Heavenly Tension

Sam Petitfils

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

We often speak of the peace that Christ brings to our souls, but the Christian life also introduces another dynamic: tension.  That might sound strange to some ears, but the Bible clearly teaches that once we enter into a living relationship with Christ, we also take on new tensions.  We will discuss three of them:

1. Tension within us.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”  Galatians 5:16-17

When we come to Christ, we receive a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4), one that moves our hearts in God’s direction.  We begin to like what He likes, and hate what He hates.  That creates tension within us since sin remains within us (Romans 7:15-20).  We long to be delivered from sin (Romans 7:24), but cannot hope to do so until we go to meet God (Philippians 3:12; 1 John 3:2).  So our new nature struggles with remaining sin, creating tension within us.

2. Tension within households.
 “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”  Luke 12:51-53

Jesus’ words seem odd, since we all know that He came to bring peace and do good (Acts 10:38), yet here He tells us that He will create division, not peace.  Jesus speaks of the holy conflict between believing and non-believing members of households.  The Christian life and witness goes up against unbelief in homes thus creating conflict. Sometimes this conflict produces rifts and divisions, and can even break up families.  Given the tension between belief and unbelief, we should not be surprised with conflicts that arise in mixed households, where believers and unbelievers dwell together.

3. Spiritual tension.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12

We wage war not only against sin within us and unbelievers around us, but also against spiritual entities we cannot physically see. .These consist of demonic forces out to do Satan’s bidding.  They seek to disrupt God’s work and turn people away from God. Thus we experience tension on a spiritual level.

God wants us to fight the good fight and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).  We need to move forward in our walk with God and not retreat, though the forces of evil around us and within us mount stiff resistance.  Keep waging battle and put on the full amour of God so that you may be able to stand against evil forces (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Finally, remember the fundamentals:

1) Read God’s Word daily.

2) Pray without ceasing.

3) Attend church each week.

4) Serve God in a ministry.

5) Give generously.

We cannot expect much protection from God if we live in a pattern of disobedience.  Remember the words of Jesus and take them to heart:

“. . .Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  Revelation 2:10

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