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3 Tips to be Present

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and then realized that you’re not actually paying attention to what is being said? Perhaps you’ve drifted off to follow some thought squirrel that has decided challenge your intellectual consistency over something you read four years ago. As you ponder the significance of stability within the recipe for ketchup, you suddenly realize you’re not present in the conversation. Now your mind snaps back in to engage the conversation again. As you struggle to re-engage with the friend who has been patiently awaiting your response, you suddenly realize that you’ve missed the last several minutes of discussion. Frustrated and slightly annoyed, you consider your options.

Option one: continue to try and fake it through the conversation.

Option two: make an excuse to end the conversation abruptly and flee from your friend.

Option three: admit you have not been present and ask them to repeat themselves.

Being present is not always easy. Sometimes we’ve been drained of intellectual stimulus for so long that it is nearly impossible for us to focus on anything other than the thought spirals that are flying through our minds. Sometimes we’ve been deprived of human interaction (or adult interaction) that we simply cannot hold the floodgates closed and our minds just race without hope of stopping. And sometimes, just sometimes, we don’t care about the conversation we are in. None of these are valid reasons for not being present. Don’t get me wrong! Being present is hard. It takes effort to care for the concerns of other people and to lay your own cards down in effort to love and listen well. But we must be present if we are to love well.

Here are three short things to do in order to maintain presence in a conversation.

  1. Lead the questions. If you ask the questions, you are less likely to drift away from the answer. So, ask questions that matter. Try to stay away from short answer questions that lack specifics. Instead of asking how someone is doing, ask “what are you most excited about in the next month?” Instead of asking “What’s been going on?” Ask, “What is something you’ve learned recently that has really shifted your thinking?” Then ask good follow-up questions that can help progress the conversation. A good conversationalist will be able to ask questions that lead to more valuable topics of discussion. So start practicing. Start asking questions that matter. Invest yourself in others by asking good questions.
  2. Get better sleep. Without a doubt, I am awful at tracking with a conversation or a person when I don’t sleep well. I have a naturally nervous mind and I am a relatively anxious person. Now I’m a pastor… so I spend a good bit of time trying to talk with people. If I am not rested, I can go a whole conversation and miss 60% of what is said. The person begins to talk and I begin to drift off into a form of contemplation of some theological reality I wrestled with years ago. Once this has happened, it is nearly impossible to catch up with the conversation. The greater my exhaustion the weaker my ability to focus. One easy way to remedy this is to take a nap before you go to meet with someone. About two hours before your meeting, take a thirty-minute nap. That way you’ll have plenty of time to wake up and more energy to focus when in the meeting.
  3. Write down the needs and prayer concerns of others. Perhaps the root issue of your lack of presence is a genuine lack of compassion. It’s ok to lack compassion. Compassion is something that you cultivate over a long period of time. So you should make strides to develop it. One way I have learned to do this is through prayer journaling. As I talk with people about their needs, I often take notes on my phone. When I get home, I transfer those to a prayer journal. The next time I meet with that person I have been developing compassion for them and it is much easier for me to be present with them.

Is there anything specific you do to be present? Put it in the comments.

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6 Lessons from the Jo-Bits

Hi! My name is Jo-Bits! I’m “the boy!” Tootie the Poots got to post one of these yesterday, and I want my turn. So I made Daddy do some household chores (destroyed stuff that he has to fix) while I wrote this bloggy thingy.

IMG_59591. Always be prepared! When I leave the fortress (house), I always bring my sword You never know when the trumpet blast will sound for battle! I have three sisters and I am their protector. Daddy says, “God gave us hands so we can protect others.” So when we go on walks I like to be prepared to protect. You never know what kind of whether you’re going to encounter either. You should be prepared for all types. I sometimes wear shorts, a winter jacket, AND a hood of some sort! This way I prepared for whatever rain or cold or hot comes my way. Don’t tell my sisters, but this preparation is for the purpose of serving others. I carry a sword so I can protect my sisters. I have a raincoat to offer them if it rains and if they don’t take it – I scream at them (then Daddy talks to me about loving my sisters). I dress and outfit myself to help others. I think if big people would think of the things God gives them as opportunities to help others, maybe we wouldn’t need to carry swords around all the time.

