Straighten Up! Lift Up Your Head!

Straighten Up! Lift Up Your Head!

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Jesus’ words to us when times get extremely difficult are, “Straighten Up! Lift Up Your Head!” because our redemption is that much closer (Luke 21:28).

During difficult times, let us not shrink back in fear, but let’s pick up the fight even more earnestly. We must first recognize, however, where our battlefield is. Let’s always refuse to fight against people, so that we can focus our fight against the spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).

Here are 3 areas to fight for:

1. Fight to preserve your personal devotion to Jesus (II Corinthians 11:2-4).
In being devoted to Jesus, it is important that we clearly identify the true Jesus whom we are following, among all the “other Jesuses” that some who call themselves Christian follow.

2. Fight for a deeper foundation of love (I Corinthians 13:4-8a MSG).
When God’s people were being led astray by conspiracies and unfounded fear, God was looking for someone who would stand in the gap (Ezekiel 22:30). Seek to be that person who bridges the gap with love. When you find a gap between you and your spouse or you and another brother/sister or between other brothers/sisters, fight earnestly for unity in that situation through prayer.
We will have such a passion for unity only if we love without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9), not just in word, but in deed (I John 3:18).
This love… never gives up; cares more for others than for self; doesn’t want what it doesn’t have; doesn’t strut; doesn’t have a swelled head; doesn’t force itself on others; isn’t always “me first”; doesn’t fly off the handle; doesn’t keep score of the sins of others; doesn’t revel when others grovel; takes pleasure in the flowering of truth; puts up with anything; trusts God always; always looks for the best; never looks back, but keeps going to the end. This love never dies.
God will allow us to be tested in such a way that we realize that we can never produce such a love by natural means. It requires the supernatural love of God being shed abroad in our hearts, which will constrain us — yes, “force us” — to love this way; we will be left with no option but to love!

3. Fight for the territory around us (Joshua 13:1).
When Joshua was “old and advanced in years”, he didn’t realize it. That’s why God had to wake him up and speak to him that very much of the land remained to be possessed. It is possible for us as a church to have an “old and advanced in years” mentality, where we glory in the past. Yet, God wants us to look at the areas around us that are still under the control of Satan, and storm those gates of hell. God placed us as a church in this area for a purpose. Let’s allow God to plant a burden in us for the people around us — our neighbors, coworkers, friends, etc. Cultivate a tongue that “gossips the gospel”, looking for any opportunity to lead people to Christ, and draw them into fellowship so that they too can grow as His disciples.

Amen.

Speaker: Santosh Poonen

Santosh Poonen is a disciple of Jesus; a husband & father; and an elder at RLCF. He is passionate about Jesus and His Church.