Monday, January 11, 2016

Grin and Bear it

This past summer, I was visiting family and walking up the main street in town.  The sidewalk was just big enough for two people to walk side by side.  Typically, people walking down the sidewalk made room for each other.  If they were walking with someone and saw another coming in the opposite direction, one would move over so that there was room for all to pass.

However, I noticed that not everyone did.  Some would walk with others down the street and continued to do so, even as they saw people coming towards them.  When I encountered such persons, I would automaticaly step on to the grass or street so that they could pass.  In response, they did not say thank you nor even give a smile of acknowledgement or apology; they just kept walking as if I was not even there.

After this happened for the third time, I realized in shock that these people expected me to move out of their way.  They felt entitled and had no consideration for others. They would just bogart their way and expected everyone else to just get out of their way.  Even worse was the realization that I instinctively deferred to these persons every time, without hesitation. Why was I so diffident?

The next time I saw such persons, I did not move.  I did not sidestep into the street.  I stood my ground right where I was. Some eventually moved over so that we all could pass each other.  Some never did, even bumping into me and looking at me as if I had lost my mind for not moving out of their way. I began to wonder why some - by their behavior - seemed to believe that they were worth more than others, while such as myself - by our behavior - seemed to believe that we were worth nothing.

Have you ever seen movies depicting life in America prior to civil rights being in place? Historically, African-Americans were raised to be self-effacing and live in deference to Caucasians. They were to move out of the way, give up their seats, not be heard and be barely seen., etc.  Somehow others had the right to live and prosper, while you did not.  I am not talking about Black vs. White here.  I am speaking of mindsets; in particular the mindset of a slave.

The Devil is a bully.  In his eyes, the world revolves around him and you are nothing but his slave.  He expects you to scamper out of his way and roll over while he bowls you over.  He expects you to grin and bear it when he spits in your face...and many times people do; even Christians, erroneously perceiving that as part of their Christian duty.  Why are many Christians walking around as if they are still slaves to the Devil?  This is because the false church has put forth the image of an effeminate, weak Jesus and have corrupted the meanings of meekness and humility into being passivity.  This false Jesus is the world's depiction of a "nice guy" who is never assertive.  As a result, the false church has molded Christians into being a reflection of this false idol, creating many "nice men" and "nice women" who by default are no threat to Satan whatsoever.

Yet, Jesus did not come to be a nice guy.  He came to destroy the works of the devil.  Do we realize that Jesus was victorious over the Devil as a Lord of hosts (which means armies)?  Do we understand that the Lord never gave deference to the Devil, but submitted to the will of His Father? Do we realize that Jesus has overcome the world and that we share in those victories as His people?  Do we really understand who we are in Christ?

How and when are we to use the authority God has given us to trample on snakes and scorpions (Psalm 91:13; Luke 10:19)?  When are we to be God's battle axe (Jeremiah 51:20; Micah 4:13)?  Why has He equipped us with armor (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 6:11-13; II Corinthians 6:11, 10:4-6; I Thessalonians 5:8)?  Why does God call us to be soldiers and tell us to fight the good fight (II Timothy 2:3-4; I Corinthians 9:26; I Timothy 6:12)?

I had a dream a few years ago where the devil was just throwing me around a room.  He would slam me into one wall and I would fall in a crumpled, hurting ball unto the floor.  Then he would pick me up again and slam me into another wall, where I would fall again to the floor.  This continued for some time until I finally got fed up and yelled at the Devil, "Get your hands off of me in the name of Jesus!"  At that moment, the Devil backed up off of me and literally fled from the room.  At the time, I thought God was impressing upon me the power available in the name of Jesus, as I was contending with several folks about the name "Jesus".  I woke up chuckling and said, "Well, so much for there being no power in the name of Jesus."  Yet, maybe there was more to that dream than I realized?  Maybe God was trying to teach me the need to fight.

As I pondered on this recently, I looked up the word authority and was surprised to find that the first occurrence of the word in the KJV is in the book of Esther.  If you have read this blog for any length of time, then you know that this particular book is the basis for this blog and has always held a special place in my heart.  I knew that the Lord was trying to tell me something.

The context of authority in Esther 9:29 is when Queen Esther and Mordecai wrote to the Jews to commemorate their victory over Haman.  Haman had been promoted by the King and became incensed about the Jewish people because Mordecai refused to defer to him when he walked by.

