Fighting a Spiritual Battle
17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
September 26, 2021
Readings: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
We sit at the feet of Christ to listen to Him so that we may receive instructions on how to live our lives. Too often we get distracted and have listened to the enemy and have been deceived by him into believing in his lies. God’s plan for us from the very beginning was that we are to be like Him, ruling and reigning. He gave us life and life abundantly. He gave us wisdom.
Look at Adam’s wisdom, and how he was able to name all the animals. When God created man, He gave man a heart and a mind, which was to be like His. But Satan deceived man by telling him that if he would eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would be like God. Adam was already “like God” when he was created and yet the enemy twisted the truth, and man succumbed to his deception. When sin entered, so did rebellion. Man began to go against God’s ways. Christ came to restore us back into the family of God by destroying the works of the enemy.
He gave us new life in the resurrection, taking out the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. We have not understood this and have accepted “outside forces” from the world’s way of thinking. We have to be reminded that out of the inner most being should flow out rivers of living water, coming from the heart and not from outside forces.
John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
God gave us the ability to rule and reign and not to be enslaved by the world. “I am the Bread of Life.” Sayeth the Lord. Christ is the Bread of Life, not the world system.
The gospel today seems to sound very harsh and even brutal when it says in Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
But Jesus was talking in symbols. If only we would open our hearts, we would understand Him. We lack in no good thing, and yet we are listening to the world instead, and it is just making us believe that we have to yearn for more, in order to be happy. If we are following the world’s system instead of our hearts, we will be miserable. We have been accepting what the world has been dictating to us instead of following God. During our journey with God, the enemy will try to present something easier and too often we are already being deceived into thinking this is from God. God came with a sword. Why sword? Because we need to be separated from the enemy. We think it’s difficult to serve God so we try the easy way out by following the enemy’s easy way.
Today, we face the most challenging things in our lives. We are being lured into believing that the world can provide us the answers. Remember that we are dealing with the enemy here. There is a spiritual battle each of us has to fight in and we should not be deceived by the enemy. Our answer is in Christ. We must not let deception be part of our lives. We are in a spiritual war. The enemy will try to steal something that is already ours. If only we would listen to God. If only we would believe in the peace and security He offers, for our peace and security comes from Christ.
1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.” We must put on the full armor of God. We cannot afford to become complacent nor just stay silent. The world today is in a situation of fear and anxiety. We must receive and accept what God has already given us. Not substituting these things with things offered to us by the enemy. It is now our task to destroy his works. When we listen to him, we will be led astray. Just because we see something “good” we think it’s from God when it really is from the enemy.
How do we vote for a president of a nation? Is it because of popularity? Is it because of what we see these politicians are doing? We should be seeking God’s will. God wants us to see what He is doing for us and what he has given us. He’s telling us we have the bread of life. When we walk with Christ, He will lead us to the right path. We are at war, and the battle is in the mind. Therefore, we should deal with these things spiritually.
Too long have we been caught up with the enemy’s lies. Christ is the answer and the only hope we have. Our God is a great God. We must be ready to fight against the wiles of the enemy. We are a blessed people, if only we would follow God wholeheartedly.