DSPB41992. My hands were given to me to defend the weak! My sisters, Tootie the Poot and Bus Bus sometimes get scared… Ellie is seldom afraid, but sometimes she is scared too. When my sisters are afraid, I transform into Warrior Jo-Bits! I will smash bugs, destroy buildings, and generally wage war on anything that threatens my sisters. God made me mighty and I must use that might to protect the weak and stand up for justice!

IMG_59453. Make faces for fun. Be silly for the good of others! I like making faces, especially when Daddy says, “smile for the picture!” Making faces and being silly can be helpful too. When a sissy is upset, I like to try to make her laugh. Sometimes she is really sad and it is hard to cheer her up… that’s when I bring the silliest of faces out! Daddy says, “don’t sweat the small stuff and always remember, everything is small when you’re far enough away from it.” I like to make people back away from whatever it is that is making them said by making them laugh. As they laugh, their emotions get farther away from the circumstance that is causing them hurt and they start to see that the cookie that fell on the ground is not such a bad circumstance.

IMG_59634. Noise making is awesome, as long as you are contributing to the ruckus! I like people to know I am here. I think everyone ought to know I exist. So I make noise! I shake stuff and make sounds and bop around the room! Everyone sees me and I get to laugh with people at the silly sounds I make. I think God likes this. Daddy says, “There’s an appropriate time to add to the rhythm and music of life and an inappropriate time.” I think every time is appropriate to add to the noise of joy! You should try it! Go make some noise and let people know you exist. Write a poem (its not that hard… Daddy does it!), sing a song, dance around the room, grab to sticks and play drums on something (note: it’s best not to do this on your sisters… trust me, it doesn’t end well.) Make some noise, because silence can be golden, but noise is fun!

IMG_59375. Always check the stability of the fence that keeps you out. When we walk to the beaver’s house, I check the local fences to ensure their stability. It may seem odd, but I like to make sure that my neighbors have strong fortifications… even if they are there to keep me out. You see, I need to protect people with my hands, AND I need to protect people FROM my hands. I want to help my neighbors to be strong so that I will not accidentally hurt them or wander into their yards. Big people sometimes forget that we are responsible for protecting others from ourselves. This is part of loving people well. If I love my neighbors, I will protect them from others AND I will be careful to protect them from myself as well.

IMG_59306. Don’t forget, some of God’s greatest treasures are found in the dirt. I find all kinds of amazing things in the dirt – feathers, toys, pecans, bottle tops, moneys, etc… I think that God sees amazing things in the dirt too! So I like to look close and pick up the treasures He has left for me. Often, Daddy tells me to stop picking up trash (but that’s a discussion for another day). In the fall, I find pecans in the dirt. In the spring I find amazing rocks! In the summer, I complain because it’s hot. There are treasures in the dirt… you just have to look to find them. The dirt seems like it’s not valuable… but if you dig a bit, you find treasures (and sometimes trash)! It’s the same with people, I think. Sometimes we forget that the treasure is not when we see people at their best, but when we have to dig to find the treasure of their heart in the dirt. Just a thought – maybe we should spend a little more time looking for treasure in the dirt of our lives rather than trying to stay out of the mess of living?

6 Lessons from Tootie the Poot!

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Sometimes Daddy needs a break, so I told him to “Go out of office!”

I’m Tootie the Poots! You know, like Winnie the Pooh… except I’m not a bear, and I’m not a cartoon, and I am not full of fluff… and I’m a poot, not a pooh. I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts on life today! So here goes… Let’s take a walk together!

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1. Stop and enjoy the soda Daddy bought for you. On the first day of the week, Daddy often takes us children on a long walk to get a soda (and sometimes a cookie). Often on the return journey, I simply stop walking and enjoy my drink. Everyone else is so busy trying to be in front or climbing some tree that they miss the joy of the soda right in front of them. Daddy got me this drink and it is DELIGHTFUL! So I stop and take in the gift of delight that is in my hands. Take some time and enjoy the soda that you were given. Don’t be so worried about getting back to the house to work or put me down for a nap. Just stop, sip, enjoy.

