Who’s knocking?

If you’ve never followed J.R.R. Tolkien’s book trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, the Urak-Hai are an army of giant monsters, their will bent on causing suffering.  They show no pity to anyone.  They are rotting creatures with glinting, dilated eyes and crooked, gnashing teeth.  All they know is a ravenous, never-satisfied pleasure brought about by the pain of victims.

Suppose you hear a banging on your door one night, and you open the door to find Urak-Hai from your door all the way down the road, as far as you can see.  Or, if you live in an apartment, all the way down the hallway, down the stairs.

You look at the one Urak-Hai in front who knocked and he gives a flesh-eating smile, saying, “Would you mind if I come in?  I have a present for you.”  He sees your shock at the long line of Urak-Hai carrying hacking weapons behind him.

“Oh, don’t worry,” the Urak-Hai assures you.  “They’re not with me.”

You deliberate for a minute.

“Do you promise?” you ask.  “It’s just you?”

“Oh, yes,” the Urak-Hai says.  “On my honor.”

“All right,” you say.  “Come on in.”

Not so much.

I would slam and lock that door, run screaming through my house, and throwing furniture at doors and boarding up windows like a cartoon character.

Isn’t it crazy, then, how we will let in one evil thought, expecting that it will behave itself, give us a gift, and not allow others through the door when we aren’t watching?

[Jesus] continued, “It’s what comes out of a person that makes a person unclean, because it’s from within, from the human heart, that evil thoughts come, as well as sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, cheating, shameless lust, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolish­ness. All these things come from inside and make a person unclean.”  (Mark 7:20-23, ISV)

“Evil thoughts” are connected to an army of sins by the words “as well as”.  Evil thoughts do not come in by themselves.  They lead their troops with them, never satisfied to come in alone.

And their presents turn out to be corruption, unbelief, a life that denies God—regardless of what the mouth may say—disobedience, and, ultimately, disqualification (see Titus 1:15-16).

Everything is clean to those who are clean, but nothing is clean to those who are corrupt and unbelieving. Indeed, their very way of thinking and their consciences have been corrupted. They claim to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified to do anything good. (Titus 1:15-16, ISV)

And just like Urak-Hai, evil thoughts are set on nothing other than the destruction of every good thing in our lives, from the smallest moments of happiness to the eternal catastrophe of an existence without the goodness of God.

And they are always knocking.

They are always knocking.

But God be praised, Urak-Hai aren’t the only army out there.  There is a whole army of elves, to continue with Tolkien’s analogy: beautiful, perfect, immortal creatures who live with no desire for evil.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8, TNIV)

This is the army of Christ’s thoughts, and the first thought brings with the army of God’s truth, honor, fairness, purity, acceptance from God Himself!, commendation from God!, God’s value of excellence, and even praise from the very God who deserves all praise (see Philippians 4:8)!

And these elves bring with them presents not of corruption, unbelief, a life that reveals denial of God, detestability, disobedience, and disqualification (see Titus 1:15-16), but instead they bring the presents of faith, moral character, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (see 2 Peter 1:2-8).

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through full knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. Through these he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, seeing that you have escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, you must make every effort to supplement your faith with moral character, your moral character with knowledge, your knowledge with self-control, your self-control with endurance, your endurance with godliness, your godliness with brotherly kindness, and your brotherly kindness with love. For if you possess these qualities, and if they continue to increase among you, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in attaining a full knowledge of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. (2 Peter 1:2-8, ISV)

But how do we let in the “Elven” army and keep out the “Urak-Hai” army?  In the darkness of our world, how can we even see the difference between them?

There is only one way: through the discerning eyes and incorruptible will of God.  Only Jesus Christ can give us the sight and the backbone we need to deadbolt the door against the slough of knocking evil thoughts and open the door to the beautiful army of Christ’s thoughts.

For although we are walking in the flesh, we do not wage war in a fleshly way, since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, HCSB)

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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