overcoming temptation

Spiritual Warfare – Rule #1

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12

“You can’t defeat the enemy unless you identify the enemy.” Those are the very words I heard myself declaring in a dream I had several months ago. It was one of those morning dreams you recall just as you are waking up. All I could remember was the setting, a church, and I was preaching. Beyond that the only other fragment of the dream I retained was that phrase, and it was reverberating again and again in my soul. It impressed me as being a very important sermon and I wish I could have heard myself say more.

Being at a stage in life when I have kindly been classified as a senior, I have come to appreciate the scripture that says “your old men will dream dreams.” (Joel 2:28) It is a wonderful promise for any man whose hair is thinning, receding and/or turning gray. Check, check, check, yep, all the above. So when I dream, it could be God speaking and I’ve learned to listen.

As it turned out, it was indeed a very timely word from God for me and necessary reminder of an important spiritual principle. In the spiritual realm we have enemies and we are at war. And as in any natural war, unless we can clearly identify the enemy, we will always be vulnerable, under attack, on the run and ultimately defeated. That is rule #1 in spiritual warfare.

Facing sexual temptation? Keep this in mind!

“See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” Hebrews12:16 (NIV)

The recent demise of the Herman Cain campaign was sobering and painful to behold. Whenever a well respected man’s reputation comes into question, as his did over charges of sexual impropriety, it triggers a gamut of emotion. We hope against hope that it isn’t true. We wonder how in the world such a thing could happen and possibly have been going on for so long without anyone blowing the whistle. We stand in amazement that someone who is so successful and seemingly so intelligent would jeopardize everything they have attained in life, and the promise of a preferred future, in exchange for some momentary sinful pleasure.

But it happens all the time. History is replete going all the way back to the days of Esau, with countless individuals who traded their inheritance for a bowl of porridge. Sadly, the cemeteries of the world have far too many people in them who went to their graves with regret over all the good in life they forfeited in exchange for the evils of sin.

Esau, the first born of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, was slated to receive both the inheritance rights as well as the patriarchal blessing. He was a man’s man, an outdoorsman, a hunter and rough cut man of passion. In his day, he was what might be termed a hunk.

Esau probably would have made a great politician. Strong, passionate, outspoken leader types have a way finding their way into places of influence. But every person considering a run for political office should keep in mind this scriptural advisory: “Be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23 NIV) Anyone who has any skeletons in the closet or hidden sins, be assured, they will eventually be exposed and you can count on the press and media to help. Don’t kid yourself, those who find themselves in the public eye need to keep a strict private eye on their own lives.

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