Many who were once vibrant soldiers, today languish in a shadow existence. They are out of church, disconnected from their former passion and sick in body and soul. The ongoing political debate and demonstrations have only added to the crisis. The conflicting opinions of church leaders leave the army of God baffled and vulnerable.
The problem is, with all the anger, division, loud perversion, and persecution, Christian teachers find their instructive messages woefully inadequate. What happened? The answer is…life. Life happened, and it is gripping believers with fear. This is a new kind of fear coming from the screaming villains, who now have an out-sized influence.
The church in America needs a terrifying collision with the Glory of God. But right now we are awash in ‘advisory sermons.’ The titles are similar and predictable: “How to handle fear, uncertainty, finances, relationships, marriage, and children.” We are drowning in whiteboards, blackboards, statistics, PowerPoint Presentations, props, and illustrations.
We’ve been taught to death. We need to pour gasoline on what we’ve been taught and light it on fire.
Happy-face sermons do not give believers the power they need to overcome in a time like this. What is happening now runs clear off the over-optimistic maps drawn in pulpits. Tragedies can uproot neat formulas like a palm tree in a hurricane. Hip theories will collapse like a brick house in an earthquake.
Leaders have brought a lot of this on themselves. The culture has changed dramatically in the last few months—but the American pulpit has not.
Why are we surprised that modern believers suddenly need more? The power that could answer a thousand questions and extinguish a myriad of personality ills has been ushered out of church.
Closing the altars, ordering people to tone it down, and focusing on recovery programs indeed brought in a crowd. However, what is the end game if the crowd leaves as weak as they came—and in some cases weaker—without power to face the culture of a nation gone berserk?
Paul’s cure was simple: an undeniable encounter with the fire of God…”that your faith should not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:5).
The answer for conquering fear today is to burn it out! Just for shock value, I’ll use this phrase…perfect love casts out fear but so does perfect fear. No doubt many will think it is crazy to take a wonderful verse like 1 John 4:18: “perfect love casts out fear” and mess it up. But I am not messing it up I am fulfilling it!
PERFECT FEAR DOES INDEED CAST OUT FEAR! We have downplayed and even banned something that Christians desperately need…A TERRIFYING COLLISION WITH THE GLORY OF GOD.
Go back with me to 758 B.C. Isaiah the prophet enters the Temple in fear for his life. The tide of public opinion has turned against him. The death of his friend and protector King Uzziah has put the finishing touch on 5 years of ministry that seemingly had no impact on Israel, and Isaiah felt like he had just been treading water. His despair is now complete. He enters the Temple looking for comfort from God.
He kneels in prayer, resting his elbows on the altar seeking solace from the storm. Instead, the building starts quaking, knocking his elbows so that he is now punching himself in the face.
He looks up and sees Seraphim: Angels of fire, fire that burns hotter and brighter than any sun. They tower over him from either end of the altar.
Their voices roar, vibrate, boom and dislodge the mighty beams of the Temple! “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. THE WHOLE EARTH IS FILLED WITH HIS GLORY!” Back and forth, again and again, they blast this mighty proclamation until Isaiah could not bear the fright!
The mighty God Himself stands before Isaiah unfurling the indescribable train of His Glory! The prophet convulses beneath the weight of glory. From the very core of his being came an all-consuming cry… “WOE IS ME!”
The startling effect of the Glory of God—a wonder-working fear—overrules human fear.
No threat matters now. This demonstration of Glory conquered his suffering. Isn’t this exactly what Paul meant?: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Of course, Paul is speaking of the final GLORY…but it is a part of our birthright to have earthly collisions of glory: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7). An overarching, fear-destroying encounter is the legacy of every child of God.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.”
The twelve disciples were in a boat out on the Sea of Galilee, gripped by fear of the storm. But when Jesus rebuked the storm their fear of drowning was replaced with an awestruck wonder. They exclaimed: “what manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him!?”
We are told that General Patton won battles because his men were more afraid of him than the Germans. Again, ours is not a negative fear, but the holy awe born from the manifestation of God’s glory.
This truth reinforces the fact that “Perfect love casts out Fear” because love disciplines, love gives us what we need… and what we need today is not a subtle pat on the head. We need a fear-killing encounter! Solomon said in Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Why are we blocking people from experiencing the fire of God? Why would we keep this miracle from people? I am talking about fire—fire that keeps them from the evil one—fire that forges a reverence, and turns them into your best soldiers
We should have made room and time for people to be so filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit and fire that they are equipped to prevail against all enemies. If we had, we would not be nursing hordes of Christians on life support. We would have an unstoppable army!
There is still time to reverse course. If you have never been drenched by God then obey Him and seek to be overcome by His Glory. If you have received a filling of the Holy Spirit in the past, now is the time to receive FRESH FIRE!