by Ken Cooper
Christ’s church is losing influence in our culture. The opposition is becoming stronger. Satan is putting up a fierce battle to intimidate us into silence. We are threatened with social ostracism, open criticism, false accusations, even lawsuits and imprisonment for speaking up for our faith. I know that imprisonment is rare but there are those who are pressing for more power to wield against those who practice their faith in Christ. My response to all of this opposition is, “So what?”
Listen to what God tells us in Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV) There is no power in heaven or on earth or in all of God’s creation that can separate us from God’s love, not even death itself. Not even angels or demons! So it makes no difference what the world does to us for our faith. Our mission remains the same and it can’t really harm us even if it kills us. Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)
The time has come for the church to step it up a notch. It’s time for us to get serious about our faith in Christ. It’s time for us to get serious about reaching the lost for Christ. It’s time for us to do battle with Satan and win back the territory we have yielded to him because of our timidity. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) “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. Therefore put on the full armor 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:12-17 (NIV) The opposition is strong, the struggle is hard, the enemy is cunning, the task seems overwhelming. So what?
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV). And, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV), because Jesus has overcome the world.