The song, "There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain..." came to my mind as i read today's challenge. There is power in Jesus. In the battlefield of spiritual warfare, claiming the name of Jesus, claiming the power of Jesus, claiming to be in Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit in you is the ultimate weapon. But the Holy Spirit is a consuming fire. He is not a lap dog that you can beckon to come and go, and there is nothing domesticated about Him. So you do not "play" with Him or flippantly throw out the name of Jesus. Like handling a powerful, explosive weapon, there is a sense of awe, respect, and fear involved.
Acts 19:13-16 (NASB)
13But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
When I went to Darfur, Sudan, the region was and still is an extremely dangerous and violent region. Some team members before we left the states for Sudan requested permission to carry a hand gun. We were told you can bring a hand gun but once you carry one, in the view of the military forces in the area, you are no longer a civilian on a mission, you are a soldier on a mission, and they do not play around. You do not carry it for show. If you are going to carry a gun, you better make sure in your inner being that you are willing to use it, without hesitation on another human being, because the Islamic military personnel will not even blink an eye at using their weapons on you.
What you need to understand, is that when you accept Christ's call to plant a church, to reach out into darkness with light and choose to carry a cross, the way you are viewed in the worlds eye is changed. You are no longer a civilian in the world's system under the Ruler of the World; empathetic, complacent, selfishly withdrawn and docile. You are viewed as a soldier under the command of Jesus your Lord. And just as real and plain as the Darfur illustration, is the seriousness and the life and death consequences of your decision. You do not carry a cross and follow a call to plant a church for "show." Because it is something neat and cutting edge, and being a church planter sounds cool. You are attempting to to build an outpost in enemy territory, and there is a enemy who hates it. If you are going to carry a cross you better embrace the serious military and warfare implications of Ephesians 6:10-18. Take seriously its call to put on the full armor of God and arm yourself with the sword of the spirit. For there is an enemy who has come to kill, steal and destroy (Jn 21:25) who also will not blink an eye in using his weapons on you. Press into Jesus who's battle it is and who's victory it is. So when the evil spirits look at you, with terrified eyes they will see Jesus, and tremble with fear.
Understand the view as a cross bearer for Christ you have in the world's eyes. Read Ephesians 6:10-18, and pray yourself into the full armor of God. Then close your eyes and visualize the victorious Christ reigning in you, your family and your neighborhood.
Read Ephesians 6:19-20. Pray those two verses over yourself, and each member your church. Pray them also over 5 people you know who are Gospel bearers.
link to today's day 25 challenge: Day 25: Persecution