I am so excited to share today’s guest post with you! Christian Rivera is a young adult who I got to know very well while serving at The Lighthouse Church. He was one of the famous “Super Seven” Lighthouse Interns of 2014 and since then has helped out in countless ways. He is a gift to the Church and it has been a joy to witness all the Lord has done in and through him over the past few years. Chris was a part of the WDYTYA young adults small group at Lighthouse earlier this year. When I approached him about sharing a guest post, he immediately chose WARRIOR and I’m so glad he did!
Christian loves the Word of God, is a great teacher, an anointed worship leader, and appreciates the perfect font (we share a special bond there!). He is in his last year at City College in New York City, where he is pursuing a degree in mathematics and education. I am grateful for his love and passion for the Lord and his encouragement to those he comes into contact with. I think you'll experience some of that here today. Check out Christian's post, follow him on Twitter and give him a shout of encouragement!
Photo Credit: Lauren Viera
Part of me wishes that I were actually sitting with the people reading this post, especially those who may be Christian readers, so that I could see if you are really understanding what we are about to talk about here. Being a Christian warrior, and living our lives as such, is a topic I am particularly passionate about. After high school, I realized that there had to be more to Christianity than going to church and being nice to everyone. There were things going on inside my mind and heart that people never really talked about. There were desires that I had in my walk with the Lord that I didn't get to see in the Christian community I was a part of. I couldn't stop wondering why I grew up reading and hearing countless stories about the power of God, and yet I wasn't seeing His power in my own life. Don't misunderstand, God has been present and evident in my life and in my Christian community, but why wasn't I seeing the things that Paul and the apostles saw in Acts? Why were so many people losing their battles with sickness? Why was I seeing my peers and other Christians in my community living in depression, anxiety, fear, and powerlessness?
Through all these questions, God took me on a journey during which I would find and understand Him at a completely new level. This all happened at a time in my life where I was just realizing that I struggle heavily with depression and anxiety, which caused many of the things around me to feel like they were falling apart. My grades in school were slowly slipping, ministry began to feel more and more burdensome, and my confidence and joy had been completely destroyed. I had reached a point of utter desperation and I found myself wailing in emotional agony one night in my mother's arms. My mind and soul felt like wastelands and I felt unable to make any change. Praying didn't even seem to have an effect. How many times would I pray the same prayers? How many times would I apologize to God for the same sins? I didn't deserve to be rescued.
This was a lie from the enemy! My salvation already happened because I believed in Jesus! "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8 NIV). God's love has never been about whether or not we deserved it, it has always been about His own passion for us. He is faithful, as a good Father to rescue me in all my times of need.
Why is all this important? Because if we are going to be Christian warriors, we need to hold deeply in our hearts that the God of the universe is in love with us. This is what the warrior is fighting for! Warriors fight through the circumstances in their own life because the lies and schemes of the enemy have no power in the face of the Almighty God. Warriors fight for the people around them who are hurting and can't see God's love in their life. Warriors fight with the knowledge that He lives with and through the power of the Holy Spirit, which has marked him as a child of the living God!
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit..." (Ephesians 1:13 NIV).
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Romans 8:16-17 NIV).
So look at what Paul writes, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power...And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the Lord's people" (Ephesians 6:10, 18 NIV). Would Paul be instructing the Ephesians to be strong if it were not possible? NO! Check out 2 Peter 1:3 when you have the time, it basically says that God has already given us everything that we need to live godly lives so that we may "participate in the divine nature".
Do we realize what that means? Do we realize that we can participate in the very nature of God as we live on this earth? What did Jesus tell the seventy-two when He sent them out? He said, "'When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you'" (Luke 10:8-9 NIV). Jesus gave those disciples the power to reveal the kingdom of God on earth before they ever received the Holy Spirit. How much more should we be doing now that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit?!
Here is what I have been trying to get us to understand. We, those who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, have become God's very own children; even to the point of being co-heirs with His Son, Jesus. We have been given everything we need to live this Christian life through the promised Holy Spirit. We can participate in the divine nature, by cooperating with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead us daily into holiness and righteousness. We are warriors who fight to reveal the kingdom of God to the people around us and to destroy the plans of the enemy in doing so.
This is what I would love for each reader to do as a result of reading this: PICK UP YOUR SWORD! It may be the hardest thing you have to do. You might feel unworthy, or unclean, or weak, but the kingdom of God is not about feelings, it is about faith! Read over the verses and chapters mentioned in this post. Get angry at the enemy, start believing all those things you heard in church about the God who is madly in love with you, and start praying.
I know you have heard this verse before, "'Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them" (Mark 11:23 NIV). Notice how the verse does not say that we should pray to God and ask Him to move the mountain for us! You are the one who needs to move it! Don't let the power that God has put in you be wasted! Speak directly to the fear, depression, and anxiety in your life. Speak directly to sickness and disease. Take faith in God and move those mountains.
Thanks for reading!
*Join us on Friday for the FINAL post of the #WDYTYA16 series!*
If you're jumping into the series now, feel free to check out the #WDYTYA16 page that includes links to all the posts so far.