Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back To the War

I recently went away on retreat with a group of women from my church. We took up temporary residence at a conference center which sat at the edge of the ocean. Whenever anyone opened a door or a window, you could hear the crash & roar of the ocean waves. Its kind of like that spiritually as well- opening doors & windows of our hearts & minds... when we do, we let the stale, stifling air out & allow the cool, salty breeze in to refresh us. Opening the doors & windows of our hearts & minds allows us to escape from the monotony of the sound that only we can make- and we are exposed to the voice of our God- mighty, majestic, powerful... constant, like the ocean's tide... but I digress, because this is war.

Retreat is a time to get away from the hustle & bustle of daily life. Most of the gals I know have husbands & children... some have financial troubles, others have health restrictions. Some are angry & bitter, some are joyful but weary & some just "are". All in all, retreat is 2 days of refuge from life as we know it. Well, almost. Many had cell phones to stay in touch with their families & me, well, I brought my laptop... Most of us remained connected to our everyday lives in some small way while we were out there. And isn't that what we tend to do with God as well? We pledge all, but carry our cell phones & laptops with us so we can access the other things that are important to us. But God wants all. Even our gadgets & our families... but I digress, because this is war.

We packed up our bags Sunday afternoon & headed home. It was on. The R & R was over, just like that, at the snap of a finger, the drop of a hat... Monday morning came & I knew I couldn't afford to revel in the good memories of the weekend. Temptation had been watching for me & was already at my door. I jumped in my foxhole (the place I have my "quiet time") & opened my bible... I took the inductive bible study booklet we used at retreat & loaded it with ammunition against my enemy. The scripture I chose was Mark 14:29-31. As I read, I was reminded of the words of 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Peter was pretty sure of himself that fateful night, but it was Jesus' words that proved true in the end. Peter ended up denying Christ not once, not twice, but three times. Coming off retreat, I felt strong & still do- but I know temptation is at my door. My mouth breathing nemesis lumbered up the stairs, his long, yellowed toenails scraping on the concrete... His leathery wings got caught in the stairwell & I could hear him cursing as he tried to pull his scaley tail free from the bannister... Not really, of course, but I have a very good imagination.

This is war. In the last week or so, my enemy has brought up every last thing I've ever struggled with- thoughts, feelings, experiences. Its like he had a clipboard with a checklist & was barking temptations line by line. I'm thankful to say I was able to stand firm & I continue that trend. But this is war & if I'm not careful, I can fall, no matter how strong I think I'm standing. This is war & I need to be in my foxhole, no matter how quiet the field might be... despite how many temptations & sins I've slain... I fight the enemy within myself- my flesh, my pride, my sinful desires, as well as the enemy around me- the evil one & his inspirational minions...

God is my commander & the weapons of my warfare are not the weapons of this world... I submit to God in humility & rely on Him to keep me safe & sound in body, mind & spirit. I fight with words & deeds through faith, with the hope of salvation as my helmet, the righteousness of Christ as my breastplate, with God's truth as a belt around my waist, with the sword of the Spirit- God's own Word & the shield of faith- not only my faith, but the faith of those who have gone before me as well. I'm part of an army & I'm in a war. And so are you...

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That was one meaty blog. I love the description of temptation getting his tail caught in your stairwell! I also paused and really reflected on what a retreat would be like with no connections to home. I know it is possible to do this. I remember one year the youth group retreat was outside of cell phone range. Somehow they all survived!
    I always feel sad when retreat ends because it is so awesome to worship and praise and spend time together. Imagine a retreat where we approached it like you approached your blog... This is war. My wheels are already turning!