5 Steps to Become a Prayer Warrior

The title “prayer warrior” describes a Christian who has a strong affinity for and gifting in this area. Though all believers are called to pray, certain people turn to God more quickly and confidently in response to the ups and the downs of life. And they are willing to ask for others as well as themselves.

I’ve been blessed to know several prayer warriors in churches I’ve attended over the years. Each of them made lifting up praises and concerns a priority and a habit that was as natural as breathing. They all ended up doing a unique kind of ministry in and beyond the church walls.

What Does it Mean to Be a Prayer Warrior?

The word “warrior” usually conjures up an image of someone in a military uniform of some type, whether armor or fatigues. We picture them carrying offensive and defensive weapons. And we assume the person has been trained in fighting and hopefully in strategic thinking as well.

It might not seem like this image could be associated with prayer. But the Apostle Paul dedicated a section of his letter to the Ephesians to this analogy. He wanted us as followers of Christ to understand that we are indeed engaged in a war.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Paul goes on to list the pieces of armor and the weapons we have in Christ to overcome the enemy’s attacks. Then he finishes with an appeal for us to use prayer as a way to gain victory in battle.

Characteristics of a Prayer Warrior

The prayer warriors that I have known share a few similar traits:

– They are worshipful, seeking to glorify the Lord.

– They are God-centered, focused on His greatness and mercy.

– They are empathetic, able to meet and accept people where they are.

– They are persevering, determined to repeatedly lift up requests.

– They are loving, wanting to help bring about God’s will for others.

I’ve also noticed a mindset that these warriors tend to have:

They are alert and ready, being sensitive to needs and acting quickly.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).

They trust in God’s goodness, lifting up requests knowing He always answers.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

They submit to God, calling on Him with a sense of awe and expectation.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Prayer Warriors in the Bible

King David

“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God” (Psalm 4:1).

King Jehoshaphat

“Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Jeremiah

“You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: ‘Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?’” (Jeremiah 8:18-19).

Jesus

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

Paul

“…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:11-12).

5 Ways to Become a Prayer Warrior

God may be calling you to become more of a prayer warrior in your church or family. Ask Him to confirm that in your heart. Let Him change your spirit and shift your attitudes to align with Him. Then, be obedient to do your part in the process:

1. Have More of a Hunger for God

“‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Warriors I’ve known absolutely love being in God’s Word and seek to be in His presence daily. They want to gain knowledge of Scripture to be able to speak it in their prayers. And they base their confidence partly on their own experiences with the Lord.

2. Have a Greater Desire to Be Used by God

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).

I’ve seen people who were natural prayer warriors, and people who in time grew into the role. But all of them started with a love of prayer, and an eagerness to serve God. They didn’t have to know everything – they just had a stirring in their spirit to follow the Lord’s call.

3. Seek More of God’s Holy Spirit

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

Even the most seasoned Christians find themselves not knowing what or how to pray on occasion. Warriors rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them. Even when they do have something in mind to lift up, they have the wisdom to ask the Spirit to join with them.

4. Feel a Greater Sense of Concern for Others

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Prayers are impactful when they are motivated by love. True warriors approach every request with care and respect. And they see the value in lifting up needs, whether they know the person being prayed for or not.

5. Learn How to Rely More on God for Strength and Endurance

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

A former pastor used to call prayer one of the “front line ministries” of our church. Those who become warriors learn quickly that it is both satisfying and demanding. So, to avoid burnout, they acknowledge God as the source for their ability and energy to do the work, and lean on Him rather than themselves.

God calls us to see prayer as a powerful tool – a way to relate with our Heavenly Father, a way to express our need for Him, a way to show the Lord devotion and trust, and as a tangible way to support others.

In addition, prayer warriors learn how to use prayer as an effective weapon in spiritual warfare. They make a lifestyle of turning to God, lifting up requests, waiting in expectation.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

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***By Heather Adams at Bible Study Tools. Her book, Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper is a practical, 30-day devotional about worship based on the writings of King David. Heather’s blog, Worship Walk Ministries, offers weekly Scripture passages and insights to ponder. A native New Englander, Heather is settling into her home in the South, trying out local foods and watching for the alligators that live nearby! You can connect with her on her website: heatheradamsworshipwalk.com

The Need for Revelation and Power

In Ephesians 1:17, 18, Paul had prayed that the Christians at Ephesus might receive revelation from the Holy Spirit. At the end of this first half of Ephesians, in chapter 3:16, Paul prays that they might receive power from the Holy Spirit. These are our two greatest needs – revelation and power. The Holy Spirit alone can give us both. The entire Christian life is dependent on the Holy Spirit. First of all, the Spirit gives us revelation on what God has done for us in Christ. Then, He gives us power to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, obeying all that the Lord has taught us.

