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The Battle Within

By Tim Hartzell
     
 

(We are currently in a conversation about the good news of Jesus Christ. To read previous articles in this series, simply visit www.webbweekly.com and click on my picture.)

Let me share with you about something I call “Star Wars Theology”.
Now don’t let that opening sentence throw you off. Hang with me for a moment, and you’ll discover an essential truth regarding the good news of Jesus Christ.
The “Star Wars” series is based on cosmic warfare taking place between the “Force” and the “Dark Side”. In the first episode (Which is actually the fourth movie? I’m so confused), the Force is represented by the young Jedi, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. The Dark Side is represented by the evil Darth Vader. In every episode (Prequel? Sequel?), the battle between good and evil continues, leaving us hanging with the question, “Who will win out? Good or evil?”
Some people assume that “Star Wars” is a metaphor for real life. They believe that a significant battle is taking place in the cosmos between the forces of good (God) and the forces of evil (Satan). It sounds kind of intriguing. I could see myself being a Jedi and using my Bible as a light saber as I battle the Dark Side. I’ve even worked with some crotchety church members who sounded an awful lot like Darth Vader. Yeah, church and Star Wars could have a lot in common.
Except for one problem — the two have nothing in common.
There has never been a cosmic war between good and evil. At no point has God ever relinquished His sovereignty. Satan attempted an overthrow of the heavens, but God summarily put it down — like swatting a fly. God’s sovereignty has never been in question. Read the Bible from beginning to end, and you’ll discover one consistent theme: God is sovereign, and in the end, evil is ultimately banished.
And while it is true that there has never been a cosmic battle between good and evil, there is a battle raging inside of you. That fight is about your worship.
My friend, you were created by God to worship — and like it or not, you will worship. The question is, whom or what will you worship? That’s the battle — and it is taking place inside of you.
What are you worshipping? Is it power? Pleasure? Wealth? Fame? Is it independence or self-reliance? Is it drugs or gambling or alcohol or pornography or some other life-controlling influence? Is it a god other than the LORD God? Here’s the thing: Whatever you worship will control your life. Let me make the point again — you were created to worship, and worship you will.
So let me cut right to the chase — if you offer your worship to anything other than the LORD God, you will be moving toward bondage and destruction. It’s as simple as that.
Is that hard to hear? It may be, but let me ask you if you are worshipping something else, how’s it going? Is your life filling with love, joy, and peace? Are you becoming more patient, kind and good? Do you see yourself growing as faithful, gentle and self-controlled? Are you free — I mean really free? If those words don’t describe your life journey, then it is very likely that you are worshiping something other than the LORD God.
My friends, through Jesus Christ, God is extending mercy and grace. He has provided a way for you to worship as you were made to worship — and that is real freedom! Surrendering your pride to that mercy and grace is your first and most important act of worship. And friend, it also marks the end of the battle within. Here again is the good news of Jesus Christ:
1. God loves you.
2. God has a purpose for your life.
3. Sin (pride) has separated you from God’s love and purpose.
4. Through Jesus Christ, God extends forgiveness and reconciliation.
5. Through belief (surrender) we are reconciled to God’s love and purpose.
My prayers are with you! Happy Thanksgiving!