Friday, March 12, 2010

Standing Tall or Living Small?

It's important for every follower of Christ to understand that there is spiritual war for the soul of every man occurring on a day to day basis. (Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8, James 4:7) I thought that since everybody has their take on it, but not everyone gets to the most important point that it was essential for me to clearly lay it out for everyone. Too often we think because we are taught that we have to struggle, wrestle with, and battle demonic forces that come against us. This is so far from the truth, it should be heresy to preach such a false message. The fact of the matter is that we already have victory in the name of Jesus. (1 John 5:3, 1 Corinthians 15:57)

Tonight at Bible study I heard the truth presented to me in a no-nonsense way that I feel must be shared with you all. Throughout this entry, I'll be referencing Luke 8. It's important to know also that Luke 8 has significance in connection to Isaiah 6. You may want to read up on Isaiah 6, get a firm understanding of it, and then read through Luke 8 before you meditate on what you're about to read. Yes, I sincerely hope that after reading this you will go back through it and meditate on what is written here. It is also my hope that you will see these Scripture references and that you will verify their contextual validity for yourself. Don't just read this and think, "Oh, he put cited verses, therefore it must be legit."

In Luke 8:22, Jesus is asleep on the boat (presumably in the bottom of the boat) and a storm is raging outside. His disciples fear that the boat will be swamped if the storm continues, thus they wake Jesus. He commands the winds to cease, and suddenly everything is calm. Pretty familiar right? They come to shore and Jesus gets off to see a demon possessed man. The Bible says that this demon possessed man would strip naked and run away to hang out in the tombs. Apparently, the people of the town nearby tried to chain him up so that he wouldn't run away, but he just broke the chains and ran off again. Jesus asked the demon for its name, which it told Jesus was Legion. The demons in the man begged Jesus to be cast not into the Abyss, but rather into the herd of swine. When He did cast them into the swine, the swine ran off the edge of small cliff into the water and drown. When the people of the town heard about it they found the demon possessed man was dressed and sitting at the feet of Jesus calm without any indication of possession. It gets better because Jesus left that town by boat and returned to the city. Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue came and asked Jesus to heal his daughter. On the way there, a woman touched Jesus believing if she could just brush the hem of his garments she would be healed. Jesus noticed and inquired about it, eventually finding the woman who had touched her. He bid her farewell telling her that her faith had made her well. Just as this happened a servant from Jairus' house came and said that the daughter was dead. Jesus didn't seem to care and went into his house anyway. He commanded the daughter to rise and she lived.

That's four miracles presumably within a very short span of time. Now back yourselves up to the first part of Luke 8. Jesus tells them the parable of the sower and how three different soils ended up. He then explains the parable to His disciples in private because it was not meant to be understood by the general public. This is where your careful examination of Isaiah 6 would come in handy, as it would answer the question as to why it was not meant to be understood by the masses. The most important part of this, and the part that cuts through all the clutter regarding spiritual warfare is in verse 15 when Jesus tells us that good soil is analogous for those who hear the word, retain it, and persevere (other versions say "do it") in it. Are you putting it all together? If not, let me point you to a verse in Matthew 28:17.

I heard a story of an man who took some guys on a camping trip. His buddy went to have a look at their campsite and came back from looking around in a dead-man sprint. The man who was leading the trip took a look at the running man and said, "Bear..." in the most nonchalant way possible as he grabbed his camera and a large stick. He held the stick up as high as he could and with his other hand took pictures of the bear. The bear stood as tall as it could but saw that he was not as tall as the man who was holding the stick and turned around and walked away. Although this story may seem truly unbelievable, it's common knowledge among outdoors enthusiasts that bears measure the height of their opposite and will back down to others who are taller than themselves.

Likewise, Jesus has given us a similar stick to hold up against the enemy when he tries to attack us: the cross. Through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have victory over even death, and by His stripes we are healed. We don't measure up against the powers of darkness that roam this earth, but when we take the cross and hold it high above our heads, we suddenly have an added length that cannot be topped. All we have to do is command demons to flee in Jesus name, and they must obey. We can also bind them, which is like a spiritual mute button on the remote for spiritual warfare, and that way we can handle any situation where there is an attack of the enemy. Knowing that we can choose to stand tall with the cross or live small and susceptible to every attack of the enemy that comes our way.

Until next time,
De Facto

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