In addition to some of the other books that I am reading, I have started reading the Fellowship of the Ring which is the first two books in the Lord of the Rings. As I was reading through there was a passage in the book that stood out to me. Gandalf is talking to Frodo about how the evil in the world is beginning to rebuild itself. In many ways it speaks to the evil which is perpetually rising against us in the time that we live in. To clarify here is the paragraph that I am talking about.
"Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again,'
'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. Already, Frodo, are our time is beginning to look black. The Enemy is fast ripening. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, p50)
To me this spoke to the idea that evil is always around us and many times when you look around the world it is growing more each day. The devil's plans have in fact already ripened and they ripen every day in order to attempt to keep us at bay from realizign that we are not part of the world. The only thing that we have is the ability to let the Holy Spirit take hold of the time that we have and use it for its purpose. This is the only way that we can battle against the dark that is constantly rising up in our lives and cracking the foundation that we are trying to build. It is not easy and sometimes we have so very much as to go against the world that we are living in to do what we know is write. For it is written:
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)
These are great words of encouragement to help us stay on the right track and use the time that we have been given by God for his purposes. This is not to say that we need to do things in order to gain his favor but rather because we are already aware that we have gained his favor and we should be compelled to serve him in all aspects of our life through the Son of Man.