Earlier this week I was online and stumbled across something that I thought I would be interested in but at the time I had no time to read it. So I mailed it to myself to read later. I gave it the briefest glance as I hit the ‘send’ button. It was a quote by J.C. Ryle, a Christian leader I had heard of but of whom I knew very little. I knew that he lived in some bygone time and that a number of people whose work I admire considered Ryle as someone whose work nurtured them. More information on Ryle can be found here and here.
All I noted in my quick skim was the title, Fighting the Unholy Trinity, and then a listing of what made that trinity; i.e. the flesh, the world and the devil. I know a fair amount about the Holy Trinity, the three-fold way in which Christians know and understand God, being Father, Son and Spirit. And Christians don’t live in a world in which the Holy Trinity does battle with the unholy trinity as if they were roughly equally matched armies. Christians know that God has already won the battle, decisively in the finished work of Christ.
Sidebar: If you are a Christian who is reading this and didn’t know that, and know it deeply, then send me a note and I’ll help you find a church in your area where the Good News in Jesus is faithfully and frequently preached. If you are not a Christian but still interested the same offer applies to you. Listen and read God’s Word and see what he does in your heart. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So several times during the week found myself thinking about what it means to fight “the world” as I walk through life trying to live as a disciple of Jesus. And today I had a particularly clear example within my own life.
I’m not going to give all the details, because at the end of the day the story isn’t about me. It’s about God. It’s about what I came to understand God calling me to do, which was clearly outside of what most “conventional wisdom” would be. But as a person walks through life with faith in Christ she or he repeatedly sees that the Gospel doesn’t jibe with conventional wisdom.
So I’m going to make an action, a fairly small one when I look at it from God’s vantage point and not from the world’s. But is an action that is grounded in faith, something that God has revealed to me as a place where I can serve him with the gifts he’s given me.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 143:8, which in the NIV reads,
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.”
As we drink deeply from the Bible and seek a close relationship with him through prayer, God will prepare and sustain us for the encounters we will repeatedly have with Ryle’s aptly named unholy trinity. His promise to us is to be with us as we take part in what are really the minor skirmishes of a battle whose outcome was decided on a hill outside
Jerusalem over 2,000
years ago. Thanks be to God!