Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Run for the Hills? - Nuts and Bolts of Warfare, Part 19

Pastors are talking about the “culture wars” going on where Christians are being treated more and more like lunatics and fascists in our modern society.  It was only a few years ago that it was natural and expected for Christians to consider same-sex relationships as something that God does not approve of.  Now, just holding that opinion is branded as evil, intolerant, backwards and hateful, in schools, in politics, and even in churches. Talking about certain topics is dangerous ground these days if your words are even slightly interpreted as bigoted.  On the other hand though, blatant vulgarities can be blasted from pop music stations and on supposedly “family” TV shows, and it’s all defended as a right to free speech.  Meanwhile around the world, radical terrorists proudly kill and maim in the name of hatred for all things Judeo-Christian.  This is not just a culture war we’re in – it’s just plain spiritual warfare, and it’s been around for millennia.

A pastor was speaking in a recent conference in Illinois about what Christians should do.  This culture war is ramping up at such a rapid pace, that soon any real believer in the gospel will be labeled a criminal for standing up for his faith.  As I listened to his speech online, I couldn’t believe what I heard as he suggested that Christians should start to build their own communities, to separate themselves from the world and stockpile food and supplies as this war against true Christianity gets worse.  He said, “We’ve lost the culture war, the other side has won.  We need to just take care of the few who still believe in God and protect ourselves from the evil that is growing worse and worse.”  

I disagree.  This is the time to ramp up our spiritual war even more.  Who are the ones given the authority to rebuke and cast out evil, to bind up principalities and confront Satan?  God needs a strong Church that isn’t intimidated by the advances of the devil, and wise to the fact that evil will increase the closer we get to the time of Jesus’ return.  God Himself promised that things will get worse – but it’s good news!  He never abandons those who are His, in spirit and in truth.  We will always be safe, but we have to be willing to stand on our faith even in scary times.  This is not the time for tucking our tails and running for the hills to hide in caves, as the Israelites had done in Gideon’s day.  This is the time to be even bolder, wiser, and more determined to see the power of God at work not only in us to transform us, but through us to make an impact on this world that is growing steadily worse. 

If everyone who labeled themselves as Christian took a hold of this power of authority over the devil and began to bind up demonic forces in their lives, it would have a ripple effect so powerful that a revival beyond our imagination could erupt.  So many apathetic souls could be woken up to a living faith and saved for eternity through us, even against all the persecution. But sadly, even people who agree to this concept will most likely to do nothing to change their way of life to be that force for God’s Kingdom.  That’s because using the name of the Lord Jesus to cause demons to tremble in submission, requires total submission to Him first.  And that means that we don’t live for ourselves any longer, but go against our love of comfort to fight His battles.  Persecution is part of a real Christian’s job description.  If you just want the blessings without the attacks, have you really died to your flesh?  

Don’t be scared of the rapid changes happening in the world, of the many threats and rumors that you hear.  God already warned us 2000 years ago.  They’re just the birth pangs of the most wonderful event that will ever happen.   It’s wonderful for those who are sold out for God, but terrifying for those who aren’t.  We can hold onto His power no matter what Satan is trying to throw at us, and even if we have to go through loss materially speaking, we know who our Father is, we know our rights to rebuke the devil, and can expect to be well loved, provided for, protected, and our future guaranteed.   

In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  (2 Timothy 3:13-15 HCSB)

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