From Sunday’s message, in Matthew 2:13 “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”
Mary and Joseph, and the child Jesus fled, as Herod was determined to find this child, the new King, and kill him. Herod, when he realized he had been tricked, had all the male children 2 and younger in Bethlehem killed. Think of the trauma so many experienced. Herod killed whomever it was that threaten to take over his throne, power, and control.
What is it that you don’t want to lose control of, that you want to hold tight to? What is it when mentioned that sets you off, like hitting your Red Button? Are you in a sense killing in order to keep it your way? Or is it another individuals’ Red Button that you think needs addressing? And in doing so it sets them off. Some, just to keep the peace, don’t say or do anything. Rather than pushing buttons, are you complacent? Do you stand aside, not saying anything, or let others run over you? You’ve learned from past experience that mentioning or living for Jesus meant war? Stand for Jesus and His way then watch the opposition unfold. There is so much persecution of Christians in the world today, verbally and physically, to get rid of and silence those who share about the one who came to save mankind. Christmas (Jesus) is war.
How are we to engage in this War? We need the power and strength of God within us, especially when we try to share the Gospel message with those around us. As they resist our efforts, there is a war within us, its almost like Satan saying in our ear “I won this one”.
In the RNM “Battle Plan” by Dr Ed Young, he asks, are you ready to defend yourself? Satan’s #1 plan is to have your life. There are rats in the garden, enemies (rats) in your life, seeking to destroy you, weaken you. There is a battle going on for your mind, your heart, there’s constant conflict. Good is interpreted as evil, and evil is interpreted as good. Satan is seeking to destroy the basic culture of America. The culture, “the glue”, that holds our common values together.
Ed Young shared as we look in the Old Testament, we learn of King Manasseh of Judah, mentioned in 2 Kings 21:1-18, he was the son of King Hezekiah. Manasseh became King at the age of 12, and reversed the positive religious changes made by his father. He tore down the walls, the boundaries, he lowered the moral standards of the nation. He even sacrificed his own son in a bed of fire and silenced the voices of the prophets.
So, to fight off the evil around us, even as we read of the evil of those like King Manasseh, or Herod; we need to be as the hymn says: “Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching as to War”. We need to put on our battle armor, the Full Armor of God, be the difference makers in defeating evil as we stand together in Jesus Christ. We need to know our own weaknesses, live as the Book of Ephesians tells us to live, as we are given gifts and we walk in our calling. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, in our speaking to one another, with a thankful attitude, submitting to one another. We need to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand strong against the schemes of the Devil.
As we take off ourselves, we put on Christ:
Christmas is War – there’s a new King in town. We are now dying to self and living for Him. Jesus needs to be in every aspect of our lives. In our conversations, in our actions, in our work, in our play, in our decision making, in our ???? In all things we are to bring Jesus into our lives and the lives of others in a natural way, in the context of life circumstances rather than to set them down and say I’m going to teach you. It’s living Jesus out from our hearts towards others.
Larry & Darlene