As I mentioned yesterday there are some surefire ways to succeed in our mission, however there are also many roads to failure. One of these roads is the pain of losing our first love through moral failure. Let me be clear, we are all called as Children of God to live above reproach and to exercise self-control while we avoid temptation at all cost. The pathway of duty is unfortunately littered with tattered remains of uniforms and lives who have fallen back into lustful and sinful pursuits. This is why holiness in our army is so vital…we move from the altars of salvation into a far deeper lasting relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit can and will supply our needs in order to not only avoid temptations but to provide us victories from our old lives. We are new creations and we must ever be diligent in this new creation to steer clear of the trappings of sin.
Dear Soldier of our Army, sin is still a lure to most of us (if not all of us). Temptations still abounds and, if we are not careful and awake, we can fall prey to these temptations! Guard your hearts, dear Soldier, for the father of lies would love to destroy this Army! Satan quakes when churches and this Army move in holy step, yet if we become unguarded in our hearts and stumble and succumb to temptation you can be sure that Satan will celebrate in our demise!
3 Tools To Help Soldiers To Guard Our Hearts:
1. Think On These Things –
“…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)
Our minds are the front-lines of victory and defeat in the war against sin. What we put into our minds can become who and what we are. If, for example, we wanted to get into shape and to eat right we would not feast on fast-unhealthy-foods morning, noon and night. Doing so would lead us into an unhealthy lifestyle instead of a healthy one.
In the same way, if we want to become more like Christ and less like our old sinful selves, we have to consume that which will be edifying to the Body of Christ (which begins with ourselves). Our minds need to be retrained, we must evict and bar those patterns which are unhealthy and that we know have caused us trouble in the past. We cannot permit them to reside in the same dwelling as our new creation which longs to become the very reflection of Christ. Think upon, meditate on – these things which are holy and pure…it is easily said and much more difficult to make a reality but it is possible for all of us to do!
2. Stay On The Lighted Pathways –
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
If, in your old life you have trouble with drinking alcohol, do not walk by the bars you used to frequent. If, in your old life you struggled with sexual temptation and desires, do not test the waters and allow yourself to be in compromising situations. If, in your old life you struggled with other vices which were destructive to your body and soul, do not veer off of the lighted path that God has illuminated for you! Be aware that you too can fall! Saints of God have fallen before and we are also susceptible if we do not remain within His wondrous light of fellowship and guidance. Stay on His Lighted pathway not just through God’s Word but through the fellowship of other godly believers and be held accountable to others who will challenge you and help you develop into a strong warrior for Christ.
This leads me to the last tool that I will mention today:
3. Find Accountability And Resources:
If you think for a moment “I don’t need this, I can handle my own battles” think again! Do not become so prideful in your own abilities to withstand temptation when it comes! We are not meant to walk the pathway of duty alone! We are stronger together as soldiers of our Army! It is not a sign of weakness to seek out mentors, who are more mature brothers and sisters in the faith. We need honesty and integrity in our Army! We must be willing to be vulnerable with trusted Barnabas’ who will encourage us and strengthen us! We need to be properly equipped for the battles ahead that we will face as soldiers…and they will come! We will be tested and the resolve of our faith will, at times, be shaken. How will we fair when those days come? I want to stress again how vital it is for this Army to have soldiers who are strong in their faith and not to possess those who will crumble away when temptation strikes and the earth gives way. Find other saints to talk with. Share your struggles with a trusted friend, a person who will not just pat you on the back and agree with you, but a friend who will challenge you to continue to live this holy life which MUST be pleasing to God!
If there was a threat to the Church and this Army today, it is the shallowness of faith. I do not want to lather on the judgement at all, but how far do your roots go down into the soil of faith? Are you firmly planted or could you be blown away by the gustings of temptation’s gale? May we all be deeply rooted in His Word! May we all be firmly planted in the fertile soil of lasting faith! May we, as Soldiers of THIS Army, guard our hearts against all forms of temptation and sin so that we can stand firm and fight this good fight! The spiritual battle is not over yet, we still wage it daily. If we cannot stand firm in our faith, think on godly thing, remain on the lighted path, and be held accountable to other saints, then how can we expect to serve the lost in His name? How can we ever expect to possess the strength to help pull others from the heavy currents of sin?
Yes God is still working in us, we are still “under-construction”, but we cannot allow that which is unclean to pollute the holiness of God within us either. Dear Salvation Army Officer and Soldier – Guard Your Hearts!
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Something else for our Army to ponder today!