Sunday, July 3, 2011
(day fourteen) restoring eden: the "fight"
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, and the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Eph 6:12
About 8 months ago, I found myself eating - in complete and utter silence- in a dining hall full of people. But it wasn't just me that was silent, it was everyone. Believe it or not, i signed up for it - we all did. I was at a place in my life that was at a standstill, right after a time in my life that had been going down hill fast. I still had some big unanswered questions and a few spiritual concerns, but i still felt numb with no direction or motivation. I had heard from a friend that there was this silent retreat you could go to with a one hour counceling session every day with a very wise, holy-spirit filled nun. Seemed i had nothing to lose at this point and everything to gain. So now, I found myself munching away on some food with no one to talk to but God. It was a little hard (ok, so i like to talk), but SOOOOO revolutionary. One particular day I looked up from my plate and saw a statue of mary holding her arms out. She had the most peaceful look on her face, and the way she was positioned seemed to portray a surrender to the Lord. Perhaps it represented a need for her Savior (aka son). I took detailed note of this moment. The following day i sat right next to the statue. I observed it again, only this time i could see her feet. To my shock, she was crushing the head of a serpent... as she walked forward in complete surrender to her Lord. A flood of emotions came over me as I realized this was the key to battle: Follow Him, Have no fear, and He will fight for you. You see, this peace on her face showed the absence of fear, worry, or doubt.... and all the while she was standing on a freakin snake!!! Come on now. I've been learning that if our eyes are ON HIM... we will tread on ground we never would have chosen to tread on, we will win battles we never would have fought, and we will reveal His glory in a way we could have never done if it weren't for His power in our lives. And instead of being worried, fearful or doubtful... we will be in complete awareness of our need for him, be humbled by the fact He wants to use us, and be so awestruck with His love that we will follow Him anywhere!!!!
Ever since the fall of man, God has been pursuing our hearts and battling for our souls in a realm that we just can not see. And for every step closer to Him we take, the more AUTHORITY the army of God has in our life. The more authority He has, the more FREEDOM we experience... no matter our earthly experiences.
For the sake of our freedom, there is a daily battle: a fight. We know who ultimately wins, but until then God desires the best for us... and that's freedom in all areas of our life. If we choose not to take steps closer to Him we are giving more authority to the one who has the ability to enslave us here on earth. And we ARE NOT MEANT TO JUST SIT AND DEAL with that slavery until God comes back to "rescue us" from it. We are MEANT to live FREE and WHOLE in the KINGDOM of HEAVEN on this earth fighting the battles in the spiritual realm for the souls of the walking dead on this earth. He offers LIFE abundantly.... it's what we receive and give FREELY as He penetrates our lives daily with the fullness of His love.
Just like we've been learning as we travel through the old testament: God hates sin. Why? Well, sin goes against every reason He created us... and if we sin, we are exposed to the enemy. As the ones in the OT repented, they were covered with His blood... their sin was atoned for, and they were once again living under the protection and authority of God. But if they didn't repent, it wasn't hard to see how sin began to taint the family- generation after generation. Sin IS toxic... and in the absence of repentance and cleansing (or detoxification) it can literally eat you up. It makes sense to me now why certain people "tainted by sin" were not allowed behind the veil... and why certain generations of the israelites "tainted by sin" were not allowed into the promised land. Now I have to pose the question whether those who weren't allowed in had un-repented sin or not?? Hmmmm....
All this talk of fighting and freedom reminds me of Chronicles of Narnia. In the film, these children are normal kids who play games, act silly, fight with each other, are self-conscious insecure orphans, and probably suffer from some sort of abandonment issue. But when they walk through the wardrobe... they began this journey of REAL self-discovery the more they get to know the heart of Aslan. They pick up their armor (Eph 6) and they begin to fight the battles we can not see on earth. I believe that when they walk through the wardrobe into Narnia they are stepping into the kingdom of heaven on earth. The REAL Narnia (later mentioned) being after this life in heaven. To me this movie represents the war that is raging... that doesn't have to do with fuel, weapons, crops, illegal immigrants, the ozone layer, or even local crime. It's way beyond that, and way bigger than we could imagine. It's an honorable battle fighting for life, truth, love, peace... our KING. And against the TRUE enemy opposing all of these things. When we walk through that wardrobe we KNOW who we are because we know WHOSE we are. We are adopted sons and daughters of the most HIGH KING who has fought for our lives till death and now lives so we can live. We pick up our armor daily- letting the earthly battles go... and tread on ground only He has the guts to take us to because He is the one fighting on our behalf and fighting FOR our behalf.
Sometimes I think the Old Testament is a physical representation of what is REALLY going on now in the spiritual realm. Almost like a map for us to follow that lead us all to His righteousness.
I want Eden on earth. I want my mind, body, soul, and spirit to be as pre-fall as possible in this fallen world. So many times we lose site of Eden because we've come so far past it... when He offers the kingdom of heaven for us to live in every day. I tell you what, after this revelation I sure saw the Lord's prayer more clearly than ever before. (Matt 6:9-13)
B90: (Deuteronomy 1:26-13:18) As I looked deeper in the word today, it's almost as if things were just highlighted. Going right along with the revelation above, I feel like one of the things the Lord is saying to us to keep us safe and in His love and authority is: Do not rebel. (1:26) Looking down further He says: Do not be afraid. (1:29) And in vs.30 He says He will fight for us and in vs.31 He will carry us. And right there in vs. 32 He strongly encourages us to BELIEVE Him because He is always going before us and showing us the way we should go. It seems as though this was a theme for most of Deuteronomy if not the bible itself. And I love how God even sums it up in Chapter 4: 29-31... re-establishing and verbally confirming the foundation He set from the beginning of time.
So... for those of us who think life is just neutral until we die, a re-think may be in order. Whether it's a silent retreat you need or just some solid meditation-on-the-word time, i beg you to seek for yourself and not just take my word for it! I pray that I always speak the truth and align everything with the word, but i'm also not afraid to ask questions and stir up something inside of us that longs for more of HIM!!! There is a daily fight for our freedom that we cannot see, whose authority are you walking under? All creation is being pursued by His love, are we actively responding to this love? Have we asked for the kingdom to come daily, so we can walk around on this earth as adopted kids- humble, unashamed, protected and directed- by a LOVING FATHER? Just in time for 4th of July i ask: Do we want REAL freedom in every part of our lives and are we willing to surrender it all so that the enemy will have no grip to enslave us?? So that we will be free to love Him and His creation how He intended it to be... back in Eden.