If we look around the world today (much more than in the past) we find no peace, no civility, and no fulfillment.  Now many Christians would say that is because of that mean old devil Satan (we will talk about him later), but this thinking (and the doctrines that are supported by this thinking) is so far from the truth.  They say this because they do not know the truth of the word of God and need someone to blame for their greed, arrogance, and disobedience. What blame themselves for not doing what God wants them to do? Heaven forbid. What place the blame right where it belongs; on a sin sick heart that is in rebellion to God? But, this is nothing new blame shifting started in the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent, but God wanted nothing to do with this and punished all of three guilty parties.  So too God will punish us for blame shifting we must pin the rose on the guilty party and that party is us.  Now do not think some of this chaos and confusion is by some accident, oh no my friend believe it or not most of this lunacy, confusion, and loss of peace in the world we see play our right before our eyes is from the hand of God.  Jesus told the disciples, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)  But you would say I thought Jesus is the Prince of peace and the King of all kings, well He is, but He Himself said, ““Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Jesus has come with a sword in His hand to cut those who love Him out of the world.  He sticks His sword into our hearts to cut out all of the worldly affection and desires from our lives. Jesus will do whatsoever we allow Him to do in our lives to separate us from the world.  This separation theme from the world runs all though out the New Testament.  Paul in 2 Corinthians tell the church at Corinth, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said,  I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Corinthians 6:16-18) Did you catch that?  We are to separate ourselves from the world even some people in the world, now it says “them” which is a pronoun for people.  In the first Epistle of John we read, “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  (1 John 2:14-16)  John tells us “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”  How can we love God with our whole heart and love the world? Yet we Christians of today dig our heels into the earth desiring bigger houses, better cars, a bigger portfolio, a better retirement plan, a life of ease for what?  In the world we will have no peace of mind God will see to that, yet the world offers us distractions (sports, cooking, TV, hobbies, traveling, reading, legal and illegal drugs, alcoholic drinks, and the list goes on and on) to give us some type of peace and fulfillment that keep our minds off of what God is trying to do in our lives.  These distractions have even joined the churches of today.  We focus on the cares of the day instead of the cares of eternity.  We get so caught up in our favorite sports team, our favorite TV program, our favorite movie star, our favorite food, and the list is endless, but God desires we focus on Him and the things He wants to see come alive in our lives.  When was the last time you just sat motionless and still for some time and meditated on the Lord? Or said no to a passion or desire you know in God is not healthy for you? Sadly God’s best for our lives will never be birthed in us unless we make a conscious decision in our heart and especially our mind not to get involved with things of the world.

Now there is an order, like all things God has ordained in our lives, we must follow to be able to be used by God; if not we disqualify ourselves for service through our disobedience. The order is this:  we must first overcome the world, then our flesh (in that order) before we can overcome Satan.  Do you know we give too much power to demons and Satan?  Are they all not defeated?  Yes, Paul tell us in Colossians through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, “And having spoiled principalities and powers (that includes demons and Satan), he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”  (Colossians 2:15)  If we are true Christians Satan and his minions have no power in our lives unless we give rise to it.  Satan was defeated on the cross when Jesus died and for us to have the victory over him we must see him defeated, yet many Christian churches pray (in the open air) telling him what they are going to do to him in Jesus’ name.  How foolish they are giving him power; who cares what Satan is doing or what we are going to do to him? My mother never wanted to speak his name, he is defeated and she knew it.  My friend we must be more concerned with what God is doing instead of what Satan is doing. God alone holds our lives in His hands, God alone holds our future, our very breath, not Satan.  If we never come to the place in God where we can overcome the world then we will never get victory over our flesh.  Many Christians battle (do good, pray, and fast) sins of the flesh and wonder why they have no victory, well it is because they have never overcame the world and their worldly desires, thirst, and hungers have never been quieted in their spirit and still draws them into fleshly projections.  Their love for the world gives rise and power to our flesh. For the flesh to be conquered first we must still the desires, hungers, and thirst in our soul for the world. It is the old crawl, walk, run scenario.  We must see the world for what it is and allow God to break its attractions in our lives.  Now I do not know about you my friend, but this is a consistent struggle in my life.  The older I get the more I see and feel my life I am losing.  The older I get the more I love my wife and family, but Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) The older I get the more I desire a greater life of ease, but Jesus said, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39) What we have to lose our life?  Yes, so that we may find it.  Please notice losing comes first then we find.  We will never be able to conquer our flesh unless we allow God to cut us out of the world, our flesh will rule and reign over us as lord and king and most certainly we will never be able to conquer anything in the demonic in the spiritual realm if we cannot conquer our flesh.  How can we?  Our flesh will be tempted and we will succumb to our carnal desires.  We see this spiritual principle play out in the 17th Chapter Matthew.  The disciples prayed for a young lad to be healed (like in the past), but this time nothing happened.  So the father brought his son to Jesus to be healed, “And Jesus rebuked the devil (a demonic spirit not a sickness); and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”(Matthew 17:18-21) Now many Christians think Jesus was telling the disciples they did not pray hard enough or fast long enough, but that was not what Jesus was telling the disciples.  What Jesus was saying was they could not cast the demon out because they themselves had a love for the world that was still alive within them.  The focus of the disciples always seemed to circle around earthly things; they rarely caught a glimpse of the eternal things that Jesus daily walked in. They were earthly while Jesus was heavenly.  They even asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  I wonder why?  So they too could do the things Jesus did.  They wanted the power, but not the requirements to receive the power.  By telling them “this goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” Jesus was telling them you have to be more heavenly minded.  Prayer is a direct address to the Father, a direct communion and communication with Him that will enable them to move and operate with God in the spiritual realm where demons (I do believe in them because I have cast some out and the Bible testifies of them) and such exist.  And fasting; did you know fasting is good for the soul? Fasting is sacrificing one hunger for another. Fasting quiets our spirit and shuts our mouth where we can hear from God.  Fasting kills our flesh.  The longer we can fast the greater death we will experience in our flesh, but remember first we must get the victory over the world before we try fasting, if not it will be a waste of time. 

The title of this article is really a question we all must answer. Do we want peace as the world gives or do we want the sword of the Lord stuck into our heart and lives? If we choose peace as the world gives we may have civility and happiness for a season, but contentment and fulfillment is far out of the question.  Peace as the world gives is not the peace that “passes all understanding” as the Bible says, but a peace that keeps our thoughts and heart numb to the reality of the internal lack within us that cries out for more of God in our lives and what will satisfy our inward desires. The only way we can experience this peace, that passes all understanding, is if we allow God to work, through His dealings and judgments, in our lives.  If we choose the sword (as Jesus did) our lives will be painful, frustrating, and confusing at times and we will experience loss in our lives, but that is okay my friend God measures our gain in Him by what we lose not by what we gain. Remember, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:39)  The world says have more to be more, well not so with God.  God says, have less to be more.  When we have less of the world we will be able to have more of God.  Having more of both is impossible though many Christians try with all of their might.  It is amazing how man is put in a vise between his desires and passion to save his life and God working in our life. I do not totally understand this. On one hand man is driven by his own lust and the other hand God doing whatsoever we allow Him to do in our lives to bring us to salvation and glory.  But it is not God that decides the outcome, but man.  The battle for our heart, mind, and lives is one of our will.  Jesus prayed, “not my will, but thy be done.”  Here Jesus had a will (not sure what it was) that was contrary to the Father, but He submitted to the Father’s will, what we all must do as we submit to the sword of the Lord.