30 Apr 2013
Do you live with the daily awareness that you are in a cosmic battle? In the Western Church it is doubtful that many live with such unvarying alertness. ? Even when we become aware of this crucial battle, we frequently think of it in such indistinct terms that the import of our participation is lost in a vague fog of gross generalization. What does this battle mean to the heart of God? How serious is the absence of accurate awareness for our own eternity?
First, regarding God, it seems in human terms, His battle against Satan is a significant issue in His short list of very high priorities. In other words for God, as far as we can understand from His revealed Word, winning in this battle is one of His very highest priorities. Some aspects of this battle are beyond our ability to comprehend. But God does expect us to participate in the aspects of this battle that we can understand. God desires and deserves glory from all creation particularly His children; hallowed be His Name!
As in nearly everything related to God and man, there is God’s part to initiate and man’s portion requiring a response. While in this battle our role is clearly one of a soldier there also exists a function where we can participate as a prize. A good soldier is always in complete submission to his commander. However if an enemy can entice an otherwise good soldier to rebel against his commander and join in the enemy’s activities, this soldier ceases to be a true soldier and is transformed into a prize in the camp of the enemy.
We in the West are regularly being enticed to value activities above submission. We are being lured to prioritize activity for God above and often in lieu of the pure worship of God in Spirit and Truth. We each have an intrinsic desire for significance. This desire is not sinful; it was designed by God, our creator. However, appealing to our desire for significance is one of the ways that our enemy attempts to shift us from soldier to prize.
If Satan can get us to settle for the perspective of the prevailing importance of activity, we will by default begin to move away from the power of the intimacy of the presence of God and His Holy Spirit. Of course we do not, like a military traitor, go over to the other side permanently; but we can rather consistently fail to provide the glory and praise to God that He deserves and desires.
We are clearly told that God does have activities for us to walk in. They are planned out beforehand by God and our walking in them involves our response of love, obedience, and faith. Our activities for God should be built on a foundation of our deepening relationship with God. We are His workmanship.
From our lower human reference, the battle for God’s glory is won or lost based on what we believe. It is really a battle of perspectives. If we spend adequate time focused on God’s truth developing our relationship with Jesus we will regularly bring glory to God. However, we often spend too much time listening to the propaganda of the enemy which encourages us to rebel against our authentic Commander.
Jude, the half brother of Jesus wrote a passionate letter that seems to be written in times not entirely unlike our own. He warned against the false teaching and motives of carnal men who in the name of Christ were attempting to pull faithful men away from the truth. Jude accurately describes the battle. Scholars indicate that Jude makes use of many military terms throughout this short book to describe the conflict between those who are promoting the cause of the enemy and those who are serving their true and Living God.
Jude 1:19-21 (AMP)
19 It is these who are [agitators] setting up distinctions and causing divisions—merely sensual [creatures, carnal, worldly-minded people], devoid of the [Holy] Spirit and destitute of any higher spiritual life.
20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;
21 Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal.
Jude provides for us four potent instructions for winning this battle: build yourselves up on your most Holy faith He begins by addressing us as beloved. This is a word that indicates that we are selected recipients of the amazing love of God. So we must first know who we are, chosen wholly loved of God. From this understanding we are obligated to build ourselves up in our holy faith. It seems that at least part of the process of this building up is found in the next phrase, praying in the Holy Spirit.
Praying in the Holy Spirit apparently means to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit regarding when to pray, what to pray, andhow to pray. This kind of praying will not only bring to our godly purposes enormous power, but will additionally afford guidance for our thoughts and actions, providing protection from the propaganda of the enemy.
Next Jude instructs us to guard and keep yourselves in the love of God. This does not refer to the source of the love of God but rather to our reception of it. God’s love is always flowing out to us. However we are not always in appropriate places to receive God’s love. God’s love, like the sun, is always shinning, however there are often days when the clouds of sin and self shelter our eyes and hearts from warmth and nourishment of the sun. Likewise God’s love is always available but we must guard and keep ourselves away from the shade of sin such that we can consistently bask in God’s amazing love.
Lastly Jude encourages us to expect and patiently wait for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the context of revival, perhaps these words from Jude are potently pertinent. Expect and wait patiently for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must abide in the vine if we expect to bear fruit. When we abide first, our prayers and our activities guided by God’s Spirit will be supernaturally effective. As we abide and expect patiently, in His time, Hewill send revival!