My friend Ray recently made a comment about revival that resonated with me. Ray said, “Revival isn’t when people outside the church get converted, it is when people inside the church get converted.”
I know what it’s like to be an unbeliever. Not simply because I used to be an unbeliever, but because I still experience, and operate with, unbelief every day. I have something to say to unbelievers, not because I’ve graduated from unbelief but because I grapple with unbelief all the time. Whether you’re obsessed with Jesus or not; whether you merely know about God, or you personally know God …no matter who you are, you have unbelief living inside of you, you deal with doubt, you get discouraged, and you often don’t feel confident.
Because we are all dealing with unbelief, all of us (the Jesus-addicted, and the Jesus-avoiders) can collectively consider the following questions:
- What’s the truth? Am I faking my way through life? Am I withholding honest answers because I simply don’t feel safe to share what I’m really feeling? Are the accusatory voices in my head telling the truth? OR – Is the atonement of Jesus true? Is it really true that Jesus delights in me? Is it really true that Jesus is thrilled to be yoked to me, and He can’t wait to collaborate with me on substantive Kingdom work everyday?
- What’s your significant life work? What justifies your existence? What’s your magnum opus? What is the work you stake your life on? What definitive/once-and-for-all work settles the question of your worthiness, and provides you with unshakable stability forever?
- What are you compelled to say? What can’t you shut-up about? You promote ____________ even when the people you’re talking to don’t seem interested. ______________ burns in your bones, and you have to let it out!
- Do you have protection? [some of you giggle, or feel awkward, when I ask it that way …but that’s on you] Do you fear what people think? Are you habitually apprehensive; stuck in “risk assessment mode”? Do you feel yourself fretting over self-preservation? Have you ever self-sabotaged, because you couldn’t bear the uncertainty of real relationships? What do you seriously and compulsively wield to protect yourself from harm?
- What is your attack plan? What is your preferred battle-strategy? What primary resource informs your agenda? What is your go-to weapon of choice?
- Do you have hope? What establishes, informs, and fuels your endurance? What pushes you to persevere when you feel like giving up?
These questions (or some similar set of questions) already exist in your soul’s operating system. Invariably you take up some version of armor in life. There are countless off-brand options, and then there is The One Name-brand set of armor. The presence of unbelief is common to the Jesus-addicted & the Jesus-averse alike, but the answers to these burning questions (i.e. the armor) is found in the graphic and supernatural story of Christ alone.
I heartily invite you to ponder these 6 questions while imaginatively inhabiting Ephesians 6:10-20. Converse candidly with God about your answers to these questions, and honestly ask God any questions you have about His Words in Ephesians 6 …and see where the conversation leads.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.