For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Ephesians 6:12, Phillips.
The Bible has little to say in praise of men. Little space is given to recounting the virtues of even the best men who have ever lived. This silence is not without purpose; it is not without a lesson. All the good qualities that men possess are the gift of God; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. Since they owe all to God the glory of whatever they are or do belongs to Him alone; they are but instruments in His hands. More than this—as all the lessons of Bible history teach—it is a perilous thing to praise or exalt men; for if one comes to lose sight of his entire dependence on God, and to trust to his own strength, he is sure to fall….
It is impossible for us in our own strength to maintain the conflict; and whatever diverts the mind from God, whatever leads to self-exaltation or to self-dependence, is surely preparing the way for our overthrow. The tenor of the Bible is to inculcate distrust of human power and to encourage trust in divine power.
It was the spirit of self-confidence and self-exaltation that prepared the way for David’s fall. Flattery and the subtle allurements of power and luxury were not without effect upon him. Intercourse with surrounding nations also exerted an influence for evil. According to the customs prevailing among Eastern rulers, crimes not to be tolerated in subjects were uncondemned in the king; the monarch was not under obligation to exercise the same self-restraint as the subject. All this tended to lessen David’s sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. And instead of relying in humility upon the power of Jehovah, he began to trust to his own wisdom and might.
As soon as Satan can separate the soul from God, the only Source of strength, he will seek to arouse the unholy desires of man’s carnal nature. The work of the enemy is not abrupt; it is not, at the outset, sudden and startling; it is a secret undermining of the strongholds of principle.
Conflict and Courage p. 177
—–D and K have still not found an apartment in their mission field. Please pray that God will guide D to the one best suited to their needs. Rose
One day after church about eight years ago, Ronnie Jay, a friend who was visiting us, Eileen, and I decided to go walking in a nearby park. I was thinking we were going to the area of the park that has nice cement walkways, so I wore my church clothes. As we were driving to the park, Eileen asked if we could go to the other side. Now that area has tiny dirt trails. I said, “Well, I’m not dressed for it, but I like that area better too, so let’s go there.”
After we had started down the trail, I realized that few people had been there since a flood in that area almost a year before. There were places where the path had been washed away and other areas where it was barely visible because grass and thistles had grown over it. To add to my troubles, it had rained the night before, so most of the way was muddy. Church shoes and mud just do not go well together! I slipped and slid along the trail and almost fell a few times.
Still, the walk was enjoyable for the most part. We saw many birds, a couple of deer, and stopped occasionally to watch a spider on its web. As we neared the end of the walk, the trail was no longer visible. It was covered with grass. That does not sound like a problem, but here in Kansas the wild grass is over six feet tall! That’s about a foot taller than Eileen and I. We felt like we were in a jungle. If the trail had not been going fairly close to the trees, we would have become completely disoriented. That stand of trees was our guide. Finally the trail was visible again and soon we were back at the car.
As I was slipping and sliding along, I was thinking how like life our little walk was. We have two paths to choose. One is broad and smooth. One is narrow and hard to travel. Jesus says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matt 7:13,14
Which path are we traveling? The easy path seems like the best choice, but if we choose that one, we will perish. The difficult trail will take us through sorrows and heartaches and many trials, but we have a Guide Who has promised, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Ps 32:8 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Heb 13:5
May we choose the steep and rocky path to the Heavenly Kingdom. May we ever look to our loving Savior for the help that we need to get there. May we listen to His gentle voice as He says,”‘This is the way, walk ye in it,’ when ye turn to the right hand, and when [we] turn to the left.” Isa 30:21