The Duel for the Soul

In the early days of America, dueling was common practice between two individuals who felt their character had been assaulted, or at the very least called into question.  In fact, most men owned a set of dueling pistols just in case their reputation was attacked and they felt they needed to defend their honor. 

This is nothing new, dueling is a battle that is older than time.  The first duel for honor was between God and his most beautiful and powerful angel, Lucifer.  In a failed attempt to dethrone God and steal His glory, Lucifer, the prince of the morning, became Satan, the prince of darkness.  After being expelled from his position in heaven, he then set his gaze upon those created in God’s image.  In the opening pages of Scripture we find the details of Satan’s deceptive assault on the integrity of Adam and Eve.  Appealing to their own desire for honor, he coerced them to  sin through disobeying God’s command and thus bringing upon all humans the curse of Sin.

As a result, all of us fight a daily duel to settle the matter of whom we will honor. Will we declare our allegiance to our flesh and obey it’s desires, or will we surrender to God and live out the purposes He has for us. This battle is fought on the battleground of our Soul which comprises of our mind, our will and our emotions. honor

The Apostle Paul wrote,  “For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” — Galatians 5:17 (CSB)

I find it comforting that the greatest preacher in history that is not named Jesus, also struggled with his flesh warring against his spirit and he wrote openly about it.  Paul didn’t hide the struggle, nor did he make excuses for it.  Instead, he confronted the duel taking place and gave us great insight on how to overcome and glorify God. 

First, we must understand,

The one you give honor to is revealed by your ACTIONS.

Paul describes what the two opposing sides at war within us look like in his writing, 

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things ​— ​as I warned you before ​— ​that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.”  — Galatians 5:19-23 (CSB)

Of these two sides, which do you want to honor?  God has given each of us the right to make our own choices.  However, as Dr. Adrian Rogers, the late pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN was known to say, “You are free to choose, but you are not free to choose the consequences for your choice.  Your choices will choose the consequences for you.”

Second,

 You cannot eradicate your sinful nature, but you can have VICTORY over it.

How?  Paul writes, “I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.” — Galatians 5:16 (CSB)

And in vs. 24-25 he states, Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” 

Walking by the influence of the Holy Spirit and crucifying the passions of the flesh is not an easy choice to make, especially when your flesh is emotionally charged.  At times you will even feel intimidated, but you can overcome in the battle and honor God if that is your true desire.  Victory can be experienced as you DUEL it out.

Here is a good reminder on how to get into the duel and experience the victory when the war is raging within you.

Depend on God. 

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.” -Zechariah 4:6, NKJV

Unending Prayer.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” – Philippians 4:6

“pray without ceasing.– Thessalonians 5:17

 Engage in Worship.

 ”in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NKJV

 Live Pure. 

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,” Psalm 24:3-4, NKJV

 In 1754, a young George Washington argued with a smaller man, who knocked George to the ground with a stick. The act was enough for a Virginia gentleman to call for a duel. The other man expected the challenge when Washington called for him to meet him the following day. Instead of duelling pistols, he found Washington at a table with a pitcher of wine and two glasses. Washington apologized for the quarrel and the two men shook hands. 

Choosing to go against the passions of the flesh so that you can stand with integrity and honor God takes courage.  You can do it.  When the war rages, rise up and DUEL it out!

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