[ The Epiphany Season continues to the Passover Season on the Christian Calendar ].
The Manifestation of the CHRIST Child to the Gentiles
or, Wise Men Seek HIM+
Beating the Strongman
Our LORD JESUS CHRIST
gives us the power
to attain spiritual fruits;
it is our part to embrace the labor.
This is what Scriptures mean when it says to
“walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing…”
Putting TEETH into the spiritual battle is what we want. We want to see the victory come in all areas of prayer. We want to see friends, family members, and even our enemies saved.
We want TRUTH to be established so firmly
in all of us Christians
that not only will we be
NOT AFRAID TO DIE,
but we will
NOT BE AFRAID TO LIVE !
We want HIS+ victory over fear of the face of man, fear over the face of mammon, fear over aloneness and outward-looking defeats. We desire to do the work of The LORD, in HIS+ Kingdom. And, we want to do it effectually. What does Scripture say about effectual prayer?
Confess your faults one to another,
and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man
After we are “prayed up” in all areas of our lives, we stand repented, bare, and clean before Our LORD. There is no short-cut to this; we do NOT wish to become like the sons of Sceva who in unrighteousness and presumptuousness thought they could wrestle with evil spirits.
Step 3 brings the time to don some armor… armor distinctly sanctioned for spiritual warfare. We don this divine armor over CLEAN bodies, souls, and spirits. We put on the armor of discipline. This entails a denial of some sort.
Our flesh is not yet glorified, so it becomes vitally important to submit our very own flesh to our Regenerated Spirit. We will have a hard time winning a battle abroad--- in other places, with other spirits--- if we have NOT WON THE BATTLE at home first, that is, in ourselves first.
There are many ways to do this. But one thing is certain: if it doesn’t hit the flesh, it is not the discipline that will be effectual in spiritual warfare. Here are a few disciplines we have found to be effective in Spiritual warfare.
The Discipline of Food
Besides fasting, there are other ways to enter into this discipline. We can eliminate certain foods or drinks, making it or them an offering unto The LORD, putting it or them upon His+ altar.
No, this is NOT REQUIRED FOR OUR SALVATION.
We do this to accomplish a goal, a task we have embraced for love of HIM+, for the love of the Brethren. We can limit amounts, or times, or intakes. We can substitute carrot sticks instead of candy, nuts and honey instead of cake and ice cream. We can simplify. We can GRADUALLY eliminate… every week, add another delicacy onto His+ altar. Most of us eat and drink more than enough “pleasure” foods to do this easily.
Personally, I have gone to drinking a cup of hot water instead of coffee or a cup of cold water when I wanted a tastier drink. This is a little thing, but believe it or not, I still have times when I quarrel with my flesh to accomplish this tiny denial. Sometimes, I lay in wait for my Self to yearn after some treat… then I get Her good (!) for casting her eye upon something to eat … not because I’m really hungry… but just to treat my flesh. [I believe St. Francis used to fling himself into a thorn bush whenever he was tricked by his flesh! ]
We train our flesh
to practice submission
unto the spirit
by spiritual disciplines.
The Discipline of the Cloth
Another good discipline is the Discipline of the Cloth. Again, there are many, many good ways to do this. The main idea here is to 1) please GOD; 2) be in line with Scriptures, and 3) bear witness of CHRIST at all times, in all places, and to all beings…. both seen and unseen.
To please GOD, we seek His+ will in this matter. To be in line with Scriptures, we dress modestly, amply covering our bodies. Use cloth to bear witness to CHRIST JESUS. Although not in costly array, we dress dignified, as being an ambassador of CHRIST. We dress simply, quietly, and self-effacing.
It is an effectual witness, too. We can tell this by the reaction of the people we see. Many Christian sisters who seriously follow The LORD don a head-covering. Many, many do this without having a church or group to enforce this upon them. Some Christian brothers seriously change their dress so they do NOT BLEND IN with the world. Afterall, it is not only the sisters who need to do this!
beings in the unseen realm
react to Christians who don
the discipline of the cloth.
The LORD shows each of us how to move towards HIM+ in the discipline of the cloth. It is an important part of the armor. This is one way that we can submit our flesh to our spirit.
One involves the on-going battle of time and priorities. The crucial issue here is to have enough time to spend QUALITY QUIET TIME before The LORD, daily.
Another discipline is what comes to us through our SENSES. We monitor the books, magazines, internet articles we read. We monitor what our eyes take in. We monitor what music we listen to… if any! Some of us would do well to “listen” to the quiet.
Monitoring our interaction with others, even family members, is an area in sore need of discipline amongst Christians. Do we call the family into times of Holy Silence? Do we call the family into times of “only speaking Praise or Thanksgiving?” Do we call our family and friends into a place of only speaking positively about others… and not critically, following the Accuser?
Do we EVER think to set apart a time to ONLY breathe thanks unto Our LORD … and not to be continually asking for things for ourselves, our lives, our friends and families? Sometimes Sundays are a good day for disciplining our selves to do this. Most of us bombard Heaven with supplications for us and others constantly.
Many ways exist to effect spiritual discipline in our lives… discipline that will bear fruit in the spiritual kingdom. It is a constant struggle for some of us to balance out duties of home, family, and work with this Work for The LORD. It is simply a matter of setting priorities, in HIM+.
But what things were gain to me,
those I counted loss for Christ.
and I count all things but loss
for the excellency
of the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS my LORD:
for whom I have suffered
the loss of all things,
and do count them but dung,
that I may win
+ + +