Prayer is far more powerful in its effect and its necessity than any of us often take for granted. Keep that in mind as the message continues…
Finally, we come to Ephesians 6, verses 19-20:
“19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Paul, one of the boldest men of the Bible, unflinchingly going into hostile regions and facing not only persecution but also torture and death, was asking his friends in Ephesus to pray for him, that he may be made more bold in order to go that much further for the sake of the gospel! The man is writing these words from prison, no less! How much bolder could he have been in his witness? How much bolder could each of us be?
We don’t understand the struggle that many face, especially as Christians in a relatively apathetic country. We can’t appreciate what it truly means to endure hardship for our faith. Over 90,000 Christians lost their lives last year simply because they were believers. Because they anchored their faith in Christ, they paid the ultimate price, and in many cases they endured the terrible pain of witnessing their families, their little children even, being murdered in front of them! They believed in spite of real hardship. They believed in the truth in spite of the encroaching darkness.
They were bold in their faithfulness and they paid with their lives. Pray for those all of those who need boldness to face the world. Pray for those suffering. Pray for those hurting. Pray for those desperate and hopeless. Pray for each other. Perhaps we, like Paul, should pray for boldness in our own lives and see what a difference we can make against the darkness of this world.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Before I close, I want to say a few more things in regard to who our real enemy is.
That enemy of ours is not one that we can strike down with a sword or a MOAB bomb, but one that can only be battled with the word of God, each of us in His armor! Our struggle is not with our flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters, but the dark power that oppresses and possesses them.
What do Hitler and John the Baptist have in common? Mussolini and Abraham? What about Saddam Hussein and Moses? What did they have in common? On the surface, it’s at time hard to spot. But no matter who you are, no matter how good or bad one lives their life, we all have upon us the Imago Dei! We all carry the image of God! From the sincerest believer to the most defiled and sinful beast of a man to have ever been, we all share within us the image of God.(Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image”)
Think about that for a moment. Individuals, cultures, nations, we are all different, but we are all made in the image of God. At the heart of us all is a nature that undeniably knows him, but also it is a nature that is profoundly apt to fall away, to lust after power and glory and comfort and anything else that puts us ahead of Him! We all are capable of doing evil. We all are susceptible at some time or another to being compelled by our fallen hearts. None of us are exempt. The desire to sin roams in the wilderness of the heart like a rabid beast. None of us are exempt. None of us.
That sinful desire is what the evil of this world uses to draw us away, to tempt us into submission. Just a little, it says. One taste, it says. One little peek. Innocent as just a little may seem, it is in fact a vicious deception.
The Message continues next time…
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