Friday, November 27, 2009

Standing Firm

Ephesians 6:13-18 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which your will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God , with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit; and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petitions for all the saints.

There comes a place in all our walks with God that we reach a spiritual impasse with people. We all realize that we are called to a difficult path, narrow and hard—but with the clear goal ahead of us—the heavenly Kingdom. But we travel a hard road; it is as I often say “a tough row to hoe.” Taking up our crosses daily to follow Jesus is difficult and demanding. In our country rarely are we as Christians the victims of persecution of any kind. But there are a few of us that do experience it. This becomes the challenge; to “love your neighbor” with out being a victim. When you have been the victim of mockery for your faith, put down for being “narrow minded” and publicly belittled, what do you do? When you truly have done all to stand, what do you do?

First: you truly forgive—as an act of your will—with this in mind; the person attacking you is not in control of themselves, they are run by the enemy. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 is written “…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving…” So what you are being attacked by is the enemy running the person. Remember what Jesus said “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”, these pitiful persons truly do not know what they are doing.

Second: Don’t take matters into your own hands! Trust God. Just be firm and offer a service if you can to your enemy as written in Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.” Try to understand what their point of view is, and in that way you might be able to win them to your side, or at least, reach some common ground.

Finally, when attacked for your beliefs—you stand. You learn your apologetics, and you proclaim the truth of the Gospel. But understand before this you “…pray at all times…” and be ready! At this point you have to remember that “greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.” When you have done everything and you stand firm in your faith using the Word of God, proclaiming the gospel, you leave the results up to God.

Now in my life; God has up to now brought me successfully through points one and two—He has given me victory in situations without my actually having to “proclaim the gospel” part. Just my actions were enough. All that is going to change soon; I don’t know when, but in God’s timing. I will prepare—fast and pray—but I have reached the point where I MUST stand firm and proclaim the Word of God, for it is the most loving, obedient, and merciful thing for me to do. But in doing this my heart must be true to God, not to wash my hands of the situation in a “well, that’s over with, I gave it my best shot” and feel justified; but humbly seek God’s will in this—to truly love this person as God does—and wants them to receive the truth, and repent. This dose not involve “warm fuzzy” feelings—quite the opposite—this is serving God.

“And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” [Amen] Ephesians 6:19

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