Sunday, May 31, 2015
Who’s the giant now?
Some of the greatest victories recounted in the Bible involve the enemies of God’s people just falling to pieces. Fearsome armies turn against each other and attack their own allies, a holy fear terrorizes the hearts of other enemies and they run away leaving a trail of plunder behind, walls crash down on them, seas swallow them up, some armies just go blind and have to be led stumbling home in humiliation. Just the fact that they threaten to do evil against God’s people puts them at odds with the wrath of God. He loves His people with a jealous love.
But people in the Bible, just like us today, didn't win automatic victories without having to use a radical faith. None of them. They had to be pushed and tested, they had to obey orders that didn't always make sense. Joshua had to march around Jericho 13 times with no idea how to tear down those huge walls. Gideon had to agree to let God pare down his army to a paltry 300 men, and after that, the best he could do was blow trumpets and smash clay pots with torches inside. The list is long of the crazy risks that men and women of faith had to take to see God’s hand move to fight for them. But in every single case, the victories were so huge, and the love and protection of God was so clear, that every risk of faith was so obviously worth it. That’s what we in the 21st century still don't get.
We are the giants, the devil and his servants are ants. God laughs at the arrogance of these boastful ants that threaten us with impossible problems. He wants us to treat them the same way. God knows that we're flesh and blood and that we have weak emotional responses to any perceived threat. He knows that the devil is a master of disguise and can create the most convincing arguments and scenarios against us. That’s where faith and trust comes in. If we aren't ready to stand up to our problems in faith, in rebukes, in prayer and in the determination that they're nothing compared to our God, they'll just keep standing there, staring us down. Nothing will change. If we panic and cry and get angry with God, we embolden the devil and our problems increase. God’s ready with the armies of heaven to fight for us, but we need to be audacious enough to laugh at those scary threats and move ahead in faith, against our emotions. It’s not just a fight against the devil, but an internal fight against our own doubts and emotions combined.
Religious Christianity, the kind most of us are familiar with, believes that giving comfort and aide to the suffering means pitying them, commiserating in their misfortune. But a friend in faith will challenge you to rise up and believe that you are a giant. A true friend helps you laugh at the devil’s threats and prays you through your problem until you see the victory. Not only that, a true believer allows friends to challenge them without feeling insulted or wounded since they secretly wanted pity instead. People who claim to have faith but don’t see the reality of the spiritual world pulling the strings to their problems, really have very little knowledge of God. They may know how to quote verses, but they can't even trust Him enough to laugh at their problems.
Maybe this is a new concept to you, and maybe you'd like to develop this way of thinking. I’d suggest that you find a church that operates in this kind of faith. That’s what I did, and I've never been the same since.
The wicked person schemes against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him. The Lord laughs at him because He sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword and strung the bow to bring down the afflicted and needy and to slaughter those whose way is upright. Their swords will enter their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. The little that the righteous man has is better than the abundance of many wicked people. For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord supports the righteous. (Psalm 37:12-17 HCSB)