War and Peace
Have you been reminded lately that you cannot lose? No, we are not making reference to a game, but rather to a war, The War of all wars. It is often difficult to keep in our daily frame of reference that we are smack dab in the middle of a cosmic war. Nevertheless, we are at war and we are a part, most of us privates, in the victorious army of the King of Kings.
Like privates in the U S Army, we do not get all the information regarding the war, or even the detail strategies of any particular battle. Jesus, and His Father and the Holy Spirit are in command. Our part is to follow orders.
The best soldiers in any army do not spend their time trying to figure out the strategy of the commander. But rather, they spend their time trying to figure out how they might do their explicit assignment more effectively and to best understand the commands they are given.
Jesus commanded us to make disciples. He said in effect: “where ever you are going make disciples teaching them to obey all I have commanded you.” Some who take serious this command focus significant energy on the teaching part of this command. However, if we carefully examine Jesus’ methods of making disciples, we see that He firstbecame a disciple then by His life He taught His disciples by His example. He did not use a power point presentation or a three color three ring binder packaged lesson plan so that His disciples could make copious notes or fill in the multiple blanks.
The art of making disciples is to become one. It must start in our hearts. It is said of Jesus: Philippians 2:5-8 (AMP)
5 Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.
8 And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!
When God commands us to do something and we receive His command and begin to take a baby step of faith in the direction of His command, then something miraculous takes place; He does it!
Look with me for a moment at Moses. At the burning bush God told Moses: “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters andoppressors; for I know their sorrows andsufferings andtrials. And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand andpower of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a land good and large, a land flowing with milk and honey.” God was calling Moses but He first said that He would do it! Moses began like most of us thinking that it was really up to him to pull off this impossible task. He missed the statement of God, “I have come down to deliver them.”
Quickly fast forward to Acts 1:8 where Jesus commanded His disciples to be His witnesses and to go unto the entire world starting in Jerusalem then Judea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the world. He told them to first wait until the Spirit was poured out. Even a casual observation of the book of Acts revels that what Jesus commanded them to do He did. The disciples took a baby step and proceeded to wait and pray. Then in the middle of their prayer meeting the Spirit fell upon them and the result was the first unprepared sermon from an untrained pastor who was now giving his first sermon. God did it. The result: three thousand souls were added to the church.
God set up Peter’s second sermon by directing Him to command the lame beggar to be healed in the Name of Jesus. Peter was required to act as the Spirit prompted him to both proclaim his healing by his mouth and also reach out his hand and lift the beggar to his feet. Then Jesus did it! The result: Peter’s second sermon and two thousand more new believers. God set it up. The Spirit brought the words. Jesus Name was lifted up and the church is now at five thousand. God did it. [sometimes our required baby steps demand more than our mouths]
We do not have time to examine the way in which God did it regarding His command to be His witnesses beyond Israel. Take a look at Acts chapter ten to see again how God did what Jesus commanded.
Now all of us who are privates in this war can take heart; whatever our Commander commands He will do! We are not required to be perfect before we begin to make disciples, but we are required to take some baby steps. First we must make a strong effort to have this mind in us that was also in Christ Jesus. We must cry out to God to break us and bend us and wring out the pride from our lives. I believe most of us have no idea of the destructiveness of pride or the power of humility for the cause of Christ. Ask God to open your eyes. Ask Him to show you the pride in your life that is treason in the War for the Glory of God.
This humbling of our ourselves is not only the first and best step in beginning the process of becoming a disciple, but it is also the first step that God has commanded as He spoke of healing of our Land. God said in II Chronicles 7:14 “ if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and Heal their land.”
This week will you cry out to God regarding your pride? Will you take the baby step of seeking to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God? Will you expect to see God use you in the lives of others and be His witness as you respond to the promptings of His Spirit? Will you pray for revival for our community? Remember if we take the Spirit prompted baby steps, HE WILL DO IT!