Winning the battle within
But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:22-26 Are you aware that you are waging war within your life every day? There is a spiritual battle going on that could affect the way you make your decisions. The sad truth is that Christians are ignoring this spiritual struggle within that they find themselves defeated. The Lord Jesus Christ just told His disciples the purpose of His coming and that He will undergo suffering that will lead to His death on the cross and on the third day will rise again from the dead (Matthew 16:21). Then the apostle Peter told Jesus that he will not allow Him to suffer and even go to His death on the cross. Jesus rebuked Peter harshly that He even made a reference to Satan as the one that led Peter to have this kind of mindset. Jesus told Peter that he allowed himself to be overcome with self-centeredness and selfishness that he failed to see God’s purpose for coming in this world. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). When one comes to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the decision included a complete turnaround from a life of selfishness to complete surrender to following God’s will. Yet, there will always be a temptation to give in to self-centeredness rather than to submit to God’s plan. The apostle Paul was also aware of this inner struggle. “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:18-20). Satan’s goal is for you to shift your focus from following God’s will to pleasing your selfish desires. Remind yourself regularly that when you have accepted Christ in your life, He should now be the Lord and Master of your life. The struggle within will always be there but God did not leave you to fend for yourself and fight the battle by your own strength. God has provided a way for you so you could be victorious. “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:2). God wants you to be victorious but you have to “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16).