Monday, September 28, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 9/28/09

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 2:13-14

Why? Why do men take captive other men? Why do they take them hostage, ripping them away from their homes and from their families and from all that they love and care for? Why do they ransom them off, holding their lives cheap as if it was nothing more than something to be bought and sold in the marketplace? Why do they traffic in human flesh, trading life as if it was nothing more than cattle or life stock, laying to waste lives as they strip it of all dignity? Why do they make slaves of people, robbing them of everything, even their pride?

Why do these things happen? That is the question that we so often struggle with as we hear of the plight and the struggle of the hostages and the prisoner, the captive and the slaves, those languishing in bitter agony and painful suffering as their world is ripped away from them. It all seems so senseless as their lives are held in the hands of tyrants and terrorists, pirates and dictators who would do anything it would seem to extend their power and authority, to increase their wealth and influence, to further than ambition and their agenda amidst this world.

It’s easy to just say that they are misunderstood as some people do. We have heard the argument put forward that we have the wrong idea about them or that we have misconstrued their intentions and their work because we just don’t comprehend what it is that they are doing. Some even go as far as, in some of the cases, blaming the victims, claiming the true victims are those who are taking the captives, and making prisoners out of people. After all, we just have misinterpreted their motives and what they are doing, it is argued.

It’s easy to just say that it’s because there is evil in this world, as most of us do. We look upon the chaos and the havoc that is wreaked and we are left to realize that there are wicked and vile people who give no value to life as they hold it contemptuous, as nothing more than a weapon they can use to cause hurt and pain, suffering and sorrow in this world and then throw it away as if it never mattered. We see the anguish and the agony of those despicable people who buy and sell human flesh as if there was no dignity to be held in life as it is destroyed right before us, hidden in plain sight and we know that there is evil in this world, that there is a corruption in this existence that does so much harm. It’s hard to disregard the wickedness of these people’s iniquity as they work their malicious malevolence in this world.

But it’s not just that and that alone, there is something more to it altogether…

It is a rejection of the Spirit of God, as these men embrace this world and all of the foolishness, all of the wickedness and hate, all of the fear and loathing that it can inspire. It is a rejection of everything good and righteous that the Lord offers unto this world through the power of His Spirit as they reject love and compassion, mercy and grace and instead embrace the vilest of iniquity and sin that can bring the worst sorrow.

After all, how can any who take captive abide in the Spirit when we know that where the Spirit is, there is liberty? (2 Corinthians 3:17) How can they abide in the Spirit of the Lord when we know that where the Spirit of the Lord is, men and women abide in that fundamental and basic commandment to love their neighbors, to love their fellow man as themselves? (Mark 12:28-31)

Why though is this significant for the Christian to understand? Why is this important for them to understand and to have knowledge of?

It’s because of that greatest commandment taught unto us by the Lord. As hard is it may be, and for as much evil as they work in this world the believer is called to love their fellow man as they love themselves. Take that with what we are taught in Matthew’s Gospel account as we are told that we are to love our enemy and pray for those who seek to persecute us. (Matthew 5:44)

How though do we pray for ourselves and how do we pray for the Spirit in our lives?

In the book of Psalms David offers up a prayer that should and does instruct us all as he cries out to the Lord, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psalm 51:10-13)

As hard as it may be for us, we must also pray this for those who would persecute and who would take prisoners, those who would take captives and make slaves. We do this so that the Spirit of the Lord may come upon them, creating a clean heart in them, that it may wash away the foolishness and the evil of this world. We do it so they may have the right Spirit within them, that they may put aside their wickedness and their vile ways, their sinful iniquity and their fearful loathing and come to a sincere understanding of the love of God. We do it that they may come to salvation in Christ Jesus that they may repent of their sins, and come to justice, releasing those whom they take, those whom they hold in such bitter estate amidst their dark immorality and the hatred.

We do so because we know that there is a transformative power in the Spirit of the Lord that can and will convict even the most hardened of hearts, and the most wicked of people and bring them out of the darkness and into the light. It is then that they will finally stop and the people of God, the children of God, whom He cares for so deeply will finally be made safe.

Pray earnestly therefore knowing that there is power in it and that the Lord will work His will and His ways throughout this world through the humble supplication of His people as they raise their voices up to Him. Pray for His Spirit, that Spirit that brings liberty and freedom, justice and righteousness with it, that finally the integrity will be restored to life and the dignity will no longer be robbed from the innocent as they are held in dark, hidden places. Pray with all of your heart and all of your soul, with all of your spirit and all of you mind, knowing that there is strength in the power and the precepts of the Lord and that He will not let such malice and iniquity abide for all ages in all places.

He shall, as He promises, bring His goodness, His love, and His mercy to bear and their will come a time then when, one way or another, the Spirit shall set free all prisoners and captives, slaves and hostages that are held throughout this world.

What a wondrous promise, what a blessed assurance that truly is for all to put their faith and hope, the courage and their confidence, their strength and their expectations in as they look to the Lord their God with a faithful, devoted heart, committed to His wisdom and his ways.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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