Are you a coffee lover like me? Maybe you like tea, or hot apple cider. Whatever you love to get cozy with as you read, grab that. This one will take some time to dig into… I have been in quite a few conversations lately and there is one scripture that keeps coming up. Its the one where Jesus gets angry with merchants in the temple. Its not quite like the Jesus many people talk about and if we didn’t read the bible, we might not have known that was even in there if we are constantly hearing about a Jesus that is calm, cool and collected. ALL THE TIME.
But to know Jesus, is to know all parts of him. To know only parts of him, doesn’t let us in on all of his truth.
In the book of John, we find this story.
“And he told the merchants, ‘Get these things out of here! Don’t you dare commercialize my Father’s house!’. That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture: ‘I am consumed with a fiery passion to keep your house pure!’”
John 2:16-17 TPT
We see that Jesus was willing to overturn some tables, and drive out the nonsense over the love for His father’s house. Not just love, but to honor and keep it pure, to keep it holy, to keep it as a temple where the Lord dwells. We see that he was willing to be the “watch dog” over the temple and anything that was to come to it that wasn’t right, he was going to fight for it, at all costs.
We have a lot of things in our lives to fight for. Things worth fighting for, but have we gone blind to the value they each hold?
Just as Jesus fought for the temple, could we fight for our churches too? Could we have that fiery passion within us to want the church held up with honor, love, purity, holiness and righteousness? Could we fight for her, the bride, the church, to be THE place that is untouchable by worldly standards? Could we get a bit fired up when the world is trying to dictate what we should do when it comes to the bride of Christ, which is The Church?
The Church is one that is to be guarded and protected, just as Jesus guarded the temple. When things are being done behind closed doors that are wrong, will we have that passion and boldness to speak up regardless of what others around us will think?
Our temples, as in our bodies, just as Jesus mentioned in verse 19 of John 2:
“After you destroy this temple, I will raise it up in three days”,
are valuables in our lives and we get to care for it. Its a gift. Our marriages, our children, our homes, they are all valuables in our lives, but so many times we fall into worldly ways of talking about them more than getting down in the mess with them to fight for them.
On the topic of marriage, I am not going to dig into all the issues because some have to be left in the hands of God. But along the lines of growing in marriage with communication, loving each other, honoring each other, etc, how are we guarding every area of our marriages? Temptation and lust are always knocking at the door. There are things we actually do, but we think are blameless, they can open the door for other things to come in, allowing temptation to look at you straight in the face.
This world operates in marriage a certain way, but when we are followers of Christ, let’s actually follow him and not have one foot in the door and one foot out. God wants us to be all in, not lukewarm or halfway. So when we make a commitment to him in marriage, have realized what we are stepping into? Have we made up our minds ahead of time, that this union is something we value with passion and its so important to us that we will do whatever is necessary to protect it?
Will we guard our marriages as something as precious as the Church itself?
Listen, the adversary is on standby, roaming around looking for things to destroy.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
Anything that is good, anything that increases our power here on earth, or anything operating in unity, is right up the alley for destruction because God gave us authority that not even angels have. And there is one in particular that gets furious. There is nothing like the bride and her groom operating in the kingdom with a firm foundation build on biblical principles and purity with honor, glorifying God! The very thing Satan hates!
What does guarding our marriages look like?
When things come knocking at the door, will we remember how precious our marriage is?
Are we willing to throw down like Jesus did as he protected the temple or will we open the door so easily and allow destruction to come in and sit with you on the couch because it felt too hard to deal with straight away. Things can appear like they are harmless, but listen to that discernment that signals a red flag. Its when we ignore the red flags and brush things off, that we end up in places that we never wanted to be. Did I mention the adversary being on standby? He will use people to temp you and wrap them in packages that feel non threatening.
I pray we come to the realization that there is boldness in courage within us to do hard things. That there is fight in us. Even if it takes a lot out us, we can choose to be willing. There is that fiery passion that burns within us to fight for what is ours and not allow it to be snatched from us.
We can take true ownership and authority over the gifts we have been entrusted with. May we guard them and honor them. Its easy to take them for granted, but we will be the ones that have eyes to see what’s in front of us and acknowledge the blessings from our good Father, right?
Our children are such beautiful gifts from God and its pretty much a given that we understand how valuable they are. In certain areas we tend to guard and have more awareness of the value of something and in other areas, it doesn’t always cross our mind or we have a different perspective with those areas.
As parents, we have tremendous responsibility to care for these little humans aside from ourselves, and we know this is not an easy journey. A lot of times we have the job of taming our younger selves. And if you are anything like me with a teenage, “mini” walking around like your personal mirror, you probably wish more than anything you could go back to your teenager days and apologize to your mama!
So we know that physical protection is usually there (in some homes we know this is not the case), but what about mental and emotional protection? What about worldly or environmental protection?
I am going to say this as black and white as I possibly can, we as followers of Christ are not supposed to engage in everything the world is doing. We have been set apart and have been bought at a price. So, if we feel that we are missing out or if everyone, except us has this cool thing, or if we are not fitting in, we MUST have tools of truth in our tool belt to combat worldly temptations. When we know better, we are to do better.
Many times we don’t “know any better” because there has been a lack of discipline to go after the truth (Jesus), that is tugging at our hearts and what our hearts are actually longing for, in order to build a consistent relationship, so that the truth can begin to come alive in us. And there is no shame or condemnation in that, but more so to reflect on how we are living our lives as believers.