"And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai." Esther 3:5-6

"Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai." Esther 5:9

What we see in Haman is a depiction of Satan. Satan seeks the world to worship him, defer to him, to move out of his way when they see him coming.  Yet, in Christ, we have overcome the Devil and are empowered to confront him.  Even though the Persian King Ahasuerus had passed dictates requiring people to bow to Haman, Mordecai did not because he honored a higher law than the law of man.  He primarily honored the laws of God and he did not fear what man might seek to do about it.  Therefore, Haman sought to destroy him.

When we too begin to see who are are in Christ and use the resources God has given us to stand against the devil, He will get indignant against us, but he will be powerless to harm us.

"And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him." Esther 6:13

We are assured the victory against our enemies if we would just stand on God's word, but standing doesn't mean inactivity.

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
resist: Greek word anthistemi meaning to set one's self against, to withstand, to resist, to oppose.
Resisting the devil doesn't mean just hoping or praying that he he will go away, or pretending that he is not there.  Neither does resisting the devil mean submitting to God.  We must do both: submit in obedience to the things of God and oppose the devil.  The devil is not going to flee from you until you do both of those things.

Haman wrote a decree to "destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews" (Esther 3:13).  When the King saw that the people of his bride had been targeted for destruction, he did not undo this previous decree from Haman.  Rather, the King gave the Jews the authority to FIGHT!

"Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.  Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal  it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.

Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language. 

And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries: Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar." Esther 8:7-12

Satan has a legal right to oppress those who are in sin, because that is Satan's domain.  He is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the Father of all lies, etc.  However, those who have been redeemed by God and made His own have authority over the Devil.  Jesus has already paid the price and given us this authority.  How sad it is then for those who have been redeemed to still cower under Satan and do nothing while he tries to subvert the things of God. We can either operate in the authority Christ has given us to thwart the ways of the devil or we can stand by and let Satan run roughshod over us and those whom we love.

If the Jews had not used the authority given them by the King to "gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them", then many Jews would have been annihilated.

We do not have to die at the decree of the devil.  We do not have to take his abuses, his lack, his infirmities, his anxiety, his chaos, his perversion, or his second-hand offerings.  It is not Godly or humble to sit by and just take what the Devil is dishing out as if we have no alternative.  In fact, such is nothing but cowardice. Stop trying to be a "nice guy" and become instead the warrior God has redeemed you to be so that captives may be set free.

Many are crying out to God for deliverance from this evil serpent, but God is telling you to pick up the tools He has already given you.  Fight, knowing that He is with you in the battle to provide the victory.  As God told Israel, He has given us the Promised Land, but we must go in and possess it.  We must act upon the faith we say we have in His word and put it into practice in our lives, believing that He is with us to grant us the victory.

I recently shared that I was praying to God for more boldness.  But what is the point of being bold if you back away from the fight?  The day is soon coming where the Antichrist will step up to power and will seek to kill all who serve the Lord. Don't sit passively by and let him destroy your life and the lives of those you love.  While it will be given to him to overcome the saints for a time, there is still much damage we can do to his kingdom, saving many as we bring in the end time harvest.  Put on the whole armor of God and get into battle array.  Take the time now to let the Lord teach your hands to war so that you may stand against the Wicked one in the evil day.  When you do finally leave this world, die with your boots on, but above all, don't just grin and bear it.

Additional Resources
Taking Heaven by Violence - Please read this
Gentleness
You Say You Have Received the Lamb
The Pleading of the Lord
Is Jesus Your Idol?

8 comments:

  1. This is absolutely true! I needed this.

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  2. I felt a quickening within me just by reading this.

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  3. I have gone back and read this much of the week and spent time reading over the attached articles, some more than once. I thank the Lord for using this blog to help so many. My continual prayer is that the Lord will use you for many, many years to come - that He will bring healing to you, dear Sister. He can! Because He IS. He JUST IS! So He Can! :) In the Name of Jesus. Every trial you have faced or are facing is used by the Lord to strengthen the body of Christ.

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  4. Amen! I need this quote from above rooted deep down in my heart: "When we too begin to see who are are in Christ and use the resources God has given us to stand against the devil, He will get indignant against us, but he will be powerless to harm us."

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  5. Amen. The world system trains its people to be nice and politically correct. The Lord trains His people to be spiritual warriors and to destroy the works of the devil.

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