In Ephesians 3: 18 & 19, we see that we can experience the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (there are four dimensions there and that itself goes beyond human knowledge!!) – only along with ALL the saints. We can never grasp the love of Christ all by ourselves. We need the other members of Christ’s Body. And further, we need ALL the members of Christ’s Body, not just those in our own little group. That is why our hearts should always be open to ALL believers, even to those who don’t agree with us, and even to those whom we would consider a bit extreme. We may not be able to work with all of them, and we certainly will not be able to meet all of them on this earth. But our hearts should be open to all of God’s children. Our hearts must have room for as many brothers and sisters as God has children – both barbarian and cultured.

That is why we need to be open to read the writings of ALL godly people – and not just to the writings of our favourite authors. Let me warn you, in advance, that in my lifetime, I have found very, very few believers who have such an open heart. But those are the few who are truly spiritually wealthy. The remainder carry on with their poverty-stricken, sectarian attitudes and live and die as Pharisees, missing out on the wealth that could have been theirs if they had been humble enough to accept all whom God had accepted.

Let us meditate carefully on the first three chapters of Ephesians and ask the Holy Spirit to give us revelation on these glorious truths. Once you have got revelation, you will be ready to seek the Spirit for His power to live an overcoming life, full of purity, humility and love. Then we will be able to put away ALL unwholesome words from our speech, and ALL anger and ALL bitterness from our hearts (Eph.4:29, 31).

Then wives will be able to submit to their husbands as the church is to Christ, and husbands will be able to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph.5:22, 25). Then we will be able to overcome Satan at all times (Eph.6:11-13). And then we will have the power to “become imitators of God” (Eph.5:1).

God is able to do far more in us and through us than we can ask or think.

To Him alone be all the glory (Eph.3:20, 21).

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at CFC India.com / Photo by Avery Nielsen-Webb at Pexels

12 Wonderful Responsibilities God Has Given to Women

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).

Countless millions of women around the world faithfully strive to honor God in all their vocations in life. Here are twelve wonderful responsibilities God has given to women:

1. To Love, Believe, and Respect the Lord

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates. (Prov. 31:30-31)

And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. (1 Cor. 7:34)

2. To Support the Gospel Work of the Church

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. (Rom. 16:1-2)

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Phil. 4:3)

3. To Be Diligent in Her Vocations

And every skillful woman spun with her hands, and they all brought what they had spun in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. (Exod. 35:25)

She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (Prov. 31:16)

She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy. (Prov. 31:20)

Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. (Acts 9:36)

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:14)

4. To Be a Wife

And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:22-24)

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)

5. To Be a Mother

And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Gen. 21:6-7)

Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (Prov. 23:25)

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Tim. 5:9-10)

6. To Care for Her Household

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. (Prov. 14:1)

She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens. (Prov. 31:15)

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. (1 Tim. 5:14)

7. To Be a Helper to Her Husband

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen. 2:18)

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.” (Prov. 31:28-29)

For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Cor. 11:8-9)

8. To Love and Respect Her Husband

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:33)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Pet. 3:1-2)

So train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:4-5)

9. To Submit to Her Husband

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:22-24)

10. To Be Respectable

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” (Ruth 3:11)

Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. (1 Tim. 2:9-10)

Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. (1 Tim. 3:11)

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Pet. 3:4-6)

11. To Learn Quietly in Church

The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. (1 Cor. 14:34)

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (1 Tim. 2:11-13)

12. To Teach What Is Good

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:26)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)

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** By Beautiful Christian Life

Have A Right Priority in Your Life

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7-14 (KJV).

