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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!
The hope of victory in all of the battles you face in this world starts with absolute surrender to Jesus Christ. It is only when you are willing to trust him with your weaknesses that he can make you strong in his power. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For when I am weak, then I am strong-the less I have, the more I depend on him”. Paul understood that he could not endure on his own all the persecutions and hardships he suffered. His strength came from knowing that Jesus was using the pain he suffered to overcome his weaknesses. Paul was made stronger with every battle that Jesus took him through. He knew that even death had no power over him. For that reason Paul was able to say in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is for Christ and to die is gain.”
It is only by the strength of Christ who lives in us that we can overcome all the forces of evil that try to defeat us everyday. There is no stronghold in your life that can destroy you when you have put your faith in Jesus. He is all that you need because he alone can do all things. By his death and resurrection, Jesus has freed you from the chains of bondage to sin. You now can have peace in the midst of a storm because you know that God’s purpose for your life cannot be stopped. The enemy cannot steal your joy when you are in a painful trial because Jesus is always with you and he has promised you a reward that far outweighs all that you are going through. Although we live in a lost world, we can stand firmly in the hope that Christ has made us joint heirs with him in a kingdom that will never be destroyed.
The struggles of this world may make you weary but they are no match for the promises of God who has made us more than conquerors. The enemy roams this earth trying to fill you with his lies of hopelessness and defeat. But Jesus came to bring light and truth to a dark world so that we can live without fear knowing that he will bring us through all of our problems. You need to know that you have an eternal hope in Jesus Christ and he will never fail you. It does not matter what heartache or pain you are in, his love is able to heal and comfort you. The peace that God brings can sustain you in even the darkest storm if you are willing to trust him. We read in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”. Jesus is the only force you need to stay strong in the battle because his blood on Calvary paid the price for your victory
The best thing about the love of Christ is that he is willing to meet you where you are. He wants to give you his power to overcome your weaknesses. He wants to restore your life and give you a future. He wants to give you victory over all that comes against you. And most importantly, Jesus wants to give you eternal life with him in heaven. Your problems and failures can never stop God from restoring you to wholeness and giving you a future despite the hopelessness of your situation.. He will always make a way when there is none!
Salvation is found only in Jesus. There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) It is my prayer that you will call upon his name today. His love will be sufficient to do the rest.