“There is never a vacation from spiritual warfare. Even when we are on vacation.”
These were the words I heard myself saying, recently while chatting with a friend.
I know that many of you (like me) are making plans for summer vacation.
Well, don’t forget to add in some spiritual warfare in your expectations and planning! The devil (and the flesh) never take a day off! And while we are called to observe times and seasons of rest (sabbath!!!), in no way does this mean that we can let down our spiritual and moral guard.
I’ve learned to pretty much count on an attack just before I depart for needed rest and relaxation. The enemy NEVER plays fair. That’s one expectation we have to give up for good. Just get over it!
Some great saint once said, “The basis of life is warfare.” Don’t ask me who said it. But Jesus and the Apostles lived it and often spoke of it!
Okay, so here’s the really cool text that got me to thinking along these lines this morning:
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Pet 2:21,23 NASB)
I don’t know what Bible translation you read from, but if you don’t read from a really good literal translation (like the New American Standard Bible), you are often going to miss some of the most powerful intentions of the authors.
Don’t get me wrong, I often read from several translations so as to get the fullest sense of the text of Scripture. But if there’s any obvious differences between them, I usually side with the NASB.
Notice the participle in the verses above, “kept entrusting”.
In the Greek texts this is one single word: παρεδίδου. This verb is in the imperfect tense. This tense is similar to the present tense, but with a subtle (but sometimes profound) difference.
Most translations use the word “entrusted” or “committed” to convey the meaning of this Greek word. (Yes, this includes the good old KJV, for all you KJV-only guys.) And they all miss part of the important and very literal sense of this word.
If it was present tense (and it’s not), it could be, “He entrusted Himself to…” But it’s the imperfect tense, which emphasizes repeated action! Thus it should be:
“He kept on entrusting Himself to…”
So what’s my point here? Simply, that Jesus (like us) was in a protracted battle.
He had NO VACATION from the reality of war.
His troubles didn’t go away in one prayer or one confrontation. He had to keep on…to continually…to over and over…turn His burdens and temptations over to His Father – the One He was TOTALLY relying upon for every breath.
This is SOOOOOO powerful and important. The basis of this life is continual warfare. So we must get the soldier’s mindset.
Lastly, there’s one other sense from these verses that really blesses me today. Jesus kept on entrusting Himself to the One….who judges righteously. What could this mean?
It means that His continual entrusting things over to His Father was rooted in a confidence that His Father would properly deal with the issues and the people who were troubling Him. Jesus did NOT take upon Himself the burden of judge and jury…during His days of suffering and entrusting in this life.
He understood that His Father would deal with every person’s sin in one of two ways: either through the suffering on the Cross…or through the fires of eternal judgment on the last day.
No injustice or sin will remain unpunished, beloved. Not mine, your’s, or anyone’s.
Those who flee to the mercy of Jesus at the Cross will find that their sins were punished in the flesh of Jesus Himself. And where there is forgiveness there is no more mention of sin! Oh hallelujah!
But those who continue to refuse Jesus now, will one Day face the terrors of His holy wrath. They will have to bear the weight of their shame and guilt in their own flesh. And it will be hell.
Jesus could endure His sufferings because He knew that His Father would make everything right in His own time. All He had to do was keep on relying upon and trusting in His Father…each step of the way.
If this was Jesus’ approach to overcoming the trials in this world, we would do well to arm ourselves with the same mindset and “follow in His steps…”
However, this is neither fatalism or triumphalism. It is enduring present difficulties with a firm and confident hope. The basis of this life may be warfare. But in the age to come there will be no conflicts or struggles.