Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)
There is a war (military campaign) that is waging against our souls. The battle rages every day. There are no cease-fires and no truces. The enemy does not compromise and he does not fight fair. He strikes at our weakest points relentlessly and if we are not constantly engaged in the war he will defeat us.
King David learned this lesson all too well. We read about it in 2 Samuel. In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. (2 Samuel 11:1-2 ESV)
Instead of being at war, David was at home sitting on his couch. His leisure from battle led to an adulterous affair, murder and the death of a child. How many of us are sitting on our “couches” when we should be at war? When I use the term “couch” I am referring to anything we do, whether for leisure or vocationally, that keeps us from being engaged in the war against our soul. When it comes to the war against our soul we don’t need to be couch potatoes.
Peter warns us, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV) To win this war against our souls we must do as Peter commands; be sober-minded, be watchful and abstain from the passions of the flesh.
The apostle reminds us that we are sojourners and exiles. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our values should come from heaven not from the things offered to us by the world. We should not get our ideas about fashion, money, sex, food, education or love from what we see on television, read in magazines or surf on the internet. Our values should come from the Word of God. We are not supposed to “tack God on” to our earthly persuasions; our persuasions should come from the God’s word. We cannot confess that heaven is our home if we are still in love with the things of this world and get our values from them (1 John 2:15-17).
The war against our soul is the war for our desires (passions of the flesh). In getting our values from the world we give the enemy a strong hold and jeopardize our victory. James wrote, But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 ESV) The writer of Hebrews reminds us, In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:4 ESV)
When it comes to the war against your soul are you a couch potato or are you engaged in the war?
Scriptures for meditation:
2 Timothy 2:22
1 Peter 1:14-15