“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” — 2 Timothy 2:3
If you are a serious soldier, do not flirt with any of your desires that are beneath Christ and heaven; they will play the harlot and steal your heart.
The soldier is summoned to a life of active duty, and so is the Christian. The very nature of the call precludes a life of ease. If you had thought to be a summer soldier, consider your commission carefully. Your spiritual orders are rigorous and, like the apostle, I would not have you ignorant on this point and will, therefore, issue a few directives.
Those sins, which have lain nearest your heart, must now be trampled under your feet. And what courage and resolution this requires! You think Abraham was tested to the limit when called upon to take Isaac — “Thine only son … whom thou lovest” (Genesis 22:2) — and offer him up with his own hands. Yet what was that to this: “Soul, take your lust which is the child dearest to your heart, your Isaac, the sin from which you intend to gain the greatest pleasure. Lay hands on it and offer it up; pour out its blood before me; run the sacrificing knife into the very heart of it — and do it joyfully!”
This is more than the human spirit can bear to hear. Our lust will not lie so patiently on the altar as Isaac, or as the lamb brought dumb to the slaughter. Our flesh will roar and shriek, rending the heart with its hideous cries.
Indeed, who can express the conflict, the wrestlings and the convulsions of spirit we endure before we can put our heart into such a command? Or who can fully recount the cleverness with which such a lust will plead for itself?
When the Spirit convicts you of sin, Satan will try to convince you “it is such a little one — spare it.” Or he will bribe the soul with a vow of secrecy: “You can keep me and your good reputation, too. I will not be seen in your company to shame you among your neighbors. You may shut me up in the attic of your heart, out of sight, if only you will let me now and then have the wild embraces of your thoughts and affections in secret.”
If that will not be granted, then Satan asks for a stay of execution, well knowing that most such reprieved lusts at last obtain their full pardons. The longer we procrastinate, the harder it becomes to break through the clever coaxing of this silver-tongued defender of sin and death and actually carry out the execution. Here, history’s bravest men have shown themselves putty in the enemy’s hands. They return from the field with victory banners flying, and then live and die a slave to a base lust at home. They are like the great Roman who, as he rode triumphantly through the city, never took his eyes off a prostitute walking before him. A man who conquered empires, captured by the glance of a single woman!
Jesus is coming soon we must be ready — the promise is to “him that overcometh.”
A.F. Bradeen is pastor of House of Prayer Christian Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.