Sunday, December 6, 2015

Refined by Fire – Nuts and Bolts of Warfare, Part 20

I’ve described 19 nuts and bolts of spiritual warfare up until now, and it’s definitely not an exhaustive list, but I think they cover most of the basics.  But many readers won’t practice them, even though they know they’re under attack.  They’re holding onto some emotional security blanket, terrified of sacrificing it.  

A woman who recently contacted me was desperately concerned about her rebellious son, involved in dangerous activities.  I encouraged her to come for prayer and counseling, but she declined.  She didn’t want to be around for any prayers to cast out demons – she preferred that I do it on my own, at a distance.  I suspect that she was afraid that something would be discovered hiding inside of her.  She likes the kind of Christianity where everyone just hugs, cries and commiserates.  If God provides weapons to see real solutions, why are we afraid to use them?  Her son could be transformed if she learned how to engage in effective warfare, and she could be set free as well.  So few Christians even believe in casting out demons, yet those who do are often too scared to really fight. 

Nowhere in the Bible does it allude to a time when spiritual warfare will no longer be needed, that demons will slowly fade away and that just being a “good Christian” will be all you need to please God in this life.  The Bible promises that things will get worse – that our fight will become more brutal.  That false teachers will rise up within the church, that Satan will cunningly deceive believers. (2 Peter 2) But take a look at the state of the Christian church today around the world.  Honestly, how many are fighting?  How many even want to fight?  And who do you think has made this happen?

All I can say is that it’s time for the Church to wake up.  Christians of all denominations are living in a bubble, resistant to spiritual signs all around us that the Kingdom of God needs warriors today.  The tepid, lukewarm, self-centered form of Christianity that exists is remarkably similar to Jesus’ description of the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:16-17, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.  For you say, ‘I am rich, and have stored up goods, and have need of nothing,’ yet do not realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”  

God doesn’t spit out His own children.  A lukewarm Christian is a false one.  It’s a believer with all the trappings of a Christian who thinks he’s just fine without really getting serious about his spiritual life and the daily spiritual battle he needs to fight.  Why would anyone do that?  Why go to all the trouble to build a reputation of being saved, without really being saved?  It’s complete spiritual blindness.  Blind to the power of Jesus’ sacrifice, ungrateful for the incredible opportunity to escape hell, too lazy to live in submission to God’s will in order that His power could flow through them and manifest His glory on the earth.  That’s the lukewarm Christian who stubbornly refuses to die to his flesh.

Everything about serving God the way the Bible explains, is extreme.  Unless you sacrifice all, you cannot be His disciple.  There is no way you can effectively engage in spiritual warfare, to rescue yourself and your loved ones from the attacks of Satan, if you are living a lukewarm life.  Unlike lots of popular belief systems that can be added to your lifestyle as mood enhancers, being a Christian is an all-or-nothing commitment.  There’s a war going on for your soul, for your family, neighborhood and nation, and the only people who have been given the weapons to defeat this enemy, are those who have a radical faith – a blazing hot faith.  

So here is your 20th nut and bolt for what it’s worth: Live like eternity is all that matters.  Stop holding onto the security of your church tradition, of the comfort of sympathetic friends, of the reputation you’ve carefully built of what a great Christian you are.  In 100 years, you may be in the most painful anguish you’ll ever know, wishing you had sacrificed it all and gone all the way with God.  It’ll be too late to change your mind then – it’s not too late now.  The rest of Jesus’ words in Revelation is your key:

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments, that you may be dressed, that the shame of your nakedness may not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.  To him who overcomes will I grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Revelation 3:18-21 MEV)

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