For many years, the landscape here in New Jersey was covered with beautiful Ash Trees. They provide beauty and shade. However, several years ago, we had an alien attack. The Emerald ash borer (EAB), a non-native insect, invaded our territory and killed most ash trees. Many residents had ash trees in their yards, so where there was once a magnificent tree clothed in lush green leaves now stands a dead reminder of what once was.
Micah 4:4-5 states, "Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The LORD of Heaven's Armies has made this promise! Though the nations around us follow their idols, we will follow the LORD our God forever and ever." (NLT)
The heart of God for His people is that we live in peace, prosperity, and without fear, despite what the culture around us is doing. It is from this position that we impact culture. However, we have been under an ambush. Like the EAB silently attacked and killed the Ash trees, we have a killer weaving its way into the Body of Christ. We look at the landscape and realize that something must change.
Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:15, states, "Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth."
The invasion against the Body of Christ has deconstructed God's Word to fit into our culture. The way that we combat this infestation is to KNOW the Bible and to be able to teach from a Biblical foundation rather than feelings or religious tradition.
Paul models this in Acts 17:16-34:
Paul's spirit was troubled by all the idols he saw.
Paul went into the synagogue and had conversations with the believers.
He was not afraid to speak publicly concerning the truth of the Gospel.
Paul had seen their idol of an unknown God mixed in with all the other idols the people of Athens worshipped. I want to suggest that they knew they were missing something or, better yet, someone. Paul's knowledge and understanding of the Word of God allowed him to speak into an ungodly culture. Everyone who heard Paul didn't believe, but his speaking up allowed all to hear and some to believe.
We are at a crossroads. The Lord is asking His children if we will allow the Body of Christ to be deconstructed to fit into the cultural worldview.
Or, will we learn to rightly handle His word and the power and authority it brings and combats the darkness invading and killing life?
What does your spiritual yard look like? Is it full of life or dead reminders of what it once was?