~ Spiritual War: Don’t Be a Traitor and Don’t Go AWOL or MIA ~
TRAITOR ~ Think of Judas Iscariot. One of our Lord’s inner circle who became a traitor. “And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.’ Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, why have you come?’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him” (Matthew 26:47-50).
AWOL ~ “Absent With Out Leave” is a serious charge—it is typically a matter of deliberate desertion! A classic Biblical example is Jonah who fled in the opposite direction as he was directed by God. “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:1-3).
MIA ~ “Missing In Action” is usually associated with a wounded or lost soldier during the battle—often later found dead. But it can also refer to not acting boldly in time of battle. Sometimes being MIA is simply hiding from the front lines. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Have you remained on the front lines of the Christian battle?
MIA Example #1 ~ The disciples that did not stay on watch while our Lord prayed! “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ … Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ … Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, … ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.’ … a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ And He came and found them asleep again … He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:36-45).
MIA Example #2 ~ Peter was so confident that he would not deny his Lord—but he did! “Having arrested Him [Jesus Christ], they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. … And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, ‘This man was also with Him.’ But he denied Him, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’ And after a little while another saw him and said, ‘You also are of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, ‘Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are saying!’ … And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:54-62). Are you like Peter “following at a distance”?
Restoration ~ While you can’t change your past you can choose your future. Both Jonah and Peter are perfect examples. While they had failed miserably in the past they were later used mightily by God. It’s never too late to follow God’s direction whole heartedly.
Closing Comment ~ If you were on trial for being a Christian… would there be enough evidence to convict you?
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