“…each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away…”
Believers are living in perilous times – not because Kim Jong-un has nuclear weaponry nor due to the threat of ISIS or economic downfall. On the contrary, those of us who have provisions and comfort, security and opportunity are in greatest danger, the greatest danger of leaning on our own strength, our own understanding, our own righteousness. Who worries about being the ‘virgin without oil’, shut out forever from the Lord’s Kingdom? (Matt. 25) Who worries about ‘burying their talent’, after all, they haven’t lost it – or have they lost it forever?
The complacent Christian, the lukewarm, lives in the most perilous place. Like a car in neutral, the complacent will roll down the easy path without strain or suffering, guided by laws of nature not the Holy Spirit. As love for God and the fear of God begin to wane, ‘self’ takes the driver seat and increasingly, alluring roads seem to open up. Many live disconnected from the Headship of Christ and even unknowingly may head into a great apostasy. Having lost spiritual discernment, many ‘change sides’ – from the Kingdom of God into the kingdom of darkness. The greatest persecution toward believers one day may not come from pagans but from carnal ‘Christians’ who are and invested in the world culture.
“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other….Because of the increase of wickedness the love of mos twill grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matt 24:10-12, emphasis added)
The Lord cares greatly about His Body as these end days funnel rapidly toward His Judgment. Many Christians are “dragged away and enticed” – individuals, families, even entire churches are rolling on neutral – guided solely by natural inclination. The Lord Himself makes an appeal, for many a ‘last call’, to turn back to true faith, a life dependent and surrendered to Him. This is a crucial spiritual battle! Satan has a vested eternal interest in drawing Christians into complacency and sin, comforting and rewarding many along the way to their destination as a trophy in hell.
The Lord, however, does not comfort or enable us in our sin. He will call and call, warn and warn. Some rebellious may die in their sin. However, many others are on a precipice of repentance and, out of love and for the sake of His Kingdom, He will crush them in their sin.
The Word of God declares, “The wages of sin is death” but God, in His love and providence, will for many put that paycheck on hold with a refining fire of His own design. As “a consuming fire”, those resistant to the Holy Spirit will find themselves in a furnace of chastisement. Hebrews 12 speaks of the Lord’s discipline for those He loves, “He rebukes…He scourges everyone He accepts as a son”. For those who refuse to receive conviction, He may begin to painfully ‘take away’from our life – employment, health, freedom, peace, family life. If we remain stubborn and yet He calls, He may open to us the spiritual realm, exposing the demonic roots of that which you craved, pornography, drugs, adultery, greedy gain, and all forms of witchcraft. Spiritual torment finds no relief from psychiatrists, doctors, or prescriptions but serves as the fire that drives a rebellious Christian into the Word of God and prayer. Once exposed for its darkness and evil, there is no more allurement, no more enticement, no pleasure found in that which dragged us away.
Being crushed in sin is the most painful course to redemption and restoration. Your spiritual eye will finally open to the ruin caused by reckless and selfish actions. There is always consequence and cost to sin: damage to yourself, perhaps to your marriage, your family and your standing in the community. Worst of all, if you are a Christian, you bring dishonor to the Lord’s name. But there is still good news.
You are crushed and not abandoned because God has not disowned you. He is not finished with you. You may have let the powers of darkness reign for a time in your life but the Lord intervened and drew a sovereign line, “this far and no farther!” You may painfully reap what you sow but unlike the devil who steals, kills, and destroys, the Lord crushes to recreate and restore with great purpose, using our failures and brokenness for His glory.
Wherever we find ourselves, let us resolve to never give up. No matter how much is lost to sin, even years of time, we can rejoice that time cannot limit our sovereign God. An eighty year old man surrendered to God is valuable, with more power than a Sumo wrestler. The Lord can surely foil the devil’s plan and open new doors to those who repent and surrender.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I’m doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18)
Let us pray….
“Lord, I pray that you expose any crooked way in us, even this moment. Let not the Holy Spirit warn or convict even twice. I pray for those who are suffering now in a fiery furnace of chastisement – let them see Your love therein and Your hand alone on the thermostat with divine purpose. Encourage them as ‘no one threshes the wheat forever’ and speak to their hearts with assurance that they will come out with Your strength and calling. Do a new thing in us Lord! Use us and let our lives count for Your Kingdom. In Jesus name, Amen.”