Publication: One-to-One, Winter 2010
Have you had enough of all of the “end of the year, end of the decade” retrospectives that have flooded the media marketplace over the past few weeks? Good news for you-this issue of One-to-One is more about looking ahead than looking behind.
I do appreciate history, and I am exceptionally grateful for our heritage. But both our history and our heritage as disciples of Jesus teach us that we are “not of those who draw back”, but we are of those who persevere, ever looking forward with hope to what God is about to do. The apostle Paul was such a man, and he urged the believers in Philippi this way: “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Learning from history and honoring those who have given us a godly heritage are exceptionally vital; this provides strong and necessary foundations for us. But we are not called to be prisoners of the past, whether it be nostalgic or painful.
Young Queen Esther lived in perilous times but was reminded by her Uncle Mordecai in chapter 4,”You came to the kingdom for such a time as this.” God gave them a strategy; in terms of human wisdom, it seemed like a risk. But obedience to God is always the right thing to do, no matter the seeming risk or cost. Mordecai told Esther, “If you act, you may fail and die. If you don’t act, you will surely die”.
It will seem increasingly “dangerous” for Spirit-empowered and Spirit-led believers to declare and display the kingdom of God in our culture. The popularity of doing so-if it has ever been popular-is decreasing. Calls for compromise and accommodation are now coming from among our own ranks within the Evangelical community. Confusion about what we believe, where we are going, and, more importantly, Who has called us, continues to flood into the Western Church at an alarming rate.
With pressures rising from radical Islam, militant secular humanism, and apostate Christianity (even among our fellow Evangelicals and Charismatics) ,this would seem to be a good time to pack up our bags, pull down the flag, and retreat to a cave somewhere far away and hope Jesus returns before we are all destroyed. There are a few problems with this posture: first and foremost, it is against the will and nature of God and His calling for us.
We are called to aggressively and militantly extend Christ’s Kingdom into every area of life…to see the government of God expressed by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. The weapons of our warfare are not “in the flesh”, but they are mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds. The weapons of love, humility, prayer, fasting, the sword of the Spirit, the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony are all available to us, ready to use, and effective in this hour. And we must not love our own lives, even unto death.
Remember, God has promised to go before us and also to be our rear guard. He said He would bless our coming in and our going out. He has called His people to be the head and not the tail; to be salt and light, influencing the world around us.
One-to-One and the other resources from CSM Publishing are designed to equip and encourage you for action in this new year, this new decade, and beyond. As the old song says, “I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.”
Scripture Reference: Philippians 3:13-14; Esther 4
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.