There’s always two audiences for men’s discipleship articles. The first are the guys who the subject matter applies to, speaking directly into a situation in their lives. The second are the men who it doesn’t speak directly to, but puts them on notice for helping the friends around them who may struggle in that area. It puts that issue on their radar, for their circle of influence.
Today’s write is a tough one, because it is a place where the Kingdom of God takes on a lot of casualties. The symptoms may be different, but the end result occurs all too often. Here’s the scenario . . .
A man struggles with a temptation, sin, dilemma, issue, or problem inside himself or with someone he loves. Often this is where he suffers in silence, because most guys are good at that. Whether it takes weeks, months, or even many years, finally, the truth comes to light. A handful of people see the situation, God shines His light in for the truth to set him (and/or his loved one) free, progress and movement begin to happen, hope begins to dawn, brokenness starts . . . but then, suddenly, like someone slamming a door shut, it all stops. He closes back up, crawls back into the hole, re-enters the lie, and sometimes, even throws in the towel and quits his faith.
Every time I either witness this or almost get my fingers broken in the man’s slamming door, I am puzzled as to why, when light and hope are finally edging in, the decision is made to go back? I know it’s a spiritual battle and the enemy is at work, but when a man who professes faith in Christ sees God beginning to free him, why is the cell door closed by the man himself?
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” —Luke 11:24-26 NIV
It’s obvious here that Jesus is talking about possession and I am not; however, there is a spiritual principle in this passage that does apply to demonic harassment and attachment, as well as generational sin. When God brings His light, conviction, truth, and healing into a dark place in a man’s life, but the man allows fear, disobedience, laziness, apathy, etc. to overcome his cooperation and obedience, then everything gets worse, deeper, and darker. Yes, like 7 times more than before.
This is where Christian brothers can be so vital to helping “keep each other’s house clean.” There is nothing worse than plaguing, dominating sin, except for allowing sin to swallow life completely.
If you’re a man today who feels like the cell door is closed, call out to Jesus. He is the Rescuer, the Redeemer, and Righteous One. He holds the keys and wants to open the door today to your freedom.
If you’re a man who has had the door unlocked, but you’re scared or tempted to go back, reach out today to someone. You don’t want to go back there.
If you are walking with Christ in health today, watch out for your brothers in need of freedom and hope. You may very well be God’s representative today.
My Christian brothers, if any of you should be led away from the truth, let someone turn him back again. That person should know that if he turns a sinner from the wrong way, he will save the sinner’s soul from death and many sins will be forgiven. —James 5:19-20 NLV