Category Archives: Spiritual Transformation

The Biggest Battle of the Christian Life Is…

What is the biggest battle of the Christian life?

Is it a search for meaning? The battle between conflicting possibilities?

Is it a battle for relevance? That we make our mark vs being complacent and not getting off the couch…motivation?

The biggest battle isn’t psychological. It isn’t about self-actualization.

The biggest battle of the Christian life is a spiritual battle.

Ephesians 2:1-10 reminds us that apart from Christ, before we put our faith in Christ, we were dead in transgressions and sin. Now, this isn’t a neutral problem. It is both a personal problem and a spiritual problem.

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. “

This is a personal spiritual struggle against personal spiritual forces. The ruler of the kingdom/power of the air is Satan himself. “Himself.” He is personal. Satan is not an impersonal entity just as the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal entity. You call neither Satan nor Spirit – “it” rather “He.”

We see this later in Ephesians, chapter 6, where Paul talks more directly about the battle we are currently in…you and me! We are in this!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our[b] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these,[c] take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Satan vs Spirit. The struggle is real. It is personal. It is spiritual. We must be on our guard. This is the greatest battle you will ever fight and God is fighting for us…but we must choose whose side we are on! Read Romans 7-8, the struggle between flesh and Spirit. You can’t sit the fence. You must choose a side. Choose the winning team…it will still be the greatest struggle and battle you have ever engaged in but at least you know how it turns out!

Jesus & the Paradox of the Narrow Way

The Hebrew way of thinking about life was that life is a walk. This is one of the primary ways the apostle Paul talks about how you live your life – how you walk. We are all on a path to something even if you aren’t trying to be on a path to something. TheContinue Reading

The Power of the Peace of Christ Ruling Your Heart

In Churches of Christ Colossians 3 is best known for 3:16 where Paul writes, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.“ Paul has just spent three chaptersContinue Reading

Erosion

We have a small (usually dry) creek that runs behind our house. When we first moved in, we noticed that we also had a significant erosion problem above the creek going up the hill from the creek to our house. This had been partially fixed by the builder with a retaining wall but below theContinue Reading

Having the Mind of Christ

In three places Paul talks directly about how God is transforming our minds, more specifically to be like the mind of Jesus. Rom 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s willContinue Reading

“Open Your Eyes” – Seeing Things for the First Time

We see what we choose to see and are blind to what we choose to be blind to. Jesus constantly told people who had eyes that were physically capable of seeing that they weren’t seeing everything they needed to see…that there was more to life and God’s perspective on things than they were understanding. ThisContinue Reading

Shifting the Locus From Church Building to Home

We often think of Judaism’s worship as being centered around either the temple or the synagogue. What is missing is that the vast majority of the spiritual life in Judaism was in the home. The Shema (Deut 6:4-9) was recited daily. The 18 benedictions were recited or prayed daily (could well be “the prayers” mentionedContinue Reading

Favorite Books List: Spirituality and Spiritual Formation

Every now and then I see people list their favorite books of the last year or of all time. I want to take a crack at it as you might find some books in here you want to read and I would love to hear back from you on what would make your list. InContinue Reading

Gordon Fee’s Admonition to Preachers – Don’t Become “Professional”

Another post from Listening to the Spirit in the Text by Gordon Fee. Fee’s admonition is on the danger of ministers getting out of touch with God and their task becoming routine and “professional” rather than seeing ministry as a spiritual and vibrant activity, “I regularly tell students: Have the touch of God on yourContinue Reading

The Real Agenda of Advertising & God’s Counter-Narrative

The goal of advertising is to convince you that you need something that is non-essential to your survival. 100% of commercials are about non-necessities. Why? Who has to advertise something everyone actually has to buy to survive? Right? So by the very nature of commercials, they are trying to sell you something you can live without,Continue Reading

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