July 6, 2016
Driving to the office today, I heard an interesting news story. It seems that emergency rooms at hospitals have become occupied with patients who have been suffering with temporary blindness in one eye. Believing it may be a symptom of a stroke, they have visited the local emergency. It turns out the problem isn’t a stroke, but rather a new affliction and another “First World Problem” called cell phone blindness. You see the individuals in question, weren’t suffering a stroke, but rather had been in bed laying on their side with their head on the pillow. With one eye buried in the pillow, the other eye has been carrying the work of studying the bright screen of the cell phone in the darkened room. When they finally turn the phone off, and roll over, the eye that had been staring at the phone cannot focus and they are left temporarily blind in that eye, for some, reports say up to fifteen minutes! The treatment is simple enough. Turn the phone off.
Another news story recently reported that in Germany, they have installed traffic lights in the pavement. Why? So that people who are walking with their face stuck in the smart phone, not paying attention to where they are going, will see the traffic light in the ground and be spared an early demise from stepping off the curb into traffic. These people, who are so engrossed in their phones, have been called “Smombies” because their smart phone has turned them into a mindless zombie-like being. Again, turn the phone off.
We are at war. In fact, every believer is engaged in 2 wars:
- One, as Ephesians 6:12 clearly outlines, is against “spiritual forces in heavenly places,”
- The other, as Paul so beautifully describes in Romans chapter 7, is “against our own flesh.”
Although every believer is desperately needed in the war against spiritual authorities in high places, we are usually unable to engage in the battle, because we are too busy losing the one against our own flesh! (Our faces stuck in our cell phones is but one small battle zone)
Of all the fights you will face in life, the one against your own appetites and desires, will certainly be the greatest. The world is constantly throwing distractions at us. From smart phones to reality TV, from endless hobbies to online shopping, the world serves up a buffet of distractions, carefully crafted to grab your attention and keep it focused on anything but your heavenly mandate and purpose.
The people who succeed as athletes have mastered the physical disciplines of their prospective sports. Those who succeed as artists have mastered the disciplines of their craft. Those who succeed in business have also mastered the discipline of financial management. Similarly, those who are great in the Kingdom of God, who experience spiritual success, have applied themselves to the war against their own flesh.
As believers, we have indeed been conscripted into battle against spiritual forces as Paul describes in Ephesians 6. How effective we will be in the conflict depends on how well we do in the war against our own flesh.