A fictional story of a Jewish leader, Josephus, told how their army prepared for battle with the Romans by watching the approaching army from a citadel, fully supplied with food, tools, and weapons. Yet their enemy general advised his soldiers to wait and let the Jews die from inanition. It reminded me of Harold Perkins quote from The rise and fall of Empires: Even without, or before, revolution or foreign invasion, states can decline of their own inanition.” (bold words are my emphasis –if we lose the battle it is from our own emptiness or lack of purpose).
Webster’s dictionary illuminates inanition as blankness, depletedness, desertedness, desolation, being empty, exhaustion from lack of nourishment, and (consequently) lack of vitality or spirit.
That scene spoke volumes to me, spiritually.
Without revolution. And …Before invasion, I can be beaten. . . by my own inanition.
But – here I am, In Christ, as were the Jewish soldiers in the story. I have received intelligence to see and recognize the approaching enemy. (accusers, disarmers, spirit attackers). I have been given full supplies of all that I will need for this life and the next (2Pet. 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. So why do I feel weak?
The lack of nourishment the Roman general was counting on was not a form of malnutrition or starvation (remember Josephus had just outlined in the tale, his army’s huge store of supplies). God’s Word also reminds me of my limitless supplies – I have EVERYTHING I need.
So what is the enemy’s method of defeat? Getting them to believe a lie. Attack the emotions. Listening to the voice of fear. Many scholars have shown how we allow our health and spiritual vibrance to be conquered through fear of the unknown…such paralyzing fears that we fail to pick up our weapons and fight our known (and real) enemies!
As I looked at those descriptors, I saw the links in the chain of lies that try to drag us down:
1. Emptiness of spirit. If I have emptiness of spirit it’s because I chose it – turned away from fullness of God -(And walked after emptiness and became empty…Jeremiah 2:5)
2. Depleted spirit. Lack of purpose. If I have not God’s purpose I have only temporary, material, defeatable purposes – (And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted…Job 42:2)
3. Exhaustion from lack of nourishment. (Is. 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. I once had a missionary visitor tell me I was trying to DO too much, and was neglecting physical rest. I didn’t think I had time for physical rest, but he was right. God made us needing REST and needing regular NOURISHMENT. It is a practice I am still learning to make a priority. Remember depressed Elijah. God told him to rest and then God brought the nourishment. After he rested he was able to receive and apply the nourishment.
4. Lack of vitality or spirit. (These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit – Jude 19) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6)
Antidote: the truth
1. Fullness of Spirit –We have all of God’s Spirit – does His Spirit have all of us?
And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. I John 3:24. We choose our covenant … to walk after the LORD
Eph. 5:18 And do not get drunk (be filled with, controlled) with wine, for that is dissipation (wasteful, weakening, enslaving, bringing bondage), but be filled with the Spirit…
2. Renewal of purpose: not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity…2 Timothy 1:9 – When the enemy reminds me I cannot do something, I can agree without being defeated – smilingly adding but God…
3. Be daily nourished – (Be) constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following…I Timothy 4:6)
4. Vitality of Spirit – When (not if) the enemy comes to me with the lie of inanition, I thank God loudly for the reminder that
In Christ I am no longer empty
– 1Cor. 6:11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
Carrie – Thanks for your comments. I love your reference to the authority of Christ, and the reference is a favorite reminder that if we want to be able to resist Satan the key is to first Draw near to the Lord, then He gives us the strength (and authority) to resist the devil. As most of life’s great lessons are learned – this one was from “trying” to resist on my own without ‘drawing near’ to the Lord first.
As to Josephus – sorry for the confusion. The book I’m referring to is not the writings of the Jewish historian, Josephus, but supposedly about him. Actually I got it some years ago at a book sale thinking it was the historical work of Josephus and was disappointed to discover I’d bought a Literary Guild noveltitled Josephus. It was written by Lion Feuchtwanger in 1932 and is a translated work. The synopsis says “Compelling and moving, Josephus is (book 1 of a trilogy) telling the story of the controversial first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, and his role in the First Jewish-Roman War. Josephus, long reviled as a traitor and bombastic Roman toady, is portrayed with warmth and clear-eyed empathy as a complex, talented man who longs for recognition, and whose desire to become a “citizen of the world” conflicts with his Jewish identity. Adding a poignant subtext to the novel, Feuchtwanger, a German Jew, wrote it during the rise of the Third Reich.
Ah! That clears things up immensely. Thanks!
Another tool of the enemy is to convince we have no weapons when we do. The reason I fail so often is that I forget that I am not only under the authority of Christ and am therefore immune to Satan’s accusations as far as salvation, but that I also have authority over Satan. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” works every time… but only when I remember to resist.
The second thought is that Josephus was a Jewish historian who recorded Jewish history from the time of the beginning until his day. Some of his works are ‘controversial’, but I’m not aware that any of them were fictional.