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Hidden Passages & Dead-End Paths

Through the Looking GlassThe ancient city of Sardis stood high on a hill as an impregnable fortress.

When the invading Persian army besieged the city, it proved nearly impossible to approach. One day a soldier, while leaning out over the wall, dropped his helmet to the ground far below. Thinking nothing of retrieving his helmet, he left the confines of the city by a secret passage. The enemy, however, was watching. At nightfall, a platoon of Persian soldiers entered the city through the hidden entrance, attacked, and conquered the city with ease.

We have an enemy who is watching and waiting. The enemy sees ours weaknesses, and is standing ready to attack. We are called to live lives of holiness and diligence, giving no point of entry that the enemy can exploit to minimize our usefulness to the Kingdom of God. I’ve heard it said that “integrity is who you are when no one is watching”. Integrity and character walk hand-in-hand, and who you are when the world is watching is far less telling than who you are when you’re alone. Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson once said…

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.

American revolutionary Thomas Paine had this to say about character…

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

So how are you spending your company time when the boss is not watching?

How do you act and talk when “church-folk” aren’t around?

What are you watching or looking at on your computer in the dark hours of the night?

Peter reminds us of the importance of holiness in our lives when he says…

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. ~ I Peter 1:14-16

Make no mistake… your enemy is watching your every move. The only path the enemy has into your life is the one YOU give him.

The Way of Life is the path that stays close to the Savior, and never leads you to a dead-end.

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Don’t Give Up The High Ground

Through the Looking Glass

In recent years, more and more focus has come to bear on the area of spiritual warfare. A topic that many, even in the church, tended to scoff at 20 years ago has gained more and more in attention. From movies that focus on the supernatural to stories in the news in which witnesses claim supernatural influence or intervention. there is a lot of talk about angels and demons, and the place they have in our world today.

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis made this observation:

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence of lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.

With this statement, Lewis hits at the very heart of the principle of spiritual warfare. Whether we succeed or fail in the battles we face in life is often largely due to the decisions we make, and the doors we open to the enemy. Our own actions, however seemingly insignificant, can open passages to the enemy, not just in our own lives, but in our families and churches as well. Just as Achan’s sin led to Israel’s defeat (Joshua 7), and Ananias and Sapphira’s sin led to their own demise (Acts 5), so our actions can impede what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us. Consider Isaiah 33:15-17…

Those who walk righteously
and speak what is right,
who reject gain from extortion
and keep their hands from accepting bribes,
who stop their ears against plots of murder
and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—
 they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
Their bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail them.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
and view a land that stretches afar.

Standing firmly in every area of life, following God’s commands in obedience, and making the decision to “Be Holy because He is Holy” (1 Peter 1:16) gives us the high ground against the enemy, and gives him no foothold with which to defeat us.

So what is it going to be, Christian? Are you going to stand on the truth of God’s Word and live in victory, or “take another lap around Mount Sinai,” and learn that same lesson one more time?

It’s your choice.

Pastor Ron