Devil's Gone and Done It Again...
Dear believers in Jesus,
One of the truths we know, either through the revelation and understanding of scripture or through personal experience, and most often a combination of the two, is that we have an enemy who wants to kill, steal, and destroy. We know, some of us in part and some in wholehearted confidence, that they enemy has dominion over this world (I John 5:19). We don’t have to look far to see the effects – child molestation, hate, sex trafficking, drug pedaling, neglect, greed, racism, crime, adultery. And the list goes on and on. The devil works overtime to make sure that darkness rules this world.
I know this full well. There was a time in my life where the enemy overplayed his hand. He pushed too hard and I saw his ruthless, destructive, deviant tactics in full technicolor. It’s a very personal story that I won’t go into now, but here’s what I will say: in the moment when I came face to face with pure evil, all I could do what say “In the name of Jesus” over and over again. And that was enough. The name of Jesus made the enemy flee. He has to. It’s a promise (James 4:7).
We don’t get that luxury (and some will scoff at the use of “luxury” here) often – to see the enemy for who he really is. Most often he’s furtive, imperceptible, sly. But friends, he’s overplaying his hand right now. You have to see it for what it is.
Where are you fearful of in this midst of this pandemic? What are you most afraid of losing?
And now I’m going to speak the hard truth that the Lord rocked me with this morning. Is it possible that that thing that we're afraid of losing is an idol?
Now obviously I'm not talking here about life and death or wages that we cannot live without. And I am most certainly not talking to third world countries or poverty-stricken communities or people. But for many of us, our Western culture of wealth and status and security needs a little wake-up call.
I know. It hurts to say it just as much as it hurts to read it. Are you worried that your life savings will tank? Then your idol is financial stability. Is your fear or devastation over the fact that you won’t get to play or do something that you love with all your heart? Then your idol is, well, that thing.
We are a major sports fan family (Wreck ‘em). And currently we are crushed by the loss of March Madness. What will we do for the next month? We can’t travel to wonderful places to watch wonderful basketball and see wonderful victories. And we are asking each other, what now? And the Lord says to me – your love for sports has become your idol.
So what does God call us all to do with the “ouch”? What do we do with conviction?
Well first we say, “Lord, what idols do I have?”
Of course, we then must listen. Some answers will come swiftly. Others will surface as we continue to converse with Him.
And then we humble ourselves saying, “Forgive me, Father, for clinging to these things. Forgive me for loving these things more than I love you. Or trusting in these things more than I trust You.”
Whether you are ready to let go yet or not, you say these things, and you say them out loud so that they enemy can hear you too. You say it until you mean it. Your job is confession. His job is heart transformation. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But He can't cleanse what you won't give Him.
And then every time fear or bitterness or anger tries to creep back in, you say “In the name of Jesus,” and the enemy has to flee. He must flee your thoughts and your heart and your actions. When you walk into the grocery store and you see limited supplies, you say, “In the name of Jesus.” When you look at your portfolio (don’t look at your portfolio) and fear creeps in, you say “In the name of Jesus.” When you fret about your child’s school or the long-term impact on your company, you say, “In the name of Jesus.” When you worry about the family member or friend with a compromised immune system, you say, “In the name of Jesus.”
Notice one last thing here. You do NOT have to tell Him what to do with your perceived problem. You simply speak His name over the obstacle or fear or situation. He’s God. Let Him do His will. And then do not worry. Tomorrow has enough worry for itself. Instead, you walk in faith.
One final thing. I addressed this letter to “believers in Jesus.” It’s not that non-believers shouldn’t read it. I would love for people to see Jesus in a whole new light – as the Savior of the world. It’s just that this message, without faith, seems passive. Delusional. Ridiculous.
But with faith, it’s freeing.
Give Jesus a chance to free you. I promise, it will change you.