Wednesday, June 24, 2015
This is not supposed to be happening
When a good, law-abiding man is sent to jail for a crime he never committed, that punishment is unbearably cruel. When a faithful worker who has developed his skills is placed under an egotistical, inexperienced boss with outrageous demands, he loses all motivation for his job. When a mother who has dedicated her life to nurturing a happy family discovers that her child will die of a painful disease, it’s as if her heart has been ripped out of her body. Some things are just not supposed to happen…
When a nation is promised absolute protection from harm, a life of abundance, and inner peace and joy, and then finds itself broken, humiliated and forced into exile as slaves, that’s just not supposed to happen. Either the giver of the promise has broken His word, or the nation has broken its agreement.
That happened to God’s people. They’d been the most stunning example of God’s power on earth. Kings and queens of other nations would send tribute to the kings of Israel and were in awe of the amazing God who led them with love and wisdom, who dwelt among them in His temple, and blessed them with mercy and kindness. But Israel didn't value what they had. They took God’s blessings for granted and decided to cut corners with His commandments. Prophet after prophet tried to warn them. Losses, famines and signs from God were ignored until total destruction had to come upon them. Not because God hated them, but because it was the only way to humble them and turn their hearts back to Him.
That process is happening to us, to Christians around the world today. We have the promises of God, we've been given His armor, given the authority of His name and access to the counsel of His Spirit who will dwell in us as He once did in His temple—but who is actually using all of these heavenly gifts? Who values them or even seeks out the knowledge they need to use them? And even if they do have head-knowledge, who has the practical knowledge to use God’s gifts, the knowledge that comes from daily battle with the devil? Most churchgoers don't even bother thinking about such things. They're too busy with their church traditions and functions They assume that these are the concerns of select super-Christians, not themselves. Their ignorance of the things of God is of their own choosing, and the suffering that the devil will bring upon them is also of their own choosing.
It’s wrong for a child of God to be enslaved by the devil and dragged into a life of misery. And yet, how many pastors and youth leaders have confessed to pornography or drug addiction? How many Christians have hidden sins but are too ashamed to come clean and change? And even worse, how many Christians have no concept of spiritual warfare to battle against the demonic forces that are tearing down the integrity and faith of entire churches? Satan is doing his best to drag the Body of Christ into another exile, and it will be of our own choosing unless we change. Daily battle against sin, negative thoughts, and demonic attacks on family and loved ones are all a part of God’s requirement to serve Him. The battle is a joyful one because He always gives us victory when we use His weapons, but it requires the sacrifice of our flesh. The knowledge in His word is only understood when we practice it. If things that are not supposed to be happening, are happening in your life—if circumstances are enslaving you—perhaps it’s time to realign yourself with God and get back into the fight before it’s too late.
Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge her dignitaries are starving, and her masses are parched with thirst. (Isaiah 5:13 HCSB)