Monday, December 29, 2008

Where Do You Fight Your Battles?

Several days ago while reading Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest, I ran across the idea of where battles are fought. He suggested that battles are to be fought internally, before God. If you wait to fight it externally, you’ve already lost. Today, scanning through radio stations, I found Ravi Zacharias on Focus on the Family. I only caught the last thirty seconds of the show, but he referred to fighting private battles.

So where do you fight your battles? Lately, I feel I’ve been bumbling from one battle to another, accidently turning from certain defeat into another front, all the while miraculously keeping my head like some mixed-up combination of Maxwell Smart and Mr. Magoo. Some I have not fought privately first. The others, I cannot seem to remember the lessons the private battle taught, nor the techniques for victory it revealed.

What these battles have reminded me is the importance of preparation. The first to Biblical examples of battle preparation that came to mind were David rejecting Saul’s armor, then selecting the stones prior to battle with Goliath and the second, God trimming the number of Gideon’s troops before his battle. Both examples ignore human reasoning, but instead both David and Gideon are left to rely on the only one that could win the fight.

In The Green Letters, Miles Stanford suggests that once you try to fight a battle you’ve lost. Though we may not see the immediate victory in our battles (and I dare suggest that what we would consider a victory, may not be what God has decided would be a victory), they are complete and we are victorious. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Not that we shouldn’t prepare. Paul even uses the imagery of battle preparation in the sixth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians when reminding them (and us) to “be strong in the Lord.” But more on preparation later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lustful Thoughts

Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you, by the gazelles and the wild does of the field: do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time. Song of Solomon 2:7 (HCSB)

Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you, by the gazelles and the wild does of the field: do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time. Song of Solomon 3:5 (HCSB)
Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you: do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time. Song of Solomon 8:4 (HCSB)
I've been reading Mark Driscoll's Porn-Again Christian. It's a short (and very frank) e-book written for men about God's view of sex presented in stark contrast with fallen man's view of sex. I don't know if I'd recommend it to any female. If you're married and you're curious, have your husband read it first; he'll know if it will offend you or not. I've read some to Emily. Almost from sentence to sentence she'll flip from "that's good stuff" to "he's a chauvinist pig". That's the extent of my warning.
It sounds as if his church is mainly 20-somethings, typically unchurched, and apparently sex, God's view of sex, is a common question presented to him. On the Mars Hill Blog, there is a Christian Sex Q&A (another thing I've read to Emily where she responded as I mentioned above) and also a sermon series called The Peasant Princess: A Love Story from the Song of Songs.
Anyways, some where while reading through all this literature one point really jumped out at me: "do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time." In other words, we should not stir up sexual/romantic passions outside of marriage.
In Porn-Again Christian, Driscoll says, "The purpose of pornography is clearly lust. And, lust for anyone but your wife is condemned by God as a grievous evil repeatedly throughout both the Old and New Testament."
I happened to be around three woman, probably all in their thirties, the other night as they discussed Twilight.
"The Twilight thing is not going to work out this weekend," said one.
"Don't worry about it," answered the second. "I've already seen it twice."
To which the first girl said, "Me, too." Followed by a round of schoolgirl giggles and some Twilight movie commentary that was basically addressed in this manner (I hope I'm remembering the names right):
"Ooohh, Edward."
"Well, I prefer Jacob."
"Why would these two guys be fighting over such a stupid girl?"
Lust. The stirring up and the awakening of passion outside of marriage. There may not be sex, but just like pornography for men, these books, after reading numerous blog comments by women who have read them, stir up passions and awaken desires that are to be only for your spouse. And to market this to our teen girls, calling it acceptable because of the lack of violence and physical sex, is dangerous.
As to what stirs the passions of a teen boy vs. a teen girl (or even a husband and a wife), I'm guessing most of us know. To allow a teen girl (or woman) to stir up her passions through the 'romance' of any book series, is the same as giving a teen boy a copy of Playboy and calling it okay. Both of these kids can be intelligent enough to recognize the object of their lust is fictional, but the lust exists just the same.
Credits: The image above was taken from Mark Driscoll's Blog.