Monday, June 6, 2011

Conquer My Heart!

Spirit & Truth # 228
“Conquer My Heart”
By Rev. Greg Smith

The July 10, 1993 edition of Daily Walk says, “Historian Shelby Foote tells of a soldier who was wounded at the battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War and was ordered to go to the rear. The fighting was fierce and within minutes he returned to his commanding officer. ‘Captain, give me a gun!’ he shouted. ‘This fight ain't got any rear!’"  Sometimes we find ourselves in spiritual battles that haven’t got any rear.  It seems like there’s no way out, like the devil’s got you surrounded on all sides, and even though you’re wounded, you still have to fight.  What do you do in times like that?

In Deuteronomy 7, God tells the Israelites, through Moses, that they are to be divine instruments of wrath, destroying mighty nations that are guilty of heinous abominations like idolatry, child sacrifice, and much more.  But Israel is in for a hard fight.  In verses 17-19 (CEV) Moses says, “You may be thinking, ‘How can we destroy these nations? They are more powerful than we are.’  But stop worrying! Just remember what the LORD your God did to Egypt and its king.  You saw how the LORD used his tremendous power to work great miracles and bring you out of Egypt. And he will again work miracles for you when you face these enemies you fear so much.”

The battles you’re fighting today probably aren’t as violent as the Israelites.  Your wars may be things like disease, difficult relationships, poverty, and temptation.  But that doesn’t make your struggles any less real.  You can rest assured that the same God who fought Israel’s battles for them also does wonders to rescue those who call on His Name.  

In verse 22, (CEV) Moses says, “The LORD will force [the nations] out little by little. He won't let you get rid of them all at once—if he did, there wouldn't be enough people living in the land to keep down the number of wild animals.”  When God intervenes on your behalf, that doesn’t mean you’ll always see immediate results.  God has reasons for following His agenda and not ours.  Maybe your preferred timetable would cause you some unforeseen problem that He wants you to avoid.  Trust God, and He will see you through.

Moses says something next that makes little sense on the surface.  “After you conquer a nation, burn their idols. Don't get trapped into wanting the silver or gold on an idol. Even the metal on an idol is disgusting to the LORD, so destroy it. If you bring it home with you, both you and your house will be destroyed. Stay away from those disgusting idols (verses 25-26 CEV)!”   

You’d think the Israelites would be able to destroy their enemies’ idols by melting them down, keeping the gold and silver—but God says to destroy it.  When God gives you victory over some evil stronghold in your life, it’s easy to rationalize hanging onto some small part of it.  “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water,” you say.  So you finally quit those cigarettes but still hang onto that chewing tobacco.  Or you get control of your tongue by kicking your cussing habit, yet you continue to gossip about your neighbor.  God wants you to get rid of it all, and let Him make you holy.

You see, God wanted to do more than conquer the Promised Land.  He wanted to conquer people’s hearts.  In fact, if everyone who lived in the Promised Land had let God conquer their hearts, there would have been no need for divine judgment.  In the same way, God wants you to surrender your heart to Him and let Him take the lead.  Trust Him for the battles you fight every day.  When He’s won the victory, let Him keep it by getting rid of those idols you’ve held onto for years.  Say to the Lord, “Conquer my heart!”  Lay down your arms before Him, and then watch the ironic thing He does.  He will give you the victory.

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