We live in a fast paced world surrounded by flashing lights, noises, messages and voices constantly competing for our attention, money and time. Over-stimulation drives us to choose the most attractive, loudest, or most profitable option. After all... we must keep up with the status quo not to be left behind in the dust, or at least that's what they so cleverly tell us. Even with the T.V. turned off, my cell on vibrate, and a fairly quiet living space I still find 24 hours in America borderline overwhelming when compared to life "unplugged".
And by unplugged I mean you pretty much either have to be "off the grid" and live in whatever is left of our undeveloped nation, otherwise known as "the sticks".... OR live somewhere outside of the states in a developing nation, third world country, or new zealand :) Going back and forth as I have makes this self-discovery of massive distraction in our boarders a very unpleasant one.
On the bright side, people are taking note of this across our nation and doing something about it. I've heard of many families recently who are choosing to live off the land, become more self-sustainable, and cut some of the "rat race" out of their lives. This exact lifestyle can not be precisely duplicated by everyone the same, but could it possible that some sort of "slowing down" would be healthy?? Do these "unpluggers" have something right here?
Again, I'm not suggesting we all sell everything we have and live on a farm community somewhere and share chickens and cows... although that does sound mighty fine to me! But perhaps what I am suggesting is that we take the word for face value. It is quite possible to simplify this crazy life in such a way so that the King of Kings has a crystal clear pathway to speak to his sons and daughters. Some of us have unintentionally turned up the volume of life so loud that our heavenly Dad can hardly get a word in. Sadly still some wonder why they can't hear His voice in the midst of the all the chaos.
The more I've slowed down to listen to His voice, the clearer I've heard it. The more I've cut out the noise in my life... the more I begin to see the toxic things I was actually seeing, hearing, and eating that were effecting the way I lived out life! Fact is: enemy wants to make us toxic and wants to keep us busy enough to only see and care about the distractions around us. Because when we begin to SEE THE UNSEEN we become his biggest threat. The greatest victories and defeats are happening right now in a realm we do not see; but are called to be aware of and prepared and trained for. When battles are won in the spiritual, things begin to happen in the natural.
I'm reminded of Chronicles of Narnia... one of my favorite films of all time. Some of my friends and I watched this in New Zealand over Christmas and are still amazed that we've been to the very places it was filmed. Sort of makes me feel like I'm really living out the movie at times. Like most of you probably remember the four main characters are children that have been sent away from home because of war. In some sense they become orphans who are not so joyfully accepted into a new loving atmosphere. After one night of playing hide and go seek the youngest girl (portrayed as the one with the most childlike faith) stumbles into narnia through the wardrobe. The unseen becomes seen for the first time and she is utterly amazed.
Disbelief eats away at the hearts of her siblings while her own heart longs for more. Something is calling her back and no amount of worldly distraction can stop her from fighting to see it once more.... this time her brother comes along but is quickly distracted by the attractive words and powers of the witch. One more time the young girl discovers narnia, but this time with her family close behind. Finally their eyes are opened to a world they never knew existed but had been there the entire time. Slowly but surely you see their disbelief fade away as they recognize their adoption rights and accept their role as sons and daughters. As the youngest boy is still pursuing the counterfeit the witch offers, the others pursue the King. They find their identity and destiny wrapped up in His will for them in this land and become confident in Him as they encounter His love and He mobilizes them with value, worth, and fearless courage. If He is with them, what can stop them?
Shortly after they are given their weapons and accept their calling... the youngest returns back to Aslan's camp with his slave holder- the evil witch. The witch reminds Aslan that she must have a blood sacrifice to pay for his sin and betrayal.... and that's when the King steps in and lays down His own life for this one child who made a string of selfish decisions. In the end of this first film, the battle is won and all the children courageously fight with all they have! The one that was badly injured was the one that had strayed far from the truth and wasn't quite prepared for the battle. Even so... Aslan was right there with them.
I've seen this movie many times, but it wasn't until a year or two ago when it finally clicked! Just like Narnia, there is a spiritual realm out there that we can not see. If we continue to live in this world in ignorance of it, we will continue to believe that we are unaffected by it (which is exactly what the enemy would want us to think). Just read Ephesians 6. As the children walked through the wardrobe, they were given eyes to see this world. They also began to see their TRUE identity in Christ and became fearless abandoned sons and daughters of Him.
There is a whole realm we are called to put on our armor for and fight in with the power of prayer every day! We've got to see the utmost crucial importance in this and begin to position ourselves at the feet of our Lord and walk through that wardrobe every morning to see defeat happen in the spiritual and physical realm. We must put on the armor and STAND FIRM. He will not leave us or forsake us, He does have a plan and we must trust Him for it! I truly believe that the more we are present with God in His kingdom, the more we know and feel His presence on this earth. And on the contrary... the less we STAND in the spiritual, the more exhausted we become of the battles we fight on this earth.
B90: (Romans 1- 12:21) "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained ACCESS BY FAITH INTO THIS GRACE IN WHICH WE STAND and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. " 5:1-2
Some of my favorite verses in the bible surround this one, but this really stuck out to me tonight. The ones that follow (3- 5) are probably more widely known and quoted...but now are even clearer to me after tracking back to verse 1 and taking a longer look at it. Every single thing about it is unseen. Take a look over that again and meditate on it for a few long minutes. Tear it apart if you want. Do you REALLY believe everything it speaks of? And if so... does it make a significant difference in the way you now see the physical realm we call our temporary home?
Now take a quick look at Chapter 8: 1-11 with particular attention on vs. 5-7. If we live according to the spirit that IS (or desires to be) IN us, then we will set our minds on the things of the spirit... which is life and peace. The spirit within us IS our backstage pass into the spiritual realm giving us eyes to see the unseen, and wisdom, discernment, compassion, courage, endurance and strength! The times when this world tries to get the best of me are the moments I know the only place I can find life and true peace are at the feet of my Father... and in that second I know again He is who He says He is and I know who I am in Him. That simple posture will bring defeat to the enemy's army every time.
"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!". The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." 8: 15-17 ... Wow! This is some powerful stuff ya'll. The Spirit within us is what tells us we are adopted royal kids of the most high King along with Christ whom we will be glorified with. Dude, that's serious biz.
I recently heard a pastor say, "Christ didn't die so we could have a relationship with God.... He died so we could have HIS relationship with the Father." Again, wow.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God..." vs 18 & 19. EVEN creation is waiting. This is another picture that was portrayed so beautifully in Chronicles of Narnia.
"....and not only creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For IN THIS HOPE we were saved. Now hope that is SEEN is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience... likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. " 23-28
My prayer tonight is for those with disbelief to find truth in the King of all as they put their faith in Him. My prayer is that those with faith in Him will choose approach the throne with confidence and sit at His feet in complete humility as a child of the King. My prayer is that we begin to soak in the word, meditate on it... and let it become reality in our daily lives. I pray that we begin to see the crucial importance of the unseen... and our role as sons and daughters! My prayer is that we don't settle for the easiest route in life, but intentionally choose the path few may ever tread.
More time at His feet and in His word = less effected by worldly distractions = more defeat of the enemy and his army = more victory in the unseen Kingdom = more seen victories in the natural and more glory of God revealed!