Monday, 8 September 2014
Led Into Battle: A Testimony
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
I’m driving through downtown Escondido, looking for a parking spot along the street so I can meet a friend for lunch. It’s crowded today, so I’m circling the block for the third time, making me even later for my appointment. “Lord, you know I need a spot. Show me where one is, please!”
I know my Lord leads me. In fact I count on it. Sometimes he leads me beside still waters. As I pass the restaurant again, I’m guessing this isn’t one one of those times.
I also count on him to lead me in paths of wisdom. Whether I am trying to make a decision that will affect my life or one that will shape my day, I talk it over with him. He nudges me toward the wiser choice. He speaks to me about which thing on my to do list I should do first, because he alone knows what will prove important. I’ve learned to seek and trust his inner voice.
Not a parking space, but a call to arms. But that day he was leading me somewhere else. As I was trolling for parking, my mind flitted and landed on another friend’s name. Former friend. I bristled. My heart hardened. “I hate her!” My voice in the car surprised me, but didn’t stop me. I was running headlong into inner war.
The Spirit stepped in. Rondi ! He brought me up sharply, Stop! Fight! I had wandered into a battlefield. Caught by surprise, I had begun cooperating with the enemy. I had picked up his guns and begun firing at the wrong side. I was close to being led away as his prisoner. The Spirit wanted me to resist, pick up His sword and fight back.
Fight like a daughter. How could I fight against an anger that had ballooned from a pesky foot soldier into a raging beast with demonic power? Like Eowyn in Lord of the Rings, I was no match for my infernal enemy, but I had a powerful ally. She had the Elven Prophecy, I had the Spirit and his Sword. I took it up. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. By the Spirit I repented of hating her. I confessed it: Sin! Help me to kill it! Give me power to love!
The angry mood punctured, shriveled and collapsed. I slid into a parking spot, bowed in weary gratitude. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for leading me into battle and helping me to fight.
“Well done, daughter. Go enjoy your celebration lunch.”
Hear the call. This is the leading of the Spirit Paul talks about in Romans 8:12-14 and Galatians 5:16-18. The other kinds of leading, from Psalm 23 and John 10 for example, are true too, but God made a special point to highlight the Spirit’s role in leading us to fight against sin. Our holiness is his priority. And so it must be ours, too.