With that being said, the enemy is standing by even more so for our babies to catch them and reel them in at a young age. Through tv, through electronics, through friendships with others, through bullying, and even through people they look up to.
How can we build up our tool box to have the truth waiting for them or even better, to tell them truth ahead of time, as we constantly teach them the truth by the way we live and what we stand for along with what we do not stand for?
Sadly, many times we don’t have any standards, because we haven’t done our homework. But listen, it is not too late. Start digging in and begin to partner with God for him to show you, teach you and guide you into all truth. Choose to be receptive and obedient to what is revealed. We have a race to run and it is going to take the armor of Truth (God) to run well. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Emotional and mental protection of our children is crucial and you know what, they will give us a hard time, and argue, while throwing tantrums. Some may even try to guilt us or manipulate us to get their way, but we get to make a decision ahead of time that we are the parents and remember that it is our responsibility to raise them up in the way they should go, so that they won’t part from it, right? Just I mentioned about temptation that comes knocking at the door in marriage, it comes knocking at the door with our children as well. If we are not careful, we will blindly hand them over with the mindset of this world, “oh, its just what kids are doing these days”, or “the kids won’t let me take away x,y, & z”, or “they just want to do nothing, but stay on that game all day”.
There are so many things we say about situations to mask the fact that we are not truly passionate about guarding every area of our babies hearts, minds and lives.
Our children have such beautiful gifts inside of them that are that are to be nurtured, cultivated and held dear with that fiery passion in order to keep them pure. As Jesus told his disciples, greater things they would do than he, our children will have the ability to do even greater things than us because of the power and gifts inside of them. They will be able to do more because we would have plowed the field before them, but they would get to benefit from our laboring on their walk with the Lord.
Think about it this way, if we had Jesus as a kid, like he was our baby and we KNEW the gifts and power that was in him, how would we keep that safe, him safe, and keep him guarded from the ways of this world?
We would probably be on it, 100%. We would know that some things shouldn’t come near him, we would take that responsibility to heart as we parent. We would see that responsibility as extra special, as guarding something precious and we would be extremely passionate about every aspect, would we not?
Listen, our children will think they know best on more than one occasion, and the attitudes will come, but we can choose to stand strong and allow Holy Spirit to lead us. We can choose to get fired up with a passion to guard the children God created and the gifts that have been placed inside them. We can choose to help them cultivate everything within them and grow.
Remember we are the parents. God chose us for this job and allowed us to birth them. It wasn’t the other way around. They didn’t birth us. The guilt from the adversary will come because if you think about it, what would someone do to in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy something? They would come at all angles in order to accomplish their goal and do everything possible to deceive and lead others astray. They would come with a strategy like a thief in the night, but be watchful, be able to discern what’s going on and stand firm on the truth.
I mentioned the gifts in our children, but when our children grow up, what do they become?
They become an adult. If you are reading this, there is an amazing chance you are an adult, so if you are an adult, what exists inside of you?
Talents and gifts!
Oh my goodness friends, the gifts that have been placed inside of us are so beautiful and worth fighting for! From childhood to adulthood, so many of us have faced some hard things that have tried to destroy us. Some of us know and have an idea of our purpose, gifts, or calling, while many of us do not. If you don’t its okay, don’t dwell on it. Its just a beautiful invitation to partner with God on a deeper level and allow Him to reveal so much more to you.
I didn’t always know what I know now, I didn’t know what was inside of me, I didn’t know how to guard my heart, but as I learned more about who I am in Christ and how he created me, I learned more about what was inside of me. As I developed and intimate relationship with God, I began to understand and see the strategies of the enemy and how things came against me as an attempt to destroy me, to kill my joy and steal my happiness and my peace.
If I were to loose all of that, I wouldn’t be able to operate in my gifts to pursue my calling and fulfill my destiny. You see, we have been given everything we need in order to do what we have been designed to do.
As mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety along with trauma from the past, try to destroy us, its crucial that we as believers align ourselves up with the truth of His word. We must take scripture and apply it to ourselves so that the truth can reign in our life. Not the thoughts that want to exalt themselves above the true knowledge of God.
Take every though and hold it captive…
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5
How can we become fed up enough, bold enough, passionate enough, burning with fire, to protect everything within us that the adversary has tried to destroy?
When we begin to realize the value, the power, how important it is to protect everything to keep it pure, and how God has plans to give us hope and a future,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
that God has not set out to destroy us, but that there is the adversary that has set out to do so, we can begin to understand the truth. Our eyes will begin to see and we will know its worth keeping pure and worth fighting for.
When we can begin to see how the hand of the enemy comes for everything in our lives, we get fired up. We get fed up with the nonsense and we begin to roar. That’s how Jesus was when he found out the merchants were selling oxen, lambs, and doves for money in the temple!
He found a rope, made it into a whip to drive out every ounce of impurities. He flipped the tables and was so done with them. He wanted the temple to remain the holy place and pure.
He had that fiery passion that consumed him. That passion was embedded in him to protect it at all costs. The temple was holy, it was to be honored, and it was to be glorified. Not a place where we just shrug our shoulders and say “meh”, and keep on rolling.
Certain things in life “meh”, can be used, but with the temple, our marriages, our children, our gifts, and our bodies, its not to be used.
May we find passion, courage and bravery to go after the valuable gifts in our lives to keep them all pure, to protect them and to guard them with honor.
May we be like a bull on fire when things come to our attention and when a red flag is signaling an area to be guarded.