Spiritual Battlefields: Our Faith

cannon facing old battlefield

When we talk about faith, we probably all have someone we can look to as a great example of faith through the trials and battles of this life. In turn, any of us might be someone else’s roll model. This knowledge should encourage us all to consider the daily examples of faith we demonstrate. For all of us, we should be striving to turn faith into a habit, learning to rely on God more than we rely on self or other people.

II Corinthians 5:7 simply says that we walk by faith rather than sight. That’s tough. Right there is where the battle over our faith lies. We’re used to things being visible and tangible in this world. We’re used to seeing and touching everything we know. That’s the evidence that something is real — that it can be sensed or measured in some way. Faith is all about trusting in things we cannot see, feel, touch, or otherwise sense.

Hebrews 11 defines faith as an assurance and a conviction in things we cannot see. We believe in God and Heaven though we cannot see no touch either. If that belief becomes faith, those things become tangible in our minds. Think of being in a dark room. You know their are things in the room even though you can’t see them. If we stay in the darkness too long, however, our eyes adjust, and the light can be painful to reintroduce.

The Source of Our Help

Faith should be always driving us toward the light. Think of Mark 2:1-12 where a group of people work together to get a mutual friend to Christ. The friend could not walk to Christ himself, so his own friends were willing to take him to Christ in faith that Jesus could heal. They were confident He was their source of help, and He is our help as well. Psalm 121:1 says that the Lord of Heaven and Earth is our source of help. The first battle we have is in knowing the source of our aid.

So often , we come to Christ in prayer with a remedy for our problems already in mind. Instead of trusting in Him, we try to guide our God. We try to tell him how He should help us. Instead, we should be turning to Him in faith and laying out our troubles at His feet, knowing that He can provide help. It might not be the help we expect, but it is the help He offers to us.

Overcoming the Obstacles

Back in Mark 2, the friends find the path to Jesus blocked. Sometimes, we have to put some extra effort into getting to Christ. There will always be reasons to quit, and we justify giving up so easily at times. Our journey toward our Savior will not always be easy. There will be obstacles. There will be troubles. The group of friends in Mark 2 were determined to get to Jesus, and they took a risk to get to Christ in an unconventional way.

How many ways could their solution have gone wrong? Let’s be honest. Digging into somebody else’s roof to interrupt a great teacher delivering his message would seem like a bad idea. Getting to Jesus is not always a conventional journey. We have to be willing to take risks for Christ and for each other. We have to be determined. We have to be okay with failure. If we have that strong knowledge that Jesus is the only true source of help, then it should make us all the more determined to keep on when fear, frustration, and trials try to keep us away.

Our giving up on Christ is very often rooted in basic fear. Mark 4:35 records Jesus calming a storm for his disciples, and He asked them, “Why are you still afraid? Have you no faith?” Jesus treated faith as the cure for fear. When we allow fear to motivate our attitudes and conduct, when fear influences our worldview and how we treat people or groups of people, we are demonstrating a lack of faith. Faith drives out fear so that we can press closer to Christ despite the things of this world that might keep us away.

The Real Victory

In Mark 2, when Jesus saw the faith in the friends who had brought the paralytic man to Him, Jesus decided to act. Our faith can help Jesus have an affect in other peoples’ lives. Our faith can help others grow their own faith and come closer to Christ. Still, Jesus first words were probably not what they expected, but that was the real victory. They brought their friend so his body could be healed, and Jesus began by healing the man’s soul.

We have to look for the real victory, and that includes giving up what we might think the win should be. We can only see so far, and God is capable if fixing problems we can’t even see. The real victory of faith is so much bigger than any solution we can come up with. It’s a change in our lives that only Christ can bring. If we can keep that in mind, it helps drive away fear in the face of obstacles. It helps us look for our one true source of hope.

Influence in the World

water droplet

There are numerous verses about our influence in the Bible, and we often don’t realize the influence we have on others. We know that God should be the greatest influence we have, and that is based on the relationship we develop with Him. We should then be sharing that influence with others. Today, we’ll be talking about the influence of the world — the influence we should be having on others and the influence the world can have on us.

The Reality of Influence

The easiest time to give in to bad influences is when we’re away from our church family. It’s so much easier to be on our best  behavior when we’re here together as a group of Christians. It gets harder when we’re out at school, at our jobs, among friends and colleagues who may not be Christians. When we are out in our daily lives, do we demonstrate the influence of God, or are we letting the world shape and mold us instead?

Romans 14:7 says we live and die for God rather than ourselves. Our souls are tied to God, and the way we live our lives testifies of the commitment we’ve made to Him. This testimony then can bring others to Christ, or we can drive them further away. I Corinthians 9:22 tells how Paul did everything he could to influence others and bring them to Christ by his words and example. This should be our mindset — that all we say and do should be to show others Christ in us.

Salt of the Earth

Jesus calls us the salt of the earth, and we must preserve the good taste of God’s word. He goes on to tell us we must be shining our lights, so others can see the way to God. This light is our lives. It is the example we set. Paul tells Timothy to set a good example in I Timothy 4:12 so his life can testify of Christ in him. The example we set shows others to what extent we truly serve our Savior and what he means to us.

Without realizing it, we may go along with the crowd in social situations where we just want to fit in and be accepted. Rather, we should be taking those opportunities — perhaps not to preach but to be an example that shows a better way of living. Whether I’m eating with an elder of the congregation or hanging out with my best buddy, my conduct should be the same. We may not always get the reaction we want, but we will know we are being true to our faith and our confession.

Taking Influence Seriously

It’s time we started being influences for good rather than allowing others to influence us otherwise. I Peter 3:15–16 calls us strangers to this world, so we should never give in to the priorities this pressures us to have. Galatians 5:7–9, on the other hand, speaks of someone turning Christians from the truth and how a little yeast can affect an entire loaf of dough. Little things can make a big difference, and we should take both our influence on others and the influence others can have on us seriously.

This means we may have to limit the time we spend around people, activities, and media that can have a negative influence on us. I Thessalonians 5:21–22 tells us to test everything, focus on the good, and reject evil. This can be easier said than done. Are the influences you are allowing in your life helping you get to Heaven? We are creatures of imitation, so we should be mindful of the influences we follow. This then will affect the influence we have on others, showing them Christ living in us so He may too live in them.

lesson by Mike Mahoney