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: Spring Fever

“OK, Boomer” is supposed to be the current put down by the “woke generation”

A headstone for J.E. Hill is photographhed in Anchorage, Alaska. (Findagrave.com)
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 2

“Bob,” he said, “that crazy fool is shooting at us.”

File
Minister’s Message: Has spring sprung in your life?

Christ also offers us an eternal springtime of love, hope and life

Eggs Benedict are served with hollandaise on a bed of arugula and prosciutto. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Honoring motherhood, in joy and in sorrow

Many who have suffered this loss believe they must bear it in silence for the sake of propriety

Page from Seward daily gateway. (Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum, Juneau, A.K.)
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 1

Night Falls on the Daylight Kid—Part One By Clark Fair

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Spread love in these challenging times

I don’t know about you all, but the world feels pretty rough these days

Photos by Sean McDermott 
Artist Amber Webb starts works on a new drawing at Bunnell Street Arts Center. Her work will be on display at the gallery through the month of May.
Where the waters mixed

Artist uses art to explore the blurred boundaries between sorrow and celebration, hardship and healing

A copy of “Firefighting: the Financial Crisis and Its Lessons” rests against a typewriter on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: An economy on fire

“Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons” gives a retrospective on the 2008 financial crisis

Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion
Prints are featured in the “Open Watercolor” show at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday.
Playing with paint

Art center’s new exhibit displays the versatility of watercolors

Kalbi ribs can be served with an assortment of side dishes, including white rice, kimchi, roasted garlic cloves, broccoli salad, dumplings and soup. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Marking 1 year with a festive feast

Kalbi marinade makes ribs that taste like a party

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Moving on

I suggested to my wife that we could replace the old kids’ car with something “fun”

On Oct. 3, 1945, the Spokane Chronicle published this A.P. photo of Miriam Mathers and her goats as she prepared to board a Seattle steamship bound for Seward.
Tragedy and triumph of the Goat Woman — Part 4

Mathers had only three cents in her purse when she arrived in Kenai