“A garden requires constant weeding and caring, if it is to be guarded against weeds and nettles – and so does the human soul.” This is the testimony of a mature Christian towards the close of a rich and full life. Thirty years had passed since Paul’s conversion. During those years God had used him to establish many churches, mightily attesting his ministry with signs and miracles. From the first Paul had spent himself unstintingly in the work of the gospel, travelling constantly and undergoing great hardships. He had come to know the reality of victory over sin as he grew in likeness to his Lord. And among his many joys he had had one unique experience of being, as he put it, lifted up into the third heaven to receive remarkable revelations of spiritual truth.

Yet at the end of all this, he states that he still has not attained to all that God had purposed for his life. Here is one of the greatest Christians of all time saying towards the end of his life that he still needs to press on to the goal. To most believers, alas, salvation begins and ends with the new birth and its assured escape from Divine judgement. Not so for the apostle, nor indeed for anyone else who seeks like him to be a true disciple of Christ. Here in this passage he declares his firm belief that Christ had laid hold of him with a purpose. He, in return, was determined to lay hold of that purpose at any cost. This is a tremendous and solemn truth, that when the Lord lays hold of us at conversion, it is with a purpose extending far, far beyond just the saving of our souls out of hell fire and into heaven. If so mature a man as the apostle Paul had to say at the end of thirty years of untiring Christian service that he had not yet attained, but had still to strive to fulfil all of God’s purpose for his life, what a vast thing that purpose must be.

Paul goes even further in this passage. To him everything that the world considers as precious is worthless rubbish, when compared to this supreme objective of grasping the purpose of God and fulfilling it. He considers this a prize worth the giving up of everything in the world (verse 14). When we look around us and see believers coveting worldly possessions and clinging to material things, giving these a greater place in their lives than the things of God, we are forced to conclude that their Christianity is very far removed from Paul’s.

It is a mark of spiritual infancy to think of salvation only in terms of an insurance policy to escape the flames of Hell. When we mature spiritually, we realize that God has saved us in order that we might walk each day in the pathway that He has already planned for each one of us from eternity (Ephesians 2:10). That pathway was what Paul called God’s purpose for his life. If we are satisfied with having received His grace but are uncommitted to fulfilling His will for our lives, then no matter how thoroughly evangelical we may be, we shall go through life without accomplishing anything of lasting value to God. Of course the Devil’s first aim is by one means or another to blind people to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, thus preventing them from being saved (2 Corinthians 4:4). But if he does not succeed there, then his next aim is to blind that new believer to the fact that God has a very definite plan for him. To a large extent he has succeeded here. There are thousands of true believers who never seek the will of God with any degree of earnestness, even in major decisions that they make in their lives.

The Christian life is depicted in this passage in Philippians chapter 3, as one in which we have to be continually pressing on. No degree of spiritual maturity attainable on earth will ever absolve us from this need of constant urgency. It is because many believers have neglected this lesson that they have no living testimony. Their only testimony relates to an experience in the distant past when on a blessed day they perhaps raised their hand or signed a decision-card in some evangelistic meeting. That was wonderful, but nothing has happened since! Proverbs 24:30-34 with its picture of a garden gone to waste, describes the condition of the man who relaxes after his salvation. A garden requires constantweeding and caring, if it is to be guarded against weeds and nettles – and so does the human soul.

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at cfcindia.com / Photo by Markus Winkler at Pexels

12 Wonderful Responsibilities God Has Given to Men

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

Millions of men around the world faithfully strive to honor God in all their vocations in life. Here are ten wonderful responsibilities God has given to men:

1. To Work

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

2. To Be Courageous

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

3. To Be Strong

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

4. To Love

And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

5. To Be a Husband

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

6. To Be the Head of His Wife

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:23-24)

7. To Serve Sacrificially

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

8. To Be a Father

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (Proverbs 23:24)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7)

9. To Be Compassionate

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalms 103:13)

10. To Provide

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

11. To Be Accountable

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)

12. To Be Honorable

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

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**By Beautiful Christian Life / Picture created by Mike Waters at Joyful Toons

8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable

In many parts of the world today, it can be easy to live a comfortable life as a Christian. Certainly where I live—in Orange County, California—this is the case. But is that a good thing?

I’d like to suggest that the Christian faith is inherently uncomfortable. To be a disciple of Jesus is to deny oneself (Matt. 16:24), to take up a cross (Luke 14:27), to be subject to persecution (John 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12), to give up the creature comforts of home (Luke 9:58), to forsake the priority of family (Luke 9:59–62; 14:26), to be willing to give up all material possessions (Matt. 19:21; Luke 14:33), to be crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). And this is just the beginning.

