Monday, February 10, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 52: Known by the Enemy

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 52, February 10, 2014
Readings: Psalm 52, Genesis 47:13-26, 2 Chronicles 25, Acts 18:23-28, Acts 19:1-22

If you've been reading the last week, think back to the topics that came up - having a heart for God, motivation for doing good, and the power of God to save. God didn't adopt the Israelites, and Jesus didn't save sinners just so we could go on being the same people. He called the Israelites to be different. He calls Christians to be in the world, but not of the world. The Bible also describes the Christian life as a battle and a marathon.

When I was a kid, I loved reading histories of battles and historical fiction. One character who stuck out to me was the Red Baron in World War One. Feared and respected by both armies, the Red Baron was well known - he was a calculating strategist, an excellent flyer, and disciplined. He wasn't just another soldier amongst the thousands. He stood out.

Can you say that you stand out as a Christian?

And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (Acts 19:11-16)

Paul is recognized by the enemy. His work for Jesus has earned him a place that even the demons know his name. These sons of Sceva are just posers! Instead of being willing to know Jesus and to walk with the Holy Spirit, they try to shortcut the process. They want the power without the battle, or the race. They want to use Jesus for their own gain.

Jesus' power, saving grace and life-changing work are not something that can be turned on and off at will. Jesus calls us to battle, calls us to run the race. You're either in it or you're not. You can't be a soldier one day and not the next. You can't claim a medal at the end of your life for a race you never entered. Jesus calls us to be all-in. Holding nothing back.

In light of these things, what does your life look like? Have you started running the race? Or are you just hoping for a medal? Are you fighting for Jesus, daily serving Him by loving others and following His commands? Or are you far from the battlefield?

This is a call to action, not a call to measurements of our good deeds. The race and the battle look different for everyone. But the question is - are you in? Is your life committed?

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