You know how God leads you to read or hear something at just the right moment? People who don’t know God call it a coincidence, but Christians should realize that happenings like that are directly from the Holy Spirit.
The other day I caught a FB post from a friend of mine, Ben Nelson, who has the wonderful blog Another Red Letter Day and who was touting a post in another blog called “Go to Heaven Now!” Written by Jonathan Brenneman, I thought it was a pretty interesting title for a blog. Is the guy telling me to die now and go to Heaven? No. I’m fairly sure he’s just helping prepare his readers to go to Heaven. The title of the post was “When Not to Cry Out to God” and considering that I’d just finished six posts on prayer I thought to myself, “Self. Is there ever a time NOT to cry out to God?”
The post is an empowering piece; and even though I get Jonathan’s point I actually believe there is never a time not to cry out to God. I believe that God wants us to cry out to Him ~ perhaps to demonstrate our need or maybe to increase our faith when He delivers. While Jonathan will argue that we, as followers of Jesus and vessels of the Holy Spirit have more power than we understand or know what to do with, often there are instances when God has given us marching orders and the power in which to do something for the Kingdom and we, in our human frailty and fear, sit on the sidelines asking God for (1) the power to do it, heal it, change it, rebuke it or (2) to do the work wihout us – or worse – to do the work Himself.
If I hadn’t cried out to God to help me get through cancer (of which I’m not through yet) He might not have given me the promise I needed to remember that He was in control and He was walking me through the season. Did I have the power of the Holy Spirit within me? Absolutely. But I, in my human weakness, needed a word from Him and He delivered. I’ve lived through this entire last year on the joy that that word brought me.
But what spoke to me most within Jonathan’s post was his preamble about Satan.
It wasn’t too long ago that I learned to rebuke Satan (and his demons) when I needed to. Sometimes I felt he had left but sometimes I felt like he was still hanging around ready to antagonize me. Then, somewhere along the road I read Jude 9 which states:
Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you! ”
I sat back on my heels. Whoa. If Michael, the Archangel no less, wasn’t going to rebuke Satan on his own what makes me think that I have the authority to rebuke him myself? And since I read this, I’ve been asking God to rebuke Satan when I needed it done.
I’ve spent a couple years operating in that manner and I actually felt very secure asking God to rebuke Satan. In doing so, I always felt he had been removed from my proximity or sufficiently beaten back to not have influence over me in whatever was going on.
But then I read Mr. Brenneman’s post which states, in part:
“I very regularly hear people pray “God, please rebuke all evil.” I’m not sure if this is a common prayer in the US like it is in Brazil. But where did God ever tell us to ask him to rebuke evil? He told us to rebuke it. One of the very reasons that Christ came as a man, was because God gave authority to men. I’ve recognized how these attitudes are crippling many in the churches, resulting in powerlessness. Believers need to learn to use their God-given authority.”
Whoa. That’s a great point. God has given me the authority to rebuke Satan, and more-over, Michael has not been given that authority. That was my mistake. Angels are not like humans – nor are humans like angels. Jesus did not die to save angels. He died only to save humankind. I haven’t had to rebuke Satan since I read this post, but I know that I will no longer ask God to do what He has already given me the authority to do. Thanks for the reminder, Jonathan!
I’m still going to blog about prayer because I love it so much! But in the interim, here are some of my favorite books on prayer (no affiliate links):
Prayer by Richard Foster
The Valley of Vision (a collection of Puritan Prayers)
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Prayer by Timothy Keller
Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
Have a great holiday weekend everyone! Stay safe!
** Image courtesy of http://www.hersides.com through Bing search