Remember, God’s plan does not usually make sense (by human logic). Man’s plan, however, looks appealing and desirable. God’s plan proves perfect over time, while man’s plan leaves disaster and misery. Will you kick man’s plan out of your life like Abraham did Ishmael, so you can follow God’s will?
The people of God invaded the Promised Land, driving out the enemy strongholds. Will you accept the Lord’s challenge to conquer the enemy strongholds in your life? Just as the people of Israel saw God fight battles for them and give them miraculous victories, so at times He will miraculously destroy our strongholds such as drug addictions, depression, and so on. However, just as they had to fight battles with God’s help, so we fight some battles with His help, such as anger, gambling, pornography, and others.
We need to hate sin, not just quit it. When God told his people to drive out the enemy little by little, He was referring to the process, not the speed. We fight each little stronghold by aggressive destruction. We do not take our time with the process (Romans 13:13-14). Also, we do not just stop sinning. We live righteous. Drive out the old ways with new ways.

Get saved or Be saved?
No one in scripture ever “got saved.” The Bible tells us to “be saved” and mentions those who “are saved.” People who use the phrase “get saved” often have a mindset of “get your ticket to heaven.” God is not a sideshow and there are no tickets to heaven. Heaven is for people who love God and enter His covenant, living with Him day by day.
The word “saved” means “rescued.” Think of it like this: you take a boat out into the ocean and enjoy a great day on the water. Suddenly, you hit a rock and sink the boat. Stranded in the water, you scream for help, hoping someone will hear you. Shark fins begin to circle, and you fear for your life. Suddenly a Coast Guard helicopter arrives, drops down a ladder, and pulls you to safety just in time.
You climb into the cabin of the copter and shout for joy, “I’m saved! Whew! That was awesome! You guys so rock! I’m saved, I’m saved.” Then, to celebrate your salvation, you jump out of the helicopter and dive back into the water. As the sharks begin to circle again, you shout at them, “You can’t touch me! I’m saved! Yes, I’m saved.”
You know the inevitable ending to that story.

Can you lose your salvation?
Just like a person jumping back to the sharks after being rescued, many people think they can “get saved” and continue living the dangerous lifestyle they used to live. If we do not leave the devil, he will destroy us. If we give him an inch, he will become the ruler. God rescues us from sin, so we get it out of our lives in whatever way possible. This means throwing things away, burning books and discs, and changing friends and hangouts. If we keep doing the works of the devil, what can we say we have been saved from?

Live a rescued life
Jesus taught us how to live. Some people thought they were okay as long as they did not sleep around. Jesus, however, said, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-29). We must overcome strongholds of lust, pornography, and sexual fantasies. To have proper actions with impure thoughts would be to mock God.
He taught many other changes from old living to new living. Rather than defend ourselves and repay people for their meanness, we let God execute vengeance (Matthew 5:38-42). We learn to love those who mistreat us (5:43-44). We treat humanity as equals, no prejudice, no favoritism (5:45-48). We learn to give instead of hording things to our selves (6:19-24). We trust God instead of worrying about life (6:31-34). This means we start seeing and doing things God’s way, not by self-interest. We show others what we believe by our attitudes and actions (7:13-15). While speaking in tongues lets us know when a person has first received the Spirit, the fruit proves it for years to come (Galatians 5:22-23).

We live distinct from the world
The Lord says He wants us to come out from the world and live differently than others (I Corinthians 6:9-11). We must put off the old nature (God does not do this for us) as we let the Spirit have His way in our lives (Ephesians 4:22-24). Living for God is not automatic. Once we learn of Him we practice walking with him day by day (Romans 8:14; 13:14). Here are some of the changes we make:

  • What you say. Do not speak about filthy things or damage others with your words (Ephesians 4:29).
  • What you see. Do not look at or watch things that would make you lust or otherwise sin (Job 31:1).
  • What you hear. Jesus warned, “Take heed what you hear,” and we must not dwell on music or other audio that would destroy our walk with God (Mark 4:24; Isaiah 33:15).
  • Where you go. Stay away from those who do things displeasing to God. Do not even talk about what wicked people do behind closed doors (Ephesians 5:11-12).
  • What you wear. God does not want you to draw attention to yourself with what you put on or by making changes your body. Let people find you attractive by the Spirit of God within you, not by glitzy, expensive, or lewd clothing (I Peter 3:3-4).
  • What you ingest. God has made our bodies as a place for His Spirit to dwell. We are made in the pattern of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we must take care of our bodies by not taking in destructive products (I Corinthians 3:16-17).

Building walls around your soul
Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem to keep the enemy from destroying their most precious possession. We build walls to protect what we have: our relationship with God. In my home, I do not allow godless music, racy or violent movies, pornography, lewd magazines, or even television because I know any of those things could destroy my walk with God. I am willing to lose some entertainment, friendships, and even not-so-bad kind of things in order to preserve my relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1).

Next time…
How much time do we have before the end?