Behind Enemy Lines
God calls his men to retreat in order to advance in the midst of the spiritual battle. The Lord says that apart from me you can do nothing. According to Psalm 46:1, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. John 17 is the account of our Lord’s prayer. This prayer reveals the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ as our high priest. The High Priest is the one who is ordained to speak directly to God on behalf of God’s people. Jesus’ high priestly prayer is his prayer of intercession on behalf of those whom God elected in his foreknowledge to be disciples of Christ:
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one…
I in thee and thee in me. God sent his only begotten son so that God’s elect could witness the truth of the word of God made flesh. He came as the rose of heaven, trampled underfoot. He came into the devil’s enemy territory to show the world that he who knew no sin may be made the sacrifice for sinful man. He came to show that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing. We know what it means to declare our independence from God’s will for our lives. There is none good, no not one. Jesus came behind enemy lines to substitute his life for our sins… to deliver us from the power of the evil one. Jesus was resolute in this mission and was not to be dissuaded. He chose twelve ordinary men and called them to a mysterious mission to be fishers of men. They followed him because of his calling. They were not the cream of the crop. He chose them not because they were accomplished but because of what he could accomplish in them and through them. He called them not to deliver the mission but to be the mission. God calls the world’s rejects to become the righteousness of God in him.
America idealizes independence and values the worldly ideal of the enemy’s aspiration of the “self made man.” However, the message of God’s grace is that apart from me, you can do nothing. We’re on a mission and a pilgrimage: Ephesians 2:19 says that you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but ye are fellow citizens of heaven with the saints and of the household of God. According to 2 Corinthians 5, ye are ambassadors for Christ. As ambassadors, we are called as the highest ranking officials sent from our homeland to represent heaven, our home country in the midst of a wicked and perverse nation. In Romans 12, since we are not of this world, God exhorts us, “don’t be squeezed into the world’s mold, but be transformed by the “upward renewing” of your mind.
We are in the world but are not of the world. Therefore, according to John 17, our joy is not in the things of this world. Our Joy is not contingent on circumstances and situations. Rather, our joy is in him… it is a joy that cannot be taken away… it is the joy found in the presence of God and the promises of God that he will never leave us or forsake us. Our joy is in the things above and not in the things of the flesh and of this earth. Our joy is in the truth of the Word that defines who we are and whose we are. Therefore, covet not the things of this world, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he posesseth. Rather, covet earnestly the best gifts. For though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, I am nothing. God has not called us to an easy escapism. Rather, he has called us to love the unloveable. God has not called us to rejoice in the comforts of the flesh. He said blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven. Our joy is not of this world… rather our joy is in our heavenly homeland where Christ dwells on the right hand of God.
Behind enemy lines, the adversary is lurking to steal, kill, and destroy us physically, mentally, and spiritually. He is the accuser of the brethren: Behind enemy lines we will be accused falsely. The adversary makes us despised as the dregs of the world. However, this world is not my home… I’m just a-passing through. God has called us to his front lines in the charge of the light brigade. He has also called us to rest and retreat in him behind enemy lines. He has called us to be strengthened and refreshed… God’s recreation (re-creation) on the new day. We are called as a peculiar people to be distinctively different… to be outliers from this world of darkness.. Christians have enjoyed the applause of Americans for about 250 years. These days are over. Christians are now persecuted for being “politically incorrect.” However we must realize that to be politically correct according to our heavenly homeland is to be politically incorrect in a world of darkness. Until we reach heaven, we are behind enemy lines. When the crisis comes, God has called us to have such confidence in him that we will be the dependable ones to wield the light of the Word of God in the midst of the darkness of a fallen world.
Before we can reach the world for Christ, we must reach our own hearts for Christ. For he who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. Our refuge and our rest is only in him. He is our mighty fortress to whom we must retreat. After retreating, our charge is to be his ambassadors… to pray ye in Christ stead, be ye reconciled to God. God has called his men for such a time as this.
May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,