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Fearing the Wrong Enemy

Most people have a fear of huge, cataclysmic events like earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes that have the ability to kill them and destroy their property.  The chances that you will die as a result of some natural disaster is extremely slim in comparison to other causes of death that are far less dramatic and media-driven.  In fact, emergency management experts say that the leading cause of nature-related deaths is from draughts, cold weather or summer storms. 

“Ten years ago, during a routine checkup, my doctor asked me if I had a gun in the house. He thought that having a gun in the house was a serious hazard to my young children. Now, according to economist Steven D. Levitt, yearly in the U.S. “there is 1 child killed by a gun for every 1 million-plus guns.” Levitt also observes that yearly there is one drowning of a child for every 11,000 residential swimming pools.

So why didn’t the doctor ask me if I had a swimming pool? Why do people people grossly overestimate the danger of trivial risks, while ignoring the danger of greater ones? Why do I see obese people smoking cigarettes slopping on sunscreen to avoid skin cancer? Why do people who spend hours driving to work each day on busy freeways worry about dying in an airplane crash?  Auto accidents and falls kill 25 times more people in the U.S. each year than airplane crashes and firearms accidents combined. So what’s wrong with these people? I want to hit them on the head with a bat.”   -Charles Anesi.

Put into a spiritual perspective, what are the greatest causes of people endangering their walk with God?  We could point out vicious attacks of Satan, failure of prominent Christian leaders, tragedy caused by death, sickness, or disaster, or some other major problem.  In fact, we are informed by the Scriptures that we can survive all of these things:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39.

The greatest hazards we face are much less dramatic.  Here are a few warnings from the scriptures about the most likely sources of hindrances to our walk with God.  

“Walk worthy.” Ephesians 4:1

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly  , as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof .  Romans 13:11-14.


Falling asleep spiritually is one of the most dangerous behaviors that the Christian can practice.  Look at some of the things that happen to an person who is asleep in the natural sense.

  • Difficult to ward off because it is a natural function of the body.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Become disengaged from surroundings.
  • Body temperature lowered.
  • Breathing slows down.
  • Dreaming occurs.
  • Sleep walking may happen.
  • Sight and hearing shuts down except for loud noises.

Guard against falling into a spiritual sleep.

First, if sleep is a natural inclination of the body, how are we to avoid it spiritually?  We can stay alert and still get our rest because God is our rest!

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  For if Jesus   had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of nother day.  There remaineth therefore a rest   to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief .  Hebrews 4:3-11.

Do not lose your spiritual consciousness. 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  1 Peter 5:8

Do not become disengaged from your surroundings.

 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel  against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.  Colossians 3:12-16.

Take care that your spiritual temperature stays high and that your breathing does not slow.

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:6-7.

 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Titus 3:5.

Do not drift into believing unrealistic dreams.

 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments  of the world, and not after Christ.  Colossians 2:8

 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:1-3.

Do not sleepwalk spiritually.  Stay under the control of the Holy Spirit.  When you are not under the Spirit’s control, you have no idea what you may do. 

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  Romans 6:16.


Prayer is communication with God.  Marriage counselors tell us that the biggest reason for problems in the marital relationship is lack of communication.   

The beginning of a lack of communication between husband and wife is usually the inability to talk about the little things, which turn into bigger things when frustration and anger is built up. Bigger issues are more difficult to resolve than smaller ones.

The key to a healthy strong relationship is using communication to work out your issues and resolve problems. The following are keys to building strong communication skills with your spouse:

1. Truly listen to each other, while staying quiet and focused on what they are saying. 

2.  Listen to the actual words and underlying feelings and emotions.
3. Try to understand the other side of the argument, this doesn’t mean you have to agree.
4.  Let the other person know you are listening by rephrasing what they have told you and to ensure clear understanding.
5.  Let the other person know that you are hearing their words as well as the underlying feelings. This validates the other persons emotions.
6.  Be aware of nonverbal messages you may send, such as tone of voice and facial expressions.
7.  Tell the other person how you are feeling and what they are doing wrong, by using I statements.
8.   Let the person know ahead of time of your intention to discuss issues. This will allow them to gather their thoughts as well as appear less like an attack.
9.   Set aside time to talk about important issues without interruptions from kids and life.
10. Stay on topic, try to keep your discussion confined to the topic at hand.

