Continued from Part 2 in previous post
They say that a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Well, that has certainly been the case for us both through this vision. In one split second we were given a picture which has spoken to us over the years about truths such as:
- When you choose to follow Jesus, you automatically enter into battle, spiritual battle, so you need to count the cost and be sure that the side you are fighting on is the very one you will remain in until the end of the fight, because once you step forward down that path, you are going to encounter fierce opposition, masses of discouragement, exhaustion, hurt and at times an enormous sense of loneliness. Picture the salmon swimming upstream as the force of the water takes everything in him to drive it in completely the opposite direction. That is how a Christian in the battle between God and the Enemy, will often feel as those around him go with the flow of an easy life giving into their every fleshly tendency and desire to satisfy themselves and pursue their will, and only through the strength of the Lord Jesus Christ whose Spirit lives within you, you will be able to overcome such consuming forces.
- When you choose to follow Jesus, you will be blessed with seeing things that others may not yet see, hearing things others cannot yet hear, and that advantage, that anointing will, although you may or may not be aware of it, reveal, unearth and strip open the hidden secrets, the lies and the evil thoughts of many hearts you interact with. Many who don’t know God will rebel against such insight into their souls and will treat you like an outcast, will mock you and belittle you. However, the fiercest opposition may often come by the hands of other Christians who although inspired by the journey of others, may have counted the cost and are not prepared to enlist in the battle, because they know how much is at stake and that once their heart says yes, it is impossible to turn back for if you do, you will only be fooling yourself and you will be living a lie. These lukewarm, half-hearted, double-minded Christians will be characterised by a form of godliness but will deny the very power they claim to believe in, and when they see an inkling, a sparkle, a glimpse of that power within you which convicts their own half-heartedness, they will be used by the enemy to destroy your hope and your vision. If they are not committed enough to achieve what they would like, they will do what they can to ensure you don’t either. The word of God expresses this much more beautifully and to the point than I ever could:
Hebrews 3, 12-13 – “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” When you endeavour and strive to live and breathe the word of God each day, this will open up in others many wounds which are not yet healed and like trying to approach a wounded lion, the forces of hell will come against you. Make no mistake about it!
- The battle will not only be against the forces of evil coming through others, but you will have to come against the toughest opponent yet, the fleshly desires, the power of evil within your own spirit, the lies of the enemy who will little by little eat away at the wonderful hope that lies within you, the wonderful purpose that drives you, that gets you up every morning to fight the battle one more day. When I think of that sword, I am reminded of the amazing honour that it really is to be called to fight for what Jesus proclaimed, and although there are many times when I am ready to put my sword down and walk away from it all, that wonderful gift of that vision allows me once more to see the reality beyond the one we see, the one we live in, a reality which expands way, way beyond any trouble or trial I may be going through; and I am reminded that I am not fighting alone, but led by the mightier of warriors that ever lived who overcame even death on a cross.
- Turning back from the ground so far won in the battle is not an option, because just as fast as you advanced ground, you will lose it too when you put your sword down and either take a break or give up altogether. As soon as you can say AMEN, the forces of evil in this world will engulf you and you will once again become entangled in sin and a downward spiral driven by your will above everyone else’s, even the Lord’s. I was recently reminded of King David’s poorest decision yet when he chose not to go to battle against the Ammonites. My friend Larry pointed out how “King David’s refusal to fight caused him to commit adultery and murder, an innocent child died, Absalom rebelled against him, his concubine wives were raped, his kingdom was given to another and the sword never departed from his house.”
WHEN WE ABANDON THE PURPOSE WE WERE CALLED FOR, LIFE BEGINS TO FALL APART
I leave you with another bit of Scripture which has spoken to me in more ways than one and which I hope will encourage you if any of what you just read strikes a chord with you:
So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
How interesting that my earthly father used to refer to me as “the sparrow” when I was a child, because I was so thin. God speaks to us in so many ways, but are we prepared to press the “pause” button in our lives to really listen and act on what we heard?