I have a lion on the inside of me. Before you send me recommendations for the crazy house, I want to explain to you why there truly is one in there. I am paraphrasing the song by the Newsboys entitled “God’s not Dead” with the lyrics, “God’s not dead, He’s surely alive; He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion.”
But its true: Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah lives in me; and He is roaring. He has something to say to my own heart, my community, my culture and world. Will I let Him speak through me? Or will I keep His voice hushed, until all I hear are the small whispers of what His voice once was.
Fighting for Freedom
I live in the United States of America; a county where I have great freedom to speak my mind, as a woman, as a Christian – and I won’t be imprisoned or killed for it. I can even speak against the government if I wish and I won’t be jailed. I love and appreciate that freedom but I also know that I must exercise and use that freedom, or, over time it will be challenged.
Thomas Carlton, in 1809 first penned the phrase, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” And many others, like Dell Phillips and Thomas Jefferson agreed. Fighting for liberty is our American heritage. It is how America has lasted 200 years.
The World is at War with God
The same also applies to our spiritual lives. Our culture is at war with the God of the bible. James 4:4, 5 NIV
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?”
And our culture is railing against Him. It’s all been prophesied about long ago. Jesus talked about it in Matthew 24, but even further back, David the psalmist spoke of the world’s disagreement of God’s laws in Psalm 2:
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” vs. 1 NIV
It’s happening all over our world. From governments where evil dictators kill Christians to recent developments in my own nation, where prayer and the bible have been taken out of schools, to the punishment of business owners and public employees for holding to their consciouses and the bibles teachings. The leaders of today are starting to throw off God’s laws, which they consider shackles, and freeing themselves to, what they would consider, being able to do whatever they want.
Now, I understand the bible says the heart is exceedingly wicked and can’t be trusted. If we throw off God’s restraints to live how we would want, then we have reason to believe we are living in a wicked society. Do we remember the book of judges in the bible? When Israel had no leader, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes? It was mess after mess with each chapter.
There’s also a principle here that shows obeying His laws actually brings peace and order to a society, even if they don’t really know God. Unfortunately, that’s not been how our nation has been running the past 8 years, and the time before Jesus returns will be no different. In fact, it will be extravagantly worse.
The End is Near
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
So, where do we as Christians fall into this? Things are getting increasingly bad, just as Jesus depicted in Matthew 24 regarding “labor pains” leading up to the time where the Antichrist would arrive. And, I now realize that we’re probably going to be here through the labor. Reading Matthew 24, and then pairing it with what Jesus is telling the seven churches in Revelation 3, and even the whole book, I believe His plan is to keep us here to partner with Him in seeing His judgments come to pass.
It’s definitely not uprooting to anyone’s faith to believe that. On the contrary, I find it very misleading to tell a believer they don’t have to worry about the end, that we’re going to be in heaven somewhere – when a whole book of the bible is dedicated to describing what will happen. He even tells us what to do in the midst of the chaos.
In countries around the world, where the persecution and difficulty is currently intense, like China and the Middle East, Christians are not saying things like, if I can just get raptured, then everything will be fine. Do you know what most of them are saying? Don’t take us out of the fire because the gospel is spreading because of our blood. Read Hearts of Fire by The Voice of the Martyrs and Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. Wow.
The Weak Western Front
Most of us in the West abandon the tenacity we carry simply because we’re not pressed like olives by suffering as our brothers and sisters across the seas are. If we were, we would look at evangelism differently. We’d understand the Holy One who lives inside us differently. We’d be bolder with our faith. We’d stand up for Jesus more, take up our authority, and give the kingdom of darkness a black eye, and knock him out of his societal influence in our nation.
Do you know why there’s rot in our nation today? Because God’s people stopped partnering with Him – for years – and failed to push back the powers of darkness by shining His light into culture. I’m not just blaming our parents generation, the baby boomers, it goes much farther back, and much farther forward. We all have dropped the ball.
So What Do We Do Now?
Well, for one, the Body of Christ in America already started. When we voted this election, and we prayed, the powers of darkness over our nation took a blow as a new president, who promised to stand up for righteous causes, like ending abortion instead of expanding it, came into office.
Now, we need to do several more things:
1.) Stand the ground we’ve taken. We don’t compromise on integrity, consistency, or retreat from our efforts to live godly in our personal lives and in public.
2.) Move forward in prayer. We pray for our all our governing officials according to scripture. We also start asking, seeking, knocking and believing God for new, impossible things He wants to do in and through us. We fight with a fresh vigor, under the power of the Holy spirit, not as one who beats the air but as one who hits the target every time. We walk by faith, not by sight.
3.) Carve out more time to spend with God, to more fully receive his love, digest the Word of God, and to keep our hearts in the fiery love of the Father, with all diligence. Because out of it stem the issues of life.
4.) Do more things to benefit His Kingdom. Give something away: time, talents, money, gifts, service, encouragement, forgiveness – not forgetting whatever you’re doing for the least of these, in His name, you will do for Him.
5.) Tell others: our children, family, friends, neighbors and coworkers, and yes, even strangers about the love of God available to them through Christ.
People don’t like hearing about their sin. They don’t want to believe the truth, that they are far from God, but we must make a commitment to love people enough to tell them the full truth. About their sin, and His plan to free them. They won’t understand or have hope unless you tell them about the freedom, and they won’t know their need for freedom unless you tell them about their sin, everyone’s sin.
Full of His Love & Living in the Spirit
Living with our hearts full of His love, doing these above things mentioned, will most likely be considered counter cultural. Because you’ll be spending so much of your time and energy with kingdom things, that the things of this world will grow strangely dim. I can’t tell you not to watch that movie, or to stop doing that sin, or to stop thinking and saying negative things; but you’re not going to want to do them if you are walking in the Spirit.
If you walk in the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Not that the desire won’t be there, but you won’t gratify or fulfill them. Your friends might change. Your desires certainly will. And, if you embrace all that Jesus embraced, you will be wielding the sword of the indestructible life; living the words of God.
It’s the life I’ve longed to live since I was a teenager, and it’s dwelling place is in the chaos, but also above it. The body is in the mess, but the mind is flying like an eagle above it. And nothing can stop you.
I think John the Baptist had that life, even when he died. Jesus sure did. Let’s go on that journey together, until we end up with the multitude of family – believers who will all arrive at destination Jesus, the race finished. It is there we will hear, “well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”
I close with a tag from Darlene Zzschechs song of victory, In Jesus name. It was performed by David Forlu at IHOP Kansas City’s Onething conference this year.
God is fighting for us,
Pushing back the darkness
Lighting up the kingdom
That cannot be shaken
In the name of Jesus
The enemy’s defeated,
And we will shout it out, shout it out
In Jesus name!
Shout it out, Church! The wedding is almost here!