Day 209: Praise's Exploits
Daniel 11:32 (AV) — 32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
On April 23, 1910, in a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, Theodore Roosevelt said: It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.1
What a difference knowing God experientially makes in the life of a believer! Flattery falls on deaf ears to the believer who knows God. Flattery has been wisely defined as insincere praise. It's a tactic used for manipulation. Our souls' enemy longs to flatter us, to get us to consider living our Christian lives in our strength. John Van Gelderen aptly put it, "The Christian life is not merely a set of doctrines. It is not merely a set of moral actions. Unsaved moralists can mimic that. Rather, the Christian life is a life, a Person, and His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is the Christian Life. Therefore, no one can live the Christian life, but Christ."
Satan desires us to live the "Christian life" in our strength so that when we fail, he can point and say, "See! It doesn't work!"
But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. The text does not say know about God, but the people that do know their God. It's a real, personal relationship based upon the living reality that Christ lives in them and through them.
Just because you failed in the past doesn't mean you should give up. It just means you've been doing it wrong. At least you've been trying! But there is a better way.
How is it that they shall be strong and do exploits? An exploit is a deed or act that is heroic. God's people have the very life of God in their spirits. What do I see when I look at my life? I see failure. I see mistakes. I see weakness. I see moral depravity. That's all I can expect to see. The key is for me to no longer look at my life, but to look at Christ. My life is worthy of nothing less than hell. But I've been redeemed, and the blood of Jesus has underwritten my salvation! I've been rescued, as it were, from the flames of eternal torments. I've been more than just saved. I've been called into the service of the King who ransomed me. I've been invited to give up my life to His life to rescue others through me.
I've got to be willing to do the one thing God gives me the responsibility to do: respond in faith and act on that faith.
The child of God ought to be willing to rush into the very flames at the gate of the pit of hell to pull lost souls out before it's too late. Why? Because its the heroic thing to do. It matters not about what they've done to deserve hell. The fact is, we all deserve it.
Jude 22–23 (AV) — 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
What gives us the audacity to rush the gates of hell? It isn't because we've taken the latest "How to win souls" class at church. It's because we have learned the secret to rescuing perishing souls. What is that secret? God can do it through you if you'll let Him.
Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one,
Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save. --Fanny J. Crosby
Hardin, Jason. Boot Camp: Equipping Men with Integrity for Spiritual Warfare (The IMAGE Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 282-289). DeWard Publishing Company, Ltd.. Kindle Edition.