16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues…” – Matthew 10:16-17
Jesus told us to be as “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. What does that mean? It means that we should not allow ourselves to remain ignorant, blissful as it may seem sometimes. Is it not easier to win a challenge of some sort if you know your opponent’s plans? Wouldn’t games be impossible to lose if you could read your opponent’s mind, predict their next move and pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses? (See Post: The Cosmic Chess Match – The Battlefield is in Your Mind) As Christians, our opponent is literally Satan himself. I mean, one of Satan’s many names is “The Adversary”, right? With an opponent like that, do you not think it wise to prepare before going into battle?
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12
How great does a knife work if it isn’t sharpened first? Who fires a gun without loading it? Do you turn a light on before installing a bulb? Believers have a responsibility to brush up on facts and load up on the information they need, to navigate through the spiritual battlefield (that is this present life) without being blindfolded. Ignorance acts as a blindfold; I don’t know about you but I have no interest in walking the front lines or attempting to avoid landmines with a blindfold on. As the Pink Floyd song goes: “‘Forward!‘ they cried, from the rear – and the front rank died.” Well, sorry to disappoint all the “elitist” tools of the world; but I don’t feel like dying today. I don’t want to die, and thankfully, I don’t have to.
Since the beginning, we’ve been steadily inching towards a culmination of prophesied events that are leading up to the most horrifying and epic battle ever witnessed by mankind; the last battle of a war so incredibly intense and unspeakably disastrous that we couldn’t fathom the chaos if we tried, no matter how many times we’ve replayed the kill scenes from Braveheart. The world ain’t pretty boys and girls. Our cradle is corrupted and the time is coming when the battles we face in the spiritual will manifest into the physical. The veil between the two realities (the physical and spirit realm) is not going to be there forever. When Christ died on the cross and released His Spirit, the Temple curtain tore in two. This phenomenon signified the bridge that Jesus set down for us between God the Father in the Heavenly realm and sin-filled humanity in the physical realm. Since we as believers are granted free back-stage passes like that, should we not do all we can to guide the lost toward Jesus too?
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
Should we not gather up all the info we can to break down the strongholds that are preventing the lost from being found?
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ… – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
It’s only a matter of time until our faith gets put to the ultimate test. This isn’t a pop quiz either, this is the biggest exam in the history of the world. Humanity has been warned of this coming test since the very beginning, so how much studying have you done? Every minute of the day we are part of the battles leading up to the final one; the battle of Armageddon that we’ve all heard about; but how many of us take the time throughout the day to even bother thinking about it? Shouldn’t we do what we can to survive this?
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9
Scary as these thoughts may seem, God has provided us with everything we need to come out of this alive, and collectively these things are known as the armor of God:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… – Ephesians 6:10-18
DISCLAIMER FOR OUR DARKER ARTICLES
Sometimes we write about some dark stuff here at 3 Minutes to Midnight. Okay, a lot of the time. We realize this. We also realize that some readers may find certain content offensive or better left buried. This viewpoint is understandable but we choose to respectfully disagree. Christians were not meant to live out their earthly lives with their heads in the sand. The old saying “knowledge is power” has merit. As mentioned above, the more prepared you are ahead of time, the better you will be at defending against Satan’s relentless attacks, evil tactics and cheap shots when the time comes. When his moves become predictable, you end up with the advantage; but if he is continuously able to sneak up behind you and level you with stuff you didn’t see coming, then what?
Another reason for the things we post is this: Knowledge of truth and solid preparation operates as an antidote to fear, discouragement and doubt. Christians were told not to fear anything but God. Why is that anyway? Because fear is a form of reverence. If you constantly fear the bad stuff then you are, in effect, constantly showing it reverence above God.
18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18
Remember: God LITERALLY IS Love.
We are told over and over again not to be discouraged or afraid:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
And doubt, obviously, has no place in the Christian life because it cripples our growth and severely limits our success:
James 1:6 – English Standard Version (ESV)
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Here is yet another reason: The easiest way to get a person to respect your opinions and listen to what you have to say is to relate to them on their own level. This isn’t to say that you should do what they do or subscribe to their way of thinking. What we’re saying here is that you should know what they do. For instance, how do you plan on convincing Atheists that Darwin was a little messed in the cranial region if you can’t even recall the titles of his books or what he wrote about? Or how can a doctor treat a patient appropriately without first finding out the symptoms in order to figure out what the patient should be treated for? We have a responsibility to learn the nature of the lies and problems that are destroying people. We are told to be as wise as serpents while still remaining as innocent as doves. Don’t make the mistake of taking the “innocent as doves” part lightly either, it is far too easy to expose the sin of someone else only to fall into the same trap they fell into.
Galatians 6:1 – English Standard Version (ESV)
Bear One Another’s Burdens
6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Our goal here is to win souls. Our purpose in life is to help bring people to God. We are fishers of men. Our duty is to fish people out of a sea of confusion to keep them from drowning; but how can we possibly do that if we ourselves are confused and stuck in there with them? If we can’t explain to the lost exactly why they are lost and why they’re on their way to harvesting an influx of death, then why should they even listen to us? We must learn. We must grow, and we absolutely must act on our knowledge.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. – James 2:14-26
(It’s not enough to just say that we believe in God. If our faith is genuine our actions will prove it. We are saved by grace, yes – we are justified by our faith, yes – but our deeds testify that our faith is real.)
Speaking of faith, knowledge of truth increases faith and causes us to stand steady and unwavering on a solid and unshakable foundation. The more you know about our existence, the meaning of life, the way things went down in history and where they’re going today, the world religions that people buy into and the common traps that people fall into, the more solid your foundation in Christ becomes. Why? Because Jesus really is The Way and God really does exist. Don’t be afraid to look into it out of fear of what you may find. The more truth you know, the less likely you are of becoming one of those unfortunate seeds that sprout up quickly and instantly wither from an insufficient root system; or one of the ones that sprout up only to be choked out by surrounding thorns. If someone tells you that the sky is purple plaid, you know for certain that they are wrong and you stand strong and unwavering in your certainty. This is how your faith should be. The only way to get there is through knowledge of the truth.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. – Hosea 4:6
Please take some time today to toss your net into the water off the right side of the boat and sharpen your sword for battle, you’re gonna need it.