I thought when I was saved that everyone would want to hear God’s word. I believed that their hearts would break when they heard about Jesus sacrifice on the cross. I thought that the truth of the Bible would pierce their hearts as it did mine. I thought and believed in the wrong thing. I interpreted Gods word not returning void as meaning that anyone I talked to would be instantly saved. How wrong I was.
With the gleeful ambition of saving the world, I set out to tell everyone about Jesus. I knew how reading his Word brought truth into mine. So why wouldn’t others receive it? My naivete was as bold as my ambition. Never once did it occur to me that people could hear and not receive. Or that Jesus meant what he said when he stated: “many are called, but few are chosen.”
I didn’t know that it was God who decides softens and hardens hearts. That is wasn’t up to me. So now I speak to the latter group as I once did the former. Those who have been chosen. Be careful with your ideas about yourself. Being the elect of God doesn’t mean you’re special. It has nothing to do with you. In fact, most things about God have nothing to do with you. Allow me to be cynical for a moment. God doesn’t need you and your not special. You’re not the superhero waging spiritual warfare in your over-spiritualized theology.
Now your feathers are ruffled. “We wage war against spiritual powers and authorities,” you say. We withstand the battle, we don’t fight it.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18 (emphasis added)
When we put on the armor of God, our action is to be present in prayer and supplication. While it’s vogue to say that we fight the battle, we merely put on what God has given us and pray. Our only weapon is God’s Word which we’ve dulled by our self-reliance. A spiritual life consisting of two verses on Sunday and an Instagram feed of pastoral phrases does not equip an army for battle. Sharpen the weapon of Gods word in your life so that you can do what you’re called to.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
How do you destroy arguments without knowledge? How do you walk in obedience if you ignore the source of instruction? I think too often we rely on the college trick of cramming information just before a test. We retain none of it after, but for that one brief moment, we’re equipped. That is not what God is calling us to. We are not to engage God’s word with brief intensity. We should follow Davids advice and meditate on God’s word day and night (Psalm 1:2) so that when the test comes, we can be ready as Peter instructs us to be.
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15
Equip yourself by meditating on His word. We don’t know when the test will come, but when it does, we should be prepared. Trials will come, and our faith will be shaken. But in that moment it will be our relationship with God, not the fashionable trends of Christian culture, that will help us to stand firm in that evil day.