The Christian life is not for wimps; I expect you found that out a long time ago. We follow someone who was mocked, laughed at, misunderstood by his own family, criticised, run out of town, abused, rejected, betrayed, and then executed by the religious establishment for not being religious enough. Why then do we Christians seem surprised when letting people know we are following this Jesus that we get the mickey taken out of us, are criticised, misunderstood, and isolated and kept at arm’s length by people who think of us as ‘religious’.
Following Jesus means that sometimes we’ll be hurt.
Following Jesus is sometimes very costly, as Masih das and Sarita like many others around the world languishing in prisons for their faith have found out.
The Christian life is a battlefield. Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war; but with no guns.
Satan has us in his sights, but he’s not after what we think he’s after – our health, finances, relationships, or family.
No – he’s after our faith, your faith, my faith, as Jesus right hand man Simon Peter found
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
This is where we need the Bible. We need to feed our faith otherwise we’ll be a wimp and in the hour of testing collapse. Is your faith in need of some food? Are you starving it?
Reading Isaiah recently has encouraged my faith in the face of great disappointments and discouragement over the injustice of what is happening in India, as we’ve tried to focus on 2 Chronicles 20v15 ‘The battle is not yours but God’s’.
The king of Judah, Hezekiah, could not have been in a worse place. His country had been invaded by the mighty Assyrians who had captured 46 fortified cities, carried away200,150 of Hezekiah’s people as slaves and reduced Hezekiah to a ‘a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage’.
Hezekiah tore his clothes and dressed in sack cloth as an expression of his repentance and desperate need for God to help him. Read his prayer for deliverance in Isaiah 37:14-20. It’s a prayer of abdication. He is stepping off the throne and calls on the Lord to be the true ruler of his people, the real king of Judah.
This was the moment that the Lord had been waiting for.
This was the moment the Lord stepped and fought the battle for Jerusalem’s deliverance from the huge army surrounding it.
All by Himself. With no help from any human. It was astonishing.
To get perspective bear in mind that 80,000 people were killed when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945. Isaiah tells us that 185000 Assyrian soldiers were killed in one night single handedly by an angel. This is actually the largest number of people ever killed in battle on a single day in history, and it was accomplished as a one sided rout by a single angel.
No wonder this story is recounted in three different places in the bible. He really wants us to understand what happens when we confess that he is far bigger than we think.
It attracts the help of the real King of Judah, who says ‘the battle is not yours, but His’. (2 Chronicles 20v15)
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