My wife had one of her keen observations the other day during one our frequent discussions about the pandemic and the state of our nation. “What if God is working in this pandemic to tear down our idols?”
“What a thought,” I said. I suppose that may be what’s going on,” I said.
Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God, to gain God’s favor and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.
But “good” Christians don’t exist.In addition, if someone is declared a ” Good” Christian that means somewhere there has to be a bad Christian and a superior Christian and a poor Christian. Do you see the judgmental comparison trap we’d get ourselves into?
The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort. That’s called living in the flesh. It is contradictory to walking in the Spirit and has nothing to do with following Christ or honoring God
In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything. The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life allowing him to live His life through us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
We’re not at war in Afghanistan, not Iran, not Syria, We’re in a battle between our ears for our hearts and thought life. It’s a battle for our culture, for our families, our communities and for our spiritual lives. I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan ort spiritual warfare a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up their pews every Sunday.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
When is the last time you pleaded with Satan to flee from your presence? When’s the last genuine “Come-to Jesus “ meeting you had with yourself or a close friend about it? When is the last time a trial befell you and you knew it was Satan? When did you last sin or when was the last time you were disobedient? Did you talk with a close friend or your pastor about it? When did you last talk about Satan with friends?”
Here’s a question: Do you think we talk about Satan too much or too little?
Do you think we are at war spiritually or do you think that’s just a bunch of Biblical mumbo jumbo nonsense and you don’t want to be troubles with it at all.
Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years, he’s thinking about us every moment looking for someone to devour–to kill, discourage or ruin their day. Every time Satan tells you a lie and you believe him, he’s had a good day.
I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan or spiritual warfare a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.
Howard Beale got mad enough to go to war. In the 1975 classic movie Network Howard let everyone know how he felt in his radio audience when he shouted into his mike, ” I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Are you mad enough to go to war? Then strap your helmet on. It’s time. Or would you rather sit on your complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.
Maybe he’s not even paying attention too many Christian who are afraid to go to war.l lives. We’ve got to get off of our complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and go to war to preserve the Gospel that saved us and gave us new life.
When is the last time you cursed him for messing with you? When is the last time you commanded him to flee from you? When is the last time you thought about Satan? Thought about Evil? Thought about your own disobedience? When’s the last time you thought about sin? Yours or someone else’s.
Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years he’s thinking about us every waking moment looking for somebody to destroy or just discourage someone or ruin someone’s day or just get them off their game.
I would venture a guess that he’s not paying attention to lots of Christians who are afraid to go to war and prefer to sit on their complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and let other folks go to war.
For years I toiled under the weight of a “works” oriented salvation. I believed that to please God I had to work to earn His favor and His grace. When I did good things I believed my deeds were pleasing to God and, for the moment, I had gained His favor. But, when I sinned (and I did. A lot) I believed, even when I repented, God would make me pay with some consequence or retribution. I considered it, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
It was a miserable way to live. I went about my day trying to figure out what the
shoe would be. Would it hurt? Would it drop when I least expected it? Would it drop when I was enjoying pleasant times? Would it drop on my friends? When it dropped would my friends abandon me? Would it grieve me or cause me emotional pain? Would I suffer?
Then in August, 2000, I learned my true identity in Christ. God showed me His grace and taught me I didn’t have to pay for any or all the sins I committed. He told me, “They’re all already paid for. Stop waiting for that shoe and let me show you how much I love you.”