Monday, February 6, 2012

The Arena of Life

Recently I subbed in an adult Bible study class. There were three things I thought about teaching. When I lay them before the Lord, He picked this subject.

In Paul's day the olympic games were tournaments of great honor and no one was permitted to take part without first submitting to a two-fold examination. A contestant's reputation in society and his physical health must both be approved. For the first, a crier was sent through the streets calling upon anyone who might have a charge against this man to speak up for the honor of Greece. If a man was found to be in debt, a slave or guilty of some misdeed, everything was made public to his shame and he was barred from the arena. However, if he was found to be healthy and his record was clean the crier led him through the streets with honor and he was admitted into the arena.

Paul in Romans 5:1-5 glories in the fact that we, as children of God, have been cleared of all accusations through faith in Jesus Christ and have been declared freemen, therefore we have been given admission into the arena of life.

God directs our preparation for the battle to come by providing the whole armor of God. We put on the helmet of salvation because the fiery darts are usually directed against the head or our thoughts; the breastplate of righteousness which is a conscience void of offense toward God and men; we gird our loins about with the belt of truth because no prevarication can be tolerated; shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace so we are ready as messengers to give the glad tidings; we hold the shield of faith to protect us from attack by the enemy and lastly, the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13 "Therefore take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."

Jesus, our crier, leads us into the arena of life. We as Christians, take up our position in readiness for the fight and rejoice in the prospect of being worthy to battle for Christ and to wear the winner's crown.

Tozer said, "If our lives don't challenge the devil and invite the fury of hell, we probably aren't doing much that's going to penetrate very far into the enemy's territory."

Through the devils many years of experience, he knows just what to bring into our lives to make us ineffectual Christian soldiers. Some he brings great pain that so catches them up in their circumstances they have no time or energy to spend with the Lord. Some he brings great financial troubles that distract them from their Father Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Others he brings prolonged illness that develops bitterness, blocking fellowship with Christ. For some he brings strife in their marriage or business partnership that so hurts them that they become bitter. Then there are others that he gives so much money they get caught up just managing it, leaving little time to develop their relationship with the Lord. Some have so many positions or organizations they attend that keep them busy so there's no time to spend with the Lord Jesus. Whatever our weakness is, we need to be aware that satan's purpose is to keep us from being of use to God, thereby hindering His kingdom. Today he knows his time is short so he's working harder than ever to distract us from our service to God.

These things catch our attention and the alert enemy can obtain a footing and win the victory if are not prayed up.

When we are attacked our opponent takes hold and attemps to throw us down, only then does our strength appear. Our every muscle strains; we repel the enemy, each fierce attack inspires in us more determined resistance; we exert ourselves to the utmost, putting forth all our strength to remain standing and when we accomplish that, endurance is born.

We know the war is already won; that God has already conquered and won, but we must do our part in the battles.

When the first assailant slinks away, we have confidence to enter a second bout with an even stronger opponent. Thus the child of God, struggling against the forces of evil in and around him, discovers within himself the God-given Spirit which enables him to endure all assaults triumphantly.

The arena of life is different for each of us, but the goal is the same for all of us. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."

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