The War Room of the Soul
Dr. Jim Denison
In 1940, with German bombs raining down on London, Winston Churchill and his Cabinet and staff practically lived in their Cabinet War Rooms. This fortified basement provided the prime minister a bedroom, and his cabinet a room for meeting and a map room for strategy planning. The White House Situation Room provides the same security to our president and his staff today. In such “war rooms,” battles and wars are won or lost.
My friends, America is facing a spiritual war, a battle for which we need spiritual power. We have learned that the Spirit is the power of God in our lives, and that he lives in every one of us who has made Jesus our Lord. Now we come to the crucial and practical question: where do we find this power every day? Where is our War Room? For the sake of our souls, our families, and our country, how do we use it well?
Why meet daily with God?
Someone once said of their church: “They have all of Jesus they want. Not all they need, but all they want.” We live in a ruggedly self-sufficient, independent culture. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Look out for number one. Pull your own strings. Don’t depend on people, because they’ll let you down. And they will.
“God helps those who help themselves” is our credo. More than 70% of all Americans are sure it’s in the Bible. Actually, this statement first appeared in print in the book of an Englishman named Algernon Sidney in 1698; Benjamin Franklin made it famous.
But it doesn’t work.
In all of recorded human history there have been only four years without war somewhere on our planet.
And now war has come to America. This week, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that there is a “clear and present danger to America” in the threat of further terrorism on our soil. Reports were made this week of a plot to target the Sears Tower in Chicago; the Pentagon says its “primary mission” is now homeland defense.
We need God’s strength and power.
And we can have it—the first church is proof. In Acts 1:6 they are a small, unprepared, ignorant band of frightened men and women, 120 up against a hostile world of 25 million. But by Acts 17:6 they have “turned the world upside down” and launched the greatest, most powerful movement in human history. More people follow Jesus Christ than any other religion on our planet, and history itself is divided by his coming.
All through Acts it’s the same story—the work of the Holy Spirit gives God’s people his power.
In Acts 2:4 the disciples are filled with the Spirit and begin to share the gospel in languages they have never learned. In 4:8, Peter, the former coward, is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and boldly proclaims the gospel to the Supreme Court of Israel. In 4:31, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” In Acts 9 Ananias prayed for Paul to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (v. 17); he was healed and immediately began preaching Jesus (v. 20). In Acts 13:9 Paul was “filled with the Spirit” and defeated the Satanic sorcerer on Cyprus. And on the story goes.
What the Spirit did through them, he is waiting and yearning to do through us. If we will go where they went, and do what they did, the Spirit will continue his miraculous, powerful work through our lives. The choice is ours.
I have in my study a rock, normal and ordinary to anyone else but very special to me. I took it from the valley of Elah, where David slayed Goliath. It reminds me daily of the power of God, of what God can do with a single soul fully yielded to his Spirit. There is no Goliath you and I cannot conquer in his power. So, where do we get our rocks for today?
How to meet daily with God
These first Christians “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14), the Upper Room of a home in Jerusalem. They spent their days together with God. They made that Upper Room their War Room. And soon they were filled with the power of Almighty God.
Get an Upper Room with God. Go there before the war of the day begins. Start every morning there with God. But how? Our text tells us.
First, examine your life in the light of his Spirit. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise” (v. 15).”Be very careful” is an imperative, a command. There is nothing negotiable or optional here with God. This is a present-tense command: “inspect carefully the way that you are living this day.” This makes you “wise” with God, as you apply what God shows you.
So we are to go to our Upper Room, get on our knees before God, and ask his Spirit to show us anything which might keep us from our Father. We confess it to God, and claim his forgiveness. We stay clean daily with God, before the malignancy of sin can spread. Examine your life in the light of his Spirit.
Next, seek God’s will for the coming day (vs. 16-17): “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (vs. 16-17).
“Making the most of every opportunity” translates a phrase which means to “buy back the time,” to get the most we can possibly get out of the day which is before us, to redeem it for significance and eternity.
Do this by knowing and doing the will of God. Study the Scriptures daily. Ask God to guide you through his revealed word. Examine your priorities and work for the day before you in the light of Scripture. Seek God’s will for that day, and you will find it.