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2. Cookies are best when shared! I think we were made to share. Jo-Bits and I often share a drink and cookie when Daddy takes us on walks. He’s great! As we enjoy the gifts our Daddy has given us, Jo-Bits makes sure that I have enough. Daddy often asks us, “why do you look at your neighbor’s plate?” The answer is always the same – “to see if they have enough.” As I sit with others and share the cookie my Daddy got me, I get to see the delight on their face. Together we savor the sweetness and joy of the treat, laughing as the mess increases and chocolate covers our fingers and faces. It is as if these gifts we have were given to us so that we may enjoy and delight in each other.IMG_5953

3. Be alert and enjoy the world around you. See this cat!? I named him, but I can’t remember what I named him so I’m going to call him, Cat. On our way home from the beaver’s place, this charming fellow sought to join in our merriment. I’m closer to the ground, so I saw him first. Oh, what a delight it was to see such a funny creature looking back at me! We talked about stuff and I laughed at the jokes he told that no one else could understand. He stretched and rolled around on the ground and I think he told me he wanted me to scratch his ears. Big people, who aren’t as close to the ground, forget to enjoy these moments when we can interact with nature. Every day we are afforded the opportunity to delight in the creation. Daddy calls it the poetry of life, but I think it is just a pretty cool cat. You should take some time and talk to a cat.

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4. When you’re walking on a wet road and it seems slippery, just reach up and hold Daddy’s hand. Sometimes, the road we walk is wet and muddy. Cars disregard the cute procession of children walking along the side of the road. My shoes sometimes get muddy and I need a little reassurance that the ground is not going to swallow me whole. So I reach up and grab daddy’s hand! His hands are strong and I can trust them to keep me steady. I sometimes forget He is walking beside me, but then when I need Him most, I reach up and there is His hand… it’s like He knows my anxious thoughts and how to care for them. So, when the road gets troublesome, grab on to Daddy’s hand.

IMG_59355. Sometimes you have to get close to the dirt to see the wonders! Have you ever stooped down to see the bugs in action? They are amazing! I’m closer to the ground so I see them easier, but even I have to get close sometimes. Bend down low and look close! Daddy says, “God put those there so we would see how much He cares about little things.” I think God put them there so I could be amazed! Sometimes the things low in the dirt are the most worthwhile things to look at. The littlest and most insignificant among us often offer us the most beautiful and best expressions of praise to God. Take time to get close to the dirt, that is where you will see God working the most.

IMG_59226. Don’t worry about the big bad telephone pole, Jo-Bits – the warrior is walking with us! I have a brother. He is brave and destroys those things that scare me. I saw a spider on the telephone pole and I was a little worried that it might eat my face off. Fortunately for me, Daddy brought along my big brother Jo-Bits! He leaped into action with his plastic tube (he called it a light-saber) and decimated the enemy. My brother and I also fight and argue sometimes. Daddy says that is a good thing, because “if they won’t argue with you when you’re wrong, they won’t stand up for you when you’re right.” You see, when we walk together, we can trust in the ones we walk with to stand up for us in times of trouble. Jo-Bits is sometimes difficult and makes me scream, but when there’s a scary spider or caterpillar, or ant, Jo-Bits is there!

Reasons for Art as Worship pt. 1

Modern western Christianity has lost a great foothold that once was a bulwark and balm of Christian discipleship. There was a time in Christian history when the Christian community’s senses were engaged and the mind was elevated to new heights because of the efforts of its adherents to worship the Lord in unique ways. joel-filipe-191372There was a day when we sought to learn of God through the arts and worship Him through artistic expression. We commissioned art, lead society into deep thoughts and engagement with the arts, and even sought to express theology through in our artistic works. Christians once lead the world in expression through the arts. Yet, modern Christians have reduced the Christian’s artistic expression to paintings with crosses in them and songs with short memorable choruses. This should not be! Art of all kinds should spill out from the heart of the Christian community.

