Monday, January 19, 2009

Fire Extinguisher

take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
(Ephesians 6:16 – ESV)

Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
(1 Thessalonians 5:19 – NIV)

Learning to live the life of faith can be frustrating at times; especially if you don’t understand the battleground you are on. It seems like you are on fire for God one minute, and then later it is like you are in the burning pit of hell. Why is it like this, what is going on, you might say?

Well, most Christians know that we are in a spiritual war, but did you know that the devil is not your greatest enemy? Your old man of the flesh is your greatest enemy. What the devil tries to do is set on fire the fuel that is already there. The Holy Spirit within you is also trying to start a fire, but a holy one that envelops you with a burning passion for God.

The truth is that there are two fires we must tend to as Christians. One we must stoke (2 Timothy 1:6) and one we must stop. Both fires are trying to blaze, and you are always extinguishing one or the other. The shield of faith quenches the fiery darts of the devil, and those are darts aimed to enflame your flesh. Either you will quench those darts or quench the Spirit, quench the devil’s fire or the Spirit’s fire. It is one or the other, at all times. There is no neutral ground; the devil will rush in to set on fire the places you are leaving unguarded (Ephesians 4:27).

You will either deny yourself or deny the power of God. In those moments that you sense your new man and your old man at war, the Spirit is not just trying to get you through that moment, and not just trying to get you to do the right thing. The Spirit is trying to sustain your life force, the fire is going out, and He is putting kerosene on the pilot light that is why it can seem like such a flare up and perhaps painful. He is reminding you that you are dousing the life right out of you. The shield of faith quenches the fiery darts of the devil, the shield of the flesh quenches the Spirit. Don’t quench the Spirit’s fire.

Don’t deny the Spirit’s power to live a life sanctified increasingly to God. This would be the opposite of the list in 2 Timothy 3, which talks of having a form of godliness but denying the power. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 – ESV). The Spirit gives you the power to deny yourself instead of denying God in this way.

Satan doesn't need to read minds because he has at least 6000 years of reading behavior. He can plant thoughts perhaps, but he can definitely observe when a sinful stimulus appears and our response to it, and therefore know how to strategize. Our enemies in the spiritual war are allowed behind the lines, as it were, and we had better realize that. There are no secret sins; you are putting lighter fluid on one pilot light, and putting your fingers on the other.

In those moments where you have that choice you either choose life or death, and the problem for some is that the choice of life feels like death...and it is, it is death to self, and since they aren't used to it, it is a seemingly unbearable pain, but we must arm ourselves with this mind (1 Peter 4:1). At all times, the Spirit either is working in your life or He is becoming grieved (Ephesians 4:30). You are a fire extinguisher; the question is which one?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

12 comments:

donsands said...

I agree, "me" is my biggest problem, and greatest enemy. Satan and his forces are relentless, and we need to resist him.
But how do I resist my own pride? Through the power of the Spirit of grace.
Amen JD.
Thanks for an encouraging post.

Zoarean said...

JD,

Quite interesting notation on fire's destructive capacity; as you rightly note, it can be a force for both good & bad in our spiritual lives. Paul speaks of the positive aspect of the Spirit's "fire" as he instructs Timothy:

2Ti 1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Even So... said...

Good word Steve...

Anonymous said...

First, I commented on yesterdays post but it just wouldn't post the comment. :(

So trying again...
This is a case of choices, life and death, blessings and curses. (Deuteronomy 30:19) The fire of Hell or the fire from the Spirit of God.

Having the understanding that you have brought out from the prompting of God, why is it so hard to make the right choice at times? The effects of blessings verses curses seems to say there is not even a choice at all. Why would one who has this understanding have such a hard time with these choices? Obviously some choices are quite obviously easy but others seems to just blind side us?

Even So... said...

Read today's post over at Doulogos, Paul...

Jim said...

JD, I hope your old man doesn't get enflamed by my comment, but you were bang on with this post!

I haven't read an explanation this good in a long time of the battle between the Spirit and the flesh.

Even So... said...

Thanks Jim...

...to be forewarned is to be forearmed...

Even So... said...

8-8-07

MrsEvenSo... said...

Lord help us to keep choosing to extinguish fleshly fires and ingniting your Spirit's fire.

Even So... said...

Amen, honey...

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