Recently, in a conversation with someone, the word TENSION became a part of the subject. She was trying to understand whether my message is political or is it one of healing, love, and restoration. I had to stop and think about how to answer this, as I hadn’t really thought about it this way. I pondered the question and realized that it is not my message that is creating tension, but rather the TIMES IN WHICH WE ARE LIVING. They themselves, are creating this pressure. This pressure or tension then causes us to understand who we are and what we believe. Even more importantly, to understand WHO God is! I see it as more of the tension between the LOVER and the WARRIOR to which I believe we are called to be BOTH! Out from the heart of a true Lover arises the Warrior! Warriors are trained for battle and must have a mindset of WINNING! There can be no “I hope, If it’s God’s will”, “We will try”, “God is in control” or other defeatist mentalities that allow for our excuse if we don’t see exactly what we think He is going to do. IN HIM … WE WIN!
For me, I believe that we must understand the times in which we are living. We need to, like the sons of Issachar, discern the times and seasons of today. We have come from years and years of peaceful living and our gospel has reflected these times with the message of love, peace, joy, and blessing. That is still part of who God is, of course! He will never change, but we absolutely must in this hour begin to understand that this is not Him in His fullness. There is so much more to our God that we must grow up into so that we might successfully maneuver this hinge moment in history in which we are living. Things will never go back to the days of yesteryears, but instead, we will be walking this out for the rest of our lives on earth. We are actually living a Biblical storyline of history (His story). So, it is imperative and expedient that we open ourselves to a GROWN UP DOCTRINE and embrace a broader comprehension of the characteristics of our God. Paul said it this way:
For you should already be professors instructing others by now; but instead, you need to be taught from the beginning the basics of God’s prophetic oracles! You’re like children still needing milk and not yet ready to digest solid food. For every spiritual infant who lives on milk is not yet pierced by the revelation of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters. And they have been adequately trained by what they’ve experienced to emerge with an understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful. Hebrews 5:12-14
It’s important to fully understand that when the term “political or politics” is referred to that we understand it is not on the low level of one party versus another party, although you cannot separate that due to the way the system is set up. What I mean is this … as Believers, if we have been in the church for any length of time, we have come to believe that we are to be good Christians, love one another, to be good examples, lead people to Jesus, but for goodness sakes … DO NOT get involved in politics or the arguments of the world! We have been taught to think that this is not our lane or business. I would venture to say that we are in the mess we are in BECAUSE we (believers) would not get involved. We chose to stay inside the church walls and let the world deal with all of that. The results? All we have to do is look around us and we see the results of having stood by, not getting involved, and thinking revival would take care of it all. It is now time that we must RISE UP, GET INVOLVED, KNOW OUR GOD, and UNDERSTAND HIS GOVERNMENTAL WAYS! We have to take our place in the world around us as the MATURE SONS & DAUGHTERS who will be part of the transformation of our culture.
No matter what our sphere of influence is, we simply must WAKE UP and TAKE PART! We now need MOTHERS & FATHERS in the CHURCH who will raise the children to be responsible adults who contribute to the world over which Jesus gave us dominion! The time for just loving those around us without caring enough to equip them as they grow is over. Responsible parents get involved with their children and raise them, not simply preach to them! Raising them is the hard part because it requires more time and effort than simply preaching to them. Walking it out with them in the nitty-gritty places while forming true grit, gumption, bravery, respect, the ability to be the true standard-bearers before their peers, and places of influence.
