As news editor for Charisma magazine, I read hundreds of stories every week about the good, bad and ugly. Unfortunately, most of it is bad and ugly.
Through this lens, it’s clear that anti-Christ agendas and false gospels are rising. In the world, we see the homosexual agenda, the socialist agenda, the atheist agenda and so on. In the church, we see the hypergrace movement, sexual scandals in the church and cessationist wars that grieve the Holy Spirit.
Still, Jesus is Lord.
Over the Thanksgiving break, I was encouraged by some seemingly trivial observations. For example, the Gideon Bible was still in my drawer at the Embassy Suites in downtown Tampa. When I went down for breakfast, a couple sitting next to me held hands and prayed over their meal in the name of Jesus. In nearby St. Petersburg, a nativity scene was displayed in all its glory.
Yes, the culture wars are real. The atheists really are trying to drive Christianity out of the public square, and radical gay activists really are trying to redefine traditional marriage. Yes, there is trouble in the church. High-profile pastors really are falling into sexual immorality or committing suicide. Yes, it’s likely to get darker in the days ahead.
Still, Jesus is Lord.
Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). And to that I say a hearty amen. But nowhere in that verse does it call us to be paranoid or to be afraid of what will happen next. In fact, the Bible tells us repeatedly to “fear not.”
Paul warned us not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11). Again, I say amen. But the apostle didn’t intend for us to exalt the enemy over Jesus. We need to put on our spiritual armor because we are wrestling against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). But God always leads us into triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).
Each and every week, I sound the alarm through this column because we need to be sober and vigilant; we need to be educated about the devil’s devices; we need to be equipped to wrestle against that which is wrestling against us. But this week I am blowing the trumpet in Zion and sounding an alarm in God’s holy mountain (Joel 2:1).
I would encourage you to read Joel 2 in its entirety. We need to heed God’s Word in this hour. We need to continue issuing the call to repentance in the church. Then the Lord will be zealous for His land. Then God will pour His Spirit out upon us so we won’t grow weary in this wrestling match—and we won’t grow paranoid or fearful either.
Spiritual warfare is a reality, but Jesus is still Lord.