We face a very real, insidious enemy. And, as I mentioned yesterday, in order to step intelligently and wisely into the battle with Satan and his demons, we need clear marching orders. God has given them to us in Scripture.
We face a very real, insidious enemy. And, as I mentioned yesterday, in order to step intelligently and wisely into the battle with Satan and his demons, we need clear marching orders. God has given them to us in the pages of Scripture.
The words of Peter come to mind. In the fifth chapter of his first letter we find words that sound like marching orders for Christian soldiers. But the initial command is surprising.
It is not, "Attack!" It is, "Humble yourselves" (1 Peter 5:6). We need to understand, this isn't human strategy based on human strength that requires human giftedness, which will lead to human accomplishments. This is altogether contrary to what any of us would imagine. The Lord's marching orders are, "Humble yourselves." It's a picture of falling on your face before God in submission and trust. Trace that word back as far as possible, and you will find people on their faces before God. The word picture includes God's almighty, outstretched hand reaching across this universe, including this tiny little planet and including His church, which He brought into existence by His power and for His purposes.
He says, "Humble yourselves under my hand," which means you and I don't get our way. It isn't about getting what we want. When you humble yourself under the Master's hand, you humble yourself to the Master. It's about our doing what He wishes. It's what He plans that matters. You hardly need to be told that everything in our society works against that message. No matter. The command stands: "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (v. 6).
There are rewards in doing as He commands. God is no divine sadist, watching people squirm and struggle and bleed, hoping to club them into submission. Don't go there. Keep in mind that God, our loving, caring, faithful, holy, and just God, has shaped a plan that will lead to victory, hope, peace, and joy. All of it takes shape under His mighty hand, as we surrender our wills to His. It happens under His hand. Get that. And under His hand we give up what we want. We surrender our wishes and desires, as we accept His plan. In the process, He is glorified. And because of His grace, many rewards come our way. The blessings just keep coming like waves on the seashore. And they come at "the proper time," because His timing is always right.
You say, "That kind of full surrender to another's plan makes me nervous."
Well, that's why there's verse seven: "Casting all your anxiety on Him . . . "
"You mean I may not be able to get what I want?"
No, you won't get what you want. You won't have your way. If that makes you anxious, there's a simple solution: Cast all your anxiety on Him. Yes, all of it. When you do, you'll have a lot less struggle releasing your will to Him. You'll march into battle with far greater confidence and calm.
What I'm suggesting here is a totally different lifestyle. This will touch every part of your world. In the final analysis, it will lead to a 100 percent investment in Him.
Perhaps I'm hearing you say, "Well, I don't want to invest, say, my whole life."
Then let me cut to the chase: You don't really want Christ. That's right. You don't want Christ. You want a God who won't make such wholesale demands. That way, you can hear what you want to hear and do what you please. You want a God who makes you laugh, makes you feel good, and says yes to your every request. You want a comfortable desk job, not a tough challenge on the front lines.
You say, "Man, this is getting serious." You're right.
Peter tells us to be sober, be on the alert, watch out. Follow your marching orders. The first one is clear: Humble yourself. And if you do, when the time comes in the battle, He will lift you up to conquer the enemy.
We have received and accepted our marching orders: "Humble yourselves." Now we must find the courage to move on out.