BE STRONG IN GOD!
By Lay Pastor Jusuf Wibisono
Lemah Putro, Sunday, December 9, 2018
Let’s welcome the Heavenly greetings of peace. Then the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will be among us and ready to bless us. Are we ready to welcome Him? It all depends on us. Do we need His blessings or do we prefer clinging to our worries?
Receive His blessings to confront the upcoming, gloomier year as the Bible says that this world is passing (1 John 2: 17). Be willing and ready to receive blessings from heaven instead of from the world.
What kind of blessing does the Lord have in store for us today? Ephesians 6: 10 writes, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
Please note that the blessing from heaven is the strength in the Lord making us children of victory when confronted with multiple challenges in relation to politics, economy, health, marriage, home lives and social issues.
How do we obtain strength and power from the Lord? By taking up the whole armor of God (Ephsians 6: 11-17). We have to take defensive as well as offensive measures when dealing with the devil with all his deceit and trickery.
In Joshua 5: 13-15, the Bible shows us the right way how to be strong in the Lord, ”And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come. ‘And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.“
What attitude should we take to stay strong in the Lord?
Joshua showed his great respect to the Commander of the army of the Lord. He even humbled himself, worshipping Him with his face touching the earth.
It is our humility that makes it possible for us to receive the Word of God. On the contrary, if we feel capable, strong, smart, etc., we will not need the Lord and push His presence aside. On this account, we on our part will miss a lot.
We do need the sword of the Spirit, namely, the Word of God, to face the world with its tremendously strong influence. It is as strong as the city of Jericho manifestly drenched in
wickedness and uncleanliness. God sent Joshua to overpower Jericho and his power rested on his humility.
Do we have humility with us to welcome the coming Christmas ministries? Keep in mind that the more humble we are, the more the Lord will use us and that the sword of His Word is able to get the upper hand over all kinds of challenges we are confronted with. On top of that, we will be a blessing to others wherever we are as long as we possess the sword of God’s Word that sanctifies our lives.
The Word of God is not only to hear but also to put into practice. Children, for example, are to obey their parents in order to live a long, happy life (Ephesians 6: 1-3); fathers are not to upset their children (v. 4); slaves are to obey their masters (vv. 5-7).
Admittedly, it is not that easy today to raise children of millennial generation due to the impacts of high technology. We each need to be humble and beg for the power of the Word which empowers us to gain self-control as our egos soar so high beyond control.
Joshua humbled himself, falling on his face to the earth. This demonstrates a sense of zero-point humility. Simply put, he openly admitted that he was nothing. Therefore, God made him a conqueror. As Moses’ servant, Joshua was faithful to his master. Joshua needed a transformation into a tough young man who counted on the Word of God.
Do not give up easily. Do not refuse to serve the Lord for one reason or another (still young, unexperienced, etc.). God is mighty to transform anyone who is willing to serve Him as long as they want to stay humble and obey His Word. Do not count on human strength, riches, expertise and the like. Without God’s presence, all these will bring about failures.
Anyone who has been renewed and made righteous has peace and the joy of the Holy Spirit in their heart. They praise and glorify God since they cannot hold back the joy flowing out of the mouth.
Readiness to fight
The Commander of the army of the Lord held a sword in his hand. The unsheathed sword was ready to use to fight off the enemy.
As worriors of God with the sword of Spirit, namely, the Word of God, we are to stay ready to go to war (Ephesians 6: 17).
Also, we are to live as children of light (Ephesians 5: 8). We, therefore, no longer live in darkness, carousing, drunkenness, immorality, wickedness, strife and envy as all these make up the old clothing (Romans 13: 12-13). Instead, we must “awake from sleep” since salvation is nearer than when we believed (v. 11) and put on the Lord Jesus Christ as the weapon of light (v. 14).
Stay alert! Do not fall asleep “embracing” the sword something like what king Saul did. He was asleep and his spear was stuck in the ground next to his head while his guards were sleeping all around him (1 Samuel 26: 7). David could have killed him at the time to exact revenge on him, but he did not want to. David just took the spear with him and went to the top of the hill where he shouted blaming Saul’s guards who had not guarded their master well (vv. 13-16).
Willingness to be renewed is what it takes to experience ongoing renewal – like a lump of clay turned into a beautiful pot through the process of hammering and sweltry firing. No matter how hot the “fire” of challenges and problems we are going through, we are in the hands of the Lord. With this in mind, never quickly give in to fate!
Weren’t we created according to His image and likeness (Genesis 1: 27) and destroyed by sin? However harsh God’s Word may sound, be willing to be transformed through His Word into a new creation in Him. For that reason, it requires humility and perseverence to undergo the process. That way, we will get the power to rule over all creatures on earth and get blessed with children and grandchildren to inhabit the world (vv. 26, 28).
Indeed, living up to God’s Word is not as easy as listening to His Word. Just for an illustration: Buying a motorbike is easier than taking care of it. Not well-maintained, a motorbike will break down in no time. In the same way, we need to take care of our lives – bodies, souls and spirits. The Lord wants us to live in holiness. By obeying His Word, our lives will get sanctified. Furthermore, we can act on brotherly love (1 Peter 1: 22).
The more we accomodate and obey the Word of God, the more deeply and firmly the Word will take root in our hearts, and the bigger it will grow. This way, we will be able to resist the attacks of the devil with all his deceit and trickery. Aside from that, we will experience God’s Word firsthand, rather than hearing what people say.
Like Abraham, we may grow older and our physical conditions may grow weaker, but our faith will stay rock solid, standing on the promises of God (Romans 4: 19-25).
Do not quickly yield to the weakening physical conditions due to the aging process. Rather, stand firm on God’s promises even when tests and huge trials come hitting us because He died and rose from the dead for our sake.
We ought to glorify Him to express our gratitude to Him. True, it is not easy to practice, but let’s learn to act on the Word of God since nothing is impossible with God. It should start out with the restoration of marriage. Wife is to submit to / give respect to her husband the way Sarah respected her husband, Abraham, calling him “lord.” Children are to honor their parents despite the fact that they are married and live a comfortable life.
Never again rely on men or your own strength and competence. Instead, change your atitude and count on Him. Learn to master humility and obey the truth of the Word. By doing so, we will be granted strength and power from on high. This is the way how to gain victory over whatever problems that come our way.
Bear in mind that Jesus came into the world and died to defeat the last enemy, namely, death (1 Corinthians 15: 26). With the last enemy defeated, what do our problems mean? Do we worry about our lives? By no means! Having obtained strength and victory, we should become strong in the Lord and we should be able to exalt and glorify Him forever and ever. Amen.