So what do we do?
You see 900 years ago, we would grab our swords, say goodbye to our loved ones and we would cross the seas to kill, rape, and pillage.
900 years ago, we would have expressed our religious zeal and devotion to “God” by taking up arms and preparing for battle.
9-hundred years ago, 1095 AD, this blog post may have been a theological apologetic defense for why scripture declares the Holy Land “ours” and how we must protect it at all costs.
But thank God, that was ninehundred years ago and we have grown from that wretched thinking. Now, violence is no longer an option. Nor do I want it to be.
So what do we do? This is my suggestion: we, as Christians, continue doing what we have been called to do in the first place. Releasing the Kingdom of Heaven into the world as true Disciples of Christ. It’s important to remember what Paul stated,
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12).
And it’s important to remember what Jesus commanded
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (The really important verse we’ve forgotten)
Our priests are being murdered, our brothers and sisters slain, our God disrespected. So what do we do? The way we wage war against the evil of hell, is by releasing the love of Heaven. Our role isn’t to go on Facebook and exchange in hurtful, misguided, ideological debate. Our role sure as hell isn’t to advocate for some sort of violent 21st century crusade. But I feel a strong conviction that we, as the Church, are called to rise up and to do the works of Christ that the Father might be glorified. (John 14:12)
Personally, I don’t like the idea of sitting here in America, stagnant, as fellow Christians are literally being targeted and killed. I’m not cool with the idea of sitting in all these air-conditioned coffee shops without even having the decency to spend time praying for the world. I am as guilty as any of us, and I hate it. So I would invite you into my prayer that God would ignite our hearts with a passion for change. I am praying that the Holy Spirit would heal my self-centeredness and that I would live the abundant life that God promised.
I’ve never told this story before, but a couple winter’s ago, I experienced God in a profound way. In this specific season, I was hungry for what could be a charismatic union with the Holy Spirit. I was reading about the experiences that past revivalists have had, like Jonathan Edwards and Evan Roberts. I was also reading studies and books about the Holy Spirit, and a spiritual appetite was heightened within me. Admittedly, I was never much of a feeler growing up. In church I can recount moments where my friends were in awe after “feeling” the Holy Spirit in worship, but for me I was much more stimulated through the intellect. But as I continued to grow, I realized that what I took pride in, that being my intellect, may have become a hindrance to what I could experience in a tangible and emotional level with God. So one winter break during my sophomore year in college, I was visiting my father in Richmond, and it happened. After a lot of prayer and fasting, I laid in my bed reading, and it really, finally happened.
This is the part where you get uncomfortable.
It is hard to explain, but out of nowhere I felt what I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit that I was seeking after, throughout my body. It started in my fingertips and hands and suddenly I felt a light current of energy going throughout my body. Head to toe. It was strange, it was odd, and it was glorious. It really wasn’t too dramatic, I’ve been through much more dramatic moments, but ever since then, when I focus my attention to the Spirit in me, I feel Him again. Some moments his Presence is more intense than others, but it has helped my relationship with God in momentous ways. Not only did that moment aid my relationship with God, but it gave me confidence to take more of the risks that Jesus has commanded of us. (Matthew 10:8) In fact that moment with God is what inspired me to start the prayer booth ministry I did. The fruit that I have seen stem from that moment with God has been awesome, but of course I want to see more.
Further studies have led me to find that what I felt/feel could be identified as the dunamis of God. “Dunamis” is the Greek word that when translated means power, might, and miraculous works. In the New Testament it is used about 120 times. Here are a couple examples of how it is used in Matthew alone:
The idea of the Holy Spirit’s Power dwelling within man has obviously been a reoccurring theme on this site. Rather than this fascination fading away through time, it has grown stronger within me, becoming an obsession. The more scripture I read, coupled with the personal experiences I have had, the more I realize that this concept of God’s power isn’t merely a personal phase of interest that I am in, rather it appears to be my purpose. I feel that I am coming to a place where God is calling me to dedicate the rest of my life to learning what it means to be “clothed with (dunamis) from Heaven” (Luke 24:49) The very Power of God is what so grandiosely sets Him apart from all other examples of divine entities.
It has been said that without the raw power, or dunamis, of God, then Christianity would be another mere religion or philosophy. I couldn’t agree more. It is God’s dunamis that through Moses split the seas, that through Elijah sent fire from Heaven, that through Jesus healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead (including himself), and it is this dunamis of God that can be seen in the acts of the Apostles.
Jesus was the ultimate example of what a person clothed with dunamis could be. Scripture describes that he was filled with the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). A fascinating illustration of how real this power in Jesus was is the story of the healed woman in Luke 8. The account states that the woman, “came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.” (v.44) As if that miracle wasn’t impressive enough, we learn something further about Jesus. His response is incredible, he says, “Who touched me…someone touched me; I know that power (dunamis) has gone out of me.” (v.45-46) The account also explains that Jesus was in the middle of a crowd where there were many hands touching him, yet something specific happened with this woman. Despite all the hands on him, Jesus actually could feel dunamis leave him. How aware of the Presence of the Spirit do you have to be that you can tangibly feel God using you? This example truly excites me.
It’s easy to think, “Well that’s Jesus, I can’t expect to ever do anything like that.” However, I remind all of us unbelieving believers, that this Jesus was the one who stated we would do the things he does, and even greater (John 14:12). And just in case that promise isn’t convincing enough, I would like to highlight that Peter’s shadow healed people! (Acts 5:15). Peter is an example of what it looks like to be an ordinary Christian who is clothed with dunamis. I wonder what daily life would look like if we all accepted the challenge to seek God and wait until we were “clothed with dunamis from on high” (Luke 24:49).