Week of August 5, 2012
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go." -Joshua 1:7
When God sends us into the enemy’s camp to rescue people, He requires careful obedience. Think landmines. Think giants! Where there are spiritual strongholds, there is much resistance. One must hear clearly from God regarding strategy and follow that strategy every step of the way. God knows and sees all things. He knows what the enemy will do before he does it, before he even sets the first trap in an attempt to attack our weaknesses and thwart God’s mission. God is smarter than our worst adversaries, and He knows just how to help us accomplish His missions His way. To be successful, we must not lean on our own understanding, but consistently put God’s ways before ours (Proverbs 3:5-6). In rescue missions, our level of spiritual maturity gets tested, and pride gets broken. We must ask ourselves, “Am I willing to sync up with God for victory?”
Why does God arrange for special rescue missions? Because He loves us too much to let us (and others) stay stuck. In rescuing others from the grip of spiritual darkness, we grow, we trust, we are refined as others are set free. We become precision instruments for God’s further use.
God will coordinate settings and people. He will bring us in at just the right time. We are to pray for others along the way, even those who resist us and afflict us the most. They are often the ones who need the most help. They are often the ones who are the most bound up, the most insecure, the most fearful and the enemy’s greatest weapon against us. Often their dysfunction is a not only a major influence within the arena in which God sends us, it is the enemy’s first establishment of the very stronghold that perpetuates the spiritual darkness in that arena. Be vigilant, for their perceptions are crooked, and they will not like us if our spirit is one of light. Some of them even call themselves Christians. But they do not walk the walk. Instead, they seek to fulfill their own agendas. Sometimes, hatred seethes beneath the surface. These are frustrated people who will try to tear us down at every opportunity. Still, we must stand and do what God has assigned us to do.
God knows exactly what He’s doing when He sends us—the willing vessel—in to break up the mess by speaking truths, challenging ungodly mindsets, extending love and offering invitations. God has just the plan to work around, step over and, ultimately, dismiss evil.
God’s plans are step by step. He typically will not reveal His entire plan to us at one time, and we may not even understand the first or second or third step, but we must act anyway, according to His instructions. Beware of being provoked. The enemy may especially use injustice and our distain for injustice to provoke us to stand up, speak out prematurely or otherwise inappropriately and cause us to stumble. Don’t take the bait. Be wiser.
In business and in ministry, many people will pretend to be your friend, but, in their heart, they are not. They can be competitive and self-seeking. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Matthew 10:16 tells us, "Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves." Be careful sharing information with those people, especially issues of your heart, for they do not have your best interest at heart; and they will use the information you feed them willingly against you.
Moving out into a rescue mission is often not easy. We learn as we go. God knows that we will not do it perfectly. But He, nonetheless, honors our obedience and courage to go. His mercy and grace is bigger than any of our shortcomings along the journey. And He is a God of second chances. He will use our stumbles to test us and perfect us. Everything that comes against us in the journey is actually an instrument God uses to propel us higher, to seek Him for His guidance, His better way. In this process, God takes us from glory to glory, from holiness to holiness. Truly, we are dependent upon God for all things, regardless of whether we know it. If we’re living the Christian adventure with an earnest heart, He will get us to victory. He will use it all, and we should count it as joy (James 1:2-4). He will help us because He loves us as much as the very ones He’s sending us to rescue.
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