June 6, Saturday

UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor Sam Lee who leads Catalyst Agape Church in Northern New Jersey, is an updated version (in collaboration with Pastor Ryun) of his blog first posted on October 19, 2013.  He is a graduate of University of Wisconsin (BA) and Biblical Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“The Root of All Our Conflicts”

Romans 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 will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 2:11

“In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

annie-spratt-qYbWEaDqp-o-unsplashThe Bible says that our battle is not with flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12), meaning our fundamental problem is not with our spouses, children, parents, or in-laws.  Neither is our battle with the church pastors or church members.  And the same holds true with respect to racism that has, once again, reared its ugly head in the worst possible way and is engulfing our nation with rage and fear. Yes, there should be a time, like right now, for elected officials to put aside their partisan differences and really deal with the scourge of racism; yet the political realm isn’t where the real battles are being fought.

Then what is our battle and where is it being fought?  We are called to fight the spiritual battle, and much of this battle takes place not in our homes or in our churches or in the halls of congress, but in our minds. If we can’t win the battle of the mind, we won’t be able to resolve conflicts in our homes, in our churches and certainly not in our nation.

Marriage conflicts are first lost in the mind even before the husband storms out of the house or before the wife shuts her heart. The battle that divides the church happens months before, in the minds of the leaders and members before two opposing camps are formed.  Racism is no different: long before that vigilante-wannabe in Georgia pulled the trigger that killed an African American man, and long before that policeman in Minnesota kneed a suspect’s head until he could hardly breathe (allegedly contributing to his death, if not directly killing him), their minds had been spoon-fed by the lies of the devil.

Yes, your family members, church families or people in different racial groups are not your enemies. We have one enemy and he is not of the physical but of the spiritual realm.  The entire Ephesians 6:12 reads, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

Don’t be outwitted by the enemy; be aware of his schemes.  When we believe the lies of the devil, whether they are transmitted from the rumor mill or social media, that’s when we start losing the battle of the mind, and as a result, our conflicts become more intensified all on their own. We become more bitter, angry, critical, judgmental, and violent even though we may not even see or talk with the person with whom we are in conflict, showing that we are losing the battle of the mind.

Today, let’s fight the real battle. Let’s cast down all wrong thoughts and take back the territory of our minds for the Lord.  Start reading the Bible seriously.  Memorize Scriptures.  And before you are about to utter those hurtful words or pull the trigger, declare, “In the name of Jesus, I renounce selfishness and indifference and callousness; instead, I embrace self-control, forgiveness/the need to be forgiven, vulnerability, and trust in God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask that You reveal all my wrong thoughts and that the Holy Spirit will begin to govern my thoughts.  Help me to renew my mind with godly thoughts rooted in Your eternal truth. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 46-47

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