Stop wasting time fighting natural issues, which are mere symptoms of spiritual corruption.
God has instilled in us a sense of injustice and a desire to correct this. We tend to each have our own focus-areas with a God-given passion to fight – poverty, ecology, sexual immorality, sickness, exploitation. As God’s redeemed children, he has invested in us the authority to bring restoration in these areas. God has entrusted his children with the ability to resolve such issues. But when we fight the natural issues, were are fighting the symptoms and the victims. Poverty cannot be resolved with money – whether taken from the rich or freely given. Sexual immorality cannot be resolved with law – the law can only highlight the symptoms and bring condemnation. The environment can’t be fixed by giving money to corrupt humans, no matter how perfect their ideals, and certainly not politicians whose primary focus is their career and staying in a position so that they might have a chance to address social issues. Medical care is just the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, which patches over the consequences of our fallen nature. Extreme exploiters can be brought to justice, but it is our fallen nature to take the advantages within our reach, often without thought to how this might disadvantage others.
A few weeks ago, I was hit up by a cute young charity campaigner raising money to save children such as those in Syria, who are victims of the ongoing war. She was so full of passion for her organization and belief that hers is the most effective charity to donate to. However their focus was again on the symptoms: “We have to save these poor children from death”. When I related how I have chosen Tear Fund, she politely appreciated their work, but in recognizing their motivation to reach out with the gospel, her undertones carried a contempt for the work of the church to restore societies – to persistently minister decade-on-decade to transform communities away from the tendency to war by showing them a better way.
It’s so easy to get caught up in emotional arguments and needs of the moment to be distracted from the longer-term and eternal focus. Way back, Adam and Eve listened to the snake’s charm: “Eating the fruit will endow you with wisdom and knowledge to better enable you to manage the world, and you won’t die because of it.” That day, death entered the world albeit deferred onto a lamb, but death and corruption ensues to today.
I have regular conversations with my son, who is discovering his place in the world and getting his head around social issues. I find myself concluding that equality issues etc. are due to broken relationship. Authorities, particularly husbands and fathers, have in their pride, exploited those under them and the reactionary demand for relief becomes a contempt for such authority and a coveting for their strengths, where one’s own complementary strengths are dismissed as worthless. No amount of welfare money or enforced justice is going to fix the problem of broken relationship – neither is the harsh admonishment to work hard and life will be sweet. People can’t function because they are damaged by broken relationship. And poverty and sickness ensues.
Broken relationships can only truly be healed when our created purpose is restored – that is relationship with God. Often this requires a breakthrough beyond our natural means – to heal past abuse and exploitation – even in previous generations. This requires supernatural revelation and authority over spiritually usurped authority.
A few weeks ago, in a moment of righteous passion, I commanded depression to leave me in Jesus’ name. This immediately broke something that had afflicted me for decades, exacerbated by chronic fatigue. A few close Christian friends remark “see it’s just an attitude thing.” Bull Shit! Don’t deny the spiritual battle! I don’t care if it was a demon or a chemical imbalance. Something was holding me back, which when addressed directly immediately left. To dismiss this as an attitude denies the power of God being necessary to heal the broken among us. It denies the spiritual battle that Jesus has equipped, authorized and commissioned us to fight
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I’m often disappointed with Christians being divided on current world issues, and getting sucked into a battle against flesh and blood. Some thereby incite violence against foreigners that God has brought into our neighborhoods to minister his love to, and others incite rebellion against authorities that God has appointed to govern over us. There are real issues here, but our fight is against spiritual influences that are causing people to flee from trouble. When we fight against natural symptoms, we end up undoing the very gospel we are to minister and become complicit with the Devil’s schemes.
Embrace your God-given desire for justice by engaging in the spiritual battle on your knees and not against the people around you who are victims of spiritual corruption. When politicians seem dodgy, use this to motivate you to pray for the authorities God has placed over us. This applies equally to law enforcement, our bosses, husbands, fathers and mothers. We’re all human and prone to failure – declare forgiveness – lest we lose our own. When there is a community issue, pray for like-minded soldiers in Christ from your community to join you to bring restoration together into that situation. Don’t expect government to fix your community and provide for those God has commanded you to provide for – particularly your family. The Government can only bring the law. The church brings the grace of Jesus Christ.
I pray I’ve challenged you positively.
Fight the good fight