Note from Jesus
Dear Faithful Follower,
Some of the churches in your day are skilled at drawing big audiences. Many more congregations, both large and small, need to focus more on equipping a spiritual army. My disciples are facing an all-out spiritual war. I’ve got the marks on My body to prove hell’s fury toward the Father and His desire to redeem humankind. Hell has a way of insidiously seeping into politics, government, religion, and personal relationships and too many of my followers are ill-equipped and unprepared. When Satan gains a foothold, then it is literally “hell on earth.” Look at the book of Revelation in your Bible and you will see this war story:
- War in heaven.
- War on earth.
- War with religion.
- War with government.
- War through false teaching.
- War because of weakness.
Yes, My disciples are at war with Satan and hell. This war has casualties and cost.
That’s why I need real followers. I don’t need Twitter® or Instagram® followers or Facebook® friends. I’m looking for genuine disciples. I’m looking for friends who won’t run out on Me even when hell breaks loose against you. That’s why I’ve never been very excited just to get a big audience. If you don’t believe me, ask those 5,000-plus folks I fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish and who wanted a sardine sandwich Messiah (John 6:1-29). When I wouldn’t be their kind of Messiah, these “followers” flaked out on Me (John 6:41-71). My audience dropped to way below 5,000 pretty quickly!
Paul understood. He knew My disciples were under attack. He had smelled the breath of hell’s fury in the form of religious haters and government lackeys. He had lost people he loved to hell’s fury, people into whom he had poured his heart, his hopes, and his time. He also knew faithful friends who were so committed to My cause and his mission that they voluntarily shared his imprisonments and hardships. Paul knew the difference between an audience and an army! His army was willing to pay the price to prepare for the battle, to stand alongside him in the battle, and to give their lives with him in battle if it was required.
Why? Why would they pay such a high price? Why would they take such risks to share Paul’s worst moments? Simple. They were called to be part of the army. They never considered settling for being like internet followers or faux friends to Paul. They enlisted in My army to fight a war against hell, sin, death, and Satan.
Read Paul’s words in the verses below. He wrote them to the brothers and sisters in Ephesus along with other believers throughout Asia Minor. He was preparing them for spiritual warfare. More specifically, he was telling them to prepare themselves for the warfare that had already begun.
They lived in the place where religions collided in the Roman Empire. Wealth and power came with many of those religions. Superstition, black magic, and immoral acts went with others. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon. These storms would crescendo into the emperor cult in Asia Minor, a pseudo-religion that thrived in the same cities that received Paul’s words about spiritual warfare. This cult with its political power would propel the persecution of My followers. The war between hell and My disciples would lead to My Revelation to John, the vision he received and recorded in the book of Revelation. Paul wasn’t looking for just an audience; he was trying to awaken an army.
Today, as you read Paul’s words, please know that the Holy Spirit is working to use these same words of Paul to awaken an army in your day. I don’t want just more audience; I’m looking for a committed army. I don’t need more Twitter® or Instagram® followers; I AM looking for genuine disciples. I don’t need Facebook® friends; I AM looking for real friends. I AM looking for friends who do what I ask them to do. I am looking for genuine disciples who will follow even when they don’t understand all I am doing in the world (John 15:9-15; 1 Corinthians 13:9-12)!
There’s a war going on right where you live. Follow Me. But don’t come unprepared. Pick up the weapons and the armor that win the war and be ready — because there’s a war going on right where you live.
Verses to Live
Paul’s words about those who see you as their enemies are powerfully descriptive and one hundred percent true. You don’t need to be afraid, though; you just need to be prepared for the battle. Your ultimate victory is assured when you are committed to Me.
Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.
And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand — truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed. And please pray for me. Pray that truth will be with me before I even open my mouth. Ask the Spirit to guide me while I boldly defend the mystery that is the good news — for which I am an ambassador in chains — so pray that I can bravely pronounce the truth, as I should do.
Response in Prayer
Father, forgive me for not praying with greater urgency. I forget the spiritual warfare in my environment, at my doorstep, and over the devotion of my heart. Please bless all who lovingly and courageously share Your truth in dangerous places. Give them supernatural spiritual and physical strength to stand firm in their faith. Deliver them from harm’s way. Forgive us for complaining about life in “church land” because things sometimes aren’t being done in ways that please us. Please forgive us. Please awaken us. Move us from being satisfied as just an audience. Move us to be a passionate and prepared part of Your army on a mission. I ask for my own courage and strength in Jesus’ name. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.