The path to victory cannot bypass submission to the will and Word of God. We are victorious against the enemy and the flesh because we submit to the will of God, and obey His word, not because we venture out on our own and attempt to be a one-man army. We used to sing the song well enough, the one about the only thing that can wash away our sins, but we stopped a few years back because it was too on the nose. We needed something more ambiguous, more esoteric, something given to interpretation because some people might take offense at the singularity of Christ and the cross, and we couldn’t offend people. That would be counterproductive to the bottom line, and the whole point of the exercise is to grow and expand and have multi-campus sanctuaries, not preach sanctification.
Hillsong saw a niche, and they filled it with all the gusto of the first guy to come up with the idea of an energy drink. Gone were the simple, biblical declarations about Christ alone and His blood being able to make you new, and we started singing about winds, and impressions, and the feelings in the atmosphere.
We went from telling people that Jesus was enough to telling them that they were good enough, even though bringing a hog into a palace doesn’t change the nature of the hog; it just allows the hog to dirty up the place a bit.
We make allowances for all manner of unbiblical practice if the individual is charismatic enough because it’s no longer about the power of the Word to convict; it’s about the individual’s charisma and ability to spin a yarn. That thing about God saying depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you, even though they’d performed signs and wonders in His name, that was just God having a bad day; He spoke out of anger. Don’t pay any mind to it. Yeah, that’s it. It couldn’t possibly be that He prioritizes holiness, obedience, and genuine fellowship over bombastic overtures and magic shows.
It’s kind of a weird flex to mock someone for pointing out what the Bible says about a given topic. I know, that pesky Bible, if only it didn’t warn about the sort of times we’d be living in. If only it didn’t warn of false teachers, false prophets, and those with a form of godliness who would flood the household of faith and seduce the gullible into turning their ears to fables.
You can’t claim victory if you’ve never stepped onto the battlefield. You can’t say you are victorious when it was a battle of your own making, shadowboxing in the corner like there was no tomorrow. We have this image in our minds that the victorious believer is resplendent and manicured, when in truth, the victorious believer is scarred, dented, and scored. The only people who walk away unscathed are those who never enter the fray, yet they’re always the most vocal about how everyone else goes about fighting their fight.
I don’t have time to judge your posture, how you hold your shield, how you swing your sword, or how you deflect the arrows of the enemy. I’ve got my own battle to fight, and I’m engaging the same enemy you are. If I see an arrow coming your way, I’ll do my best to warn you or even deflect it if I am able; if I see you are being flanked, I’ll fight alongside for as long as I can swing a sword, but you should know how to fight by now. You should have the basics well in hand so that you might stand against the enemy. This isn’t a synchronized swim contest. It’s not about form; it’s about functionality and survival. The Bible tells you to put on the whole armor of God, not to make sure you’re color-coordinated. Any battle you walk away from, scarred and bruised as you might be, is still a good day. Get some rest; tomorrow is likely to be another bruiser.
There are only two immutable laws in life: the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. One is required to free you from the other, and whom Christ sets free is free indeed.
Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Either you are free, or you aren’t; there is no middle ground. God is not interested in joint custody, where He gets you every other Sunday, but you’re under the sway of the law of sin and death the rest of the time. The blood of Christ has made you free; why would you return to the bondage of darkness and despair?
Victory isn’t you pretending to be free; it is you being free. It’s not hoping for a renewed mind; it’s receiving a renewed mind. What victory looks like is you walking in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, which God promised the believer.
If you have been made free, then you are supposed to feel out of place among those who have not. If you have been made free, then it is natural to feel out of sorts, as though you don’t belong here. If the blood of Jesus has cleansed you, and you are a new creature, any attempt at reintegration into the world you once belonged to will be rejected until you either stop trying or return to your previous state of worldliness.
The world rejects what is not of the world. Be glad that you are rejected, marginalized, and vilified by it. If they’d hated Jesus yet loved you, you’d have something to worry about.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
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