Updated: Feb 22
("God's Mission Protocol" Series 2, Post 9)
A few days ago, I heard someone talking on the radio about a documentary they had made. It revolved around how different people groups in today’s society bond, or find solidarity, over the fact that they consider themselves victims. This person mentioned two different groups specifically and made it clear that even though these different groups felt victimized over completely different issues, that they still found a sense of solidarity by being victims. I then began to think about a commercial I had also recently seen. The message this commercial projected was all about pride, about the pride that this particular group of people feel, and wanted to encourage others to feel, based on the fact that they consider themselves victims in society. Anyway, it is clear that there is a strong message going out in the world today that it is a privilege to be a victim, that we should take pride in being those that are victimized.
Yesterday, listening to the radio again, I heard the testimony of a woman who once also felt victimized and for a season chose to define herself as a victim. She has since changed her mind set and now lives her life in order to change this narrative. And although I know this truth, hearing her say it out loud within the context of her testimony, really made it resonate with me. For she said, “We were created to be victorious.” What a powerful statement! It is powerful because it is biblical truth. There is verse after verse within the Word of God about this very thing. God created us to be victorious, to be overcomers. Even Revelation 12:11 itself testifies, prophesies, that we will indeed be overcomers!
In church, God spoke. He said:
Susan, write these words down:
Victory. My people were created to find victory and through Christ this is possible for all, all who receive this precious gift. I didn’t create anyone to be a victim at heart. Yes, My people can and will be victimized but this is not a state of being. Pride should be in Me and Me alone. There is absolutely nothing on earth or in Heaven above that should be the source of your pride, only Me, Me and Me alone. Pride in anything else is weakness and idol worship and this form of worship WILL defeat you. But rise above My people. Rise above and seek victory. You can and will find victory over the enemy, over your struggles, over the things you place before Me. Idols My people. If you don’t think you have them, you are deceived. I created you to worship, to worship Me and to live for Me. This is a void to many, sadly to most, for even My own people fill this void with things other than Me. But, find victory My people. To and for this constant battle Christ died so that you could have victory. He died to take away your victimhood. YOU ARE NO LONGER A VICTIM, no matter what you do or experience. Ask Me. Ask Me My people what I want you to learn through your trials. Stop seeing them as attacks only and not learning opportunities. Your entire life here on earth is meant to bring you from glory to glory, to transform you into the image of My Son. What brings you victory in your struggles is seeing My side of things. It’s learning WHY I allowed these struggles to come upon you. I will tell you this. It all, ALL, goes back to idol worship. Everything I do and allow is for My glory and to rid My people of their idols, anything that fills that void within you other than Me. This is the purpose of the desert. Ask My daughter. She has been through one. Hear her testify about the cleansing purposes of the desert. She would and will enter it all over again. You cannot escape deserts My people. Though they seem scary upon entrance they serve a great and powerful purpose - cleansing of idols and discipline. They then summon forth testimonies, as My daughters did for her. I showed up for her within her desert and gave her things worth testifying about. I lead the Israelites through the desert for the same purpose. Had I transported them straight to the promised land they would have entered with much pride and many idols and they would have accepted and taken on all the evil within that land. But, as it was, I used the desert to cleanse them, change them from within. Though they struggled with idol worship within the desert, ultimately My purposes won out and they eventually entered the land in victory. This victory came about through their experiences of Me within the desert, for before I allowed them to go in, THEY TESTIFIED. They spent 40 days testifying to their victories in Me, of all the ways I showed up for them and victoriously lead them through and out of the desert. The desert is useful. The desert is powerful and I even brought My own Son through the desert after He returned from Egypt. I BRING ALL MY CHILDREN THROUGH THE DESERT. If I didn’t, you WOULD be illegitimate. BUT YOU ARE NOT. You are Mine, therefore expect the desert. Rejoice in the desert. THRIVE within the desert. You do this by experiencing Me. You do this by remembering that I discipline those I love. You do this by constantly asking that question of what I want you to learn through what you are going through. You are victors My people and will forever remain victorious. You are victorious. Victorious. VICTORIOUS. Victory. Victory. Victory. In Christ you ARE victorious. Amen and amen.
