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NO EXCUSES

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

In early 2004, I watched a news interview of a battlefield general in the Iraq Conflict. The general’s position was that progress was being made in the war, which the reporter vigorously challenged using data showing that the number of attacks on American troops had held constant. The reporter asserted that were progress being made, the number of attacks would decline. The general explained that while the quantity of attacks was the same, the severity had decreased because the military had hampered the ability of the opposition to stage major attacks capable of killing large numbers of servicemen. So the opposition had resorted to less lethal assaults. The general admitted that while fatalities were regrettably still occurring, they were far fewer. The reporter then asked if the strategy could shift from a few large attacks to many small ones, resulting in similar casualty numbers. The general replied that it was extremely unlikely, since it takes the same number of people to plan and execute a small attack as it does a big one. The combination of fewer American casualties and the opposition’s diminishing returns forced the reporter, who had been determined to get a high ranking military official to admit that things were not improving, to concede.

That military warfare situation can be compared with spiritual warfare as well. People who have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ are at war with Satan’s kingdom. While Satan is the ruler of this world (for now) the reality is that his position is not very strong. His forces are incapable of standing against anyone knowledgeable of the power in the name of Jesus Christ and are willing to use it, and furthermore he has finite resources. But Satan cannot simply stand by and allow those who seek to be as Christ to do the work of the Lord. If he did that, the true Christians would inflict too much damage. Even though it is ultimately a losing battle, Satan absolutely must do whatever he can to delay and frustrate all saints in hopes of extending his time on earth by just that much more. So if you are a true Christian, the demonic attacks are coming! The only question is how much of his limited resources he dedicates to opposing each Christian, and the answer to that question is given by each Christian individually!

If you are a weak Christian who stumbles or falls at the first sign of opposition, then Satan will accordingly allocate meager resources to your opposition. And why not? Satan cannot destroy you even if he threw everything that he had against you, because you are covered by the Blood of Jesus and protected by God’s hand. So his efforts are going to be slow you down – and hopefully ultimately give up – in your work for the Lord. If it does not take much to do so, why use any more than it takes? Remember, Satan’s resources are limited. So he is not going to send a sledgehammer to crush a fly or a bomb to blow up an ice cream truck. Instead he is going to use a swatter or bug spray to deal with the fly and a hand grenade or single stick of dynamite on the truck. That way, he gets to save his sledgehammers for brick walls and his bombs for fortresses. The thing to remember: Satan has many more swatters and hand grenades than sledgehammers and bombs! So Christians need to aspire to become brick walls and fortresses to force Satan to use his best on us. Why? Because it makes it easier on everybody else who loves God!

Always remember that Satan cares not a whit for anyone or anything but himself. So never think that the bad circumstances that you face are about you personally. Nah, Satan is out to oppress the whole world! To him you are just another number; just someone else that he wants to beat up and destroy. Now for people who will never give their lives to Christ, Satan’s desires are easily attained. But a Christian is different. Not only can Satan NOT destroy a Christian, his ability to beat a Christian up is limited by the Christian himself. But attack he must, or else the Christian will be the one doing the destroying! So if you are a Christian who is strong in the faith, ever obedient to God, resists temptations, and overcomes obstacles, Satan has no choice but assign his chief demons to try to hold you down. If that happens, then there is that much less demon oppression for everyone else. That makes it easier for everyone else to seek and obey God and receive blessings. It makes it that much easier for ministry to be effective, for churches and homes to prosper, to raise the next generation, to bring newcomers into the faith. But if you are a Christian who is constantly stumbling and falling, constantly stopping and starting, always complaining, and prone to half – doing things and giving up, then Satan gets to assign lesser tormentors to you and use his big guns to oppress everybody else.

That is why no matter who you are, no matter how insignificant you may regard yourself, or what your calling is, you must do it and do it well no matter what. Do not give up. Do not quit. Do not complain. Obey every command, no matter how hard it seems, or conversely how trivial and immaterial to your situation it appears. And above all, do not compromise! Satan’s main game against a saint is to get him or her to compromise. To apply all sorts of temptations and pressures to get the saint to accept just a little bit less than the best, to stop just short of total victory! If you succumb, you will settle for less and less and fall shorter and shorter of the mark each time. Pretty soon you get so comfortable with failure that you began to equate “I tried” with success. You will begin to think that “It wasn’t my fault” is a sufficient answer. You become a bigger expert at finding fault and redirecting blame than you are at your ministry, and may even resent those who are more fruitful than you. When that happens, you are not very useful in God’s army. You may still go to Heaven, because you will have opened your heart to Christ Jesus. But you will not be much help to anyone else.

