Years ago I walked out of a local grocery store by a table of American soldiers collecting “Christmas Shoe Boxes.” These gift boxes were to be sent to the faithful soldiers serving our country. I smiled at the soldiers and said a prayer for them under my breath. As I drove from the parking lot, I thought of my three young sons, and with tears in my eyes said aloud, “Dear God, please don’t allow my boys to go to war.” Almost instantly, the gentle, yet firm voice I’ve come to recognize replied, “They will war, Lisa. Either in the spirit or in the flesh, but they will war. Teach them to war in the spirit.” As war rages across the ocean and terrorist atrocities become mainstream news, I remember this response that made an indelible impression upon my heart.
God’s heart is always towards mercy. He IS love, and yet, His mercy cannot be truly merciful without justice. When I consider the recent headlines and the uncertainty regarding the future of our once great nation, I can’t help but question how we arrived here. Here. Here in a nation that was founded on the basis of religious freedom, founded by men and women that longed to study the Bible independently and worship Christ in a personal way. Our very Constitution was grafted from the moral foundations of the Ten Commandments.
While I realize that the origin of our nation is now debated, and some sectors are literally re-writing history, a simple walk around our Capitol proves our country is steeped in Judeo-Christian belief. If a spur-of-the-moment vacation isn’t an option, simply watch this thought provoking video on You Tube (Stoplight: A Walk for the President; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKhVnAgt0EY). The empirical proof is overwhelming, that yes, we are a Christian nation, and as such we must abide by godly principles if our republic is to work. In 1798, John Adams stated, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”Pause a moment to contemplate Adams’ statement and what it means for today’s America. So, we must ask ourselves: Have we reached the point of no return? Are we destined to war in the flesh because we’ve long since forgotten how to war in the spirit?
The Old Testament history of Israel gives us insight. Israel’s relationship with God followed a cyclical pattern. They trusted and obeyed His commands and they prospered. Then they’d become comfortable in the lap of luxury, complacent about keeping His precepts; idolatry would sneak in, and soon they were knee-deep in abomination. God would warn them; they wouldn’t listen. They’d be overtaken and enslaved; they’d cry out for mercy. God would deliver them and the cycle would begin again. While our nation is a mere 238 years old, a similar pattern exists in American history. Now, in 2015, I sense we are approaching the climax, the outcome of which can be glorious or disastrous, depending on the choices we make.
“Oh, please,” some might say. “September 11, 2001 was a fluke, certainly not a warning of things to come. The economic recession will pass; we’re not really on the verge of a complete financial collapse! And terrorism, well, that’s not much to speak of either, right? After all, we’ve only lost a few American Embassies and there’ve only been a few jihadist beheadings on American soil.” It’s time to face the facts, no matter how sullied they are by the mass media. We have begun the war in the flesh and it will only escalate if we don’t awake and respond to the handwriting on the wall. (See Daniel 5).
God is never surprised by the events of mankind. He always has a plan of redemption, and America is no exception. The first stop on the road to redemption can be found in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (AMP). It’s critical to note that God makes this statement to “His people.” God is not waiting for unbelievers to cry out to Him; on the contrary, His appeal is made to us—His children—those called by His name. Is it any wonder that this appeal is just as relevant today as it was 2500 years ago?
Like Israel, we too have left our first love, chasing after the pleasures of this life, erecting our own idols of sports, entertainment, houses, cars, fancy vacations—consumed by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Even our churches have become country clubs instead of houses of prayer, worship, repentance, and restoration. God, forgive us.
I see the outrage in some Believers that are fed up with the status quo. I’ve read the raging blogs disparaging various pastors and ministries around the globe. I’ve heard arguments from those intent on correcting others’ doctrines, believing it is their special mission to maintain the integrity of the Scripture. Yet I’m puzzled by the hypocrisy of critical blogs and judgmental opinion columns; after all, I Corinthians 6 specifically tells Believers to handle their disputes privately, not in an open court among unbelievers. Why then do we think it is acceptable to openly berate other Believers in the court of social media? Be cautious of individuals and ministries that malign other Believers; they are aligning themselves with the accuser of the brethren. The accuser of the brethren, satan, is determined to divide and conquer.
The Bible tells us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12, KJV). Supernatural warfare is an ever-present reality, and it’s time to join ranks and get in the spiritual battle. Our fleshly battles have cost so much; our focus has shifted from eternal values to temporal ones, and the world has suffered. We have exchanged The Great Commission for The American Dream, and the world has suffered. We have left our first love chasing idols of prosperity and pleasure, and the world has suffered. We can no longer ask, “Where is God in the suffering?” for He is asking, “Where are you, dear Christian?”
Some may wonder about the urgency this article exudes. Others may simply want to click off the page, hoping to find a more pleasant diversion. Yet denial will only sink us deeper. If we were asked why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, most would reply, “sexual perversion.” But that’s not what the Bible tells us. Ezekiel 16:49, 50 says, “Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, overabundance of food, prosperous ease, and idleness were hers and her daughters’; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.And they were haughty and committed abominable offenses before Me; therefore I removed them when I saw it and I saw fit” (AMP). Does this description read familiar? The urgency is necessary because we, too, are in danger of being “removed.”
Our hope is found in repentance; for He promises when we turn from wickedness, He will heal our land. Repentance occurs in prayer. It’s time to get on our knees, Church. It’s time for true, gut-wrenching, heart-felt repentance. You see, repentance, in essence, is turning away from evil. It is a change of “heart” which encompasses our mind, our will, and our emotions. It is an ACTION, not a feeling. We may not “feel” the need for repentance, but let me ask you, dear reader, do you HATE evil?
God has called us to be “holy” (which actually means set apart and consecrated for a special purpose) as He is holy. His call to repentance is a call to intimate relationship, a call to denounce sin, so that nothing common separates us from Him. True repentance—this turning from all unrighteousness and turning to Christ our righteousness—will prepare our hearts for the coming outpouring of His Holy Spirit. Repentance will pave the way for revival. Revival will usher in reformation. Reformation will save America, and perhaps even the world.
We WILL war. We will war in either the flesh or the spirit. Let’s begin to choose wisely. Let’s repent for our idolatry and our lack of prayer and learn once again how to effectively war in the spirit. You see, judgment begins in the house of God, and we have been given the opportunity to respond to the call for repentance. It’s not too late for the body of Christ to correct her course, to turn from evil and to execute righteousness in our land. It’s not too late to change the outcome of the world around us. It’s not too late to pray.
For more information on the history of our great nation, see Wallbuilders.com
Originally published for Living Magazine, November issue (livingmagazine.net)
“tags: spiritual warfare, prayer, war, repentance, revival, terrorism, America, American, Constitution, judgment, idolatry”