Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever heard that eating carrots improves eyesight? It’s a myth that is based on a partial truth. Because night blindness can result from a deficiency of vitamin A, which carrots are a good source of, British soldiers who fought in World War II claimed that eating a lot of carrots gave them superior night vision. The reason? Their government urged them to say that in an attempt to keep secret that they could detect enemy aircraft at night by sending out radio waves that bounced back to them when hitting planes. RAdio Detection And Ranging (radar) was a new technology back then, and exaggerating what carrots can do for eyesight was their plan to keep it a secret. Eating carrots can improve poor night vision if it’s caused by vitamin-A deficiency, but it won’t improve night vision that’s already normal, and will do nothing to improve vision during the day. Even so, this deception still survives.

When it comes to spiritual warfare, God’s enemies also try deceiving His people with partial truths. One of those deceptions is the distortion of Ephesians 2:8, 9, which say, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Some people use this Scripture to teach that all a person must do to be saved is believe in Jesus. They have the audacity to call someone a heretic for saying a person must repent to be saved, because that would be a work according to them. I suggest they read Galatians 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Merely believing in the Bible doesn’t save, and faith without works is dead (James 2:19, 20). All Ephesians 2:8, 9 mean is good works alone won’t save a person. (See Matthew 7:21-23.) Now notice that Jesus said believing in Him is a work (John 6:29). “Work” here is translated from the same Greek word used in Ephesians 2:9, so if the “work” of repentance isn’t needed for salvation, neither is the “work” of believing. But we know that isn’t true. Salvation requires believing in Jesus as well as repentance (John 3:16). It’s a partial truth to say that faith alone or works alone will save a person. Christians must be prepared to take on issues like this in spiritual warfare, the topic of discussion for a Bible study I took part in last night. Our discussion revolved around II Corinthians 10:3-6 and Ephesians 6:10-17, with emphasis put on how important it is to keep our minds focused on God, purging ourselves of ungodly thoughts the moment they come.

Based on the Jewish practice of tying up loose clothing with a girdle before being active in something, Ephesians 6:14 and I Peter 1:13 speak of girding the loins of the mind. Christians must always be ready for spiritual warfare, with the mind being the battlefield. Not long ago I was silently praying in church when the topic master of last night’s Bible study approached me and started praying for me out loud, saying the exact same things I had in my mind. One of those things was his request for God to put a “hedge of protection” around my mind, the very words I had just used in my silent prayer. I’m blessed to have fellowship with him and others from my church, something that all Christians should be a member of. We should “not forsak[e] the assembling of ourselves together . . . but [should be] exhorting one another” (Heb. 10:25). “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:12, 13)

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