There are many reasons to embrace artistic expression in b

oth corporate and private worship. One of the reasons is the infinite character of our God.

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  1. God is infinitely creative, therefore his people ought to strive to reflect that creativity. Consider for a moment that God created the earth from nothing and that He commanded man to expand His image across that earth. In the expansion of His image across the earth, that same creativity of God that birthed life must also be reflected in subduing the earth. Likewise, Christians ought to exemplify the creativity of God, for they are the redeemed image of God incarnate! If we claim that Christ has redeemed and changed us, we must display His creativity.
  2. God is infinitely vast, therefore there is no exhaustion of him as a motive for and source of our own creativity. O Christian, if you will try to exhaust the character of God, you will find yourself creating art and beauty that exceeds the scope of understanding. Art has a unique way of simultaneously expanding a mystery and providing intricacy. Unlike almost every other form of expression, artistic works do not narrow the field of view but expand it. Thus, we create art, not to try to narrow our understanding of God, but to expand it. As the expression of worship grows and develops, so our view and understanding of God grows.
  3. God is infinitely expressive, therefore those who claim to know Him ought to create expressions of infinite variety. If we are God’s people, then our communities should produce a variety of worshipful expressions. Poetry, dance, paintings, graphic arts, speeches, music, and anything else imaginable ought to be manifest in the worship of believers, be it corporate or individual. God created you to be His image. That image was marred in the fall. Now, in Jesus, He is re-creating you (Col. 3:9-10). So, be His image bearers and express His character in infinite methodologies.
  4. God is infinitely distinctive, therefore the expression of His glory and character must be infinitely unique. There is never a sunset repeated. There is never a moment the exact same. There is never a cloud that is perfectly mirrored in another. God produces a unique product! Further, there is no copy of Him. There is no other God like Him. Even when someone attempts to copy, mirror, or represent God, the effort is always wholly inadequate. God cannot be replicated, He is too unique and the more we get to know Him, the more distinctive He becomes. He is like none other! Therefore, when we are producing art in praise of the most creative, vast, expressive, and unique being, we must be unique. Worship must be distinctive. Artistic expressions allow for that distinct nature in a way that no other form of expression can.

tim-wright-506560There is much more to say about The Infinite God. What other infinite qualities would you argue for? Put it in the comments. Our communities must recapture the arts. For too long the arts have been the domain of the secular world, it is time we make some waves and produce art for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ! So, what are you waiting for? Go grab a sketch pad, notebook, musical instrument, dance shoes, or computer and create! Express praise to God through the arts.

I have contributed some to this effort most recently by producing a book of sketches and poetry. You can check it out here.

If you’re interested, you can purchase the book

here: Lulu.com  (Use promo code: BOOKSHIP18 for 10 percent off plus free shipping)

or here: Amazon.com

 

 

Colossians 2:20-23; Brief Thoughts

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

A Christian’s silence in exemplifying and proclaiming the gospel is one of the most profound indications that something is wrong. Christians are the witness of Christ. By definition, witnesses are not silent precisely because they testify to something. A witness proclaims something… a Christian witness proclaims Christ. Christ commissions Christians to be His witnesses to the whole earth (Acts 1:8). Therefore, when a believer is silent in the face of a dying world, there is something dreadfully wrong.

In Psalm 32, David explains the war of a believer against sin. First, David recognizes the forgiveness of God and then he acknowledges his pain in attempting to keep silent and finally, he confesses his sin. It is this silence that is so terrifying. It is a silence that burns and burdens the heart of a Christian. It is silence that hinders the gospel proclamation.

What is it that causes this silence? The adversary attempts to lie and create subterfuge and sabotage the Christian’s life by laying upon them guilt for that which has been forgiven. The adversary silences Christians by engaging them in excess. Either the excess of license or the excess of legalism. Here in Colossians 2:16-23, Paul warns us not to allow the adversary to lay upon us the excess of legalism. He recognizes this legalistic attempt to self-righteousness will inevitably silence the voice of worship so necessary to the gospel life. Make no mistake, Christian, the adversary is lying. Anytime a demand is placed upon you as a requirement for your faith, it is a lie. When someone attempts to hold over you religious practice as a necessity to be saved or a requirement for Christian living, they are attempting to force you into self-righteousness and works based salvation. Do not let the adversary hold these things over you.

