Behind Enemy Lines
My people perish for lack of knowledge.” — Hosea 4:6
As believers in and followers of Jesus Christ, we are all literally living behind enemy lines. Without putting on the full armor of God every day (Ephesians 6:10-18), it is very likely that the most cautious of Christian may still be unwittingly ensnared into one of two not so subtle webs of satan: that of idolatry and that of disobedience to God.
Signs and symptoms may include:
Your thoughts are no longer on Christ for some specified period of a time, but on something / anything of the world. Your mind will be pulled away from Christ and you will research some thing, become amused or entertained by some other thing, have discussions about worldly topics where both positions are, unbeknownst to the conversers, complete lies and deceptions. Unless God is glorified and Christ is front and center of your thoughts, words, and actions, you are most likely mired in the muck of the fallen world.
Healthism, Scientism, Entertainmentism, Politicism and so on, can enter our thoughts and lead us down a road of idolatry that we don’t even recognize as such. For example, if you are relying on specific protocols of diet, exercise, supplementation, and/or following some structured system to maintain your health, instead of glorifying God by simply keeping the fleshly body/temple that you inhabit clean and maintained, then you may be practicing idolatry without even knowing it. Whole natural foods, clean, fresh water, and regular physical activity are all most people need for basic health and wellness — very much like your pet. Why are you wearing a MAGA hat? Why are you an activist for climate change? Why are you bowing down to your idevice? Why are you following sports events or hungry for the next episode of Game of Thrones? James warns us to keep ourselves unstained by the world. Jesus said: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me” — Matthew 16:24.
Your peace is taken from you. Even a drive or a walk into certain places or spaces or amongst certain people can leave you feeling tired, stressed, unclean, your thoughts run amok, your peace taken from you, and often you have no idea why it might be.
The Holy Spirit pricks you, convicts you of whatever it is you are doing. You in turn, at that moment may deny in your own mind, any iniquity…but you will probably be wrong. You’ll have one of two choices: 1) Drop what it is you’re thinking, discussing, doing, or entertaining, and repent or 2) Ignore the patient, loving work of the Holy Spirit and go down the ugly path of disobedience, soon to bear what John MacArthur calls consequential wrath in his sermon on The Wrath of God: Five Types of Divine Anger.
We are either serving God from behind enemy lines, or we ourselves become captives of the enemy.
Excerpt: “The basic idea here is an important one. If a society is in the crapper, it is because God’s people have ceased being salt and light. It is because WE are engaged in the same sins as the unredeemed culture around us. God doesn’t say to us “you need to tell them to change,” but rather, “YOU who call yourself by my name need to change!” If WE return to grace and truth, love and purity, then we return to being salt and light, and can then affect culture.”
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” — Romans 12:2
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” — Colossians 2:8
“…the god of this [fallen] world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ….” — 2 Corinthians 4:4
The High Priestly Prayer
17 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.
The Disciples in the World
13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Their Future Glory
22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”