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Monday, November 7, 2016

Aligned with the Commander in Chief

Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone. Resist him and be strong in your faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are fellow sufferers with you.  (1 Peter 5:8-9 VOICE)
There are a few of us pretty well convinced we have no idea what "force" is opposing us, but we know something is. God doesn't want us to be naive about our enemy or that opposing force - so he clearly declares to us it is the devil - he is the one "out to derail us". We are absolutely no threat or concern to him as long as we do nothing more than profess belief, acting as we please, but never really developing intimacy with the one who has saved us. As a matter of fact, Jesus even said the devil "believes", so belief is not the thing that makes us right with God - it is faith! It is also faith which will help us to face this enemy "out to get us" through whatever means he uses. Don't be mistaken though - he cannot read our minds, but we most frequently give him a lot of "information" about our weaknesses, things which would derail us in an instant, just by our actions and words - so no wonder he opposes us in "just the right way" to get us to compromise!
As we are told, we need to be both disciplined and on guard. As any ex-military man or woman might tell you, the first weeks of basic training will do much to determine if you are going to be able to live a "disciplined" life. In a very practical sense, those days in boot camp are designed to see if the recruit can be "broken" - unable to finish what he or she started. Whenever we think of living "disciplined", we might picture one who gets up every morning, going through some very rigid and well-structured "discipline". In the military, this is one of the tactics they used to help us function as a "unit", instead of a bunch of individuals bent on doing things all our own way. I don't think God wants a bunch of robots, but I do think he wants us to be rightly related with others, developing together these "disciplines" in life that will set a guard over our lives. The goal of the enemy is to break us - the goal of God placing us in relationship with each other is to help us resist the desire to be broken.
We are "fellow-soldiers" in this battle - there is absolutely no need to stand alone in the battle. The disciplines we develop are often the very things another may be struggling with in their own life. When we experience these disciplines together, one learns from the other, and we are able to help each other resist attack. In essence, it as though the scripture about a three-fold cord is pictured here - alone, we are easily broken, interwoven in relationship with others learning to battle alongside us, we are stronger and unable to be broken. The devil's aim isn't that we grow stronger - so he works to isolate us from one another. The principled and disciplined life is one of inter-related unity - knowing the benefits of being united in a single purpose, with a single aim, and with a single Commander in Chief in control of it all! Just sayin!