DayBreaks for 8/02/17: Defeating the Philistines
From the DayBreaks archive, August 2007:
It doesn’t take much for me these days, to get incensed. I just recently spent time talking with several people about the state of the world today. We talked at some length about the madness that seems to have seized the headlines, if not the word itself, that believes that it is perfectly legitimate to blow up another human being (and the more the merrier), or to cut the heads off human beings in front of cameras for no reason than to strike terror into the minds of people around the world. Sadly, all you need do is turn on the television or connect to the Internet and you’ll get what amounts to an hour-by-hour reporting of these kinds of atrocities.
Why do such things happen? I muse on the topic. I can blame certain religions, that to my knowledge, seem to have no concept of grace. I can blame the culture in which these people grew up and were educated. I could blame the press, I could blame their parents. But I think the real answer is that in such people, we are seeing the unregenerate nature of mankind at its most exposed. We are seeing human nature without any of the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit. It’s not a flattering portrait of our species.
What do we do to defeat such Philistines? Mark Buchanan, in Hidden in Plain Sight reminds us: “…the Spirit of God is a living Person, an equal part of the Triune God, who desires to fill us and guide us and teach us and comfort us and counsel us, and to help us bear much fruit. But he’s humble and gentle, the Spirit, and needs inviting. And though the Spirit loves to anoint us for ministry in order to make us God-like in strength, even more he desires to fill us for daily living in order to make us Christlike in humility. More than endowing us with the might to slay the Philistines out there, the Spirit wants to strengthen us with grace to slay the Philistine in here.”
Each and every one of us want to believe the best about ourselves, don’t we? That we are good, at least basically good, that we don’t torture cats and dogs and that we’d never abuse women or children. We want to believe that while others act like Philistines, that we would never act that way.
I think we should probably re-evaluate ourselves if we think that way. I doubt that the people who held the feet of Jesus, or who swung the hammer to drive the nails home, would have ever felt that they would be so vile as to kill the Son of God. Paul certainly couldn’t see that he was putting God’s beloved children to death until the bright light struck him on the Damascus road and revealed the truth about his own nature and deeds.
It’s easy to get down on the Philistines “out there” or “over there.” It’s easy to think that they need to change. And they do. We should pray that they will be touched with the love of Christ and empowered to live by the Spirit. But we need to fight the Philistines that live in the darkened recesses of our lives lest we become like those we would decry in the name of all that his holy and just.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize”
PRAYER: Jesus, teach us to search our hearts and realize the depth of our deceitfulness and unrighteousness. Help us to understand that without the power of Your Spirit, there would be nothing to set us apart from the most depraved person on the face of this earth. Thank You for the privilege that we have of knowing You and help us understand how precious that gift is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>