Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 5 – When your victory + deliverance become sure

Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God. (Philippians 1:27-28 HCSB)

The Apostle Paul was in prison at the time that he wrote this amazing book to the church in Philippi.  He was joyful, strong and full of faith, reminding the church to rejoice in God all the time.  He had learned that standing firm, being united in faith and refusing to be frightened, was a powerful weapon to destroy the devil’s plans.  The last sentence says, “This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance.”  

Refusing fear is of great importance for the life of a true Christian.  All through the Old and New Testaments, God sends angels or speaks to His people with the same words, “do not be afraid,” or, “be strong and courageous.”  God knows that one of the tactics the devil loves is instilling fear.  The devil is the best special effects master there is, creating illusions of horror and defeat to send the people of God running, if they aren’t wise.  Only those who truly have surrendered their lives to God, who are new creatures in Christ, know how to stand up to fear and face it with faith in God’s promises.  

For a person who has died to himself, who has the attitude that life is worthless if it isn’t lived for the Lord Jesus, there really is nothing to fear.  They know that they are safe in God’s hands, and even if they are killed for their faith, they have an eternity of joy with God to look forward to.  The devil can’t rob them of their greatest treasure, so facing any situation on earth is worth doing well for the Lord that they love.  Obviously this is completely undoable for people who just call themselves Christian, but are still holding onto control of their own lives.  

In times of persecution or struggle, we need each other to be joined in faith to face the attacks of the devil fearlessly and standing firm.  It’s easy to be united in happy times, getting together for coffee and chit-chatting about simple things.  But unity in times of turmoil is when the devil is destroyed, and when your deliverance becomes sure.  

Paul wanted to hear good news from his church, that they were living a life worthy of the sacrifice Jesus had made for them.  He was absent from them because he lived a life of surrender and obedience.  He was being imprisoned and tortured for the sake of the gospel, but full of joy and strength.  He knew that what he was going through was advancing the Kingdom of God even more outside of his prison cell.  

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