The Bare Soul
August 26, 2012
Luke 10:19 - Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.
When I was a kid, it seemed like I was regularly in the emergency room. Though never admitted into a hospital for surgery or long-term physical treatment, I had plenty of occasions where I required stitches. These were generally from carelessness and not watching what I was doing. Once, a ladder that was leaned up against our two-story clubhouse blew over and crashed into my head. Fifteen stitches were the result of not watching what was going on around me. Another time, I was walking down a set of steps on a slide. I slipped and a bolt protruding at the bottom ripped my leg open where a dozen or so stitches were needed. I could relate many other instances, but the two mentioned will make my point. If I had paid better attention to my surroundings and not tempted fate by my carelessness, then things would have undoubtedly turned out differently. As I grew older, I learned important lessons in this regard. If we learn to heed warnings and obey common sense, then we generally are safe in our surroundings. However, if we take chances and go against better judgment, then the opposite can and often does occur.
I should clarify that taking chances is not necessarily wrong. Often, we must step out and take calculated risks in our personal lives. Businesses would never prosper without a certain amount of anticipated jeopardy as they invest capital to create more wealth. Similarly, we must weigh the possibility of personal loss and gain as we make a myriad of decisions daily. The key is to minimize loss. If we operate within safe boundaries, we will often achieve this goal. However, once we step out of obedience regarding known wisdom, then we allow ourselves to be subject to personal harm. That is why most financial planners suggest a long-term strategy for growing assets. Small rather than large adjustments can be made along the way without dramatic changes to a wealth portfolio. As with business, this paradigm is also true in the spiritual realm regarding building spiritual affluence. It often comes as a result of slow, methodical growth through faith and obedience. The spiritual rocket fuel in this equation is generally God's wisdom.
As our lead verse states, Jesus has granted His disciples "authority to tread on serpents and scorpions." However, authority is often different than permission to act. Just because we have the right does not necessarily mean we have allowed faith and obedience to mature us to the point of victory in a given situation. The seven sons of Sceva learned this the hard way. While they mentally understood there was power in the Name of Jesus, they did not possess the faith generated by heart wisdom. Therefore, this presumptive exorcism was a case of blatant disobedience grounded in unbelief, leading to their injuries as the demons shamed them (see Acts 19:13-16). However, in another instance, John reported to Jesus how someone was casting out demons in the Name of Jesus and how the disciples attempted to stop him because he was not following them. Jesus tells John to leave him be, saying that if he was not against them he was for them (Acts 19:13-16). In other words, I believe the Lord was saying if he is operating in faith and obedience with heart wisdom, that he was fulfilling the authority of Christ through faith and obedience. This man understood his influence over Satan's realm through Christ's Name and he obviously stepped out in faith and obedience to demonstrate it.
Whether we believe the Lord's statement regarding our position in Him is superfluous regarding the reality. As the Lord told His disciples, we all have the authority to exercise our rights over Satan's kingdom. Yet, do we have the wisdom that is born out of faith and obedience through our daily walk? The reason why many Christians are continually getting injured by the enemy is because of their supposed faith not working through obedience. As the sons of Sceva, we want to rush out and do great things for God without a depth of relationship. (When Paul was exorcising demons at the church of Ephesus, he had been walking with the Lord Jesus for at least 20 years!) Once we choose to obey God, He will begin to work within us the faith to remove mountains (see Luke 17:5-10). Faith of this type may take years to mature. However, once we start obeying, trust becomes evident, whereby faith can grown and flow. Injury -- physically, emotionally, or spiritually -- is not the heritage of a child of God. It usually comes through unbelief rooted in sentimentality -- that God is not able to do what He says or through presumption when we get ahead of God's wisdom. May we all lean to trust and obey and allow faith to grow, healing all perceived injuries as we trample the enemy of our souls.
Heavenly Father, may our faith and obedience grow with wisdom to use Your authority as You direct. May we never get ahead of you in presumptive arrogance, nor behind you in unbelief due to lack of wisdom. Give us the spiritual knowledge to walk with You, treading down the kingdom of darkness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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