Daily we are faced with decisions. A quick life assessment will prove this to be true. We are faced with decisions to speak, or stay quiet, to love or to hate. Decisions to strike back or turn the other cheek. Decisions to walk in wisdom or stumble in our foolishness. How we navigate our circumstances dictates the course of our lives.
Where we are today is directly related to our decisions of yesterdays and yesteryears. The weight to make the right choices now is a heavy load. As Christians, we have a hope in this matter. A source of wisdom, and that of a pure wisdom, not a tainted wisdom that comes from worldliness. Such wisdom, found in our Scriptures, will help us navigate all the currents of life.
Romans 15:4-7 (ESV) 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Paul, writing to the Romans, spoke of things written in “former days”. He was referring to those Scriptures he was building on for his own teachings. Yet, for us in modern Christianity, we may now grab hold of a larger body of writings that also fit this description.
Paul was pulling from Torah, the Wisdom Literature, and the Prophets. The modern follow of Jesus now has the Gospels, the Epistles, and a powerful prophetic vision, The Revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s to such writings of the “former days” we must look to for our source of wisdom. This is our hope and endurance and encouragement. This is the source that builds in us a unified voice that brings glory to our God. This is the source of wisdom that we learn to rightly wage war in a time where Jesus-Followers are increasingly becoming silent pacifists.
The Battle Plan
The calling on my life is that of a watchman, more than a pastor. And as such, it is my duty in the Kingdom of God to stand upon the wall and watch for the advance of the enemy. So, here I am. Perched upon a wall. To my left and right are others, also called to stand and watch. We are all given a lane of approach to overwatch for the enemy. The enemy of our souls is advancing. And this is my warning.
The enemy is advancing in a call for peace, love and unity. Of course, such things are biblical and, therefore, are great weapons of deception for the enemy to use as he lures in sleepy Christians who’ve been lulled into believing false narratives that hatred is coalescing into certain political expressions. We are in a season that our enemy is advancing powerfully on the Kingdom of God.
In this season I’ve heard so many things that blatantly contradict the foundational ideas of our faith. From the world, this isn’t a new thing. But we who follow Christ should be more careful. It’s enough that the world is condemning the wisdom of the Ancient of Days, but when “well-meaning” Christians begin banging the same drum beat as the enemies of Christ, the Watchman in me rises up and must cry out. You are falling into the enemy’s plan. You are locking arms with the rebel-prince of darkness. And he’s laughing at you as he leads you into the devil’s hell!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a post on social media of one pastor rebuking another pastor for his call to prayer. The wording was something to the effect of, “The time for prayer is over, it’s time for action.” I immediately waded into the fray and soundly rebuked such false teaching, lest it caught the eyes of other believers who may have also fallen victim to such a tragic misunderstanding of prayer.
Another drum beat of the world is the call to create meaningful reforms now, stop calling for Jesus to be the answer. It would appear that the logic of the message is that we’ve tried Jesus and He hasn’t worked or isn’t working fast enough. What’s more, those who propagate the teaching that Jesus is the answer are the ones to blame for the problems we see. Perhaps you’re reading that thinking that this would never be acceptable to a Christian but it appears to be gaining momentum among the younger believers out there. “Reform now, preach Jesus later” is as an acceptable “woke Christian” philosophy.
Should we as Christians be taken captive by such reasoning? Should we be swayed by the current of a world that rejects God? Should we allow the world to set the standards of the arguments of today? Can we accept from the enemy a battle plan to defeat him? The Apostle Paul says not!
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV) 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
The enemy wants us to abandon prayer because he knows this is where the battle is truly won! The world then propagates this idea into echo chambers because the demonic forces at work are whispering into their ears that this is the reality. From a worldly, non-spiritual perspective, prayer is useless because they view our faith as such. This is beaten into the minds of so many for so long that Christians, not properly connecting to the Voice of Wisdom understood through the Bible, begin to think this must be the truth.
