Monday, March 18, 2013

Conquerors!


"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

-- Romans 8:35-39 ESV

"[M]ore than conquerors"....

Soak in that for a moment.

In the context of Paul the citizen, the conqerors were the Romans; an empire who ruled a fair portion of the world that was known to the people of Palestine and Asia Minor.  In the context of Paul the Israelite, when they had claimed the Promised Land, it was not uncommon to bring the existing settlement or city to utter ruin including all of the farm lands, cattle and sometimes, even people.  No tillable ground was left for the enemy to replant.  No stone left upon another.

The life of a committed follower "in Christ Jesus" sits ATOP these definitions of conqerors as "more than conqerors".  Ponder the implications of this.  No matter the circumstances of life, no matter the difficulties, no matter the distress that appears unbearable, being "in Christ" gives one access to the power, the love, and the self-control or a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:6-7) to lay waste to any strongholds in the natural life, so there will be no fertile ground for our Enemy to replant seeds of destruction.

Paul's prayer was that we understand this position of "more than conqerors" and walk in it.  Notice again the appearance of power, love and self-control or a sound mind to comprehend.  He prayed:

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

-- Ephesians 3:14-21

Thursday, March 07, 2013

He Fights

I watched the first few minutes of a mini-series on the History Channel called, "Vikings". Hey, I'm a guy, how am I going to resist a show called "Vikings"?!

The main character takes his 12 year old son to the "city" for the rite of passage of becoming a man, and to hear the "assignments" from their liege lord for the coming year. You see, this man is apparently some sort of soldier for hire.

On their journey to the city, they have made camp and recline by the fire to rest for the night. The father begins a conversation with his son which I found intriguing.

"Are you ready to receive your arm ring and become a man?"

"Yes."

"And what does a man do?"

"He fights."

"And?"

"He looks after his family."

From the mind of a 12 year old comes his picture of manhood; a picture he has painted primarily from watching his father. It occurs to me that our world today is not so different. We men demonstrate manhood to our sons by our actions every day. We teach them to fight, but for what? We fight, sometimes physically, sometimes politically, sometimes emotionally, or we fight in our dedication to things. For things like cars or sports teams or clothes or whatever the toy of the day might be. We teach them to fight on behalf of their flesh. But do we teach them the value of their heart? That their heart is worth fighting for? Jesus thought my heart was worth fighting for or he would never have come.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. -- John 10:10 ESV

An abundant life begins in the heart.

This passage in John 10 speaks about how the Good Shepherd fights for his sheep. Jesus fought and died for your heart. For your son's heart to be in Christ, that is certainly something worth fighting for.