Are you at all concerned with the direction that our culture is going? Should we even concern ourselves with it? Better yet, should the church be concerned about it? These questions have been rumbling through my head lately as we study the letters of Hosea and Amos in Sunday morning bible class. In that study, one verse stood out to me, found in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”. Hosea and Amos, prophets of God, were commissioned by the Lord to plead with His people that they might repent and return to Him. We get a glimpse into their spiritual condition in Hosea 4:1, “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.” Through time, God’s people became more like their culture instead of influencing the culture about their God. There is no question that Satan is hard at work, like he was back then, to do the same with the church today. So, the question is, “How do we ready ourselves for the spiritual warfare we now face?” Here are a couple of suggestions from God’s word.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense….”
1st Peter 3:15
We often use the verse above to talk about evangelism, and rightly so. As believers in Christ, we all should be ready to give “a reason for the hope that is in you” (1st Peter 3:15). That said, I believe it also gives us insight on how to fight again the temptation we often face in this world to conform to its ways. Peter exhorts them to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. The word sanctify means to make holy. One commentator writes, “Regard him as your Protector and be afraid of him, not of what man can do. In your hearts, or in the affections of the soul, regard the Lord God as holy, and act toward him with that confidence which a proper respect for one so great and so holy demands.” The NIV reads, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” I am presently working on the following Sunday morning bible class material, which focuses on the names of God. In preparing this material, I have been reminded that we should not take the name or title of Lord lightly, and that is the very thing this idea of sanctifying is to do. The word Lord means Master, supreme in authority, i.e., controller. Someone or something will always be seeking to control us. One of the best ways to ready ourselves against the wiles of our culture, is to choose to have Jesus rule us. With this in mind, let’s consider another aspect of readying ourselves.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Once again, I like the wording of the ETRV, “Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks.” This verse, of course, is connected to the first thought just considered. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Our dependence is always on the Lord and His ability to empower us for battle. That said, there is a decision that is needed by us as is stated in Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, having done all, to stand.” I believe this was Israel’s downfall; that is, they put the armor of God down, and the result was devastating. A critical part of God’s armor is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The word of God is what equips us entirely (2nd Timothy 3:16-17), and it is the only way we can understand what is acceptable or pleasing to Him (Ephesians 5:10).
We live in a world that has not changed much over the years. Like Israel of old, there was a way that seemed right to those who lived around them, but that road had no hope (Proverbs 14:12). Sadly, Israel got caught up in it, fooling themselves that they could somehow embrace both, but that is not possible. They compromised what they knew about their God, and the result was profoundly sad. So, what is our takeaway? We need to be always ready! It starts by remembering who the Master is, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only way, the only truth and the only One who can give life (John 14:6). He is the same Lord we should share with others and same Lord that will defend us. With Christ as Lord, we ready ourselves by putting on His armor, His reasoning, and His desires which we learn about through His word. This month we will be reminded of the gift of Christ. May He reign as Lord of lords and King of kings in our hearts. Be blessed😊