Christians hold fast to Christ because they have died with Him. In Romans 7:1-6 Paul explains that man, before Christ, is bound to sin by marriage to the law. This sinful flesh that characterizes every person ties man to the law and thereby condemns man. Yet, in Christ, your flesh has died and the contract that bound you to the law is nullified in your death with Christ. If you have believed in Christ, you are no longer bound to the law. In Christ, believers have been given victory over the law and have been rescued from their sin. This is true. Christians must live as though it is true.

Paul poses the question, “why?” If it is true that you are no longer bound to the law, then why do you submit to legalistic nonsense. Consider for a moment the gravity of that question. It is as if Paul is asking: if you have been given the keys to a car, why do you continue to push it from the rear? The effort and labor have the appearance of holiness, but the car does not move. Further, the Christian who refuses to throw off self-righteous legalism looks incredibly holy. Indeed, Paul acknowledges that “these have an appearance of wisdom” (Colossians 2:23). However, this pursuit of self-righteous religion bears no fruit. There is no victory over sin by laying religious activity on top of faith. Religious activity is not what overcomes sin. Only devotion to Christ and trust in the gospel can do that.

Let us no longer be silent in acquiescence to the lies of the enemy. Let us speak boldly that Christ has conquered our sin and freed us from the law of sin and death. Let us live a life of holy, devoted worship that proclaims the righteousness of Christ over our own self-exultant efforts. Speak, dear Christian! Shout and roar the call of the gospel! Do not let the adversary accuse you and call you unworthy by some religious standard! You speak because Christ has died, not because you have merited some worth! You are a warrior in the Kingdom of God. So live like it!

Colossians 2:16-19; Brief Thoughts

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Those who would accuse the Christian have been sufficiently disarmed. The letter of the law that could once be used to incriminate is now rendered useless in the condemnation of Christians. That Law which once bound the soul to sin and laid such guilt upon the human disposition is now fulfilled in Jesus so that there is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1). If God no longer lays the judgment of the law upon believers, then no one else has the authority to do so. Because the law can no longer hold the believer in the chains of guilt, the Christian can no longer be held to religious requirements for righteousness. Yet, the disarmed adversary will attempt to bind the believer to the false worship of legalism. So it will be that all true believers will at some point encounter someone who argues that they are to be enslaved to a religious practice.

The adversary, having been made impotent, will inevitably attempt to use subterfuge in the effort to destroy a healthy Christian. Subtle lies and distractions are the only weapons afforded in the arsenal of the enemy of Christ. Though the people who submit to such wicked devices and sinful surrender are confident that their efforts will be rewarded, it is a tragic truth that all their efforts to self-made-righteousness will fall far short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Convinced of the enemy’s lies, the people who fail to grasp the Grace of God in Jesus Christ will attempt to hold all of Chrysostom to their own faulty convictions. So Paul admonishes, do not let them. These religious practices that claim to provide righteousness are false and do not deserve the attention and devotion of Christians.

On a side note: not all religious practices are wicked. However, whenever a religious practice is presented as a requirement for righteousness or fellowship, then that practice becomes legalistic falsehood. It is not wrong to observe a feast or festival. It is wrong to require that observance. Christians are not required to adhere to a system of holiness. Christians strive to be holy, not because it is required, but because they find their delight in holiness.

Religious practices, ordinances, and sacraments (named as such depending on your denominational affiliation) are merely a shadow of the greater reality that is Christ. The substance of faith and the joy of life is secured in Jesus and His work on the cross. Further, the joy of the disciple is found in an ever-deepening pursuit of the knowledge of God. The greatest joy for a believer is knowing and delighting in the presence of God. It is for this reason that Christians can worship with clarity. Christians who recognize that there is a deeper truth within these practices are in the fortunate position that permits them to worship with a greater joy and richer depth. Just as the author of Hebrews explains in Hebrews 8-10, the religious activities that we engage in are not supposed to be the end goal. Rather, these activities are supposed to point us to the deeper reality of Jesus Christ, the Righteous. Understanding this truth can bring meaning to worship and delight to what might otherwise seem rote and forced repetition.

