One of the problems of interpreting end-time events is the tendency to focus upon only one set of conditions. If we look only at the fact that satan is raging or that lawlessness, wars, earthquakes and famines are escalating, we might conclude that difficulty and darkness are all that we have awaiting us until the rapture. And, as I mentioned, many people have been taught that life will only grow more evil until Christ returns.
But the same Spirit that predicted the perilous conditions at the end of the age also forecasts that, in spite of difficulties and battle, the gospel of Christ's love will be proclaimed worldwide to all nations (see Matthew 24:14). The Lord also said that the "crop" of last-days Christians will reach full stature (see Mark 4:28-29), and that those who know their God will be strong, do exploits, shine like the stars and lead multitudes to righteousness (see Daniel 11:32; 12:3).
In every age God requires that we walk as overcomers. Our call is to pray, to stand in spiritual warfare, to intercede for our leaders and soldiers and not to surrender our vision of a world in revival, regardless of whatever temporary setbacks we may face. The very fact that some distant nations are experiencing renewal and great harvests in recent years (Uganda and Fiji, for instance) reminds us that there is still time for our own nations. Our focus must remain riveted upon becoming like Christ in all things.
We might feel overwhelmed by the flood of evil storming against our societies, yet the promise of God is that, when the enemy comes in like a flood, He shall raise a standard against him (see Isaiah 59:19, KJV).
So we must ask ourselves, is our focus upon the enemy's flood? Or are we aware of the standard God is raising up to counter the onslaught of evil? Do not forget, beloved, that even when darkness covers the earth and deep darkness the peoples, the promise of God is that His glory shall rise upon us and His presence shall be visibly seen through us! In spite of the appearance that darkness is never ending, the Lord promises that, at the end of the war between light and darkness, "nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isaiah 60:1-3). Indeed, God's Word reveals that nestled and unfolding in the panorama of end-time events will also be an ongoing "period of restoration" ( Acts 3:20-21).
This does not mean that the world will be subdued by the Church (as some erroneously teach), but that the true church itself will be glorious, subdued and transformed by Christ! This final display of grace will be consummated in a Christlike Church, whose spiritual maturity shall manifest on earth the person and passions of Jesus Christ Himself.
Our fight is the fight of faith: Do we believe what God has promised? Our war is against principalities and powers: Do we believe the report that Christ shall "sprinkle [that is, cleanse, and bring forgiveness and transformation to] many nations" (Isaiah 52:15)?
I, for one, believe the promises of God. His Word is not just a comfort to me in times of trouble but a sword that I wield in times of spiritual war. His faithful Word is what I proclaim over my family, my church, my city and nation! Consider His proclamation: "So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). No matter how the battle rages, God's Word shall not return to Him void.
Consider also His commitment: "I am watching over My Word to perform it" (Jeremiah 1:12).
And His accessibility: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into Heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' – that is, the Word of faith which we are preaching" (Romans 10:6-8).
We are not mere mortals stumbling blindly on earth, separated from God and isolated from His response to our needs. No! We are new creatures, born again from above, and resident within us is the Holy Spirit of Almighty God.
Yes, we labor and intercede; we repent for our sins and the sins of our nations. But the weight of our victory rests not upon how much we labor and groan, but upon how sincerely we believe what God has promised. The Lord does not want us worrying about the future; He wants us to create it through the knowledge of His will, through the proclamation of His Word – which is the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17) – and through our yieldedness to the power of the Holy Spirit. And then He promises, "Whoever believes in [Me] will not be disappointed"(Romans 10:11).
Beloved, the sword God has put in our hearts and mouths is nothing less than the echo of His voice in us! So, let's not whine about negative conditions in the world or sigh prayers muttered in fear and unbelief. Let's embrace the fight of faith! May Christ's love for mankind be our compelling motivation! Pick up your Bible and speak audibly the promises of God's Word. Pick any verse quoted above and speak it out loud, with faith and authority. I guarantee that if you proclaim God's Word with faith, it will release power in and through your spirit. No power can quench the promises God has inspired in His Book.
He assures us, "All things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23). Let's break the bondage of a passive spirit. Let's take up the sword of the Spirit and embrace the fight of faith!
Lord, I repent of self-pity and fear. Train my hands for war! Teach me to stand and fight back on behalf of Your righteous cause. In Jesus' name, Amen.
The preceding message is adapted from a chapter in Francis' book, This Day We Fight! published by Chosen Books. Available at www.arrowbookstore.com
Francis Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. Francis' heartfelt prayer is to see established in every city Christlike pastors and intercessors, united before God, revealing the love of Christ to their communities. Since 1985, he has written fourteen books plus a number of study booklets. Over the past decades, Francis has served on a number of other ministry boards. However, in recent years he has gradually resigned from these various boards. As of June 2009, he has also retired from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries. In this more simplified life, Frangipane is devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God's Word.