In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, we are reminded to “be joyful always, pray continually, for this is God’s will through Jesus Christ. Do not put out the spirit’s fire with evil prophecies, test everything, hold on to good and avoid every evil.”
There is a battle going on, as you already know; it is between good and evil. The spirit of one dwells within our soul the moment God breathes the breath of life within us. As we see in the creation story in Genesis, it states that God created us in his own image and blew the breath of life (the holy flame).
It cannot be extinguished, because the flame is God within us. This does not mean that everyone’s flame is the same strength or equal in any sense of the word. The flame that comes from God is being challenged in today’s world as never before.
Those entities that oppose our faith are gaining strength and sometimes in some ways have more passion and power than our flame does.
The problem is our flame stands for truth and justice and eternal love, whereas the evil flame represents hate, corruption, violence and persuasion of the opponent’s way of life at all costs.
In recent time, these evil forces that oppose our faith have been named as ISIS, ISIL and other extreme movements. In combating these evil forces, there seems to be an attitude that we cannot win because of our lack of passion and the energy for causes of justice and good will and agape love have diminished and, as a result, the evil one is winning and taking advantage of our lack of passion and energy that is the hallmark of Christian beliefs.
It seems the negative belief systems that are destroying our faith makes outlandish promises such as those that give up their life for the cause will receive X amount of virgins in their hereafter.
Now our flame that dwells within us sometimes flickers and grows weaker because of these threats from these evil sources. The strength from the flame in our souls must be empowered by the love that comes from God and is lived out through those that follow Jesus Christ. I contend that the reason our churches and our synagogues and other places of worship have become listless and our witness has become weakened is that we do not support our talk with our walk.
How do we give the flame a boost of energy so that we can win the battle? We must have a power surge that causes the flame to demonstrate passion and agape love for all people. We are losing souls to the other side.
We have on our side enough power to obliterate the power of evil. We have going for us the flame that comes from God inside of us, which cannot be distinguished. We have God’s love, which is more powerful than any other source of power.
How do we ignite the flame?
By opening our Bibles to the plan, which is for the light of God to penetrate the darkness of evil and God’s love to overshadow the darkness in every corner of the world.
Unleash the power of prayer, individually, in small groups, and collectively. The scripture says that prayer can move mountains, change the hearts of people and turn fear into love. There is no limit as to what prayer can do; it can and will truly ignite the flame.
It is said that no man is an island unto himself, and God’s plan for the salvation of the world is fellowship
and bonding together for a common cause to turn the world of darkness to a world of light. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am also.”
There is no question that we are neglecting and overlooking this great tenet that together we can win the battle against all evil forces; when we try it alone, we will lose and perish into the darkness.
This is our wake-up call, people of God.
The Great Commission says we are commanded to go into the world of darkness and take the light of Jesus with you. We each have our own calling, and each of us is called to certain territories and places where we walk and talk and exist. We have become listless and have lost our sense of responsibility to this cause of taking the Gospel into our part of the world.
This is the acid test — how do we compare to our opponents in evangelizing and taking the word of God compared to how these evil forces take their message to the world? It is becoming more apparent that we are losing the battle.
We must stop the bleeding, for there was a time when Jesus was asked, “What is your plan to save the world?” and he replied, “The Word will be taught and preached and lived through my disciples that I have sent forth.”
The person further asked, “This is your plan? What if it doesn’t work?”
Jesus replied, “There is no other plan.”
All together, we can ignite the flame and save the world.
The Rev. Robert Miller is director of Agapé Family Ministries. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.