Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Four-Step Process For Conquering Your Enemies

Photo by Fred Seibert
We All Have Enemies

I believe we all have enemies of one kind or another. Perhaps, we have family members with whom we can never get along. We know that they secretly want us to fail in life. Or, maybe, we have "frenemies" at work who are stabbing us in the back at every opportunity, and undermining our careers in the process. Or maybe, the biggest enemy we have is actually ourselves. We battle with mental, emotional strongholds that are keeping us from living out the victorious Christian life that God intended for us to live. Ultimately, we all battle the spiritual enemy of Satan and his demons.

Throughout their long history, the people of Israel have had an abundance of enemies. Interestingly enough, many of those same enemies exist even today! In Numbers chapters 13-14, we see the people of God in the process of preparing to invade the land of Canaan. Before an invasion can take place, though, the Israelites need to scout out the land. They need to learn more about this territory and the people who are living there. These are the enemies of God and His chosen people.

So, in the process of 12 spies scouting out Canaan, 10 of the men return with a negative report. "We can't conquer these people. They're giants, and we look like puny grasshoppers to them!" Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, give a different report. "This is indeed a land flowing with milk and honey. Yes, there are some pretty formidable adversaries in Canaan. With God's help, we can overcome them!"

The Four-Step Plan To Conquer

As Joshua and Caleb give the people a more optimistic outlook on the situation, Caleb gave the Israelites a four-step plan in order to effectively conquer the land and the enemies of Israel. We see his plan outlined in Numbers 14:6-9. Even in today's world, we can learn much by heading Caleb's counsel.
  1. Our lives must be pleasing to God (14:8). If we truly want God to have the victory in our lives over our enemies, then we need to have an attitude of purity and holiness. We need to ask God to forgive us of sin and to cleanse our heart. We need to turn from our sin and forsake it.
  2. Our lives must be submitted to God (14:9). God hates rebellion. If there was one lesson we can learn from the Israelites, then this is certainly a big one we can all learn! Over and over again, the Israelites struggled with rebellion against God, Moses, and Aaron. The people wanted to do things their way, not God's way. Caleb advises the people to not rebel against Almighty God.
  3. Walk in faith, not fear (14:9). Caleb tells the Israelites not to be afraid of the Canaanites. Our God is greater than our enemies!
  4. God is on our side (14:9)! Caleb reminds the people of Israel that the Canaanites are not under the protection of God, but the Israelites are protected. They are God's chosen people! If God wants His people to inhabit the land, then He will make a way for that to happen. In the same way, God will make a way in our lives in order for His will to be accomplished through us.
Are You Prepared To Conquer?

So, Christian, are you locked into a battle with an enemy right now? Perhaps, you're afraid to even engage the enemy just like the Israelites were, because you fear that you will lose the battle?

If you are currently engaged with an enemy or sitting on the sidelines in fear of the enemy, I would just encourage you, today, to prepare yourself to be a conqueror through following Caleb's four-step process. When our lives are pleasing and submitted to God, when we walk in faith and not fear, and then when we understand that God is on our side, we can't fail! He will be with us and help us conquer the enemy.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:31, 35-37).
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