Thursday, December 14, 2017

Violent Men!

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” Matthew 11:12

For years, I could not understand this passage. Can violent men take God’s Kingdom by force? Multitudes followed John the Baptist to hear his message, and we can imagine that these were not refined, gentile crowds. These were the rough and ready, the eager, the zealous. They wanted in, and they would do anything to get in! Are we like that, spiritually aggressive, eager to take hold of all that God has for us, all His blessings of peace beyond understanding, joy, healing, love? Or are we content going to church, and not doing what a Christian shouldn’t do? 

If it was easy to get into heaven, why does Jesus say in Luke 13:24, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able”? The word “strive” in the original Greek is agonizomai, which means an agonizing, intense, purposeful struggle. We find the same word in 1 Corinthians 9:25, and 1 Timothy 6:12. How interesting is it that in our modern day, it seems so easy to be a Christian? Just say the sinner’s prayer! But in all these verses we see there is much effort involved. We have to fight the good fight of faith. There’s a battle we have to win against the ancient enemy. 

If we want to win, we have to train. No one gets to the Olympics by deciding one day to join. There are years of training, times when you want to give up and relax. Runners run in the cold, the heat, eat well, work on their attitudes, and we need to do the same. Our trainer’s manual is the Bible, and to claim the Kingdom blessings, we need to aggressively, even violently go after it. Faith isn’t passive, it’s aggressive. We fight a spiritual battle against a wily enemy who wants us complacent. God has given us the full armor, and powerful weapons to win, as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. The good news is we can stand our ground, we can conquer, we can win! 

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:^) Patsy