Commentary by Greg Baker
Our world is not as it should be. Sin has and continues to bring havoc to our world and the people living in it. Satan continues to work through lies to bring more and more people into bondage. Our world is full of his strongholds, in which he has taken so many captive.
Satan masquerades these strongholds as convenient, easy, safe, entertaining, and overall good escapes from the difficulties of life, but they are the complete opposite. These so-called easy escapes don’t only trap you, they enslave you.
As the world looks for earthly solutions to do these issues, we as Christians must bring the hope of Christ, His gospel, and His Church. Only through Christ can people truly be set free.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” – Luke 4:18.
America today is full of spiritual strongholds. Abortion masquerades as an easy, harmless solution that in reality ends in death of a child and guilt for parents. Drugs and alcohol disguise themselves as mental escapes that actually result in addiction and enslavement. Gambling promotes easy money and entertainment that instead ends in addiction, bankruptcy, and the highest suicide rate of any other addiction. Pornography promises pleasure, but ends with an addiction stronger than cocaine. All of these are just a small handful. Satan will use just about anything to take someone captive. His end goal is simple. It is spiritual death, and he will use about anything to bring it.
Christians and moralists have taken the battle against these strongholds to Capitols all across the world, only to find some of the most difficult opposition. Sometimes the opposition makes no worldly, political sense, but when you look at it spiritually … it makes a lot of sense. Difficult partisan issues like tax cuts get through the legislative process all the time, but issues such as life often don’t. That is because these issues are not political, but spiritual. It is a satanic stronghold that must be broken, not with worldly political weapons, but spiritual ones.
Sometimes the opposition makes no worldly, political sense, but when you look at it spiritually … it makes a lot of sense.
In the mid-1800s believers across the nation entered a spiritual war against the stronghold of slavery. Politics did not lead to the end of slavery in America; the light overcoming the darkness did. Satan’s lie of some people being inferior to others and considered property was exposed. Day after day pulpits and Christians in the nation spoke the truth against the evil one’s lies.
God’s people also petitioned the heavens. Some strongholds, Jesus said, can only be defeated through both fasting and prayer (Matthew 17:21).
President Lincoln understood this, and on March 30, 1863, Lincoln called America to fasting, prayer, and repentance: “I do by this proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all people to abstain from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.”
President Lincoln knew that he was in the middle of spiritual war. He understood that repentance had to come before slavery could be abolished: “It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Apostle Paul explains this in 2 Timothy 2: “Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape for the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
If America is going to see these strongholds tumble, God’s people must quit playing politics, realize they are in a spiritual war, and learn how to engage in battle. They must claim their identity in Christ, put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6), and engage in the battle of the heavenlies by fasting and praying.
Then God’s people must go. They must go and raise up disciples by preaching the gospel of repentance that leads to salvation and teaching people everything Christ taught us. Only when the Lord’s people get messy and intercede for people will we as a nation come to our senses and escape the devil’s traps.
As moral legislation faces difficulty in legislatures across the nation, let us not take up arms in the political battle, but in the spiritual one. Let’s preach the gospel in the Capitols, and on the streets of our nation. Let’s petition the Lord in fasting and prayer to forgive us our national sins. Let’s fight this stronghold with the truth of God’s Word and the conviction that life is found in obeying the Lord. Let’s shine light into the darkness and set captives free.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” – John 1:5.
Greg Baker is vice president of church engagement for The FAMiLY LEADER.