Blog Archives

BE FILLED WITH HIS COURAGE FOR THE BATTLE AT HAND

Blog Pic 61219

Walking with the Lord Jesus will involve standing with the Lord Jesus. Standing with Him means one must engage in spiritual warfare. This requires great courage which only He can provide.

.

THE ARENA OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE

It’s amazing what one decision will cost a person. Real Christians make such a decision. Unreal Christians never do. The latter make what they think is the right decision but have either been deceived or are only deceiving themselves. Being a Christian does not mean, and usually never does, having a storybook life. It is often the opposite. Rather than a storybook it is much more about struggle. It is a struggle because the Lord Jesus has a great many powerful enemies. When one joins up with Him, His enemies become yours also and will thus hate you as they hate Him. And this hate does not stay holed up in some ethereal world but is demonstrated three-dimensionally.

Why do the majority of Christians miss this? Why are they unaware? These simple questions are essentially rhetorical for those who are aware. They know exactly why. They know it’s because the majority of “Christians” are never in the fight. They have joined a fake form of Christianity that looks nothing like the historical original. These fake forms come in many different subforms yet it doesn’t matter what the particulars are that separate one from the other, since all are separated from the spiritual reality of His kingdom.

If unreal Christians have an inkling this may be true why do they insist on staying put? Well, for one thing, it’s more comfortable. Yet it is also the case that when nothing is ventured nothing is gained. When one agrees with the devil, the world, the culture, or anything else opposing the Lord, the Lord’s declared enemies will never be one’s own. They will never come after such a one. He or she is insulated from spiritual attack. And though it may appear that one’s good fortune is the result of God’s protection and provision, it is more likely due to simply not being a threat to evil. Imagine how many Christians there are in the world that the devil laughs at because they represent absolutely no threat to him.

The Lord’s entire existence is a threat to evil. When He showed up here as one of us, even as a mere babe, He put the devil on notice. His entry into the world was an open attack. Personified evil had always hated Him but at that point they hated Him all the more because He had the audacity to set foot on their turf. That’s how they saw it then and still do. They stole the planet from Him, in a sense. He decided to take it back. He could have simply eliminated them all whenever He felt like it, both demons and evil humans. But regarding the latter, He instead chose the path of love and vulnerability. He wanted us to know He is no threat to us. He wants us to know He actually loves us and wants to save us. Some will never accept His love but a relative few will. For those who reject Him it is their choice. At the end they can blame no one but themselves. Maybe most never understand the full implications of such a decision.

NO MIDDLE GROUND

“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” [Matthew 12:30][1]

I remember an event in my early Christian life when I was witnessing to someone. Of course, I was witnessing to just about everybody but certain events stand out in my memory more. This was one. The young guy I was talking to was listening to me and fully understood good and evil. Though a sinner, he didn’t see himself as evil or being on the wrong side. But he also knew he was not all that righteous except in his own mind and according to the world’s culture. The people he hung around and were familiar with were basically “good.” Most people never see a problem with oneself or one’s friends until a comparison is made. They consider themselves good because they compare themselves to the dregs of society and criminals. However, when one makes the comparison to the Lord Jesus and real Christians who don’t engage in unrighteous behavior and live according to a Biblical standard, they suddenly see their lives in a different light. They may even get convicted.

This is what the guy said in answer to this: “What about a third possibility? What if one doesn’t live for the devil or for God? What if he just lives in the middle?” I quickly told him there actually is no middle. There is no middle ground. No such place actually exists in the spiritual world. One is either on the side of righteousness with the Lord or one is against Him.

If I remember right, there was a brief moment of silence while he considered what I said. I’m sure he understood the implications. He knew he never made a decision for the Lord and didn’t see the need for it. But he likely also felt he was not an evil man who supported the devil. He thought he was just a good guy living life and doing what one must do in this world to make it and would like to have some fun along the way. Most people are like this. I don’t blame them for feeling that way. Life can be rough and for some it is much rougher than it is for others.

We parted amiably. He understood my point and I think he saw for the first time that there really isn’t any middle ground. But he never changed his life in the brief time I knew him. Most people don’t. When one tries to understand this principle further, however, and gains a more mature understanding on the matter, one is forced to recognize that any middle ground between good and evil can’t possibly exist. One is on one side or the other. If one believes in a middle one is not on the side of good no matter how much he or she may be convinced otherwise.

MAKING YOUR ELECTION SURE

Not to belabor the point, but most Christians never actually make a decision for the Lord. They exist in a nether world of their own making, likely deceived by faux Christian leaders, many of whom are also deceived. It never matters what the Word of God says to these people. They will always find a reason to discount Scripture to suit their purposes. They belong to denominations which put their own teachings above those of the Lord. Or they belong to no church and largely trust their own judgments, though such are never fully based on Scripture.

I remember talking to one such Christian once and referred to the integrity of the Bible but this person quickly disparaged the veracity of the written Word, in that no one can really trust that everything written in the Bible is actually true, especially after so many centuries. Yet, strangely enough, this person was a denominational Christian of a certain sort, attended church, and absolutely fully believed in that denomination’s teachings. In other words, this person’s chosen denomination was based on the Bible but apparently did not believe what was written in it, while the denomination’s teachings based upon it were perceived as legitimate and true. Go figure. One would think a reasonably intelligent person could see this logical fallacy but many don’t.

