Ephesians 6:17; The sword of the Spirit – diligence in resistance.
Tuesday June 21, 2022
We are too easily pleased. We don’t crave too much. We don’t crave enough. God is offering us infinite joy in Him, and to get us sheeples to see it, He will withhold certain things, but He will not stop us from craving them – that, we must stop ourselves. God allowed Israel to hunger in the wilderness so that they would see that “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
“All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers. 2 And 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. 3 And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”
The truth revealed to us is that God will hold back some things from us so that we will see our need to depend upon Him alone. If we know this then the sword of the Spirit cuts through the lie that God isn’t guiding every step of our walk and correcting and reproving our missteps so that we will see and choose the new and living way of which Jesus opened the door or entry for every believer.
The truths involved cut the temptations to pieces, for us and others.
We can use the sword defensively to protect others by boldly sharing the same truths that we have witnessed to be so effective in our own lives.
We can crave evil things or good. All in the Exodus, over a million people, maybe two million or more, saw the same plagues and miracles and they all drank from the same miraculous rock, yet few believed so as to depend upon the holy God, while the rest craved evil things. They actually thought that fulfillment, progress, satisfaction, and joy was found in their own way, bowing to idols that gave empty promises, idols (statues) that could not see, hear, or talk.
Every temptation – sin, things, people will satisfy you.
Mere satisfaction with our present condition is a very insecure foundation on which to build our hope for the future. Mere reliance on a profession we have made, or on the fact that we are within reach of means, tends only to slacken our energies. Heedlessness, taking things for granted, failure to sift matters thoroughly out, an indolent unwillingness to probe our spiritual condition to the quick – this is what has betrayed multitudes of Christians. “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall.”
If determined wickedness has slain thousands, heedlessness has slain its tens of thousands.
“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” [Augustine, Confessions]
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
“These things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things as they also craved.” Temptation competes for our affection.
We are all given cravings. Desire is from God who made us, though they are corrupt from birth, they are used by God to speak to us of our need for Him, but they can easily seek the wrong things.
One name by which Christianity, quite early in its career, came to be known was the simple expression, “The Way.” Whether this name was given by outsiders or originated with the followers of Christ, the important point is that if referred primarily to a way of living, not only a way of thinking. Christianity is much more than a philosophy. One of the first real attacks against Christianity was Gnosticism, which tried to make Christianity another philosophy.
“Christianity, on the mission-fields where Paul’s work was done, meant first and foremost a new quality of life, a life in Christ, God-given, supernatural, victorious. … The first century mission churches in Asian and Europe made headway precisely because they confronted the world with a way of life, and not with a speculative system.” [James S. Stewart, A Man in Christ]
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we neglect our thinking or reason, but that our thinking must be shaped by the word of God so that it has the desired result of living a kind of life that is pleasing to God. It is our works or deeds that are going to be judged by Christ, not our thoughts on various subjects.
Submission to the will of God and the simple ways of Christ are what gives Christian life its meaning.
Paul saw that all men were more or less liable to the same temptation as the Exodus, and fifteen hundred years later, the Corinthians, and were apt to rest in the fact that they were Christians and to shrink from the arduous life which gives that name its meaning. It is arduous, which means that it requires strenuous effort, and is difficult and tiring at times. This is not because God has somehow purposefully made it hard for us. It requires us to make every effort because we are weak, easily distracted, easily tempted, and tend towards comfort and laziness no matter what the source.