Our church recently hired a new pastor. Now, a new pastor is an exciting venture under any circumstance, but THIS new pastor and his family are originally from New Zealand!
(Yep, been there! Loved it! Big shout-out to my New Zealand buddies.) 😉
I don’t know if it’s the cool Kiwi accent or if perhaps this new pastor has a 1-800-GOD2MESU direct line, but I’m hearing Scripture’s truth in profound new ways.
Don’t you love it when that happens?
First Sermon Series
His first sermon series was on Spiritual Warfare. Not a light-weight topic to start off the new ministry, eh? He talked about the enemies we face in these three categories:
- The world (its influence, not the PEOPLE in the world)
- Our own sinful nature
- Satan himself
For the second part of the series, he began talking about the believer’s Resistance. As an army of believers, we’re engaged in a war–a Resistance–being waged against the “rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Yikes!)
The good news is, we already know how to defeat our enemy. Whew! Great news, eh?
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Sounds Easy Enough, Right?
But we all know that daily life overwhelms us, and “submitting ourselves to God” gets lost in the dirty diapers, job pressures, and credit card bills. How exactly do we “resist the devil” when he feels like an octopus with tentacles reaching into every aspect of our lives?
That sounded a little whiny, didn’t it? Sorry. Frustration is riding a little close to the surface today…can you relate?
So, let’s take off the plastic smiles and high heels. Shove up your sleeves and put on your hiking boots because we’re about to get real with God and each other…
Use It Or Lose It
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit dwells within you, giving you power to become His witnesses and ambassadors hear and now.
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 1:13
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
We have a purpose on this earth–to use the power of God within us for His glory…
The life of a Christ-follower is more than falling into my bed at night, thankful I’ve scraped through another 24-hour existence.
Regardless whether you believe “once saved, always saved” or you recommit your life regularly at the altar, I hope you can agree that any gift that’s discarded and/or unused will fall into disrepair. Like an atrophied muscle, faith without exercise will waste away.
Here’s the Choice
Each day, each hour, each moment–every believer has this choice. Live with God or live through God.
Do we live victoriously or laboriously? Is this day going to be “the best I can do” or seized for God’s Kingdom? Will I struggle by my own strength and limited knowledge to accomplish what little I can, or will I draw on the Spirit of God within me to do immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine?
Woohoo, Power! Now What?
We’re tapped into this eternal, all-powerful God. It’s like going to a fire hydrant for a cup of water, right? What are we supposed to do with the power of His Spirit that dwells within us?
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:1-2
After Jesus sent the Twelve, He sent out seventy-two more. The seventy-two came back rejoicing! “Lord even the demons submit to us.” Sort of like saying…”Let’s uncork every fire hydrant in Israel, Lord! Gimme more of that power stuff!” But do you remember what Jesus told them?
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:18-20
We must keep our eyes on the main thing…building the kingdom.
If a general focuses only on defeating his enemy but loses sight of defending his troops and homeland–what is left when the war is over?
The War Is Won
Our General has already won the war. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross; in fact, the Bible tells us that defeating Satan was the reason Jesus came to earth…
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8
“For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” Romans 14:9
So, here’s the deal as I see it in Scripture. Jesus did the hard work on the Cross. My responsibility is to access the power of His Holy Spirit that lives within me to BUILD UP HIS KINGDOM in whatever ways He leads me.
Care To Join Me?
No more Ho-Hum, Whiny-Pants! Shirt-sleeves up, dancin’ shoes on–ready to submit, resist, and go the distance!
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21
- Take off the plastic smiles and shove up your sleeves ’cause we’re gonna get real today.
- The life of a Christ-follower is more than falling into bed at night, scraping thru another 24-hour day.
- No more Ho-Hum, Whiny-Pants! Get ready to submit, resist, and go the distance!
- What’s your favorite Sword-Scripture to fight Ho-Hum, Whiny-Pants Syndrome? (I love Philippians 1:6!)