You may think, “But, I don’t know when the last time was God actually answered one of my prayers.” There’re a few reasons for this. The obvious is that God simply said no to you like any good Father would. Another possibility is that you missed the answer because you weren’t looking for it. Still another possibility is it simply wasn’t according to God’s plans and purposes. He has a Kingdom to run. As I listen to different people pray for different things, I can tell there’s a huge difference between Kingdom prayers and pitiful prayers. There’s a difference between prayers offered to a King and those we offer believing the One we speak to is for our pleasure and amusement. More on that in another article.
Christian!!! Prayer is us communicating with the Creator of all things. The most powerful being in all existence. The most powerful source of real, lasting love. It’s us seeking His hand to work in pain and suffering. Prayer is us seeking God’s intervention in the chaos. Prayer is us asking for wisdom to handle this season well. Read the following verses that I believe express the very essence of prayer; holding the perspective that prayer is the connection point to real power!
Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
This is a battle where prayer is the only approach to defeat the enemy. Of course, he wants you to stop praying and just act. Your action will be so careless and destructive that no one will desire to follow Christ after seeing His followers muck things up so badly!
Prayer must be a starting point, continually done and the end of the matter, also! We must be a people who “pray without ceasing!” (1 Thes. 5:17, ESV),knowing there is never a moment when “the time for prayer is over”.
To the second lie of the enemy, the world says we can’t wait for everyone to get Jesus because people are dying now. Well, people are perishing eternally now! In the Scriptures we find hope for healing. The answer to our life’s ales is proximity to the Throne of God.
Psalm 73:23-28 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Yet, we can’t expect this proximity without our Jesus. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.’” (John 14:6, ESV) To gain victory we need to be close to our Creator. To be close to our Creator, we need our Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is our answer. Both to the immediate problems we see in racism and anarchy. And to the larger problems, the sickness caused by the rebellion against our Creator.
Or, will we try to gain security in this world at the cost of our souls? Or worse yet, will we try to gain peace with the world at the cost of the souls of others around us?
Mark 8:34-38 (NIV) 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
If we gain Jesus, a true reform will happen. “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5, ESV) This overcoming is a reform of the heart, a rebirth of the spirit. To seek reform without Christ is to seek a cure for symptoms of cancer without understanding the cancer. How much more in this season should we speak Jesus? You see, the enemy knows that our mission is to proclaim Jesus. And to do so until He comes again. The enemy knows that the end will not come until Jesus is proclaimed in every corner of the globe:
Matthew 24:14 (ESV) 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
So, of course, the enemy will tell you, “Jesus later, reform now”. He’ll tell you to put away prayer and get to work. Because he knows that such is where he’s defeated!
Don’t let anyone tell you Jesus is not sufficient to heal our nation. Don’t let them tell you, “Act now, Jesus later.” For Jesus will never be later if he is not now! We will simply create more irreparable damages as we “act now”.
It was Christ in the hearts of men who set the slaves free from their bondage. It was Christ in the hearts of men who fought for equality among people. It’s Christ in the hearts of men that even now ministers the love of God to a broken world.
So, it’s in Christ, now, we can heal a nation. In Christ, we can heal a Church, fragmented by racial divides. But it has to be in Christ! Because it’s through Christ that we gain proximity to the healer of nations. It’s through Christ that we get closer to the One who breaks chains of oppression.
It’s through Christ we connect with our Creator, our God, the Lover of our Souls, who cherishes each human as the bearers or potential bearers of His Image! And, if Christ be lifted up, He will draw ALL men unto Him (cf. Jn. 12:32)!
This is the wisdom of our Scriptures. Truth in a sea of lies.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV) 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
May we be a people defined by pure wisdom. A people who will redefine these evil times. A people who have ears to hear the voice of the Lord and minds to discern and reject the lies of the enemy! In so doing, our actions, then and only then, may bring a voice of unified glory to His name. Amen!