When you are encamped against your enemies, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.

Deuteronomy 23: 9

 

The battleground is a dangerous place. Not only is there the very real presence of an armed opponent who is seeking your harm, but there are also many situations that can arise to bring temptation and to cause people to turn away from righteous living. It is very easy to become caught up in the fight to the point that anger and self-righteous thinking begin to dominate the heart of the warrior. When this happens, God’s true purpose and mission are too often forgotten. These are times when we tend to head off on our own campaigns in which we attempt to purify the world by cleansing it of the people and the things that we find uncomfortable or threatening.

 

When the struggle has reached the point where it is very intense, we also can stop being concerned about the practice of fundamental spiritual discipline. Things like regular reading of God’s Word, prayer, and worship in the company of Christian community are set aside in order to stay focused on the fight. Unfortunately, it is these essential disciplines that help to keep us so focused. These are the practices that God has designed and intends for us to engage in so that our hearts and minds remain aligned with His. When these are set aside, it is far too easy to start to listen to our own voices and to take direction from unholy sources.

 

God’s Word makes very clear the fact that His people live in a world that is hostile to us. He also calls upon us to engage in an on-going fight with evil for the territory that surrounds us. Anyone who takes God seriously and decides to seek out and act upon His will is call by God to become a warrior. Still, even in the harsh circumstances of the battlefield, God wants us to bring glory to Him by conducting our campaigns righteously. The Lord has committed Himself to providing us with the resources that we need to grow stronger in Christ as we throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the struggle. At the same time our opponent is trying with all of his might to trip us up and to cause us to lose sight of the Lord’s true character and methods of engagement. We can claim Christ’s victory in these times of conflict and struggle by staying committed to prayer, to the study of God’s Word, and to the fellowship of Christ’s body.

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