Good Morning Brothers…
It is that time of year when planning for fall hunting seasons begins. Fish and game websites are studied, phone calls are made, costs are counted, all in the hope that next hunting season will be successful. I often ask myself why? Why do I put in the effort, year in an year out, to book hunts in far away places. Why do I spend the money, why do I spend the time, why do I lie to myself about losing weight and getting in better shape…why?
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
I have faith that next hunting season will be a great season. I have an assurance of this, a conviction of this, yet these things are not seen. As I write this, on the cusp of another year, my thoughts turn to things I am assured of and convicted of. Things in which I hope.
(Hunting) I hope that next season will be the season that I finally harvest a bull elk.
(Family) I hope that this year will finally be the year that my oldest son understands we love him and will, in turn, trust us.
(Spiritual) I hope that this year I will know Jesus more personally than I know Him now.
(Church) I hope this year the Church, worldwide, will take dramatic steps to re-unite under the blood of Jesus.
(Work) I hope this year will be the year that some of my co-workers get off the fence and declare their desire to follow Christ.
This list has many things in common, but under the surface, away from the casual eye, a battle plan to defeat them is in progress. Satan spends time plotting ways to steal our joy and snuff out our hope. The world in which we live is designed by the hands of man, under the influence of Satan, to do exactly that. God designed us to live in relationship and communion with Him. This world does everything it can to block us from God’s objective. Knowing this is true, doesn’t shield us from the onslaught of our senses. Understanding God’s design for us, doesn’t deflect the arrows of the evil one. We must utilize the battle plan God has put in place. This battle plan started all the way back in Genesis…in the beginning.
Genesis 4:3-7 says, “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
God tells Cain that he must “master” the desire for sin. God tells Cain, and in turn us, that whenever we offer a sacrifice rejected by God, that becoming angry and sullen invites sin to our door. This applies to us today, because we still offer sacrifices to the Lord. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” We offer ourselves as sacrifice. We offer our thoughts, deeds, and service onto the sacrificial alter for approval. Most often, our offering is rejected due to the influences of the world and the success of Satan’s battle plan. If we want to defeat Satan’s battle plan, and “master” our desire for sin, we must fight with the weapons God gives.
God has given us His Son, and God has given us the Holy Spirit. More than enough for whatever the battle plan against us may be. But…hear me now…God’s battle plan will not work without our partnership in it. We must live out what Paul says in the next verse from Romans 12, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” In order for us to be transformed by the mercies of God, we must put ourselves in a position to receive. This means we must swim against the tide of our culture and turn the noise off…and be still. God’s battle plan against Satan is to live in relationship and communion with us and this doesn’t happen during the commercials, or at half-time of the game.
God led the Hebrews into the desert after their escape from Egypt…for their testing. Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Even though the Hebrew nation was completely removed from their routine, their normal way of life, alone with God in the wilderness…a whole generation of them would not join the Lord in His battle plan of relationship and communion. They died in the wilderness and did not cross over into the promised land. I, for one, do not want that story written about me or mine. I keep the perspective from James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Investing in God’s battle plan, spending the time, spending the money, doing my due diligence, producing endurance, results in faith of things not seen. I may not be able to see the battle plan, for or against, but I live the results…for or against.