When I first saw this painting, it really got my attention... especially the nature of the corpse on the ground. My heart sank for a moment as I reflected on the souls of people that have not experienced God's grace as a result of accepting his love. This picture inspired this blog post.
A War for Our Souls
There is a war going on for the souls of so many, many people. The evil one, or Satan, represented by a demon in the picture above, wants us all to spend eternity in hell and he wants our life on this earth to be a 'living hell.' God, on the other hand, represented by the angel, wants us all to live a full and rewarding life and to be with him in heaven for eternity after we leave this earth. In the painting, God is watching over the battle that is taking place daily in our lives.
This is a life-long, prolonged war that we are in with the devil, not a short-term battle like those fought between opposing forces of two armies that last a period of hours or several days.
Be assured that Satan is roaming around throughout our entire lifetime looking to take us down. Scripture tells us that 'our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.' (1 Peter 5:8) We are also told that he deceives and leads the whole world astray in Revelation 12:9.
If we get caught up in listening to and believing the lies of Satan, it can take away the identity that God wants us to have in his Son, Jesus. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we are a new person when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Satan wants us to believe otherwise. He wants us to develop thinking patterns that reinforce his lies and to have low self esteem that results from those lies.
How to Engage in the War
The good thing is that the Bible instructs us on methods to engage in the war with Satan. One of 18 'Spiritual Exercises' I've identified is that of Thinking Spiritual Thoughts. The Apostle Paul provides us guidance about what our thinking ought to be like on a daily basis.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8
We are told in Ephesians 6:14 to "Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth." When we put on the belt of truth we are reminding ourselves of the truths of God found in the Holy Bible. The more we can fix our minds on these truths, day in and day out, the more we will be successful in repelling the lies that Satan sends our way.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:10-12
Our Reward - Full Salvation
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.... therefore, prepare your minds for action." (my italics) 1 Peter 1:8-9, 13
God wants you and me to not only live eternally with him but to experience a full and complete life when we are this side of heaven!
To receive God's full salvation... the full and complete wholeness that he wants you to experience, including a life of living well, you must guard against the lies of Satan and think on the truths found in God's Word - the Holy Bible.
Questions to Reflect Upon:
Do you make a practice of monitoring your thinking patterns and are they in line with God's guidance found in Philippians 4:8
Do you know what God says about you as his child and as a new creation once you've received his love by accepting Jesus as your Savior?
Where is your soul headed after you die on earth?
Additional Reading on the War for Our Souls
Read more about The Armor of God.
Blog Post - The Value of Speaking Positive Affirmations