The desert is not a secret. The Israelites could see that it stood between them and the promised land and God even prepared them for it. One of the greatest miracles of the Bible, the parting of the Red Sea, preceded their true first step into the desert. Likewise, God is clearly telling us about the desert and longs to do amazing things in our lives in preparation for it and has expresses His desire to sustain us within it. He is faithful!
I tuned into the worship song being sung:
“There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise”
The lady leading the worship then was inspired to pray, “All my delight is in you Lord.”
She began to rattle off things that we could find our delight in other than the Lord (aka idols), stating, “Money, time, family, or an addiction.” She then finished by praying, “We lay them at your feet and pray You would help us to hand them over to You.” I knew God was confirming His word through her.
My pastor’s sermon was on “How to Respond to Opposition,” revolving around Acts 4:1-31. His first point was, “Allow Opposition to Become Opportunity.” In Acts 4:1-12, we see that Peter and John, after spending the night in jail for preaching the Gospel, stood before the Sanhedrin. My Spirit perked up as my pastor read Acts 4:12 which says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” No idol can save, not money, time, family, addictions, or pride. Salvation, the truest form of victory, is found in Christ alone.
The other verse to stick out to me and one my pastor highlighted was Acts 4:8a which says, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them.” With the Holy Spirit’s power, Peter knew exactly what to say. He knew how to turn this opposition into an opportunity to testify. Luke 12:11-12 says, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” My pastor then mentioned that sometimes we won’t have time to prepare, but not to worry. We have the Holy Spirit. As God brought to my mind, as He once taught me the Holy Spirit will be our teleprompter. He will give us the words to speak. For, the desert is useful! Peter and John’s “desert” was useful. God uses opposition as opportunity to testify, to be a witness and He will always fill us with the correct words.
As my pastor said, “The problem today is that people are not asking questions. Maybe we are not living our lives in a way that generates questions.” Exactly what God is pointing out! On the contrary, you start living for and experiencing God, knowing that everything you go through has a reason, and people will start to notice. They will start to ask questions and therefore give you a chance to testify.
I literally just finished writing that paragraph above in my journal when my pastor shared his second point, “Tell Your Story (Testimony).” He then brought us three passages. Revelation 12:11 which says, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Triumph. Victory. This comes through the power of the Word of our testimonies.
John 15:26-27 says, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” Verse 26 - Holy Spirit comes, testifying happens! Plain and simple. Verse 27 - Spend time with Jesus, testifying happens! Plain and simple.
Acts 4:13-16 says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it.’”
As my pastor said, “Your testimony of a changed life. . .They took notice that they had been with Jesus.” This is the point! Their “desert” opened the door for them to testify, something that cannot be refuted. As my pastor put it, “After you testify, mic drop.”
I then began to think about how just yesterday that I had had a conversation with a friend about a lesson God taught me many years ago, about the difference between pontificating and testifying. These verses convey the difference. Yet, sadly, especially with everything going on in the world today, we have become a generation of pontificators. Don’t believe me? Then open up social media and see what so many of your Christian friends say to people who disagree with them politically. He has already addressed in His message entitled “Unwrap Love” that we have become judgmental haters. That we have wrapped Christ back up again and placed Him back into the tomb. This is what we do when we refuse to shine the Light of Jesus Christ for the world to see and instead get up on our soapboxes and preach or pontificate, or when we cry out that we are victims. Well, praise God that He wants to redeem us. He once again wants to make us instead testifiers, just like Peter and John were.
My pastor’s third point was, “Fear God More than Man.” In Acts 4:19, Peter and John reply with, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!” My pastor said, “We are so busy defending ourselves. But there’s no need because we already have victory. What we need is to fear God more.”
