“Be on guard; stand firm in your faith [in God, respecting His precepts and keeping your doctrine sound]. Act like [mature] men and be courageous; be strong. 14 Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 AMP
As we enter the last month of 2020, I am confident that many who are reading this devotion are exhausted from the pace and the particulars of this year. It was a long time ago our nation’s leaders asked us to take 15 days to flatten the curve. I do not need to get into the weeds of mitigation, school attendance or lack of and lockdowns. We are all living through this together. All of these are terms we did not expect to be familiar with at Christmas nor should we get used to it. I was at a doctor’s appointment the other day. As I was leaving, I told the nurse and the doctor Merry Christmas. It appeared to me by their hesitant reaction that they forgot that the Christmas Season was upon us. They didn’t mind me saying Merry Christmas, only possibly surprised to hear it through a mask and six feet apart. I guess it doesn’t sound very merry talking through fabric. With everything reminding us what not to do and where not to go, it does not promote a very Merry Christmas.
So what are we to do? Good question because with everything closed there is not a lot to do. With all the negative and uncertainty, what are we as the Church to do in these times where joy could be hard to find and experience? I believe Paul in 1 Corinthians 16 gives us the answer. First of all, lets define the Church. The Greek word used for the Church is Ekklesia and it means, “Called out ones”. These are those of us whose lives have been changed by Jesus. We no longer live for ourselves, but for Him, doing what He has called us out of darkness to do. If you are called out that means you are to be different. So, if the world around us is full of a negative report, we who are called out, commissioned by God, and filled with His Spirit need to bring the alternative... JOY! We need to be the carriers of Merry in Merry Christmas.
As the Church, we have the authority and the power to be change agents. Through prayer and actions consistent with and motivated from God’s Word, we are called to make a difference. We can stand in the gap for our nation in the midst of this constitutional crises and election integrity. We can stand in the gap and pray against this virus and pray for those who are being impacted by it. We can be hope where there is little hope and we can be the joy when joy is hard to find. Paul in our scripture gives us five things we are to do.
Wake Up! (Be alert to what God is doing and what the enemy is doing to wage war.)
Stand Up! (Take your position of authority!)
Grow Up! (We must be spiritually mature in order to wield the weapons of spiritual warfare.)
Power Up! (Fight in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did, so we should too.)
Get Your Love Tank Full! (You thought it was going to be another “Up” – Love must be our motivator for all we do in warfare. Love for the lost, the hurting and helpless.) But also for and from the Lord and His Church.)
In December we will break these 5 things down in our weekly devotions. I know they do not seem very Christmas like, but we must understand there is an enemy who is fighting hard to steal everyone of these characteristics from you. Christmas is not on his calendar. Our enemy is not flesh and blood, not a political party. Our enemy is Satan and his minions that are trying to steal the joy from God’s people, the integrity of our nation and continue to bring fear and infirmity with this virus. This is why it is warfare.
Please believe me, Satan does not want you alert to his ways. He wants you sleeping and unaware. He keeps shouting at you to sit down, stay home and shut up. He would love for you to stay immature in your faith and mindlessly mislead your family. The enemy does not want you strong in faith and confident in God’s Word. He would like more than anything to keep your soul and mind weak and full of spiritual infirmity and with all of that comes a tank that is intoxicated with offense, fear and division instead of love that covers, heals and encourages.
God is asking those who He called out to be His Church to get alert in the Spirit, stand up in your faith and grow in this moment. Fight the enemy in the power God has given you through Jesus Christ and be the conduit of love our nation and our neighbors need now. There is a war going on this Christmas. Let us fight together in the Spirit.