“Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
II Corinthians 10:1-6 NKJV
The Lord is pressing on. I often find myself thinking that somehow, some way, life as we know it will return to the status quo. I try to put a pleasant face on what is happening in the world, thinking all that I see is but transitory, and will soon pass.
Then reality hits, like a rocket.
Yesterday the Israeli Defense Forces took out an Islamic Jihad commander, “in preparation for war.” Like clockwork, rockets have rained down on Israel in retaliation. Israel has launched airstrikes on targets through the night, and now into this day, and more rockets are being launched.
There are ceaseless rumblings in our world, warning us that the status quo is no more, and that we must be ready for a new normal, one we cannot escape. This also holds true for those in the household of faith, those of us who are the born again followers of Jesus.
The rumblings that we are feeling are not due to rocket attacks, but attacks from the evil one, who desires nothing more than to cause, those who have called upon the name of Jesus, to stumble. He has declared war on the born again, filling their lives with deep worry and anxiety, flooding their conscience thoughts with a multitude of earth borne concerns.
Though we have the Spirit of God in us, the devil knows that we are but dust. He witnessed the Lord forming Adam, and how He built Eve from a rib, and Satan knows our vulnerability. Because our enemy knows where we are weak, we must turn to the one in whom we are made strong.
Reading II Corinthians chapter ten this morning, I was reminded that I must not do anything in the service of my Lord according to the flesh, but all that I do must be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The coming days will require great boldness, as we go forth into an increasingly hostile world to share the Good News.
Let us not do so with fleshly intent, seeking to exalt ourselves, but let us go as humble, reformed sinners, saved by grace, going forth to tell of this great thing the Lord has done. We will face much opposition, and many will seek to contest what we have to say, passing it off as opinion. Let us rest in the knowledge that what we bring is not mere opinion, but the word of God.
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
II Corinthians 4:5-6 NKJV
The Holy Spirit is going before us, convicting the hearts of those caught up in the grasp of sin. Because of this, we will be met with many temptations, as those who belong to their father the devil will do all that they can to prove that the message that we bring is foolishness, and that we are no better than they.
It is on us to walk in the Spirit.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV
Let us focus on God, that the fruit of that Spirit shine through regardless of what is thrown at us.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, let us also be all the more loving toward each other. The devil delights in seeing believers in Jesus fighting amongst themselves. Let us extend greater grace toward each other, putting aside any slights, being mindful that the same Jesus that saved us, saved the brother or sister sitting next to us in the pew.
We must be a united front, for the days are coming when we will have to rely on each other in the very same way our forerunners did in the beginning of the faith.
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
Acts 2:46-47 NKJV
May our approach be one of prayer and surrender to the Lord. May we seek after Him daily, knowing that He loves us and that Jesus will sustain us. Even in the face of opposition, may we not fear, but turn it over to the Lord.
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
Acts 4:29-31 NKJV
Shake us, Lord!
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