How does this relate to our prayer life?  Ask yourself these questions:  Who are the people you talk to the most?  Why?  Chances are that you like them, that you are truly interested in their opinions, that you genuinely feel you can learn something by talking to them, that this person(s) pays attention to you, that this person conveys to you a sense of your worth and value.

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:   And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly  that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.   Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.  James 5:13-19.

Famine of the Word of God. 

 “Thy word is truth.” John 17:17

What is the value of the Word of God? That, is an understatement of epic proportions. The Word…valuable? Is a detailed set of prints valuable to the construction of a skyscraper? Is an understanding of aerodynamics valuable to piloting a plane? Does a brain surgeon place any value on his medical training? Is a constitution valuable to running a country? These concepts go without question. Yet, we stumble in assigning real value to God’s Word, both in assimilating it into our brains and applying it to our lives. In recent years, I am alarmed by a non-specific, lax and dismissive view of the Bible that has crept into our attitudes. This problem is becoming acute and this generation must address it. Apostolics, the people who base their beliefs upon a literal rendering and practicing of scripture, must not permit this to happen.

The Bible remains a timeless statement of God’s truth. But this position directly contradicts today’s increased sensitivity to human wants and desires. What if the Bible gets in the way of modern life? Not only do many people do what they want to do (as they always have), more of them are willing to cast off scriptural restraints in order to do it. The church also feels tremendous pressure to accept variant viewpoints in the interest of fairness and humility.

Bible believing Christians must never forget that the Word is unique. First, it lives. “For the word of God is living…” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). The life of God’s Word brings a singular dynamic to the world unmatched by any other literature. No Plato classic, no Clancy or Grisham thriller, no Catton history or even any Shakespearean drama, despite their considerable wit and brilliance, dispenses life to its readers. The Word does exactly that. It breathes, moves and inspires. It interacts with our thinking, both consciously and sub-consciously, and creates a new person within us. Its energy puts it on par with the very presence of Jesus, as we see in 1 John 1:1. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.”

Next, the Word is powerful, or active. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV). Many speak, but none speaks words with innate creative power. When God speaks, his Word becomes a viable force, fully capable of performing its purpose. He does more than suggest, hint or muse. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11). The next time you read the Word of God or hear it preached or taught, be careful. The Word makes things happen.

Beyond being alive and powerful, the Word discriminates. Hebrews says it is “sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word of God operates with a razor’s edge on the reader’s soul, cutting away fat and fraud and exposing the hidden things of the heart. This makes lots of people nervous, even angry. But remember, while one edge cuts clean going away, the other cuts just as clean coming back, judging both the audience and the speaker alike. Long before psychology, psychiatry or any of the mind arts ever existed, the incisive Word penetrated the heart of man.

Finally, the Word of God is truth. “Thy Word is truth.” (John 17:17). Vast, organized bodies of opinion float around out in academia, each one claiming or implying that it represents truth. It would totally exhaust our time, money and labor to fully investigate the plank and platform of their every claim. Forget it. Only one concept is worthy of our invested efforts: “Thy Word is truth.” All else is futile.

Those who excuse the more pungent or pithy scriptural commands as quaint, but out of touch aspects of the Word, tread on shaky ground. Simply put, we must read, believe and obey the Bible! Any departure from the verbal inspiration and the literal reading of the Bible undermines our insistence upon Apostolic doctrine. The Bible is living, powerful, discriminating and completely true. All of it. That’s the word on the Word.

In Part Two, we will talk about small ways to strengthen your walk with God.

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