Christians are marked by a tenacious grasping hold of Christ and His character. It is for this reason that Paul exhorts the believers at Colossae this way. No one can stand in judgment or a believer. Further, no one can disqualify a believer because they are holding fast to Christ.

In the modern church, there is a trend towards self-inflated spirituality. Pastors claim authority based on position and assert some sort of mystical power because they are “pastor.” Some denominations train their people to claim that they are speaking the Word of God, encouraging thoughts and attitudes that lead them to address people with obscure prophecies. Even more, engage their congregation by appealing to their emotions and asking them to seek with their hearts. Scripture is the authority among believers. There is no other authority by which one can measure their life. So, when someone attempts to hold another authority above God’s word, that person should be disregarded and called to repent and trust in Christ.

Colossians 2:13-15; Brief thoughts

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

The person who becomes a believer in Jesus Christ has exchanged the death of this world for life. When a person is born, they are born enslaved to the flesh. The flesh is that nature that is compelled to sin and serve its own affections. It is a nature that can do nothing but sin. This is a nature that must be cut away and destroyed. According to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only way to accomplish such a surgical necessity within the heart is through faith in His atoning work on the cross. Prior to faith, every person is in bondage to sin through their flesh. After faith in Jesus, the believer is given a new nature and the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. They need no longer live enslaved to their sins. They are free.

It is important for Christians to remember the depth from which God has drawn them. The believer did not start their journey of faith from a sure footing that they established by their own works. The believer was dead. Consider the implications of that for a moment. Dead. The believer was dead. Not sick, not tired, and certainly not simply misguided. The believer was dead in trespasses, enslaved to sin, and incapable of life. Jesus did not merely offer salvation, but He actually brought life to someone who was dead. A dead person cannot resurrect themselves. They cannot make decisions. They cannot do anything, much less that which is right. A dead person is not capable of good. A dead person is dead.

Where is boasting in this? It is excluded. When a believer truly comprehends that he or she was incapable of life apart from Christ, then there is no judgment cast upon the failures of others. When one can recognize that all people are dead and that there is no hope apart from the work Christ accomplishes, then there is true sympathy and understanding towards the struggles of others. The non-believer is dead. I was once dead too. If I truly grasp this, then there is no judgmental anger towards the non-believer, only pity. For such once was I.

God has given life to dead men in Christ’s resurrection. When Christ was resurrected, God redeemed and rescued those who believe. He took the punishment for sin and laid it on Christ, canceling the debt owed to the law. In Romans 3:21-26, Paul illuminates this profound truth by explaining that God is justified in Jesus’ death. That is to say, Christ Jesus is the reason that God is able to pass over your sins. Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law by serving as the atoning sacrifice for your sin. You have only to believe and trust in that righteousness.

The debt that was laid upon man, because of sin, is canceled in Jesus. The law demanded that your soul be forfeit for the sake of righteousness of God. But God, in His mercy, provided a way for His righteousness to be revealed through Jesus Christ! How tremendous! God set the requirements of the law aside by laying them on Jesus.

In the death of Jesus, God disarmed the enemy! Sin has no claim on the Christian. If you have believed in Jesus Christ, you are no longer enslaved to sin. Indeed, the adversary and rulers of darkness have been disarmed. Think about that for a moment. The enemy has no weapons with which to accuse you. The demands of the law have been answered. The only thing the adversary can do is lie and perjure himself before the court. Just as the high priest Joshua stood before the Lord, accused by Satan, so you stand before the Lord with the assurance that Jesus stands beside us and replaces our filthy rags with His own righteousness (Zechariah 3)! “For who can raise a charge against God’s elect!? It is God who justifies!” (Romans 8:33, c.f. Romans 8:31-39). The enemy is disarmed because of Jesus. God has claimed the victory. O Christian, you are on the winning side! He is faithful and He has won the battle. You have only to trust and learn to walk in Him!