Let us go back to the military war theme to illustrate. Suppose there are two soldiers. One is in top shape, is extremely knowledgeable, and is a great fighter no matter the circumstances. The other is out of shape, ill – prepared, and likely to seek cover when the going gets rough. Where you have one guy doing great things like killing or capturing many enemy soldiers, inspiring and energizing his colleagues, positioning them and providing strategy to enhance their chances of succeeding, protecting the more vulnerable members and positions by drawing enemy fire, and breaking down strongholds for everyone else to charge through, the other soldier is basically useless to anyone else; just a body out there surviving without contributing anything to the battle. Sure, the battle is going to be won. Sure, both the good soldier and the ineffective one will receive their commendations for being in the battle and on the victorious side. But the reality is that only one of the soldiers actually made a significant contribution to the battle being won!

You have to realize that no matter what the Lord tells you to do, you must finish it. Why? Because if you do it for the Lord, you will receive opposition. If you stand and overcome the opposition, the level of opposition will have to be raised the next time. And that therefore uses up more of the enemy’s firepower. But if you quit, your level of opposition stays the same! So the enemy gets to save his firepower for someone else.

You may be tempted into thinking that such is just how you like it; that who wants to battle Satan’s finest anyway? That you should leave the heavy lifting for those more suited and willing. If so, that is an illusion. Again, let us go back to the soldier analogy. Say they are lifting weights. The good soldier is in great shape, and is able to lift 400 pounds. Pretty heavy, huh? Now, the bad soldier can only lift 100 pounds. Not much at all, right? Tell that to the soldier! It would still be heavy for him! The 100 lb. weight is as heavy to the bad soldier as the 400 lb. one is! So you do not lessen YOUR burden by choosing weakness. To you, the attacks will be just as frustrating and devastating as the attacks on as they would for a strong person. A difference is that is that while you are truthfully not even carrying your own weight, the strong fighting Christian is carrying his own burden and helping that of someone else! Another difference is that where the good soldier would be able to quickly renew his strength and get back on the battlefield even after lifting the 400 lbs., the bad soldier will struggle with the effects of having to lift the 100 lbs. for far longer!

The reason is that the good soldier is walking in victory. So when Satan throws his best at him, he is able to not only prevail but to count it all for joy. He springs right back up for the next battle, because he has faith that his God will deliver him no matter what. As a result, he faces and defeats one major foe after another, and the devil has to send in reinforcements from all over in a desperate attempt to contain the damage. The spiritual climate of whole nations may improve because of the good soldier’s efforts, because princes, powers, and other top resources have to be directed to stop that one striver! Meanwhile, the bad soldier is in fellowship with defeat. Merely a few of Satan’s lowest order of demons are able to mess up his mind, put sickness on his body, get him to cut corners and ultimately give up. And what is worse, when he is down, he stays down for a long time! Even when he eventually gets back up, he inflicts no real damage on the enemy, because where the warrior is anticipating winning the next battle no matter how great it is, the compromiser has already made peace with the fact that the very next punch from Satan will knock him back down again.

And you can tell the difference between the two in how they pray. The bad soldier does not mind losing but hates fighting, so he begs God to take him out of the battle. He tells God that since he is a Christian, he ought to be favored. He ought to be on easy street! At the very least God should pardon about his failures, smile upon his effort, and add to him no other burdens, right! Meanwhile, the good soldier is pleading to God to allow him, TO SEND HIM into more battles! He begs the Lord for the battle, he begs the Lord to prepare him, and he begs the Lord not to allow him to fail. Why? Because where the bad soldier is looking to be given a free ride, the good one is seeking God’s favor. Also, he has the love of God in him which means that he loves his neighbor, so not only knowing that other people are being helped by his actions but SEEING IT gives him great joy! Pretty soon, he is asking the Lord to take from an oppressed, struggling person’s yoke and give it to him instead, in hopes that it will lead to the struggling person being set free. Meanwhile, the bad soldier simply looks at the struggling person and says “Boy am I glad that isn’t me!” He sees the good soldier carrying the struggling person’s backpack for him and says “Great! That is one less thing that I have to do!”

That is where we have the flies and ice cream trucks versus the brick walls and fortresses. God is not going to give everyone the same portion; everyone the same ministry. No, he rewards each according to their ability. If you are given a few things and do well with them, then you are a brick wall. God can use you to shield a few people – especially the vulnerable ones – from attack. If Satan wants to get to those people, he is going to have to get through you! Some of the best brick walls are humble little old ladies who do nothing all day long but pray and intercede for people. God uses them to protect people from threats that they are not even aware of, and to help cause change in the hearts of people that they have never met. Meanwhile, if you are given many things and do well with them, you are a fortress. God can use you to claim and defend large areas of territory, especially on the enemy’s turf. You set up a stronghold through which many can live in and pass through while on their way to work God’s will. Fortresses are often – but not always – your pastors who build churches based on sound doctrine and bring many to Christ, send still more people out into the world to do battle for Christ, and provide a place of refuge for many a wounded soul. Another example of a brick wall is someone who has one thing that they do for the Lord. Maybe it is leading worship service. Maybe it is teaching Sunday school. Maybe it is even mopping the floors after church is over. But far from complaining or feeling small or underutilized and appreciated, those people take that one job and do it better than most anyone else could even imagine! And another example of a fortress can be a missionary who goes and preaches the gospel where it has never been preached before, and plants a lot of seeds that will grow into being members of some other fortresses’ church. Of course there are many levels between accounting for all the different jobs and abilities, but what matters is that the person that those things are given to are those who fight, achieve, overcome, and above all obey!

