"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
This is interesting. The war that we fight for God is not a physical war. It is a mental and spiritual war... and most of it is being fought within ourselves, not between ourselves. Our first victory, and many continued victories, are about mastery of self, not of others. So often we endanger ourselves with our minds. And I am not saying at all that we shouldn't be open minded and really examine our faith, because we should. I am saying that often we imagine that God doesn't matter, even after learning and knowing that he does... that we can't live without him. We imagine something in our lives and hearts that is more important to us than God, which always, always hurts us in the end, because we must realize that is not true, and the learning of that lesson is painful. We imagine that we can stand alone, and although we learn lessons from that, we have to learn that we stand with God or stand with Satan. There is no independence or fence-sitting in that battle for our souls.
This challenge then, in our minds, is to really overhaul ourselves on a mental level to get where we need to be. Are we still at the point where we are being obedient on the outside but rebellious on the inside? Do we love God, but really, really want something that we know would harm that relationship? Those are okay places to be as we work our way towards God, but there are still battles to be won. We won't get to heaven standing in those places. We have to change inside as well as outside. We have to want obedience and understand why it is the best choice. We have to not want to rebel against the only thing that can save us. We have to love God more than anything else that exists. We have to understand and embrace the sacrifice of serving God so much that it becomes to us a joy, and not so much a sacrifice... because those things that we are giving up? Turns out, they don't matter.
Today, let's work on winning the internal battle, or at least recognizing that it needs to be fought. True conversion goes all the way down. We can hold nothing back, if we want to be the people that God can make us. :) No leftover disobedience. No souvenirs of Hell.