Summary: What do you do when you are facing such monumental obstacles? How do you resist temptation, flee from evil, or believe beyond your ability to understand how your problems can be solved or your battles won?
Opening illustration: AN ESKIMO FISHERMAN CAME to town every Saturday afternoon. He always brought his two dogs with him. One was white and the other was black. He had taught them to fight on command. Every Saturday afternoon in the town square the people would gather and these two dogs would fight and the fisherman would take bets. On one Saturday the black dog would win; another Saturday, the white dog would win - but the fisherman always won! His friend began to ask him how he did it. He said, "I starve one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he is stronger."
This story about the two dogs is apt because it tells us something about the inner warfare that comes into the life of a person who is born again.
We have two natures within us, both struggling for mastery. Which one will dominate us? It depends on which one we feed. If we feed our spiritual lives and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us.
Let us turn to 2 Chronicles and see what Jehoshaphat fed into the warfare he had with his enemies.
Introduction: The case with a few of the kings recorded for us in both Kings and Chronicles, they may have reigned as co-regents with their fathers so that the period of the reign dates to the time also that they shared their rule. If one reads II Kings 1:17, it can be seen that, although Jehoshaphat was still the king in Judah, it’s Jehoram, his son, who’s noted as being the king of Judah at the time of his namesake’s accession to the throne of Israel. This is only possible if Jehoram had been appointed as co-regent.
Life can be difficult. Being a Christian in a non-Christian world poses all kinds of problems. The world does not know Jesus. The world does not love Him. The world does not understand why He came. You, on the other hand, do know Jesus. You do love Him. And, you do understand why He came. He came to save you from your sins and to give you new life. He came to bring you peace and joy in the Spirit. He came so you might have fellowship with God.
These things you already know. And you also know that though you are saved from sin and filled with the Spirit of God, life in this world still is not perfect. It is still difficult.
The Christian is, in a sense, in a battle with the world. And the world is at war with the Christian - with you. The world offers vices, self-fulfillment, and greed. The world wants to convert you to its paganism, to its ungodly devotion to the unholy. And if you don’t conform, if you don’t bend the knee to its idols and sacrifices, you will be ridiculed, mocked, and attacked.
So the world is against you. The evil one is at war with you. And in the battle there are all sorts of struggles. On the inside, you struggle against sin: pride, lust, greed, boasting, and various wanting. On the outside, you struggle against illness, poverty, marriage problems, job difficulties, an unsure future, and more. Maybe right now you are facing a serious struggle. Or maybe you’ve recently had to deal with a difficult situation. Maybe you fear that one is coming.