September 9, 2022
After this the Lord chose another seventy-two men and sent them out two by two, to go ahead of him to every town and place where he himself was about to go…The seventy-two men came back in great joy. “Lord,” they said, “even the demons obeyed us when we gave them a command in your name!”
Talk about a spiritual shot in the arm! They were the most exciting days any of the disciples could remember.
A few months earlier they had been ordinary working guys, punching a time clock, carrying a lunch box, hassling the daily commute.
But now…now they had been transformed into ambassadors of the kingdom of God. Spiritual authority oozed from their pores. It was a heady experience, to say the least.
“Lord, You just wouldn’t believe it!” they exulted. “Even the demons took off when we spoke in your name! It was great!”
This discipleship business was suddenly very interesting. They saw answers to their prayers. They saw people come into the kingdom.
They preached fearlessly, prayed passionately, and enjoyed a camaraderie they had never known before. It was like being away on a gigantic spiritual weekend retreat. Everything went right…even to the point of controlling the work of demons.
Now, understandably, Jesus was thrilled for them and their newfound joy. He responded with genuine enthusiasm to the success of their ministry.
Luke 10:21 says that He was “filled with joy” (GNT). He burst into prayer and thanked His Father, praising him that these men had tasted life the way it should be lived.
Yet at the same time, without dampening the spirits of his men, the Lord gently brought fresh focus to their gathering.
Jesus answered them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Listen! I have given you authority, so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the Enemy, and nothing will hurt you.
But don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:18-20 (GNT)
Can you identify with those seventy-two excited missionaries? Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar circumstance.
“Wow, what a great retreat that was!” you say to your friends. You’ve been away for a week of fellowship with a group of exuberant believers.
You’ve sat under the instruction of a first-rate Christian communicator, and you’ve come home a changed person. I mean, you’ve got joy! And that joy carries over for days, even weeks.
Your prayers are more passionate; you pray more specifically, with more faith. You even share Christ courageously and fearlessly – you’re so excited!
Have you had that happen? Can you recall that feeling of spiritual elation? You thought to yourself, “Oh, if only we could have it this way all of the time.
If we could only have that speaker join our church. If we could only experience that sort of fellowship and prayer and excitement on a regular basis! Why does it have to end?”
I think the Lord would like to give us the same focus he gave to his disciples on that first joyous day home from their journey.
Don’t let your joy depend on a lot of spiritual activities, highlights, and emotions. Don’t let your passion or your faith hinge on the next celestial lightning bolt or sun-splashed moment of meditation.
God wants our joy to rest on the simple fact that our names are written in heaven. There is no joy like the joy of our salvation! “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12) was the first request David made of God after he got his spiritual act together.
I hope that in the pages of this book I’ve helped you understand a few of the countless ways to grow toward a passionate faith.
They’re all good. They’re all solid…part of the foundation on which we stand. But underlying them all is that fact that, if Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, there is an entry on an actual page of an actual book in the highest heaven with your name on it!
That’s the bedrock reason for a perpetual passion, for an enduring faith. You’ve been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. And you get to live throughout eternity in intimate communion with the King of everything!
Hang onto the promise of HIM, and you’ll enjoy a life-long, unwavering, peaceful, ecstatic, safe, risky, passionate, faith.
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