How effective are you for the kingdom of God?
In order to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must choose to walk as he did and make choices that may make you unpopular with this world that is perishing. Jesus said that he would set up his kingdom and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He spoke of how we must pick up our cross daily and seek his kingdom until he comes. It is not enough to simply say we believe in Jesus. Our lives should bear witness to the change that was made in us as we accepted the gospel of Christ. We must walk as disciples in our faith as the Holy Spirit works in us to repent and turn from our old ways. There is no such thing as an “almost” believer.
In chapter 19 of the book of Acts, we read about the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who went around driving out evil spirits. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” One day, the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (emphasis mine) Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped and overpowered them all. He beat them so badly that they ran from the house naked and bleeding. They lost out to a demon and there is an important message for us here.
Only God can be omnipresent, or everywhere at all times. Not even Satan or his demons can be all places at all times. When the sons of Sceva tried to drive out an evil spirit, the demon said he KNEW Jesus, he KNEW ABOUT Paul, but he had no idea who these seven guys were. Why was that? Obviously, these guys were not a threat to Satan or his demons. Sceva’s sons had heard about Jesus through Paul, but they never made Jesus their LORD. These men did not have the power of Christ to battle the spiritual forces of evil and they were badly injured from trying to do it on their own. They were an easy mark for the unclean spirit who came against them.
You can apply this same truth to your life. Is your name known in hell? Are there demons who have heard about you and the work you are doing for Christ? Have you become a thorn in the side of Satan as you try to reach the lost with God’s love? Or have you settled into complacency in your Christian walk which makes you comfortable in this world? If the enemy of your soul does not consider your faith a threat, perhaps you need to examine yourself to know if you are truly saved!
I understand that all believers are a work in progress by the Holy Spirit and we each are at different levels in our walk. Even long-time followers in the faith can suffer a period of backsliding. But those who belong to Christ should experience true heart change as his love compels you to seek what is right. Jesus said in Matthew 7:16 that you will recognize a tree by its fruit. Those who belong to Jesus have crucified the sinful nature and now live by the power of the Spirit. You became a new creation as God’s light shines through you.
If you live for Christ, you will experience grief in all kinds of trials as your faith is proved genuine. Jesus said that all men will hate you because of him as darkness hates the light. The spiritual forces of evil will come against you for the work that you do for the kingdom. But in the end, the indescribable reward that God has for you will far outweigh any suffering you endure now. It is a reward that will last into eternity.
If your name is written in heaven, it should be known in hell!