Defiantly facing the threats in your life
Threats seem to be a constant presence in our everyday lives. Everything from the threat of failing to achieve your goals to the threat of violence and loss of freedom. The onslaught of these daily threats can overwhelm our internal system, and we no longer know how to face them. When we are afraid and overwhelmed, the survival brain overtakes our ability to think, rationalize, and make the right decisions beyond what we need to do for survival. This can keep us from moving. From standing against the things that threaten us. It can stop us from living our lives. But we can change that. We can choose to acknowledge the fear and the threats and learn how to stand.
Preparing for Battle
In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 4 the Israelites were facing similar threats and opposition to what we see today. Those in charge in neighboring towns were jealous and afraid of them rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They wanted to control this group of autonomous people who submitted to God’s authority and not theirs. They conspired together to intimidate, threaten, and plan violence and destruction against them. Solely because of their selfishness and pride. The response of the Israelites is what inspired me to write about the idea of defiantly facing down the threats in our lives.
The Israelites had a leader, Nehemiah, who encouraged them to not be afraid and continue to do as God commanded them. Despite the opposition and threats. But he did not stop there. He acknowledged the threats, he accepted the truth that the individuals threatening them were not just “talking” but would carry them out given the chance. In light of the veracity of these threats, Nehemiah took half his men, stationed them around the city, armed them, and charged them with protecting the workers and the women and children living there. Additionally, he armed every male in the town, and they “worked with one hand, while carry their sword in the other.”
Instead of stopping in fear or for the sake of “compliance with authority,” they continued to do what God told them to do. They did so while being armed and ready for battle, should it come. They took a stand against these domestic enemies, readied themselves for battle, and continued to live their life as they were meant to.
Acknowledge and Identify the Enemies
When I see everything that is happening in our country and in the world right now, I see so many people kneeling in fear. People are willingly giving in to tyranny and evil. They are choosing to try and “comply” with unreasonable and dangerous demands from unstable and immoral people, instead of standing in our authority in Christ. Even believers, the elect and chosen, are falling into this trap and choosing to believe Satan’s lies and manipulation instead of believing in God’s word.
How can we stand, if we don’t acknowledge who the enemy is? How can we defend our families, our freedoms, and our authority in Christ, if we refuse to believe that we need to do that? Society screams “tolerance,” “for the greater good,” and calls evil by many names. The enemy has convinced so many people that to disagree, to present unbiased facts and evidence, and to not join in the panic, fear, and “righteous anger” is selfish, racists, dangerous, and must be stopped. Nothing in scripture agrees with this. There is no scriptural basis for tolerance, ignoring God’s commands for the “greater good” and evil is identified only as evil. There are direct contradictions to living this way throughout scripture, yet people are unwilling to stand out.
The enemy that threatens us are these lies that manipulate and create fear and those who act on them. Horrible things happen in this fallen and broken world. Selfishness, genuine entitlement, and pride, cause evil to reign in men’s hearts. However, we don’t have to be afraid of these threats. God commands us repeatedly in scripture to “fear not, be courageous, stand against the enemy, stand tall.” We are not meant to stop living our lives, to blindly comply with tyranny and immorality, or to “take a knee and bow” before ANYONE but God.
The threats and opposition against people who choose to go against society are real, and they can be intimidating. That does not mean we have to stop living our lives, pursuing our callings, or following God’s commands (to gather in worship, to stand against the enemy, for example). In fact, God tells us to take up arms and fight. We are commanded to stand and face these enemies. We are told directly and through illustration, to arm ourselves, physically and spiritually.
We are not told to blindly submit to authority. Submission to authority in scripture is consistent, as long as it does not violate God’s word. We are given numerous examples in scripture of the Israelites and Jesus defying the “authorities” in order to do what is right and honoring to God, however.
Stand Up and Stand Out
The modern church is so focused on not standing out. Leadership speaks about submission, compassion, and love (all of which are good), but fails to speak about God’s wrath, the need to and how to prepare for and wage battle, and how to stand against those people and things that dishonor God. We are a weak church, and the events of this year have illuminated that lukewarm faith and fear that has spread like yeast in God’s people. The churches in China, Iran, North Korea, and other communist countries, would never do what the American church has. Their people know oppression. They know violence. They believe in the threats leveled against them. But they believe in their God more. They know that they must defiantly stand against the immoral and tyrannical mandates to follow God, or they won’t stand at all.
It is time for us, as believers, and as Americans, to stop taking a knee, bowing, and blindly complying with what is happening in our culture. We must take a stand against ALL enemies and threats while living our lives and following God’s purpose for us. We cannot let evil of any kind, be it racism, violence, abortion, sexual immorality, abuse, or pride, continue unopposed. We have to choose to acknowledge the reality of these threats and stand to face them. We rely on God to fight our battles, but that doesn’t mean we sit back and just wait for him to work.
The Israelites knew this. They armed themselves, prepared for the battle, and trusted God to avenge them. They didn’t stop their work. They didn’t stop doing what they were meant to do. They didn’t stop living because of fear.
It’s time for us to do the same. Arm yourself, physically and spiritually, prepare to enter the battle that is already coming against us, and trust God to go ahead of you. Stop living in fear. Stop blindly complying and apologizing for things you’re not responsible for. Stand in our identity and authority in Christ and live your life as you were meant to.