Put to death

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6, NLT)

Put to death.

That’s a strong term.

Not one I use in my daily life.

Put to death.

Not try to end.

Not start to overcome.

Put to death.

When something is put to death, it doesn’t get up again.

When something is put to death, it doesn’t come back for another round.

When something is put to death, the only place it can be found is the graveyard.

Put to death.

If you are a believer, you are not to try to deal with

the sinful, earthly things lurking within you

And you are not to expect God to deal with

the sinful, earthly things lurking within you

without your participation.

You are called to be a warrior and PUT THEM TO DEATH.

When Theoden’s army is hemmed in by thousands of orcs at Helm’s Deep he doesn’t try to shoo them away.  He doesn’t open the gates to them and invite them in for a heart-to-heart.  He doesn’t throw a few swords and rocks down from the wall to try to stop them.  And he doesn’t have a dinner banquet with his army.

He MAKES WAR.

He brings every man and even boy to the battle line.  He uses every sword, spear, arrow, and chunk of rock they have.  He dresses his army in every piece of armor they have.  And he sounds the cry and they make war.

And when those orcs throw their ladders up the side of the helm and climb up, they are not greeted with pats on the head or offers for counseling.

Swords slash, arrows pierce, and spears impale.

The goal of every man and boy in Theodred’s army is to put to death every orc they can.

I agree with Tedashii in his song Make War–we get ourselves so scared about sin and so cowardly towards arousing the enemy’s anger that we do not do the battle God has called us to do.  We do NOT

put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within

We do NOT fight.

We wait for God to do battle for us.

John Eldridge is right when he says something similiar: God may give us a few freebies where He does the work for us, especially when we’re new believers, but we are enlisted in His army–not invited to pull up a lawn chair on the sidelines or cower somewhere off in a corner.  We are called to MAKE WAR.  We are called to kill the

sinful, earthly things lurking within

Not to reason with them, ignore them, bribe them, or even wound them.

We are called to kill them.

Put them to death!

. . But how on earth do we do this?

In a way, it feels harder than taking up a sword at Helm’s Deep and warding off ten thousand orcs.  How do we fight against something that isn’t in the physical realm?

Ephesians 6:10-18.

Look at this passage.  Read it.  Really read it.  And you will know what you have to do to MAKE WAR against the sin that grows like choking vines from our inward self, grows right up in our brain and out our mouth and arms and legs and eyes and controls how we think, what we say, and what we do.

put to death

DESTROY.

NO MORE.

GONE FOREVER.

Make war today.

And put to death the sin within you through the power and authority of Christ Jesus.

Don’t forget to read Ephesians 6:10-18.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6, NLT)

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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)

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

We must realize that Satan is

fighting

for our souls.

He is stronger than us, and he knows it.  He will always take our souls away from us, no matter what battle we would wage against him.  We can

fight

any way we like in our own power and we will never resist him.

–But–

Satan is weaker than Jesus, and he knows it.  Satan will never take souls away from Jesus, no matter what battle Satan would wage against Him.  Satan cannot

fight

hard enough to conquer God.

Satan has killed the Son of God, the only Person of the Godhood who can be killed (because Jesus chose to wear mortality over His immortality that He might die for us).

Satan can do no more to Jesus, except that he can strike at His followers, and this is not to win the war, but a lash out of vengeance.  But even if Satan fells a follower of Christ on the battlefield, he cannot claim the body.  Jesus was once dead, paid totally for sin, and holds the keys to Hades and Death on a keyring.

Jesus has been raised by His Father to the highest of glory and honor.  He sits on the throne of God and rules all kingdoms under His feet.  If He claims someone, He has them forever.  And if He walks on enemy ground, the enemy falls on their knees before Him.  The very breath of His mouth will one day kill Satan.  That’s how mighty He is.

We can

fight

And Satan can

fight

But God can

fight.

I do not trust in my bow,

my sword does not bring me victory;

but you give us victory over our enemies,

you put our adversaries to shame.

In God we make our boast all day long,

and we will praise your name forever.       Selah

(Psalm 44:6-8, NIV)

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6b, NIV)

But the fight

I have come to accept that the closer I get to God, the more hellish Satan is and the harder he tries to clutch at me.

