Rev. Scott Powell advises all to claim the day for all that is good.
It's a discouraging world when you watch the news. Violence, hate, and division abound. For an “enlightened culture”, I'm not sure I see much advancement. Usually, it's a trade-off. We fight for equality, but instead of lifting others up to equality we tend to drive others down into misery. Sometimes, it just feels like we are losing the fight.
We? I mean the followers of Jesus who have taken up the call to reach this broken world with the Good News. Surely, this world could use some Good News!
Fight? I mean the call to exemplify the qualities of Christ, given to us by the Spirit...what we call the Fruit of the Spirit. Let me quickly remind you of those qualities: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
We believe the front line of this battle is somewhere “out there”. But I find the front line to be closer to home. In fact, I believe the key battle is in the hearts of Christians. If we lose the battle in our hearts, what hope is there for the unbelieving world? It's a perception that I see in the church. We are losing ground, we are seeing defeat. And we begin to abdicate to the pressures and trends of the day, instead of charging the hill with the Good News of Redemption and Restoration.
But it's only a perception.
Let me lift your spirits. The war has already been won. Jesus defeated sin and death at the Cross and on Resurrection Sunday. The victory line has been drawn. Romans 16:20 says that “the God of Peace will soon crush Satan underneath YOUR feet (emphasis added).” Because of Christ's victory, YOU can claim victory. Or how about 1 John 3:8 which says “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” It's been done!
There's a new song out today called “Not Today”, written by Joel Houston and Matt Crocker. It's a new song, but an old rallying cry. The last stanza of the chorus simply states “Let the devil know not today”.
I like it. It's about perception. It's about claiming the victory of Christ in our lives. It's about applying that victory as an inherited right of the adoption children of God. Whatever the tabloids say, whatever you read on social media, whatever you see on the television...don't let it take away your victory. Don't abdicate the Fruits of the Spirit in discouragement. Face your Goliaths as if you already know the outcome. And when the Prince of Lies distorts the Truth in your life, say it...not today, devil. You don't get my joy. You don't get my peace. You don't get my love.
That's what the unbelieving world wants to see...needs to see...in Christians. We don't get ugly when the world gets ugly. We don't have to. We don't return insult for insult. We were loved, and so we are called to love. We were given grace and mercy, so we extend grace and mercy. We aren't an exclusive people, we invite and usher the lost to the great banquet table.
Claim the victory today in your heart.