Today I was waiting to get my daily dose of the Word from my favorite non-shouting Bible teacher on Christian satellite television. An advertisement aired in the station break for another show at some time and a man was shouting from the pulpit that “there is spiritual warfare going on in the heavenlies.” Thank God it was just a teaser for the show — it saved me having to watch it.
I’ve read that Jesus “having spoiled principalities and powers, he [Jesus] made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Well, did He or didn’t He? “Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14). Well, does He or doesn’t He? And guess where the only fight is really going on! In the heavenlies? I think not. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV). The only battle is in your thought life.
As E.W. Kenyon wrote decades ago, “We sit in the presence of the tremendous realities of His combat against the hosts of darkness during His Substitution, of His mighty victory over the hosts of darkness, of His breaking the bonds of Death conquering the enemy … Satan knows he is defeated. All heaven knows he is defeated. And yet the Church looks upon him as a Master” (In His Presence (1944), page 66, introduction to Chapter 6 “The Integrity of the Word”). He also wrote many times that “man’s basic spiritual problem is the integrity of God’s Word.” Can we rely upon it? I say, Absolutely.
The current consumerist spirituality wants us to have new experiences, “breakthrough”, “transformative” experiences. And next month or next year there will be a newer experience, for these shallow experiences do not last long. Who wants to be an ordinary, plain Christian when you can have what’s on offer today? I do!
“What makes you an ordinary Christian, after all? Isn’t the answer faith in Christ? And what power and blessing do ordinary Christians receive, just by this faith? … Surely the answer has to be nothing less the Jesus Christ himself… What we have, if we are nothing but ordinary Christians, is greater than all the experiences in the world. We have Christ himself… everything else is inessential. What would happen to us if we believed that — that Christ alone is what’s really essential in the Christian life?” (Phillip Cary, Good News for Anxious Christians (2010), pages 120-121).