I was listening to Alistair Begg this afternoon, and he was talking about spiritual warfare. He was cautioning his listeners about sensationalizing demonic activity and such. And, it got me to thinking about the forces of darkness and evil that are at play in the world today.
The Christian has 3 enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Satan, who has sway over this world system, the age in which we live, (1 John 5:19), promotes the things that belong to the spirit of this age (one that is antagonistic to God & his rule) in order to entice the flesh to take the bait of temptation.
Then, I thought about Galatians 5 and the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Spirit. Paul writes, "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
So, I have come to a working conclusion: whenever and wherever any of these "works of the flesh" are promoted or manifested, it is the work of the enemy, directly or indirectly, working subtly behind the scenes to destroy the soul of the individual, to lure the believer away from usefulness in the kingdom, and/or hinder the forward progress of the church in advancing the kingdom of God through the Great Commission. If these things are present in one's life, it is certain that, on some level in those moments, that person is being influenced more by Satanic and worldly values than godly ones. If the pattern of a person's life is characterized by these "works of the flesh", it, at the very least, calls into question that person's profession of faith.
Now, the interesting part - applying this to daily living.
More to come...