In March of this year, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King set an Oscar record by winning all 11 awards for which it had been nominated.

If you saw the movie or read the book you know that the plot revolves around an epic struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. And everything hinges on the ability of Frodo to carry the Ring into the heart of the evil fortress of Mordor and destroy the Ring by casting it into the fires of that mountain.

While Frodo, his faithful friend Sam, and Gollum slowly but steadily make their way into the evil fortress, a terrible battle rages outside. The forces of good are greatly outnumbered and it appears that they will certainly be defeated. To end the war, Frodo doesn't have to slay a giant or defeat a dragon. All he has to do is drop the Ring over the edge into the fire.

Frodo reaches the location where he should remove the Ring and throw it down into the fire. In that crucial moment, he is overwhelmed by the demonic pressure of the Ring and cannot find the strength to let go of the Ring. The Ring is finally destroyed when Gollum takes the Ring from Frodo, then falls over the edge, taking the Ring into the hot fire to destruction. As soon as the Ring is destroyed, the good army easily defeats the now bewildered legions of Mordor.

As I watched the movie and witnessed Frodo struggle to remove the Ring and cast it into the fire, it seemed that everyone in the theater wanted to shout out, "Just throw the Ring!" So many brave warriors were dying in the battle outside as Frodo desperately struggled to destroy the Ring. But once the Ring was finally thrown into the fire, the killing ended and the battle was won.

Just one simple act, the destruction of the Ring, was the only thing standing in the way of immediate victory and peace.

The Bible tells us plainly that you and I are involved in a spiritual war with eternal consequences. (Ephesians 6:10-12) As I watched the movie and thought of the simple act of throwing a ring into the fire, the words from James 4:7 quickly popped into my mind: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

It seems to me that we often turn something very simple into something very complicated. Unfortunately, the longer we delay before taking action, the more we and others suffer from the consequences of this spiritual battle. Almost every day I talk with people who are struggling with sin. You and I are constantly being tempted by the evil one. And here in one short sentence is the key to immediate victory. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

God has promised and His promises never fail. When you resist, the devil will flee. The terrible battle will continue to rage for as long as we fail to resist. The very moment you and I say a determined and decisive "NO!" to our enemy, he will turn tail and run. But we first have to throw away the ring. We have to give it up completely.

We have this promise in 1 Corinthians 10.13: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Our God is faithful. His promises are true. He is ready to provide strength and to offer a way of escape. The only unknown factor in this equation is what you and I will do. Will we throw away our ring?

What will we do? I don't know about you, but I have seen the evil one do enough damage in my life. I have decided to resist his attacks.

The very next verse, James 4.8, the Holy Spirit reminds us: "Draw near to God and He will come near to you." Here is another simple and straightforward promise from our loving, heavenly Father. If you will, He will. If you will seek Him, He will come even closer to you. I really need the Lord's presence in my life. I will draw near to Him because I need Him to come closer to me.

Simple, but decisive steps. That is all that stands in your way from seeing a glorious victory that perhaps you have thought to be impossible. You can watch the devil flee, if you will refuse to succumb to his invitations. You can enjoy the very presence of God in your life, if you will really seek God above all things. If you will completely let go of the thing that grips you.

Just do it. Do it now. Once and for all. You'll be glad you did. "Just throw away your ring!"

The longer we delay before taking action, the more we and others suffer from the consequences.

Heartlight Follow Up:

At first, such straight forward truth seems overly simplistic. Many of us struggle with "besetting sins" that we can't seem to overcome. These sinful addictions, these struggles that master us, seem far too big a foe for us to overcome. We are correct in that assessment: we cannot do it alone. But Larry's use of The Ring imagery is crucial here. We have to be willing to throw away the sin, its lifestyle, its secrecy, and our pride/shame that bind us to the sin. We have to be truly willing to throw away "our ring" for the Lord's power to sweep into our lives. So how do we throw away "our ring"? Here are some actions that others have found helpful in throwing away "their ring" and inviting God to draw close and win the war that rages in their soul.

  • Commit to God to throw "your ring" away and ask for his help and deliverance.

  • Cast "your ring," and the demonic power behind it, away from you. Speak to the sin and the demonic power that holds it in your life and renounce it in the name and by the power of the Lord Jesus.

  • Confess your struggle with a proven spiritual leader who will be willing to hold you accountable to not pick up "your ring" again!

  • Confer with others who have battled this kind of sin and are seeking to not pick up "their ring" again. Form a band of committed brothers or sisters that helps support one another.

  • Change your habits and lifestyle so that they don't give you an excuse to wander by the place you have discarded "your ring" and lead you to pick it up again — this will likely mean you have to give up some of the friendships you have with those who still revel in using the power of "the ring" in their lives.

  • Come close to God. It is simply not enough to throw away "your ring." You must draw near to God and let his love and nearness become real to you and replace the vacuum left by the removal of "your ring" from your life.

  • Celebrate God's power over sin through worship, both privately and with others. Acknowledge that you didn't win a victory over "your ring" by your own strength, but by the power and grace of God.

May God's grace and power help us to throw away our ring and find the joy that comes with the return of our King to our lives!

Phil Ware