Voices of Faith: Winning the hidden battle

As you read this, our nation will be voting on a new leader for all of us. It’s been a doggedly brutal campaign, at least the most so in my lifetime. The me-againstyou, left-vs.-right, no-holds-barred-steel cage death match that has become our electoral process.

Interestingly, a similar left-vs.-right battle wages inside the heart of every human being on the planet. It’s not liberal vs. conservative, but rather our will versus God’s will. This hidden battle can prove just as nasty as the public political contest.

We get a glimpse of this battle in Mark 10 as two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, ask Jesus to grant them places on His right and left sides as He comes into His “glory.” Of course, the journey to glory they had in mind was far different than the journey awaiting Jesus. This request reveals a great deal about what was in the heart of these men. They wanted to get ahead, take the advantage to advance their own cause and secure their futures. Their request reveals how far our will can be from God’s will, as Jesus quickly points out to them.

We see from this passage how easy it is to hide our efforts for personal gain behind the cloak of religion and a façade of righteousness. This battle wages in the heart of every person and at times, can get ugly.

The key to living our lives in compliance to the will of God is to allow Him to win the battle for our heart. He will not take it by force, it must be surrendered. It is a battle that is fought not against God, but against ourselves. Consider these four questions:

1. Where are we placing our ambition? Are we ambitious about personal gain, the comforts of life and honor in the eyes of others?

2. Whom do we trust, really? Doe we trust God, or do we trust what we can see with our own eyes and accomplish with our own hands?

3. Does our life adequately reflect the spirit of the gospel? Does our life reflect the humility and sacrifice of Jesus?

4. Do we really long for our own glory?

Winning the battle for our heart isn’t really “winning” as we think of it most of the time. As I said, winning this battle begins with surrender – to Jesus. That is the way it works so often when we discover God’s will for us. Jesus said: For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25)

It may look like an invitation to disaster, but that goes back to the trust question.

In Christ, we win by losing. Give it a try.

Rev. Stephen S. Brown is Pastor at Kenai New Life Assembly of God in Kenai.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Thanksgiving

We at least have a good idea of what our political future looks like.

This is Arthur Vernon Watson at age 39, when he was transferred from the federal prison in Atlanta to the penitentiary on Alcatraz Island near San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Justice wasn’t elementary: Watson, Part 3

Anchorage probation officer Roy V. Norquist was monitoring Arthur’s movements and reported that he was pleased with what he saw

Cranberry sauce made from scratch with hand-picked berries makes a special holiday treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Foraging with love and gratitude

Gathered and prepared by hand, cranberries brighten a Thanksgiving feast

Minister’s Message: When the going gets tough…

Suffering as a Christian is not always a popular preaching topic.

Letitia Wright as Shuri in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Image courtesy Marvel Studios)
On the Screen: ‘Wakanda Forever’ picks up the pieces

“Black Panther” sequel grapples with grief and hope after franchise loses its star

Oxtails are cooked with onions, garlic and daikon. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A bowl full of medicine

Oxtail soup makes a healing winter meal

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Ride on!

Later this month, I’ll turn 49

Arthur Vernon Watson was 23 years old when he was incarcerated in San Quentin state prison in California. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Justice wasn’t elementary, Watson, Part 1

The Frolichs’ establishment, then called the Watson Motel, had been owned by Arthur Vernon Watson and had become a crime scene

Korean red pepper paste adds heat to this Mapo tofu recipe. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A spicy meal to burn away the sadness

This hearty meal can be adjusted to be as mild or spicy as you wish

Nick Varney
Thanksgiving memories of the unhinged kind

Let’s take a first look at the oncoming day of feasting

The first snowfall of the year arrives in Kenai, Alaska, on Oct. 25, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Minister’s Message: Delight in the wonder of winter

Seemingly overnight, we’ve transitioned from our summer playground to our winter lives