As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. — Ephesians 2: 1-2
“God want us to start a revolution against the governing powers of darkness that rule this world.” — Ronnie Hodge (slightly paraphrased)
Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why doesn’t God do something? Where is God? Have you ever been asked these questions? I wish there was a simple answer to them. Here is the best that I can put it: God made this world perfect…and everything in it was perfect. God GAVE dominion of this world to Adam. That was the way it was supposed to be from the beginning. Unfortunately, upon eating the forbidden fruit, Adam took the dominion that God gave him, and handed it to Satan. Evil is now the dominating force by which this world is influenced.
What if you chose to rebel against these powers? What if the people who called themselves Christians began to humble themselves and really examine their lives and ask God to show them the things in their lives that do not honor Him? What if they chose to stop doing those things? What if the people who called themselves Christians began to pray for the lost? What if they asked God to start a revolution and asked Him specifically to start with their very own lives?
As my church goes through this series, I am understanding more and more what it means to be a revolutionary. For me, it is an absolute intolerance for any kind of evil in my life. I refuse to look at pornography. I refuse to lust after women other than my wife. I refuse things in my life that I don’t really need but the world says I should have. I refuse to put anything or anyone on a pedestal that is not the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I wish I could say that I just decided one day that I needed to stop all of my blatant, obvious sins and I stopped. It didn’t happen that way at all. I just began to replace those things with the things of God. Instead of listening to the musical poison I always listened to, I started listening to preachers that I trusted preach the word of God. Instead of watching the latest blockbuster movie, I watched cheesy Christian movies. Instead of surfing the net for more mind poison, I surfed it for videos that honored God. I found some really cool stuff: Lifehouse’s “everything” skit, Cardboard testimonies, Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill doing “How Great Thou Art.” All stuff that brings the presence of God like crazy. Somewhere in the middle of all of that replacing…God took away my evil desires. I no longer HAD to do the right thing…I WANTED to! The difference is night and day.
I am glad that I started my own personal revolution before my church began to teach it. I didn’t realize that was what I was doing, but at least now it has a cool name…the revolution! When my children entered my life, I believe I started my own revolution. Not that I didn’t live for the Lord up until this point, I just became really intentional about it. I thought about how little time I will get to spend with them. With one about to turn 6 and the other just turning 4, it is all too clear that I will have even less time with them in my home than I thought. I decided that I could live a holy, God-filled life for them. I can make sure that during their years under my watch they remember that their daddy shunned evil and lived, really lived for and honored the name of Jesus Christ. I wish I could say I did this because I was so ridiculously in love with God. I did it for my kids. The cool thing is, during this whole process, I have fallen ridiculously in love with God.
This isn’t to say that life becomes easier. In many ways, it gets harder. If you choose to be a revolutionary, you better put on the Ephesians 6 armor of God and start memorizing some scriptures…the very sword that you can use to fight and defeat the enemy. This past Sunday I was asked to play my guitar for the worship team. I had in my mind that it would be just like old times and I would just get in God’s presence and bask while worshipping Him with the instrument that I love to play. To start with, BOTH of my Gibson Les Paul’s that I bought 20 years ago “happened” to break the night before I would play on Sunday. They were in their case propped up…they fell over and those little falls broke them both. I didn’t get angry (though I wanted to REALLY, REALLY bad), I just asked one of my best friends if I could borrow his Fender Strat. He said yes. While we were practicing before the service, my $500 Marshall amp (that I paid $200 for 16 years ago) just died. Think about that…it died 20 minutes before I was about to play the actual song set and I had just lost my back-up guitar the night before. During that service, the main projector didn’t work and there were all sorts of “technical” difficulties. It was crazy.
Could it be that the powers of darkness only descend where there is the possibility of someone becoming a revolutionary? Satan can not touch me or my family without God‘s permission. I make sure that I am prayed up, read up, and that I stand up to those powers of darkness. I have two specific days of the week where I use the prayer of Jabez and say “Lord, may your hand be with me and keep evil from me.” I use the Lord’s prayer and say “lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one.” Every once in a while I like to ask God to “cancel the Devil’s assignment against me.“ For the past several years, my wife and I have fasted. We don’t fast to impress God, but to get His attention and ask for the same things that Ezra asked for in chapter 8 verse 24 when he fasted. He asked for a safe journey for us (me and Tonya) and our children (Caroline and Jameson). I was reading it again and I saw the tail end of that verse…”with all our possessions.” I had never really thought to pray for my stuff. I thought it would have been kind of selfish for me to pray for my Les Paul’s and my Marshall. Ezra just let me know that it is okay. Yes, the devil found an opening and wiped out about 4 thousand dollars worth of my stuff. He tried to steal my joy and make me upset before I played that worship set. It almost worked.
One of the songs that we played was “Blessed be your name.” The coolest part of the song says “you give and take away.” God provided me with the means to buy my guitars (that I put in His rightful place for a few years). God allowed Satan to destroy them. It is only God who can give…it is only God who can take away. Somewhere in that song set…God began to fill me up. I didn’t care about the stuff…I just cared about my relationship with Him. Satan had to beg Him for permission to do anything to my stuff. God allowed it to see just how much my heart was still in that stuff. I think I passed because I can still say “blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I know this is an exceptionally long WMD, but I have to say this. I believe that God allowed the old to break so he can give me the new. Here is why: I have been saving for about 2 years for a new guitar and amp. Of course, until now I didn’t NEED one, I just wanted one. There is honestly no way I would have spent that much money on a guitar that I really didn’t need. It just would have felt really selfish. During the last week of school one of my classes did something for me that I have never experienced. They made me a poster. Now classes have done things like that before, but this class, my 2nd block Algebra I class, saved up money all year long and gave me $150 and told me that I specifically had to use that money to buy the guitar that they had heard me talk about for the past 2 years. Do you reckon God knew? I just couldn’t believe how ridiculously good God was to me.
He takes away.
He takes away.
He does with His stuff what He wants.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Start your revolution today.