Day 20: Not too far gone . . yet

I admit it: sometimes I look at the state of our nation and I feel as though it’s nearly hopeless.  Sometimes I feel like it’s Christians, 1 . . Christian-Haters, 460.  Even among “Christians”, there is a disheartening lack of focus, motivation, and even interest.  It’s as if we’ve fallen asleep and we don’t know how to wake up.

Part of the problem is that many “Christians” don’t care much what they believe, or understand it.  They simply have a vague idea that God is good, and they’d like to be on His side.  They have no transfer of this to their daily life, other than what morality they personally prefer.  If they want to gossip about a friend, watch a God-hating movie, cheat on their taxes, lord over their family, download a movie illegally, use foul language, spend their money on luxuries, watch television instead of reaching out to the hurting world, tell small lies, practice immoral sexual behavior, or engage in unholy fantasies, they’ll do it.  The connection between obeying whatever God says and being a Christian is lost.  It’s like it doesn’t even matter anymore.  I know this because I have been this kind of alleged “Christian.”  I was dead or nearly dead to what God wanted for my life.

Part of the problem is that even real Christians, who really do know Jesus, often live in such a long-distance relationship with Him that they can scarcely ever hear Him.  They act mostly as anybody else acts.  They aren’t kinder to their children, more loving to their spouse, more thoughtful to their friends, or more caring to stranger.  They rarely open God’s Word, or satisfy themselves with 5-minute devotions that might have a verse or two of Scripture thrown in, and they think about the upcoming week instead of the sermon while they’re at church.  It’s easy, so easy to backslide, especially when things are pretty good on the outside.  We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and entertainment showers down on us and parades past us and even digs holes for us to fall in at nearly every angle.

Here in America, we are in desperate, horrid straits.  If it weren’t for the revelation of God in my life, I would have never seen it.  I was like many so-called “Christians” who lived with the moral commands from Scripture I wanted and without the ones I didn’t want (or didn’t even know were there because I rarely even read Scripture).

Even real Christians are often afraid to expose ourselves to God.  We are afraid of change–afraid we’ll have to do something bold like witness to a neighbor, stop badmouthing our coworkers, sell our sports car, reconcile with our children, or spend less time watching football games and more time in real war, the war of Christ vs. Satan.

I’ve heard that, as Christians, we already know God won, and that is exactly right.  We do already know that God has won the war.  The prophecy in Revelation reveals Jesus as the King, Victor, and Redeemer of all who believed in Him–and Judge of all who didn’t.

But that doesn’t mean we give up daily battles!!

If I knew the outcome of a war, and I was marching out, I wouldn’t want to stop fighting and lose the battle because I knew my side would win the war!  On the contrary, I’d have even more strength and bravery to fight!

This is exactly what happened to Joshua, Gideon, David, and others in the Old Testament.  They fought bolder because God revealed to them that they would win.

I have to wonder what is going on when we sit back in our Lazy-Boy of spirituality, fully content that we are saved, to recline and watch idly as other Christians around the world go to war for the sake of Jesus and fight for the freedom of our brothers and sisters of Adam’s race who have been captured and tortured by Satan and don’t even know they’re behind enemy lines.

Recliners and wars don’t match.  I don’t remember any scene in The Lord of the Rings where anyone sat in a recliner.

“Is that Mount Doom over there?” Frodo asks.

And Sam answers, “Why, yes, Mr. Frodo.  But look at this lovely chair Gollum made for us last night while you were asleep.  Wouldn’t you like to sit in it for a bit?  I think it’s safe.  The orcs are still pretty far away over there on that hill.”

In fact, I don’t remember any scene in any war movie where the characters asked for a time-out and sat down in a recliner to have a little nap.

We are at war, Christians.  We are at war.  Not with the people of this world, no matter how evil they might be, but with Satan and his army of demons!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

This is not something we are to take “passively”, as Tedashii says in his song Make War.

If we are not engaged in the rescue mission–then what are we doing?  How can we call ourselves Christians if we won’t follow the Christ of Christianity into war against Satan?  How?  That would be no different than if we called ourselves soldiers in the Union Army–and never went to battle in the Civil War!

Today’s mission in focus is those who make war against the enemy of this world.  Our pastors, teachers, missionaries, and apologists are out on the battle lines, and their swords are drawn.  They fight for Jesus Christ, and we should not abandon them to fight alone.  As Christians, we must raise up our swords of God’s Spirit, and we must go to war to destroy every deceitful philosophy that holds our brothers and sisters as prey to Satan’s attacks.

How can we enlist in the war?  If you know Jesus Christ–if you believe in Him as the Son of God and receive His atoning sacrifice as the payment for your wickedness–you are enlisted.  Now is the time to fight.  Here are a few suggestions for how we can go out on the battlefield instead of waiting in a recliner on the sidelines.

  • Join a small group at your church.  If you’ve already been a part of a small group, pray and ask God if He wants you to start one for unbelievers or to encourage Christians.
  • When your church has a need for a position to be filled, pray for how God would have you answer or that He would raise up someone to fill that position.
  • When mission opportunities arise from your church (like chances to give to world missions, help out at a homeless shelter, fund a school book fair, go on a mission trip, invite a friend to church, buy presents for foster children, or send out cards to visitors), pray for how God would have you answer.
  • Take initiative to support missionaries and mission projects.  Ask God to show you what He wants you to be a part of and what He wants you to donate to.
  • Study apologetics and read books from trustworthy Christian authors.  Ask God for wisdom so that you can help bring the lost to His Kingdom.
  • Most of all, read God’s Word every day.  God promises that in Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (from Colossians 2:3)

Apologetics resources:

Answers in Genesis, AiG

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, RZIM

It’s time to make war–not against people, and certainly not a physical war.  It’s time to make spiritual war against Satan and his lies.

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:10b-18, NLT)

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Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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