Then we have the other side of the spiritual coin. The fly is someone who has been given a few things and is unfaithful with them. Such a person will often complain, blaming their failures on their low station. They will insist that IF ONLY they had been given something more glamorous to do, they would have taken more interest in it and done a better job. As it is, they view their failure as no big deal, because what they were placed over wasn’t really THAT important to them anyway. They are completely ignorant of the reality of how important it is to God, or how many people they could have helped just by sticking it out, or how others always wind up having to pick up their slack and finish what they failed to complete. And the ice cream truck is someone who has been given many things and is unfaithful with them. The ice cream truck could have been something great, but instead it became something that just ambles along. Ice cream trucks move very slow and don’t have any doors, which allows the enemy to come right in and take whatever he wants. This happens because ice cream truck preachers do not intercede for their congregation in prayer or take spiritual warfare seriously! And rather than giving the people that they are placed over sound doctrine (i.e. meat, fruit, vegetables, and yes even bitter medicine) that is good for them, they harm the people by giving them only sugary sweets (telling them what they want to hear), thereby setting them up for destruction. The ice cream truck always complains about all the pressure and responsibility of leadership. They say “I have a big church. I can’t be responsible for everybody! I do not believe in putting unrepentant sinners out of the church. Let them stay and hear the word. Besides, they are heavy financial contributors!” They seem to do everything BUT ask God to bless their ministry and congregation! And if they are missionaries or evangelists, their message consists of a feel – good Christianity lite that causes a great many to convert initially, but most of them wind up backsliding because they are unready to face the inevitable coming hardships because when the gospel was preached to them, they did not receive the whole truth. But of course, the ice cream truck evangelist takes NO RESPONSIBILITY for that. Instead, he claims that it was just his job to get them in the door; after that it is the job of the pastor of their “church home” to give them sound doctrine and keep them in the fold!

I am certain that God wants more brick walls and fortresses. It would only take a few to rise up for Satan to respond by sending so much ammunition their way in a vain attempt to cause them to fall that entire nations could be liberated! Look at all the oppression of Christians in places like China, Sudan, and all over the Middle East. Obviously you have major demonic activity that is the motivating force. Imagine if all those demon resources were to be redirected from ruling over those tragedies for Christians in order to try to slow down the progress of even a few dedicated Christians! And I did say a few, because that is all it takes. Remember, there were only 12 apostles, but they spread the gospel throughout the entire Roman Empire in almost no time! Imagine if there were 12 like that today in every state. It would result in more shackles being unbound and captives being set free than you can imagine!

So Christian, don’t make excuses. Don’t give up. Don’t fall short. Even if you do transgress, do not worry about it. Do not fall into the guilt complex, or the “I am just not good enough and will never be right” malaise. That is settling. That is compromising. Compromising is not God’s way! God’s way is victory for God bows to no one! So be the same, bow only to God. So, if you stumble and fall, get back up again, beg God to strengthen you, and go and sin no more. Do not fellowship with failure. Do not make friends with excuses. Do not become buddies with buck – passing. Instead do as Paul said in Phillipians 3:14 – press towards the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus! In the name and with the power of Jesus Christ, you can do it! You can stand strong for the Lord! Friend, be encouraged, for if you stand strong and be obedient, the entire body of Christ will share the fruit of your labor. And THAT will wind up benefiting you as well, because your hard work will release success in THEIR ministry! So you will be blessed directly by God for your hard work and indirectly by the hard work of others! So be encouraged. Be obedient. Be faithful. Be persistent. Keep your covenants. Uphold your responsibilities. And stand always in the faith and prosperity of your God.

Prayer:

Father in the name of Jesus Christ, may I receive your Word and act on it. May I receive your instructions and execute them. May I be a finisher, not giving up until I have done your complete will no matter the circumstances. May I remember that if you be with me, the very gates of hell cannot overcome me; I will not fall because you will never betray for fail. As your Word is true, may I be true to your Word! Help me to realize that it is not by my own actions or hand, but because ye are with me, and if ye are with me, there is never any reason to fail. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Deliverance:

Complacency, laziness, sloth, fear, and responsibility avoidance are the demons that operate in this area. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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