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.

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