Friday, March 1, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Discipline

The Warfare of the Soul

A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Beloved, I urge you, as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”—1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)

As I awakened one day and moved into my devotional headspace, God whispered a warning into my soul. God was listening to my prayers about a new professional opportunity. 

In preparation for the next steps in the journey of my life, God invited me to fast, not from food, but from other distractions. This fast would allow my spiritual senses to be honed. The second part of the invitation was to physically exercise. Whatever might come next would meet me with new challenges. The fortification of the soul begins with the disciplines of spirituality.

Jesus Christ demonstrated this principle for us when after His baptism, He fasted and conquered the temptations presented to Him by Satan. After Jesus successfully battled and overcame the warfare for His soul, He went from the height of temptation to the mount of blessings. There, at the peak of victory, He shared the ethos of how to live lives of divine fulfillment. The victory of purpose is found in rightly regimenting our innate passions.

Seeking, above all else, to be in a right relationship with God, our family and neighbors, is the portal through which we enter the experience of signs, wonders, miracles, and spiritual fulfillments that will exceed and defy our imaginations (Matthew 6:33).

During the pandemic, I started to feel run down and achy. I was sneezing, coughing and my nose was running. I took the home test for COVID-19. The lines were bright pink. Even though I had faithfully masked and frequently washed my hands and clothing, my body was infected. I was sick. The symptoms of the illness were indicators that my body was fighting the infection. The body loses when it can no longer repel an illness.

Similarly, if we do not manage the passions in our lives, our souls will be infected. Impediments will occur to our spirituality, our godly purpose, our immediate impact in our sphere of influence and our destinies. Just as our bodies combat infections internally, the warfare in the soul is fought on the battleground of our passions.

Passions are not sins. We were created to appreciate and utilize our senses, intuitions and inclinations. They are vehicles of pleasure, warning and security. Sin occurs when the passions that are subject to our control begin to control us, such as when we overindulge in our passion for food. Eating to live is a radically different experience and state of life than living to eat.

We are losing the battle when we give control of our choices and resources to the wasteful diffusions of our creative energy. Worrying, fantasizing, plotting and striving for the affirmations of our social networks can become intoxicating and dangerous.

Gain the victory and the spiritual high ground by living above the level of passion. Plunge into service for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Postpone and regiment your passions so that your soul is strengthened in preparation for the next exaltation that God has for you.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, Fortify us for the battles of the day, every day. Help us to have the victory in Jesus Christ. In the matchless and mighty Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Victory Belongs To Jesus (LIVE)” by Todd Dulaney. Listen here.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson is the Director Emeritus of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries for the North American Division. In this role, he was the friend, advocate and gatekeeper for the profession of chaplaincy among Adventist pastors. 

His new mission is to specialize in personal and personnel development coaching.

He journeys with and guides clients, personal and corporate, as they define their goals and grow into their full potential.

His pastoral career began in the Allegheny East Conference where he was ordained.

Subsequently, he served in the Potomac Conference at the Sligo and Seabrook churches. His professional dream was to be a chaplain in the United States Navy. He got to live that dream and achieved the rank of Commander before retiring from Naval service in 2015 with 26 years of service.

Chaplain Anderson has earned four graduate degrees: He earned his Master of Divinity Degree was earned at the seminary at Andrews University. He earned a Master’s of Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s in Sacred Theology from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.

Chaplain Anderson and his wife Debra have been married for 41 years. They have two healthy, saved and well-adjusted adult children who picked good spouses and delivered four grandchildren.

Adventures through traveling, reading, praying, preaching, teaching and writing are the avenues of ministry and self-care that define his now and his destiny.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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