ONE IS EITHER ALL IN OR ALL OUT

The Lord Jesus is the Cornerstone. He is the foundation. He is the ultimate appeal to authority. He never allowed, in any of His teachings, the possibility of any other authority but His own. He taught pure truth. He taught the reality of good and evil. He actually fully exposed evil. He fully exposed the devil. No one had ever done that before. He pulled back the curtain of this world and revealed everything behind it, including the plans and machination of pure evil. He showed how everyone who has ever lived is influenced by this evil and broken by it, compromised by it, deceived by it, and greatly lessened because of it. He taught that the only solution was to face it head-on and fight it, which He did.

Now, had not a few good-hearted people already tried such a thing? Had not many righteous-to-be wannabes taken on evil in some form or another prior to that time or since? And the answer, of course, is yes, and that some small victories were certainly won. But these were usually only minor nicks to great evil and evil likely struck back and won again. The moral of this story is that most are no match for the great evil in the world. How can they be? They are compromised and weakened by personal sin.

The Lord, however, has never been compromised by sin. And that’s the difference between Him and everybody else. If one has any unconfessed sin and refuses repentance then one can forget about engaging in a spiritual fight. He will lose. Every time. The only way to defeat evil, really defeat it, is to attack it from a purely righteous vantage point. The Lord Jesus grants us this vantage point. Because He has the means to take away our sin we have the means to win spiritual fights. Evil simply cannot stand up to pure righteousness. Righteousness will always defeat it. Always. This is why it is imperative to not only “follow” the Lord but stand with Him in spiritual battle. It is the only way victory can be achieved.

The gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit, which fills one with powerful courage, makes this possible.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Achieving the Objective in the Face of Adversity

           Followers of Jesus are often attacked in ways that cannot be anticipated. Veteran believers have been attacked so many times and in so many ways one would think they could learn to prepare for such whizzing cannonballs from out of left field and howitzers from the darkness of deep space. We all know it happens, it will happen, and there is nothing to do about it happening.

         Persecution is simply a fact of the real Christian’s life, and it takes many forms. Many are subtle and arrive from various, seemingly unconnected sources. The worst forms come through people you know. Possibly the worst form of all is associated with betrayal at the hands of a friend.

         All such persecution took place against the Lord Jesus, the One who pioneered what we call Christianity—the One who first stepped forth to face the full brunt of the devil’s attack. He told His hand-picked men that it would happen to them also, that it went with the territory, and that there was essentially no way to fulfill God’s will and attend to our callings without taking shots, some very severe, from rabid spiritual enemies.

         Judging by what happened to the Lord, the apostles, and the early saints, the devil is a dirty fighter.

         “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

         Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

         A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.

         Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matthew 10:16-28]

         All people experience fear, and at times the fear meter spikes. The Word of God says that people have fatal heart attacks due only to fear. It is a powerful emotion brought on by tough circumstances, sometimes dire, and is often the result of spiritual retaliation. Those people who never surrender their lives to God will potentially fear everything and everyone but God, and as a result have no answers for fears arising from very real circumstances.

         But the Lord teaches us to fear Him. He clearly illustrates the fact that God has the ability and authority to destroy an unrepentant sinful person, both body and soul, by tossing him or her headlong into the fires of hell.

         It is Scriptural passages such as this that cause nominal believers to question the Word of God and wonder if they will continue on in their trek toward total faith in God. They think that maybe such a passage was added later by a scribe or was translated incorrectly. Or maybe the verses were written down verbatim per the Lord’s teachings. And maybe, just maybe, one should cease and desist from his or her sorry, disrespectful, and rebellious ways, and FEAR GOD

         Considering the fact that non-believers have no answers for their fear beyond mental therapy and drugs, and that real Christians experience peace, courage, and strength by trusting in and obeying the Lord in the midst of terrifying circumstances, it would follow that such directives are absolutely true.

         The cool thing about surrendering to God, despite the devils lies to the contrary, is that one is putting oneself under the authority of a loving and merciful Creator.

         “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” [John 6:37-40]

         Yet, even though we may be in the will of God and be loved as a child of God and be watched over by God and be in the hands of God, spiritual attack and persecution are still in play and will happen as a matter of course. In fact, the more one lives for God, the closer one gets to God, and the more one successfully attacks the enemies of God, the more attack and persecution one will experience.

         Therefore, the idea of a peaceful, calm, and steady Christian experience devoid of any form of retaliatory murder, bloodshed, dirty fighting, vile and untrue accusations, filthy gossip, and persecution is simply and unequivocally not Biblical. It is manmade. It is devoid of life. And it is fake.

         Real Christianity is only for the valiant and courageous who are willing to put everything on the line and face the devil head on. Such followers of the Lord are either fearless or will never allow fear to stop them from achieving the objective. Winners are those who endure to the end, who finish a specific trek or mission, and who see things through regardless of impossible obstacles, wicked betrayals, and all forms of attack. They are those who complete the course.

         None of it is possible without the Lord but that does not make it easy. Just because the Lord Jesus is with His sons and daughters in the fight and on task does not mean such battles and spiritual construction projects are a breeze.

         But it does mean one thing. It means that as long as one continues to respect and honor the Lord Jesus and maintains his or her faith, courage, and obedience toward Him it will get done.

         The job will be completed.

         The objective will be achieved.

         “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.

         Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

         Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you?

         Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:5-9] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.