“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:2,3 NASB
Today is the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. For those who are reading from outside the U.S., al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airliners. Two of the planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers, one hit the Pentagon in Washington, and a fourth crashed in a Pennsylvania field. 2,973 people died in the initial attacks, and more have died as a result of their injuries since.
Life has changed radically in this country as a result of those terrorists who sought to destroy the symbols of American prosperity and government. Since that dreadful day, we've traded freedom for a tentative and fragile security. Are we safer now than we were then? Probably not, despite all the men and women who work tirelessly to prevent another attack.
I say those frightening words, not because those who work to protect us are inefficient or ineffective, but because of the nature of evil itself. Hunting down and destroying a single person might make us feel safer, but it is not enough, for the enemy is not a specific nation or a specific terrorist cell. The enemy is not even one specific terrorist mastermind.
The enemy is the master of lies and deceit, Satan himself. The Apostle Peter wrote, "Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) Jesus described him as the thief who "comes only to steal and kill and destroy". (John 10:10)
It somehow comforts us to think that security screening at airports, passport checks, watch lists, and vigilant guards can protect us. The Apostle Paul wrote that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) No airport scanners can screen for the "world forces of darkness".
What, then, can be done? Are we powerless? Must we sit back and let evil devour us? Of course not. If death and destruction ultimately come from the enemy of our souls, then our efforts at protecting ourselves need to be directed at the ultimate enemy.
It will not be the people outside the body of Christ who fight this battle. It will be those who follow Christ. As disciples, we must fall on our faces and fight in prayer.
The movie War Room was #1 in the box office at this time last year. We're drawn to the idea of powerful prayer; we celebrate the potential victories to be found in intercessory prayer. Being intrigued by spiritual warfare through prayer, however, is not the same as being involved in prayer. It is not the same as being committed to prayer, being effective in prayer.
If we want to protect ourselves and those we love, we must do it God's way. The foundation for battle is a lifestyle of love (loving God first and our neighbors second - Matthew 22:38-39). The manner of battle is spiritual.
The protective gear includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of the preparation of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation.
There is only one offensive weapon with which we can effectively battle evil, and it is not a gun or a bomb or a missile. It is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition..." (Ephesians 6:18)
It is past time for the body of Christ to be the body of Christ.
Fake church is not only a waste of time; it is an offense to God. We must become disciples who are willing to do battle for our family, our culture, our world, and we must do our battling on our knees with the sword of Scripture.
As we remember the more than 3,000 people who died as a result of the terrorist attacks and ponder the enormity of evil in this world, let us, the disciples of Christ, commit ourselves anew to the war that only we can fight. Let us dedicate ourselves to continuous intercession, praying the very words of Scripture, and do battle.
It is past time to take up our armor and use the powerful, two-edge Sword that God has given us.
The words of Jesus to those shocked by the brutal attack at the temple, in which men from Galilee bled and died, are no less pertinent today than they were more than 2000 years ago. "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3 NASB)
If we hope to save our nation, we must do our part. There is no one else. Body of Christ, arise, take up our armor, fall to our knees, and fight.
Forgive us, our Father, for our prayerlessness. Create in us a passion for prayer, for intercession for those we love, for our nation, for our world. Bring the kind of revival that demonstrates Your truth, Your love to the world around us. Create in us clean, prayerful hearts and change the world through us. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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