Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. – Philippians 2:12-13
Lately, I’ve been busy. And tired. And I’m a few days away from my due date. And I’m still trying to get things done. Unsuccessfully. I’m past being frustrated and worried. The Lord took the anxiety away that I had a couple weeks ago. But He has been coaxing me to seek Him. To stay close, dig deep in His Word and be diligent in prayer.
Why is it so easy to spend less and less time with the Lord as responsibilities, plans, work, business and family build up? I think it’s because without a set Bible reading and prayer schedule, time with the Lord sort of goes on the back burner when everything piles up. We must challenge ourselves to be more disciplined and carve out time for connection with the Lord. I know I have no excuses!
I read a story a few months back of a woman who had ten children and every day, for an hour, she’d have them sit down in one room together in the middle of the floor. She’d sit in her chair with a cover over her head for an hour and have her uninterrupted Jesus time. The kids learned that she was not to be disturbed. And she did it every day. Her eldest son grew up to be a very well known pastor.
When we don’t spend enough time with the Lord, we are making it easy for unholy thoughts to invade our minds. Then we are ill equipped to fight these temptations, lies and desires because we are not fueled by the Word of God and communion with the Holy Spirit. It gets frustrating when I don’t have sit down, uninterrupted, quality time with the Lord because I end up fighting alone. I start feeling condemned. There are things I struggle with internally that only the Lord can help me with. As believers in Christ, we all have inner spiritual struggles that can only be overcome by fighting with our spiritual weapons.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
These spiritual weapons are prayer, declaring the Word over your life and situation and meditating on it. It also helps to have fellow, trusted believers to pray with. Prayer partners to agree with according to the will of God in the name of Jesus.
I first wanted to speak on spiritual warfare and staying in the presence of the Lord because that’s what’s going to keep your faith strong and help you to work out your salvation. Well, why do we need to work out our salvation if we know that we are saved by grace through faith? Yes, it’s true that we can not earn salvation. Jesus did that for us when He died on the cross! But once we accept Him into our lives, we are still fighting against the flesh and the desires of the world. We must endure to the end!
“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:10-13
How do we endure to the end? Well, we “fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12
If were just okay after accepting Christ and didn’t have to do anything to claim the salvation we received, there wouldn’t be scriptures like these ones. Encouraging us to “contend for the faith” – Jude 3.
We will fight against sin and the forces of darkness here on this earth ’til we see Jesus. If we let sin corrupt us and infiltrate our hearts, our salvation is at stake. Yes, I believe that professing Christians can go to hell. It’s very sad, but Jesus spoke of this in the book of Matthew: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7: 21-23
Now, why would a person who confesses Jesus as Lord and ministers in His name go to Hell? That’s a pretty scary thought to me and makes me want to constantly check myself. Not only do Christians have undealt with heart issues like hate and unforgiveness, but some Christians live lifestyles that the Word of God plainly says is wrong and walk around believing they are okay because no one can be perfect.
Let us be humble before the Lord and seek Him for conviction. The Holy Spirit will let you know when there is something in your life that displeases Him. When you get a conviction, open your heart, repent and surrender that sin to the Him. He will help you get rid of it. Unconfessed sin separates us from the Father. Don’t let it be for eternity! Jesus’ love is too great for that!