Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prisoner of War

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Text:-  Roman 7:23
But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

The child of God need to come up to knowledge he should have had over the years. This knowledge is both shocking and helpful. The child of God needs to know that he is in a battle front. In fact, the bible did not keep this information secret. It states,
“The weapon of our warfare is not canal”,
“our struggle is not against flesh and blood”………therefore put on the full armor of God”,
“They are in conflict with one another,”
“Fight the good fight of the faith”.
”No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affair”,
“the sin that war against your souls”.
These are only few among the many cries of the Holy Spirit as He warns the child of God of the great battle going on. This battle is not between Angels and the devil. There is an account of such a battle actually-.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
But this is not the one I am talking about here. I am talking about the battle between the believer and the devil and his demons. The forces of darkness arrayed against the child of God, using every weapon at their disposal to try to undo the child of God.
Before one gets born-again there is a battle to keep one in the dark over the need for salvation. The scripture puts it this way,
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they can not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.             2Cor. 4:4
There is actually a covering over the eye of the unbeliever. That is the only reason somebody who earn a little over ten thousand naira a month, would burn five thousand on cigarettes. Even though he reads an advert that says that cigarette smoking is dangerous to his health. As one makes an effort to preach to him, he reacts by asking you which church you belong to.  At many instances he says, “Listen here, I am a catholic. I attend church. Why do you Pentecostals ever think you alone know God?” That is a blind-folded fellow, he can not see that you are not talking about church but his soul. Bear with him, he is blind. There was a man I used to know. At many occasions I saw him fighting with his wife on the street. The wife would bite him and he would tear her clothes on the street. They were notorious. He worked on Sundays. The wife only attended church on special Sundays like mothering Sunday. I took time to pray on their account, asking God for grace to minister to them. One day I went and after speaking with them, the man confessed his family had problem and promised to worship with us on Sunday, I did not see him. After waiting for sometime, I went to find out what happened. Then, he said to me, “Look pastor, the Rev. Father said I am due for wedding. And if I must wed; I must stop attending fellowship and church anywhere else. In fact the Bishop has warned me sternly about this. He said we should ask you to come to our church”.
The church he was not attending, he was still a member. They were waiting for the day he will die and they will bury him. He is a poor blind fellow. The devil has a veil over his eyes. He is blind. The duty a child of God owes  this kind of person is fervent intercession and visitation and God who makes his light shine into darkness will break the yoke and they will see the danger of their souls and be saved.
Immediately this happens a battle starts,
for what I do is not good I want to do, no, the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on going (Rom 7:19)
As one embraces Christ and becomes born again, there is a hunger to improve in well doing. There is a hunger to serve God more. There is a hunger to pray more. There is a hunger to attend fellowship and Sunday service. In my own case, I became a bookworm for Christian literature. I read anything I lay my hands on.
There is a hunger to obey everything you read. If you made a mistake somewhere you repented immediately. Quite often, young converts take to the streets in an effort to convert others. “Morning cry” is a delight. One goes for evangelism alone or in a group. It could be said of him, “For zeal for your house consumes me...” (Psalm 69:9)
The Holy Spirit will enter your life and stir up your zeal but the day he departs, He departs a gentle spirit. Like a rejected play mate would walk out of his friend’s house.
In the days of your zeal, it does not mean there was no battle, for the scripture says,
For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so, that you do not do what you want. (Gal. 5:17)
In this battle what is needed is your will. What would you submit to? Many of us who are still Christians submitted to the Holy Spirit.
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey — whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
                                                     Rom 6:16-17 NIV
So, that is how you became a believer. You submitted to Christ and became His slave. You found joy in service for God. Anything that clashed with your God, you rejected. You were active in church, prayerful, contributed your quota to support God’s work financially. As long as you had strength, it was for the brethren. And you grew in grace and won many over to Christ. Praise the Lord!
That was how you started and everybody knew you are a believer a light in darkness; Satan had lost the first battle!

 He sees your joy and comfort as you bear the light yoke of Christ. He tries to use force to pull you down. Your parents attack you, but you are for Christ. Your denomination threatens, but you have decided. Financial hardship everywhere but the Holy Spirit gives you grace to overcome. Even if He does not, you were willing to die for Christ.
 Devil has lost the second battle.

I wish to point out here that many who did not backslide when they faced hardship, became cold when God blessed them. They ate and drank and said, “Who is God?”
There is a shout of victory in God’s camp and the devil is angry. He summons his demons and express dissatisfaction with your new position. Helplessly they watched you grow. They watched as you wrecked havoc on their strongholds. They watched as you liberated other souls. To worsen the situation, you attacked Satan himself and exposed his evil works. Devil tries again to intimidate you with bad dreams and sickness, but you were too hot for him. In the name of your Lord and master JESUS CHRIST you tore his bars away and launched a violent attack on his domain, wrecked an unequaled havoc on his territory.
Devil has lost the third battle.

You continued to grow strong in the Lord.
So, devil concludes he can not stop you by using force. He is an ancient warrior. The problem with him is that he is an untiring loser. He now goes to his store house of experience and pulled out the weapon that have killed so many great men of God, and that is, cunning.
With cunning they conspire against your people, they plot against those you cherish. (Psalm 83:3).

Note the linking of cunning and plot.
The child of God who did not fall into sexual seduction, intimidation of peers, sickness and other ugly things that Satan throws at his enemies is faced with a subtle weapon. Will he survive it? He offers the strong Christian pride.
1.  Prisoner to pride:- The scripture did not say without reason that, “ pride goes before a fall.” (  ). I pray that the Holy Spirit will search the heart of the reader. Immediately, the devil tells the believer how much he has achieved for the Lord already. He tells him that he is twenty five years in the Lord now. He points out to him how many he has converted and how many churches he had lifted from foundation. He tells him how successful he had been in fasting and that even his local church pastor has not achieved half of what he had.
Finally, he tells him that it is time to sit down and watch others do theirs. After all, he has children and a wife to take care of. He tells him he needed to work to take care of them. He could not continue to attend prayer night, as that is for bachelors and spinsters. He should not bother to remain in the prayer cell, he knew how to pray. Even if he sinned he knew his way back to God. He tells him there is nothing wrong with working or even living with unbelievers as they are all children of God who should be converted. Because of the nature of his work, there is nothing wrong skipping weekly activities.
All these look attractive to the child of God. Like the prodigal son, he sees himself as one in bondage in the house of God. If the pastor calls him to correct him, he knows enough scripture to answer back.
Devil wins his first battle.