"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force", says the KJV in Matthew 11:12.
The NLT is my favorite dynamic-equivalence (thought for thought) translation. One should use both the dynamic and the formal-equivalence (word for word) to gain a good perspective. The NLT translate the verse, "And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it."
This past Sunday I was not preaching, so we were blessed to sit in our Sunday School class and listen as our teacher took us on a marathon of Johua 14-22. Yep, 8 chapters! In most settings such as this it will be a historical overview. We had that, but our teacher was quite capable and emphasized the spiritual application of those chapters to us today.
The Bible is a spiritual book. Paul the Apostle speaks by inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he admonishes the Corinthian church and tells them that the things that happened during Israel's Exodus-Wilderness experience are an exmaple to us (1 Corinthians 10).
Those chapters in Joshua are filled with God giving the land to the tribes of Israel, then telling them to "possess the land". They were to drive out the enemies and live in obedience to God. But they often failed to obey.
We are much like that today. For most of my life, I was taught (and believed) that if God gave you an assignment, or if you prayed for something, then just sit and wait for him to dump it into your lap. I was not taught spiritual warfare. So is there a balance between forcefully advancing what one believes God has called them and self promotion? I believe there is. So how does one proceed? Let's use the word PURSUE for some insights. You may have other insights. List them in the comments.
- Pray, trusting God to lead you.
- Understand your calling with Scriptural confirmation.
- Respond in obedience to all the promptings of the voice of God.
- Stand firm as you face overt attacks of the Enemy and discouragement of friends.
- Utilize your network - for both wise counsel and assistance.
- Engage! Do it!
We have a late afternoon appointment for Cheryl's follow-up from surgery. We will get the lab results from the tissue removed during her surgery. We continue to pray, standing on what we believe God has given us. Luke 11:11 continues to be our verse. We have asked our Father for fish; he will not give a snake. His character can be trusted. So we go today as we have other days trusting God, knowing his character is unchangeable! All that Scripture teaches of Him is as true today as it was when written. We are in a good place, believing the "snake" of cancer has been killed.