When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I was reading a passage in the book of Deuteronomy the other day and came upon a verse that I had never noticed before. It is tucked away in the first verse of the twentieth chapter. God, speaking to Moses says, “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you.”
Can you imagine how encouraging those words must have been to Moses? God was guaranteeing victory for the army of Israel. It didn’t matter who the foe was — Israel was going to win. The army is bigger than yours? Don’t worry, I’ve got it handled. The army has more weapons than you do? No sweat! I’m God, remember. The army has more intelligent leaders than you do? Who’s really in charge in here anyway, Moses? Moses had nothing to fear, because God was with him.
Do you realize that God is with us too? If we are God’s children, we truly do have nothing to fear. Knowing our propensity to fear, God offered some reassurance to New Testament believers in Romans 8. It’s one of the most powerful statements of God’s love for those He has called to be a part of His family. The Apostle Paul, speaking through the inspiration of God, describes the predestined sons and daughters of God, and then asks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Think your enemy is enough to separate you from God’s love? Think again. Think that hard time you’re going through is God’s rejection of you? Think again. Think God’s taking the devil’s accuasations against you sitting down? Think again. Think that if you lost everything you have in this life that God hasn’t blessed you? Think again. There is nothing that this world can throw at you that can separate you from God’s love. If God is for you, who can be against you?
A couple weeks ago, our Operation Central America team had their prep retreat. It’s something we do to help them prepare for what they will face this summer in Guatemala and Honduras. On Friday night, we told the students that in one hour they would be traveling to the heart of Minneapolis. They had two assignments. The first was to find a complete stranger, talk with them, and through their communication to find a practical need that they could meet in that stranger. I wish you could have seen the students’ faces! They were scared. Most of them didn’t make it a habit to talk with strangers, let alone find a way to meet their needs.
The second assignment was to find a stranger and have a spiritual conversation with them. Now they were really squirming! It’s one thing to meet a physical need, it’s quite another to have a spiritual conversation with someone.
When I finished giving them their assignments, I read them Jesus’ words from Matthew 28:18-20. It’s his admonition to His followers to make disciples. Do you remember God’s promise tucked away at the end of verse 20? He says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The students were a little hesitant about their assignments. They talked at their tables, and then on their bus about how they would accomplish their tasks. When we arrived in Minneapolis, something wonderful happened. God, Who is always there, showed His power. He was with a group that talked with an older woman and helped her with a purchase. He was with another group that shared Christ’s love with a Russian imigrant over a meal of tacos. He was with another group as they prayed with a man going through multiple issues.
So, here’s the deal. God has promised us that He is with us. We are His. Nothing in the world will ever separate us from His love. I find that Christians are more afraid of evangelism than just about anything else. We are afraid of offending. We are afraid that we’ll say the wrong thing. We are afraid that people will think we are pushy. We are afraid that we just won’t be effective. We think that we don’t deserve to share the good news of Jesus Christ because we are hypocritical. We think that we are too ignorant of our faith. We think that there is someone else who could do a better job than us. We think ourselves into spiritual lethargy!
There’s an old Nike slogan that said, “Just do it!” It’s time for us to start believing that God is who God says He is. That He is with us. It’s time to just do it! After all, “If God is for us, who can be against us?“