Friday, June 28, 2019

I Shall Fear No Evil

   Abraham Lincoln's top General, Ulysses S.Grant, in his memoirs shares his emotions while leading his regiment into combat for the first time.  His mission was to defeat the Confederate General Thomas Harris who was in command of a force of over twelve hundred men. Grant describes the mounting tension as he and his men climbed a small hill where they suspected Harris and his army awaited them on the other side.  "My fright kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to be back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt."

To his relief Grant discovered that Harris and his men had already retreated from the area on hearing of the Union army's approach. Grant later wrote, "My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him."

We, the Church, are also in a war, a spiritual conflict.  Not unlike the combatants of the Civil War, we as followers of Jesus Christ also have an enemy.  The devil and his forces are arrayed against us.  One of the greatest weapons of our enemy is fear.  When we live in fear of the devil and the strength his army, we will be tempted as Grant was to run away from the conflict and hide at home.  It is true that the devil is described like a roaring, devouring lion in Scripture, and his power should not be taken lightly.  However, we need to remind ourselves that like any army, we have powerful spiritual weaponry at our disposal. "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. Casting down anything that exalts itself above the knowledge of God." 2 Corinthians 10:4,5

As he shared in his memoir, General Grant forgot for a moment that the enemy army he was approaching feared him as much as he feared them. This fact gave him great confidence in the future battles that lay ahead. The Confederate Army did not so much fear General Grant personally, but they feared the power behind his command; the entire Union Army and the combined might of the free states of the North.  The same thing can be said of our enemy, the devil, and his demonic forces. "You believe that there is only One God, you do well, for even the demons know this fact, and they tremble." James 2:19

Remember, we are members of the Army of the ALMIGHTY God, and just like Confederate General Harris retreated at the approach of Grant's Army, the Spirit of God within each Believer has the same effect.  "Submit yourself therefore to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  James 4:7

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