Friday, November 6, 2009

MINI MESSAGES - The Christian's Warfare

The Christian's Warfare
'The prayer of a righteous man availeth much', or, in my words,
'The prayer of a righteous man is powerfully effective [for overcoming
adverse situations]' (James 5:16). We might ask: 'Aren't all Christians righteous?' Answer: They are righteous in that all their sins are forgiven thanks to Jesus bearing them on Himself at the cross, but on a daily basis too many Christians do not allow the Spirit to control them, preferring to follow their own desires. One sign that the carnal nature controls them is a lack of love for others, including fellow Christians.
So if Christians want to be righteous in order to become effective and powerful in prayer, how must they go about it? They must work actively together with the Holy Spirit within them, allowing Him to point out the shortcomings that prevent them from being completely righteous, and co-operating with Him in eliminating them from their lives. Most Christians think of spiritual warfare only as being against the evil rampant in the world. That is an important part of the warfare, but it is usually fought ineffectively because of sin ruling their lives. God does not want to play second fiddle to the desires of Christians; He wants to rule and use them to the full. To be effective against the unrighteousness of the world Christians must first overcome unrighteousnesses in their own lives. The Spirit within them needs their willing co-operation in the elimination of all inner unrighteousness. That takes persistent effort, unceasing war against their inner, carnal nature.
My thoughts were drawn along these lines upon hearing a former practising homosexual tell about being convicted about homosexuality being a sin, and co-operating with the Holy Spirit to overcome it in himself. Today he is a married man, has three children, and is blessed with an effective ministry of helping others to overcome their homosexual tendencies.
But it is not only about homosexuality. Christians must (my words) put to death [get rid of] the carnal things in them: 'sexual immorality [including homosexuality], impurity, lust, evil desires, and covetousness', (Colossians 3:5, with verse 8 adding) 'anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication [dirty jokes, swearing, blasphemy] out of your mouth'. With the help of the Holy Spirit active warfare against these additional sins will bring victory - and righteousness. Then comes power in prayer!