And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12)
Gideon is perhaps one of the most misunderstood or questionable characters in the Bible. He was of a quiet and timid character (Judges 6:15, 27), and at times displayed reluctance or even doubt of God’s abidance with Israel (Judges 6:13). He was definitely not a perfect man, but one thing is sure because God had this to say about him before any feat of courage or action of strength: you mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12, 14)!
“‘Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.’
‘Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God.'” (Jer 3:22)
Backsliding is very serious. The backsliding of the people of Judah led to the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. Throughout history, God has called for His people to return. “Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jer 6:16, NIV). After the exile, the Israelites finally returned to the Lord and His law.
Christians can become backsliders when they lose their fellowship with God, have a cold or lukewarm heart, or fall into sin. We need to be alert so as to not become loveless, lifeless, or lukewarm believers as described in the book of Revelation to the churches in Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea. In the first steps of our Christian lives, we may have had enthusiasm without knowledge. Do we now have knowledge without enthusiasm? If you find yourself feeling indifferent to church, to God, or to the Bible, you have begun to shut God out of your life. Continue reading
Oftentimes, we tend to think that our faith or the state of our spirituality is a result of our external environment —where God put us, the friends and family He gave us, the situations or trials He allowed us to encounter, and so forth. While all of these factors certainly influence our lives, they do not control or dictate our spiritual state.
Let’s look at the parable of the sower recorded in Luke 8:5-15. Had Jesus not explained the mystery of the parable to us, one possible interpretation is that we represent the seed, being sown wherever the sower pleases. This would have very well fit our theory that God puts us wherever He wills, which then directly impacts the outcome of our faith. If we go along with this theory, we may go so far as having pity on those who fell in unfortunate places like the rock or thorns, presuming they had no control of their fate.
However, Jesus revealed that the seed is the word of God. Therefore, we, namely our hearts, are the different types of ground. Continue reading