Anyone who has been on the internet this morning or watched the news will see that Paris was attacked by Islamic extremists last night. ISIS has claimed responsibility. The media broadcasts are filled with fear and outrage. Facebook is filled with sadness, fear, outrage, and an expressed desire for vengeance. Some of those who want revenge also happen to be fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. A desire for revenge is a natural reaction. It comes from our flesh's desire to take action and fight injustice. God's ways of taking action and fighting injustice are much more effective than any revenge we might seek. God changes hearts.
While the media and the politicians spend weeks debating what could have been done to prevent this, where we went wrong, and what future actions should be taken to stop ISIS...why don't you and I hit our knees? Our knees are where we are most powerful. Our knees are where we bend low in prayer before an all powerful God, and become world changers without ever having to hop on a plane and head to Syria or any of the other places that our enemy camps. The reason ISIS is able to do what it is doing is because the world is trying to fight a spiritual battle with man made weapons. When we desire revenge we do the same. Think about it...has it been successful? Have the armed forces, the intelligence community, or the politicians seen victory with their man made weapons? You can't fight an ideology successfully in the physical realm. Only God can change hearts. This is why we must hit our knees and pray for heart change in our enemies.
It's not easy to pray for our enemies. It's much easier to pray for the people we love. Perhaps this is why Matthew 5:43-44 says, "You have heard it was said, ' Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." One of the most profound ways we can love someone is to pray for them. When we pray we are going to God on their behalf. What if we did this for ISIS? What if we saw them through God's eyes. They are human beings just like you and I who have been deceived by the devil and are being used for his purposes. Doesn't that really and truly describe us all before we came to know Christ? Do you remember the chains you bore before someone prayed for you and you came to know Christ? Do you remember what it was like to hear for the first time that God had sent His Son for you and forgiven you...forgiven all of the unthinkable things you had done...the things you couldn't imagine anyone ever forgiving you for? Shouldn't we want every human being to be that free, to experience that love? Maybe you are like me and have known Christ from a very young age and can't remember having any chains...that doesn't mean you wouldn't have. Look at ISIS and see that if God hadn't gotten a hold of you at such a young age...you could very well be wearing the same chains and blinded by the same deceptions. Feel the weight of that for a moment and let God use that to soften your heart in order to pray.
Our world needs us. God could have placed us in any other era, but we are living here and now in this century for such a time as this. Esther was told by Mordecai in Esther 4: 14, " For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not obtained royalty for such a time as this?" We can't be silent. It's time for the church, the body of Christ as a whole to hit our knees in battle. Their are members of ISIS who need to receive Christ, Christians who are being tortured and killed by them, and nations who are being terrorized who need deliverance...and we have access to the only One powerful enough to deliver us all!
"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:16