This week, Michael writes: Once upon a time a king, who had conquered many kingdoms, that led his army to a small but respected territory ruled by a chieftain named Abu Tabor. The king had met little resistance defeating his adversaries and taking their land. Abu Tabor's small disciplined army had a reputation of being excellent warriors, so the king sent an emissary to negotiate terms of surrender to avoid a war. The emissary said, "If you surrender and pledge allegiance to my king, we will not need to defeat your warriors and destroy your territory with our overwhelming army." Abu said to the king's emissary, "I've got hundreds of men who are totally devoted to their lord. If you attack us, I'll annihilate your army and I'll have your king chained to my dogs at the end of the battle. The king attacked and by the end of the day the king's army had been decimated and the king was chained to Abu Tabor's dogs. It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Ephesians 6:12-14 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm.”
We need to understand the nature of the battle today around us and the nature of the true enemy. Whether you realize it or not, we are all in a spiritual battle. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers and dominions, against spiritual wickedness from on high. God looks for quality and not quantity. Jesus constantly thinned the crowds. At one point even Jesus' disciples forsook Him. The message God uses to cull the troops is the same as in: Joshua 24:14-15 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
God plus one is a majority, because with God, the minority is the majority. Jesus always said, count the cost before committing to follow him. Peter proclaimed that he was ready to die for Jesus. But Jesus knew that Peter could not be "all in" committed without the Holy Spirit. The spirit of Christ in us, the hope of glory changes men and women, and gives them a new meaning and purpose for life. Many think they're Christians, but they compromise with the ungodly things of this world. What truly changes a person? How do you commit your life to Christ?
Many have prayed the sinners prayer, "Lord I'm not the person you created me to be, but Lord please make me that person." This prayer changed their life. It was the beginning of a lifetime quest to become more like Jesus. In our culture, we "used to be able" find many godly people in our culture. This is no longer true, especially in Southern California. In today's culture, we look for things that cannot satisfy our needs. If we're looking for others to satisfy, we will be continually frustrated. We can't help but disappoint each other. We can't fulfill our vows as "life partners" in relationships.
Let’s continue Michael’s message on devotion in the next post.
In Christ, Brian