State of War

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

The world is fragmented and many nations are at war. The United States and its allies are never far from being drawn into escalating conflicts. One influential leader told reporters, “The world is in a state of war in bits and pieces… The world is at war because it has lost peace.”

The fundamental war—and the one that spawns all the others—is humanity’s war against God. Without Jesus Christ, we’re in a state of war with our Creator. We are estranged from Him, and that spills over into all the other conflicts.

Jesus Christ came to be the mediator, to be the peacemaker, and to reconcile us to God so we can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ—and then peace with others. When we’re at peace with God through Christ, we have continual, constant, unbroken, enduring access to His grace, all the time. We have access into God’s presence. We have access to prayer, to the throne of grace. We have access to all His promises in the Bible. We become people of peace.

Peace with God is something only the believer in Jesus Christ can claim, and that’s why our message is called the “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
C. S. Lewis


Having a Calm Spirit

A man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Proverbs 17:27

Woodrow Wilson faced a tough re-election campaign in 1916, and many people expected him to become a one-term president. The economy was faltering, World War I was looming, and the times were bleak. Wilson’s advisors were worried. But this is how Secret Service Agent Edmund Starling later described Wilson:

The President would have been worried too had he not been trained, as I was, in the Presbyterian doctrine of predestination. He was completely calm, having decided that he had done his best to fill the job and his future in it was in the hands of God.

Not all Christians are Presbyterians and we may have somewhat different views about predestination, but every believer should acknowledge God’s control of all the circumstances of our lives. He is on His throne. He works all things together for our good, and He threads the tapestry of history according to His foreordained plan.

When you prayerfully make a difficult decision, leave it in God’s hands and experience His peace. In Christ, we can maintain a calm spirit. As Lord over all, He reigns over all the circumstances of life.

The Bible is the one supreme source of revelation…. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation.
Woodrow Wilson

The Gateway of the Eye

I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?
Job 31:1

To break a covenant in the ancient Near East was serious business, resulting in shame or judgment (Joshua 9). That’s why Job’s act was so extraordinary: He made a covenant with his eyes. He couldn’t cast his eyes lustfully upon a young woman; to do so would break his covenant of purity with his eyes (Matthew 5:28).

Why did Job make a covenant with his eyes instead of his tongue, hands, or feet? Surely, he wanted to keep those body parts pure. Perhaps he viewed sight—his eyes—as a gateway for temptation. The tongue, hands, and feet only put in motion what the mind has conceived. And often the mind depends on visual information for its ideas. And perhaps he knew that sight was the gateway for mankind’s original sin: “When [Eve] saw that the tree was good for food . . . she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6, emphasis added). Those details are of lesser importance—the point of Job’s action is that he took willful steps to live a pure life before God. And he chose a covenant with his eyes as a way to express his commitment.

Are there any steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of yielding to the temptation to sin? Job’s example may be a good place to begin.

Guarding our hearts begins with guarding our eyes and ears.
Jerry Bridges

Hungry for God

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6

It is said that a human can live three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Omitted from this formula is spiritual deprivation: How long can a human survive spiritually and emotionally without spiritual nourishment based on divine truth?

The point is that there is such a thing as spiritual hunger. For instance, a Pharisee named Nicodemus was hungry to know the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ teachings. So, he risked his position and reputation by visiting Jesus under the cloak of darkness lest his hunger be discovered by the self-satisfied around him. He was hungry for truth. On another occasion, Jesus suggested that a willingness to seek the truth was the key to finding it (John 7:17)—and not all are that hungry. He taught in parables to separate the hungry from the satisfied (Matthew 13:10-11). And Hebrews 11:6 (along with Matthew 5:6) promises that the spiritually hungry will be filled.

Don’t go through life spiritually hungry. Seek God and His nourishment through prayer, worship, and His Word. And you will be filled.

Flowers are well enough, but hungry souls prefer bread.
Charles H. Spurgeon


Two-Fisted Sermons

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15, NIV

Peter Cartwright was a two-fisted preacher on the frontier who wasn’t afraid to leave the pulpit, throw out rabble-rousers, and resume his sermon as though nothing had happened. Once a woman shouted she had a message from God. “I will have none of your messages,” Cartwright thundered. “If God can speak through no better medium than an old, hypocritical, lying woman, I will hear nothing of it.” The woman’s husband flew into a rage, shouting, “Sir, this is my wife, and I will defend her at the risk of my life.” Cartwright replied, “Sir, this is my camp-meeting, and I will maintain the good order of it at the risk of my life.” The ruffians were expelled, and, as Cartwright later wrote, “Our meeting went on prosperously, a great many were converted to God, and the Church was much revived.”

But not many of us are trying to tame the West. While we should speak the Word of God with boldness and be zealous for the Savior, it’s usually best to cultivate a spirit of meekness to accompany our witnessing.

Being winsome helps us win some.

Casual Christians know nothing of spiritual warfare.
Vance Havner