But the fight . . is already won.

Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life. (John 19:30b, CEB)

I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, GW)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Warfare

We are in warfare.  All of us.  Every single one of us.  Whether militant or undecided or a pacifist or somewhere in between, all of us are on the battlefield.

Who’s side are we on?

Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters. (Jesus, quoted in Luke 11:23, HCSB)

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See Copyright Page for Bible Translation information.

On all fronts

It seems to me like I’m under enemy fire on all fronts, wherever I go, and just about whatever I do.  Feelings like rage, discouragement, frustration, helplessness, spite, and a slough of other highly-skilled terrorists work 24/7 to knock me down, keep me from serving God, drag me into sin.

Satan knows what he is doing.  He has thousands of years experience convincing people to sin.  And if one sin doesn’t work, well, he’ll just try another.  And another.  And another.  With every temptation I resist, a sneakier or harder-to-resist one sometimes crops up in its place.

I hate dragging myself off the battlefield at night, wounded from enemy fire and sometimes even realizing I was duped into fighting most of the day for the wrong side.  I hate knowing that I’ve lost more ground than I’ve gained, that my warfare strategies have been crumpled in a ball and thrown in the trashcan.

It makes me think I’m not doing spiritual warfare very well.  I belong in God’s army now, but do I know how to fight?  Do I know how to defend myself?  Do I know how to attack?  Or am I just wandering around aimlessly waiting until a surprise attack blows me to smithereens?  Am I so clueless on the weapons of God that I can’t even engage in battle against darkness?  Am I so hopelessly cowardly that I’m hiding behind any bush I can find, thinking someone else will surely step up to battle for me?

My favorite character in Pilgrim’s Progress other than the main character, Christian, is a man named Fearless.  When everyone else shirks in fear at the thought of following God by fighting their way through Satan’s demons, Fearless steps up to take his turn.  He raises his sword and does not lower it until he has sent the last demon standing in his way to the ground.

Christian learns from what he sees in Fearless.  When he has to fight his own nightmare, Apolyon, he knows the danger.  He could be slain in a heartbeat, but he’s afraid of much worse.  He fears his soul is in jeopardy, and the odds are impossible: a mortal man facing a monstrous, winged demon?  Apolyon invites him to give up, to simply go back to living like someone destined for Hell.  Apolyon promises he’ll be satisfied at that, that there will be no war, no bloodshed, no terror.

But Christian has seen Fearless fight, and Christian raises his sword for a fight worth more than his life.

.  . . that’s one thing for a character in a made up story, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing for me–right?

Who says the story is made up?

God has been making it very clear lately that I’m not ready for war.

My faith is in Jesus Christ.  My heart is after His will for my life.  I see God changing me in ways I could never change myself.  God has taken burdens away from me that I could never have dreamed could have been lifted.

But, at no one’s fault but my own, I still have some rutted habits that aren’t dying.  I still have some patterns of behavior that aren’t changing.  And I still have a whole lot of situations where I’m unsure what to do, half-hearted, overwhelmed, confused, or just wasteful of the opportunities God has given to me.

God, in His incredible grace, has adopted me as His child.  He has enlisted me in His army.  He has held out His war plan to me.

But what I’m seeing in my life is that, if God doesn’t blatantly reveal or give something to me, I’m nowhere and nothing close to ready for battle.  I seem to forget that I even have armor, and I’m unsure how to wield the sword I’ve been given.  My shield seems to be expecting direct intervention from God all the time, and He has been so good to give that to me so many times . . . but I feel Him calling me to responsibility.  I have never even liked that word, but I feel myself longing to be equipped, to be ready, to do more than cry “Help!” every time an enemy arrow flies my way.

I’m tired of losing.  I’m tired of giving up.  I’m tired of getting messed up and fighting for the wrong side.  I want to be like Fearless.  I am a Christian, and I have to fight Apolyon too.

I don’t want to keep asking God to get me out of traps and forgive me for firing at the wrong side and fight my battles without me.  I am ready to ask God to fight through me.  I am ready to charge for the enemy.  I am ready to receive victory by Jesus Christ through my most difficult battles.

I’m ready to live an Ephesians 6:10-17 life.

The war is on.

Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.  Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18, CEV)

Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.