My pastor’s fourth point was, “Gather, Pray, and Trust in God’s Plan and Power.” He talked about how people were amazed at the boldness of Peter and John, but that this boldness was courage with humility. After they were released, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported what had happened. In Acts 4: 27-30 they are praying and say, “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Then verse 31 says, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
I personally can testify that my boldness comes from God! I am instinctively a very bold-less, fearful person. My point is, is that their power can be our power. Their boldness can be our boldness, for like them, my only qualifications is that I have been with Jesus. I have spent time with Jesus, the True Victor. I walked with Him, as God alluded to, through the desert. He used the desert to cleanse me of my idols. He also showed up for me in ways now worth testifying about. And, as you know, He has always, through the power of the Holy Spirit, used my testimony to bring forth revelation or prophecy. Testifying in boldness may at times seem like pontification but I can assure you that it is not. There is a HUGE, life transforming, difference. But, like my pastor then said, “Be being filled.” It is an on-going process. From glory to glory. He then said, “You had an experience long ago and now are as dry as dry bones.” Even in my life you saw how God alluded to a desert I once went through and mentioned would go through again. From glory to glory, it is an on-going process. Just because we get cleaned out of idols and experience God in great ways doesn’t mean we won’t pick idols back up or veer away from God. Not to mention that we have an enemy bent on this happening to us. For as my pastor then said, “When God moves, the enemy moves, but God has a plan.”
My Pastor then talked about Harriet Tubman and her testimony, quoting some of the things she once said, mainly about never giving up. Likewise, we once were slaves but now are free. But, like in her day, there are still slaves all around us, people trapped within the web of lies of this world. How will we use our freedom? Harriet Tubman was once a slave that found freedom. However, instead of simply enjoy that freedom by biding her time, by choosing self-preservation, living for her idols, casting blame, hate, and simply pontificating, she instead took action. She laid down her rights to a comfortable life and set out to free others. In our case, in our modern time, in order to lead other slaves to freedom, we have to do the same, but in God’s way. By God’s method.
My pastor then talked about the future visit of a young Christian from Tanzania. He said that he will probably have one question for Americans: “You have so much, what are you doing with it?” How will we use our freedom, our victory in Christ? My pastor finished by saying, “These people have been with Jesus. When was the last time someone said that about you?”
Well, this will not be said of us if we pontificate. If we hate. If we complain and only focus and take pride in our victimhood. Even when political votes don’t go our way, how will we react? As my pastor mentioned, even if this is the case, this doesn’t mean that our mission is over. Our task hasn’t changed. Our task is to testify. It is to shine the Light of Jesus Christ through our lives. Then and ONLY then, will they take notice of us, or more accurately of God. For when we testify, when we live transformed, victorious lives, eyes on us mean eyes on Him.
What came to my mind after the sermon was just how this spirit of victimization is used by the enemy to defeat us. It is because if we consider ourselves a victim and we stay in this state of victimhood, a state that causes us to be bitter, angry, and haters and or pontificator’s, we are really just locked within our own minds. We are simply trying to fill that void of victimhood with rhetoric, or with drugs, alcohol, food, relationships, you name it. In this idol ridden state, we essentially become useless to God, because we are not allowing Him to turn our mess into a message or our times of testing into a testimony. Satan loves this! He does whatever it takes to put us out of commission, always, to stop us from testifying. Why shouldn’t he, for he knows that this is what defeats him now, and in the end (Revelation 12:11). Having pride, especially in being a victim, is just one more void that people are trying to fill with all the wrong things, all the things that will prevent us from becoming victorious overcomers with transformed, changed lives that God longs to use as a bright light within this dark world, within a world still hugely filled with slaves. God may not call it the Underground Railroad, but He does have a name for it. It is called His Wonderful Web of Wonder and this network of His people, His Stars, unified, covered by the Blood of the Lamb, testifying through transformed lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, is what God has always said through previous messages what He will use to free those still trapped in Egypt. God intends to use Christ through us, the Word of our testimonies, to free those slaves still trapped in Egypt, within this world. Oh, what a day. Oh, what a day. Let’s stop fighting God and His methods, His victories, and instead get on this party train! It is headed to the Promised Land!