March 3

“And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him.” Mark 9:26

Evil never surrenders its hold without a sore fight. We never pass into any spiritual inheritance through the delightful exercises of a picnic, but always through the grim contentions of the battle field. It is so in the secret realm of the soul. Every faculty which wins its spiritual freedom does so at the price of blood. Apollyon is not put to flight by a courteous request; he straddles across the full breadth of the way, and our progress has to be registered in blood and tears. This we must remember or we shall add to all the other burdens of life the gall of misinterpretation. We are not “born again” into soft and protected nurseries, but in the open country where we suck strength from the very terror of the tempest. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Streams in the Desert)

The evil running amuck in this world that concerns me most, is that which originates within me. It remains a mystery, but regenerated hearts still sin; holiness requires constant vigilance. It is a spiritual given, the moment I lower my guard the enemy attacks, hence the admonition to “work out your own salvation in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Profession of faith is pledge of allegiance to the death, not club membership with valet privileges. Do not abuse grace. Grace is robust and relentless, yet we bruise divine mercy each time we willfully stray. A step into sin is a step away from the Father.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

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