By Patrick Hawthorne
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
In part one of, So…You’re Going to Battle the Devil, Are You? I wrote concerning the notion that we Christian’s tend to want to don our Godly armor in order to wage a personal frontal attack on the devil and make him tremble in his devil boots. To recap, I have seen some shout at the devil, scream at the devil, and even cuss at the devil. I assert that this is not Scriptural and will only serve to strengthen the enemy’s stronghold on the believer. Why? Because the majority of the battles we fight are mental in nature. (See 2 Corinthians 10:5.) The devil knows that if he can hold the believer hostage to their thought life through wrong thinking or wrong believing, he can manipulate them . Let me give you an example.
I have three goats. Their names are, Billy, Bob, and Thornton. As far as goats are concerned, Billy, Bob, and Thornton are not the sharpest tools in the tool shed, if you catch my meaning. Truth be told, they can be dumb as rocks at times. For instance, every day I allow them time outside of their pen to walk about the yard and munch on weeds and grassy goodness. Most times I will open the gate to their pen and they will immediately run outside. At other times, the goats will look at the open gate and will not move until I speak something to them. Most times what I speak is something like, “It’s open stupid.” Now, I know that is not a polite thing to say to my four legged furry friends, but if the hoof fits…
As Christian’s, we too can be like these goats. We have been made free from the authority and power of sin by the precious blood of our Lord Jesus. The problem is that we think we are still confined. O’ yes, we declare with great zeal that we are free from the bondage of sin and of Satan, yet how many of us have that one particular iniquity in our life that we struggle with constantly?
Because of wrong thinking or believing, we fall headlong into the trap of believing it is us who must wage a personal frontal attack on the devil. This is the trap known as legalism. Instead of resting in the Lord and learning to walk in His Spirit, we listen to the subtle lie of the devil. We begin operating out of our flesh and not His Holy Spirit.
“You know,” whispers the devil O’ so slyly. “You can beat me if you just pray more, read your bible more, and do more for the Lord.”
Listening to his voice, we strive to pray more, read the bible more, and do more for the Lord. At the start, all is well. Then one day we don’t pray as we thought we should. We don’t study as we thought we should. We fail to serve the Lord as we think we should. Que the condemnation, guilt, and shame.
Hear me and hear me well. Legalism is a devouring beast! No matter how much you feed legalism, it will never be satisfied. And, no matter how much you think you can do on your own, it will never be enough.
Did not Jesus say His yoke was easy and His burden light (Matt 11:30)? You did not receive the Holy Spirit by your works, so quit trying to resist by your works. (See Galatians Chapters 3-5.) Start today by asking the Lord to show you the character of your actions through His eyes. Then, ask Him to retrain your thought life by the renewing of your mind. This is the beginning of the process of “Walking in the Spirit.” Be blessed.