Here’s the tension, as if that isn’t enough tension all on its own! All of the raisings of mature sons and daughters have to come from the deep place of love! Love from the Father’s heart, love for people, and loving them enough to bring them to a place of maturity. If our children aren’t raised to the place of maturity, they will never have the constitution to actually leave home and be responsible adults. Instead, they will return over and over again to be fed, have their laundry done for them, ask you to raise their children because they don’t have time to do it (after all they are too busy being adults), and relying upon their parents for things they should have been equipped to handle. I want you to translate that into our church model. We talk to people about Jesus, but it is all done by way of taking them somewhere to be fed, clothed, sit on a seat, while the model teaches them to venture out but not too far because we must keep them in the walls of the building! Just like in the natural, there are stages of growth. There are the newborns who need a lot of help, there are the toddlers who take baby steps and learn to eat and drink on their own, followed by children who are learning patterns of what they can do and what is expected of them. Then come the teenage years where they know more than their parents do! This is the stage where they must be trusted to make mistakes, with love, help, and mentoring; however, it is important to understand that this phase will be a direct reflection of what was modeled during their earlier years! Early adulthood is now upon us and we must help them stand on their own two feet based upon all they have been taught. Mothers and fathers never go away, they cheer, applaud, encourage, give wise counsel, and help them when needed, all the while leading by example to show that they are trusted and can do anything they want to do! They have been prepared to live the life of an overcomer.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us that there is a time for all things and seasons that are different. As a world, we have entered into a new era of time that requires a new mindset. Verse 8 tells us that there is … “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace”. Yet, God is in ALL of these times, seasons, challenges, and characteristics. It’s difficult for us to comprehend this because we have lived most of our lives in times of peace. We haven’t understood “a time to hate… evil”. Our belief system has always been against evil, but we haven’t hated it in a way that caused us to STAND UP AGAINST IT! Why? Because that requires knowing the Man of War! Jesus, who has fire in His eyes (love for His Bride) in a way that He will wage war for her and in conjunction with her
The tension comes from the war raging around us, but also within us. The war within us is being fought in order that we might grow up into a fuller measure of Christ. It’s a war against the doctrines we have for so long held to that have kept us passive. I believe we are beginning to realize how much we are (or have been) the dry bones found in the book of Ezekiel 37:1-14. “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
The Holy Spirit is breathing life into the dry bones so we might rattle, shake, and then arise with flesh placed upon our bones as we become a living, breathing, and, ready to function ARMY! An army has a purpose and that purpose is to wage war against the enemy. There is a time for everything under the sun and the time to arise as mature ones is now upon us! Let us continue to love deeply, both the Lord and His creation, and at the same time, allow THE TENSION to draw us closer to Him, and His purpose for our lives in this hour. Heroes will arise in the midst of the battle, but first, we must be willing to go to war and take back what belongs to the kingdom of God on this earth! There’s a song from the 90″s that we loved to sing … We Will Ride! Oh, it sounded so beautiful and mystical as we viewed this place as the final ride of victory with Jesus, but today we can see that it is for “such a time as this” that we might be the brave ones to allow the tension of THE LOVER and THE WARRIOR to have its place in us! The place of tension that enables us to more fully know the One who so loves the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever shall, will be saved, healed, filled, set free, equipped, and set ablaze for the Kingdom as we RIDE into the Isaiah 61 chapter of impacting the world around us!
If tension is required for us to move into a new understanding of our God and His Kingdom, then let’s embrace the tension and allow His Word and His Spirit to separate between flesh and spirit, dividing asunder the thoughts, beliefs, and actions that have previously held us back (Hebrews 4:12)! As our thoughts are separated and become His thoughts, let us GROW UP IN HIM and RIDE WITH HIM INTO VICTORY! Tension is not easy, but it is necessary in order that we might KNOW HIM MORE FULLY! Let’s embrace the tension of our time in history and embrace it as our DESTINY COMES ALIVE! On Sept 11, 2001, flight UA 93 was hijacked, those on board became heroes as the words from Todd Beamer, a passenger on board were heard around the world as they made a decision to stand up and fight back. We all heard the famous words … LET’S ROLL! So, I echo those words to the brave who are willing to stand up and fight … “LET’S RIDE”!
I feel I should not have to give this disclaimer, but must … all the metaphors used in this article are not suggesting riots or physical clashes. They are being used from the standpoint of “spiritual warfare” as we stand up and wage the war spiritually, both in prayer and in action! Fighting the good fight of faith! We are to fight with the same intensity, but not against flesh and blood! We are seeking to overthrow the Enemy and his plans to hijack a timeline that doesn’t belong to him! This is the greatest time in history for THE CHURCH TO ARISE as a LOVER WHO IS WILLING TO WAR!