Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. – 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

A word we are becoming more and more familiar with is: “attrited.” The military apparently is in love with the word as they speak of the enemies’ ability to fight being “attrited.” Attrited comes from the Latin word “attero” which means, “to wear away by rubbing.” In battle the enemy is not being rubbed away but is being bombed and shelled reducing their capability to fight by reducing their equipment and numbers of soldiers. To be “attrited” by an opposing force in war means you are being destroyed. We are seeing it happen in Iraq with the destruction of tank after tank, artillery piece after artillery piece, and the terrible cost of the loss of human lives being destroyed one by one. Winning of a war takes place step-by-step and inch-by-inch until the enemy can no longer fight.

Spiritually we are in a continual war, which never ends while we are upon this earth. The enemy never stops attacking. He pounds away at us day by day and night by night rubbing away at our relationship with our Lord. In his novel The First CircleAleksandr Solzhenitsyn quotes a Russian proverb: “It’s not the sea that will drown you, it’s the puddle. In our spiritual warfare it is not the eventual sinful act that destroys a person. It is much like Lot living in Sodom being constantly exposed to the sinful acts of those around him that wears us down. The Bible says that Lot’s righteous soul was “vexed” by living in the midst of such evil.

Our modern society is in many respects a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. All the evil present in Sodom and Gomorrah is present in our world today. The more exposure we have to that evil the more “vexed” our soul will be. After being constantly exposed to all that evil we may give in at a point of temptation. The enemy will take advantage of that breach of defenses and attempt to exploit this weakness by making the one time failure a continual and eventually a habitual failure. Eventually when the failure has become habitual we will have developed a “besetting sin.” At this point we have become “attrited.” The “leaven of sin” Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 5 can be equated with the process of being “attrited.” Just a small amount of “leaven” can cause great problems over a period of time just as it did for the Corinthians.

When we have become “attrited” or “leavened” how can we ever reverse what has happened? Of course we need to truly repent – turn from our sin. We need to confess this sin to our Lord (1 John 1:9) and He will forgive us. Then we must fight back. We must use the spiritual resources that God has given us to use to step by step defeat the enemy, attrit the enemy, until we have gained victory. James tells us that we must “resist the enemy” and when we do “he will flee from you (James 4:7).”

James says we are to “draw near to God (James 4:8).” What do you think would bring you closer to God? Would faithful attendance in church every time there is an opportunity bring you closer to God? Would reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Word of God take you closer to God? Would spending substantial amounts of time each day talking with your Lord bring a greater closeness to Him in your life? Would serving God by ministering and witnessing to those around you allow you to be closer to your Lord? Most likely you know the answer to every one of those questions. So, if you have been attrited you already know what you need to do. The question really is will you do what you know you need to do, you know you ought to do, and you know God wants you to do? It really is up to you. Will you fight? Or, will you let the enemy control your life?

(We are in a spiritual war and the enemy is constantly attacking.)

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