Dec 14

What is the power behind the Christian life?  You’d think that would be an easy question, right?  And it actually is.  The power behind the Christian is Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we go through difficult struggles and experience very real hardships that threaten our lives.  When we do, Satan is seeking to draw us away from God.  Yet through the very same threatening experience, we have the opportunity to see God’s presence in an even greater light, and to realize that if the power in our life is the Lord God, then this threat will be overcome.

Peter reminds us of this great truth by reaching back several hundred years before Christ to the days of the prophet Isaiah and Ahaz, king of Judah in Jerusalem.  King Ahaz was also experiencing some very real threats.  Rezin was the king of Aram (Syria) in Damascus.  Pekah, the son of Remaliah, was the king of the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim), reigning in Samaria.  It seems they conspired together to overthrow King Ahaz in a coup and put someone more sympathetic to their agenda (the son of Tabeel) on the throne in Jerusalem.  Naturally, it was upsetting to King Ahaz.  In a big way.

Here is what God told King Ahaz of Judah about these threats he was facing:

“Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.  Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, ‘Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.’  Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: It will not take place, it will not happen, for the head of Aram is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.  Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.  The head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.  If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all…. Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.  The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.” (Isaiah 7:4-9; 8:12-13)

Peter reminds Christians of the first—and 21st—centuries that our power is from God, and that He is greater than whatever threatens us, that we don’t have to fear what others fear.  Rather, we revere Christ the Lord.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:13-15)

Whatever you’re going through, whatever threats you’re facing, God’s got this.  The things that are worrying you right now are nothing more than a couple of small stubs out of the fireplace.  And Jesus Christ is about to extinguish them.  And when people ask what happened, you be ready to tell them about the real power in your life.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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