Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:18-20 (NIV).
How do we fight a spiritual war, and what happens when we give up?
An acquaintance of mine is suffering from Satan. He and his brother are mired in the consequences of dabbling in Satan’s arts and humanism in general. I’ve written about them before, but it’s still happening. Just a few days ago, he sent a social media message asking ‘how to hold back the darkness.’ We don’t talk much, and that makes me sad. But my wife and I pray for him daily, and we reach out as best we can, and we offer up that there are indeed ways to beat back the darkness. They all start with going to God…and that’s precisely what these young men refuse to do. Thus, the spiritual darkness is still happening all around them because they aren’t fighting the right way. They’re shipwrecked.
It’s still happening because the spiritual war is ongoing. It has been going on since Adam and Eve. It has caused every war in human history, and it’s dividing America even today. Got skin, got sin. Our problem is a sin problem (Si Robertson said that), not a Democrat vs Republican problem. Sin is why Jesus came, and died, and rose, and saved mankind. If only my friends would embrace that simple, liberating truth.
But that’s tough to do. It requires putting our trust in Jesus. It requires letting down our guard.. More than that, it requires saying “you know better, Lord”, then letting Him take control of our lives. We don’t “do” anything to cause, earn, or deserve our salvation; even Paul reminds us that salvation is a gift of love through God’s grace. The only things we bring into the ‘salvation equation’ are our sins, the ways we’ve realized we need Jesus. If you don’t sin, you don’t need Jesus. But, as said earlier, got skin, got sin. You may not like it, but you’re a sinner. You aren’t making it out of here alive because death is the penalty for sin, and you will die. The way to set things right is through Jesus.
I wish my friends could see that. Instead, they’ve shipwrecked their hearts on the foolishness of insisting they know better. That simple assertion has caused more pain than anything else in history. It gives Satan a toe-hold in our lives. It’s time to end the shipwreck disaster. It’s time to fight the war.
For further reading: 1 Timothy 2:1
Lord, suit me up then fight for me in this war against the evil one.