"My prayer is, when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
Every now and then I read a passage in the Bible that just clicks. One sentence will speak volumes and resonate on so many levels. Yesterday was one of those days. I read John 12 – the story of when Jesus went to visit the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus just after raising Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11 (see John 11:38-45). The part that struck me was this:
“But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.” John 12:10-11
Lazarus experienced a great miracle. He was raised from the dead by Jesus after four days in the tomb. That isn’t the kind of thing that happens every day – even Jesus was alive on the earth. And now that he was alive, he was a living testimony to the power of Jesus.
The chief priests were trying to tell everyone that Jesus was a bad guy or just a normal guy at best. Their message was “don’t follow Him. He is nothing special. Keep living your life as usual and don’t pay too much attention to what He is saying.”
But when Lazarus walked into the room, their message became much less effective. Lazarus was a walking billboard – shouting out JESUS IS THE REAL DEAL! JESUS IS ALL-POWERFUL! JESUS IS GOD! You couldn’t escape that message as long as Lazarus was alive.
So the chief priests tried to kill him. They hated his guts because he stood in direct opposition to their message. Without saying a word, he was a bringing many people to believe in Jesus just by his very existence.
Are you Lazarus too?
I am Lazarus. I know that for sure. I am Lazarus because God has worked so mightily in my life. I am not just saying that, but I truly believe that with all my heart. I always tell people that of all God’s children on this planet, “I am His favorite” (we all know that every parent has a favorite child no matter how much they refuse to admit it so I will go ahead and break the bad news to you all… I AM GOD’S FAVORITE!).
Of course God loves all His children infinitely and without limit and I am not saying God is biased or partial. But what I'm saying is that when I see all that God has done in my life, I feel like there’s no way He can love anyone more than me. I must be His favorite!
But being God’s favorite comes with a price doesn’t it? The price is that some people won’t like my witness and they won’t want people to hear God’s message through me. They will want to shut me up and stop me from proclaiming the beauty of Jesus. They know that if I'm alive and well, people will “believe in Jesus” because my life is a testimony of His goodness and His grace.
Who are those bad guys? Where are those attacks coming from? That depends. There could be a number of different avenues through which the attacks come, but the source is always the same.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
The attacks are coming not from OUR enemy, but from GOD'S enemy – the one who doesn’t want anyone to believe in Jesus or His power. So what that enemy does is he tries to ruin the testimony of God’s children. He doesn’t like it when we walk around and show everyone how great our God is. So he tries to kill us.
How? I can’t speak for your life, but I can speak for my own:
- He tries to kill me by attacking my MARRIAGE and getting my wife and I to fight about the DUMBEST things ever! He knows that if she and I are united, then my witness is infinitely stronger. And if we aren’t united, then I don’t know how to think right.
- He tries to kill me by attacking my PURITY and getting me to fall into sins of the flesh. If he can get me to feel defeated, then he knows that I won’t be motivated to speak about victory to others.
- He tries to kill me by attacking my THOUGHTS. He loves for God’s children to feel despair and alone and hopeless. He wants to make your mind his playground.
- He tries to kill me by attacking my FRIENDSHIPS – those who support me and pick me up. He wants us to stop lifting each other up and instead get us to spend our time gossiping and wasting time with idle talk.
If you find yourself under unusual attack these days, don’t look around for answers. LOOK UP! The problem may be all around you, but the solution is always above.
Charles Studd, a 19th century British missionary (with a really cool name as well) said it this way: "My prayer is, when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight."
Well said Mr. Studd.