must be added to our faith. It can’t simply be something we give lip service to. We have to be willing to live it out.

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4:3-4

We need to see that the first attack is personal. Who are you in Christ? Are you going to cater to your flesh or to the spirit?

This is why you need your helmet and sword. You have to walk in the authority of your position in Christ. You must understand the power of the Word of God in you. That’s the only thing that will counter this attack.

That’s why you need to know who you are in Christ. What’s your calling in the kingdom of God? The battle is all about who you’re going to trust for your needs. Of course, that means we know the difference between wants and needs.

Jesus could have answered “Yes” to the devil’s challenge. The question is; where did the Lord’s response come from? Was it the Bible that said “no”? Was Jesus merely quoting Scripture?

No, this came up from His Spirit. It was the overflow of a heart that was full of God’s Word. That’s where we get the strength for overcoming the enemy’s schemes.

The fact is the Word is more important than bread. We have to come to grips with this. What’s the Word more important than in your life? It might not be a bad thing that you have to push aside in place of the Word of God to you. It’s this response from our heart that proves we’re the “real thing” during the times of testing.

Question: How have you been tested lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Is Your Faith Pleasing to God?

 

DoveDo you make an effort to please God? Do you know what that means? I’m not talking about God loving you – He loves everyone. I’m not even talking about God accepting you. We’re made righteous and acceptable to God in Christ.

Pleasing is on a different level. It means that God actually enjoys what you’re doing. The Bible talks about it.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22

Just like Christ, we must be driven to set our hearts on what is well pleasing to God. Only then will He release His power in us to secure our anointing. It should be important to us to find out what well pleases the Lord.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

This is the starting line. Pleasing the Lord requires faith. That should come as no surprise. But let’s seek the understanding of what this means.

Many say, “I’m a faith person.” Is that enough?

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7

Talk is cheap. In more than one place, the Scripture tells us that your faith must be tried and approved. Even Christ told us that when the Word sown in you, trials would come.

So I’m not talking about a generic, surface faith. We need a faith that has stood the test, and is found to be approved by God. That’s why in the verse from Hebrews, above, it’s not just about believing He exists.

We must also have faith in the knowledge that He rewards those who seek Him.

“I will diligently seek Him…tomorrow.”

If I’m going to please God, then I need to be diligent and press in immediately. It’s not something that I keep putting off for a more convenient time. In all likelihood, there will never be an easy time to press in to God’s will.

If I want an approved faith, then I need to just “go for it.” The time is now. Diligently seek a tested and approved faith that goes beyond just being acceptable to the Lord. Go for the “well pleasing” kind of faith.

Questions: How has your faith been tested recently? Did it stand the test?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Anointing, Faith

 

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