The War Against the Soul
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain
from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation
honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers,
they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God
in the day of visitation.
(1 Peter 2:11-12)
Having previously seen and understood that the "me" is the soul and our
bodies merely "space suits", let's have a look at how Satan and his minions
are trying to undermine our walk and redirect the destination of where
we shall end up.
Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the
high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of
a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or
with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for
my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD
require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly
with thy God?
This refers to the sacrificing of children to Molech. See 2 Kings 23:10.
The children of Israel had been seduced away from God by the heathen religions
round about them and as a result had lost their fear (reverence) of God's
righteousness, and practised all sorts of evil.
The LORD'S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall
see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. Are there yet
the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure
that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked
balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For the rich men thereof
are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and
their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore also will I
make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because
of thy sins.
These are all sins of the soul, fleshly lusts*, and we see what will
happen as a result.
To us born again Christians, our Lord wiped all that away with the New
Covenant that He made on man's behalf with His shed blood, but we still
have to live uprightly, setting our affection on heavenly things so
that the wiles of Satan cannot tempt us away.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father,
save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father,
glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying,
I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The
people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered:
others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This
voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of
this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Leading the Christian life results in the following, out of love for our
Living righteously while we each have a choice.
*A Psalm of David.* LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall
dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,
and speaketh the truth in his heart.
Spending time in His presence and listening for His direction in our lives.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into
a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called
his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy
till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him,
saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came
to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he
commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the
money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then
came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he
said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful
in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came,
saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to
him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold,
here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I
feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou
layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto
him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant.
Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down,
and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money
into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give
it to him that hath ten pounds.
Resisting the wiles of the devil on an hourly and daily basis, who will
offer us all sorts of worldly pleasures to choose from, for our souls as
well as for our bodies. Recognise that he is the tempter, but we have the
choice to say no. We must remember at all times what we stand to gain,
And he said also unto his disciples, There was
a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto
him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him,
How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship;
for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself,
What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot
dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put
out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called
every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first,
How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil.
And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred
measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely:
for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children
of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon
of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting
habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also
in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If
therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will
commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful
in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and
love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Notice the word serve, It is not evil to be wealthy, but to love
the money and the worldly power that it brings, above your love of your
Lord, is. Are you as careful when handling something that is not yours,
as that which is yours? It all boils down to our attitude, something that
becomes second nature. This attitude, which can become infectious, is seen
by others and is known by God through the Holy Spirit who dwells in our
bodies. It is called soul fruit.
If I love someone I wish to please him/her not so? There is something that
must be done, some evidence of that love:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And
they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us
not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are
honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are
of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any
praise, think on these things.
For instance, watching television with all the crime and violence, leads
us to become angry or distressed. Discussing it aggravates matters - Satan
loves this and that is why he commands his servants to promote it. He is
trying for us to use our bodies to destroy ourselves. Temptations on every
side to see where our weaknesses lie.
The lust of the flesh can also lead in other directions. It doesn't need
to be evil, but can be quite innocent as well, at least in the beginning.
For example, let's take playing the organ in church; all the hours of practising
and playing, organising "christian" musical feasts, can lead one to become
so busy in soul and body that there is no time of peace to come before
the Lord; and when time is squeezed in for Him there is no more communication,
the time spent is "dead" time.
Hobbies, such as needlework, stamp collecting, gardening or woodwork can
become so absorbing that one's thoughts continually dwell thereon. Ask
me, I know!
What is first, worldly pleasures that you can enjoy now, or the reality
of spiritual pleasures, serving your Lord - with the added confidence of
future spiritual rewards.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only,
but unto all them also that love his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:8)
The Lord does not expect us to give up our interests or hobbies, but to
love Him above all else. It's a discipline that we need to learn.
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be
in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall
yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall
be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy
in the God of my salvation.
But ye are a . . . . peculiar people; that ye should shew forth
the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous
(1 Peter 2:9)
Someone once wrote:
It is a wonderful thing to be alive to God and I believe that it is
the only way to be kept alive to every good thing that is worth anything
. . . We can so live in God that we are in touch with the past, the present,
the future. I was thinking yesterday that the most interesting things are
those that I have yet to see. The most of my life is before me, because
life is not extension, it is satisfaction.
Only think, we have never seen His face yet, have never seen our dear
ones in their new bodies, and we are to see the coming of Christ, we are
to see Him take to Himself His great power, and reign from the rivers to
the ends of the earth. All this is before us.
* The sin of the body is fornication:
Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take
the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God
forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body?
for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord
is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without
the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which
is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are
bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit,
which are God's.
(1 Corinthians 6:15-20)
. . . .Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins
in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.