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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 9:41 pm | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 
Faith

D.C. Collier: You Are Not Alone — Ever

“All the world’s a stage.”
— William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was on to something. I wonder how would it change your life if you knew millions of extraordinary people were watching you from heaven — and excitedly rooting you on to success in what you did on earth?

Let’s be clear: This is nothing like the ghastly voyeuristic exploitations in Jim Carrey’s movie, The Truman Show, in which the TV audience “consumed” Truman’s life for pure entertainment without his knowledge.

I’m talking about something like faithful parents enthusiastically attending every one of their beloved child’s athletic events at school to cheer him or her on.

It’s War Out There

Picture a massive stadium jammed on one side with fans of the “home team,” and on the other side, with fans of the opposing “visitors.” And there you are, down on the field, suited up along with other members of your home team.

The ferocious visiting team, dressed in black, hurls insults and threatens you with annihilation one minute, and tries to seduce you into cooperating with them the next minute. You ignore their taunts and fix your eyes on the brightly shining figure of a Man standing under the goalpost down the field.

As the game wears on, the crowd goes crazy as the ball is moved in one direction or another, and you play your heart out under the support of your millions of fans.

But your true inspiration comes from the Man standing beneath your goalpost. He, too, was once on that field, alone and outnumbered. And not only did He prevail, but totally defeated the opposing team when He offered himself as a sacrifice for mankind.

Now it’s your turn on the field. Only you are not alone, and the victory is there for the taking, if you just stay in the game. Yes, there are setbacks, injuries, rehab and, if necessary, some time on the bench. But you are in the contest for the long haul, and understand the cause is noble and the stakes are high.

Joining God in Battle

In one of the most stirring passages in the New Testament, the writer provides a lengthy list of the Old Testament heroes of the Bible, from the least to the greatest. He notes that these heroes went through horrendous trials and challenges.

And despite not seeing their hopes fulfilled in their lifetimes, they remained faithful to God. He goes on to say that these people, so dear to God, and now in Heaven, fill the “stands” to cheer us on in our struggles in the here-and-now.

The book of Hebrews states:

“We have stories of those (the heroes of old) who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless — the world didn’t deserve them — making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

“Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”1

The writer goes on to remind us that during our brief lives on Earth we are also participants in a high-stakes “race” to the finish:

“Do you see what this means — all these pioneers (the heroes of old) who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.

“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.

“And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”2

How could anyone be bored or distracted in a game like that? People engaged in intense life-and-death contests are seldom caught snoozing.

The Battle of Faith Against Invisible Foes

In his book, Heaven, Christian author Randy Alcorn writes:

“The unfolding drama of redemption, awaiting Christ’s return, is currently happening on earth. Earth is center court, center stage, awaiting the consummation of Christ’s return and the establishment of His kingdom.

“This seems a compelling reason to believe that the current inhabitants of Heaven would be able to observe what’s happening on Earth ... not just generally, but specifically, down to the details of individuals coming to faith in Christ ... departed saints currently in the present Heaven do intercede in prayer — at least sometimes — for those of us still on Earth.”

How About You?

Do you see your life in the broader context of a spiritual battle for your eternal soul and the souls of others around you? Or, are you “at ease in Zion,” oblivious to the mounting spiritual carnage all around you?

The Devil’s greatest victories come when he succeeds in lulling God’s people to sleep under the seductive spell of worldly comforts and continuous entertainment. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, novelist C.S. Lewis gives voice to one of Satan’s most effective strategies:

“Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

Don’t Fall For It!

The battle is real and Heaven bids us upward to engage shoulder-to-shoulder with Christ—or else, become yet another casualty: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.”3

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Hebrews 11:37-40 The Message (MSG)

2. Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG)

3. Ephesians 5:13-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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