C. S. Lewis once said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”

But comfort-seeking is our default mode in a consumerist society, so we often find ourselves in “comfortable Christianity” without even knowing it. What are some indicators that our Christianity has become too cozy, more like a pleasant bottle of port than the uncomfortable, sharpening faith the New Testament envisions? 

Here are eight signs that your Christianity might be too comfortable:

1. There’s absolutely no friction between your Christianity and your partisan politics.

If you’re all-in with one political party and never feel any tension whatsoever with your Christian faith, it probably means your faith is too comfortable. Whether you’re a lifelong Democrat or a diehard Republican, a robust Christian faith should create dissonance with politics at various points.

A faith that aligns perfectly with one political party is suspiciously convenient and lacks prophetic witness.

A faith that aligns perfectly with one political party is suspiciously convenient and lacks prophetic witness.

2. There are no paradoxes, tensions, or unresolved questions.

If you never ponder or wrestle with the mind-boggling tenets of Christian theology (e.g., the Trinity, the incarnation, God’s sovereignty coexisting with human action, the Holy Spirit’s presence, to name just a few), your faith is probably too comfortable.

A healthy, uncomfortable faith constantly rocks you, prods you, and blows your mind. It’s a faith that leaves you restless to want to know more, not satisfied you’ve grasped all there is to grasp about God.

3. Your friends and coworkers are surprised to learn you’re a churchgoing Christian.

A sure sign your faith is too comfortable is if nothing in your life sets you apart as a Jesus follower, to the point that even those who know you well can’t tell you’re a Christian.

A comfortable Christian is one who easily blends in, looking and talking and acting just like his or her lost neighbors.

4. You never think about or even remember the Sunday sermon on Monday.

If Sunday sermons at your church are so forgettable (or you’re so disengaged) that you rarely recall them after you leave church, your Christianity is probably too comfortable.

Biblical preaching shouldn’t leave us apathetic or unchallenged. The Word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

5. No one at your church ever annoys you.

If you go to church with people who are always easy to talk to, always fun to be around, and always closely aligned with your opinions, tastes, and preferences, your Christianity is too comfortable.

One of the glorious things about the gospel is that it creates a new community out of disparate types of people who, in many cases, wouldn’t otherwise choose to spend time together.

6. You never feel challenged, only affirmed.

If your Christian faith never confronts your idols and challenges your sinful habits—but only ever affirms you as you are—this is a sure sign of a too-comfortable faith.

Healthy faith doesn’t just celebrate you as you are, but relentlessly molds and refines you into the likeness of Christ.

Healthy faith doesn’t just celebrate you as you are but relentlessly molds and refines you into the likeness of Christ, which is a beautiful but necessarily uncomfortable process.

7. You’ve never had to have a ‘truth-in-love’ conversation with a fellow Christian.

It’s always more comfortable to just “live and let live” when there’s an offense or sin that needs to be called out. It’s more comfortable to just shrug when we see others in our community making unhealthy decisions.

But this isn’t true Christian love.

Love isn’t opposed to truth, and if your faith doesn’t include the capacity to speak hard truths in love, it’s too comfortable. 

8. No one in your church could comment on any area of growth they’ve seen in you.

To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ is to believe in change. Though not always linear, the Christian life should be marked by growth, forward momentum, and change for the better.

If you’re a Christian who’s grown so little that no one in your church could identify any area of improvement, your faith is too comfortable. 

Why is it important that we avoid falling into comfortable Christianity? Because comfortable Christianity is far from the costly, inconvenient, idol-crushing, cross-shaped path for disciples of Jesus. Comfortable Christianity has little prophetic to say to a comfortable, consumerist world. Comfortable Christianity has little urgency in mission and little aptitude for growth.

Uncomfortable Christianity, however, leads to life and transformation. It leads us to rely on God and not on ourselves; to serve rather than be served; to live lives marked by sacrifice. It leads us to do hard things, to embrace hard truths, to do life with hard people for the sake and glory of the One who did the hardest thing. It may be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it. On the other side of discomfort is delight in Christ.

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**Editors’ note: This is an adapted excerpt from Brett McCracken’s book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community, Uncomforta, and is published in partnership with Crossway / Photo Francesco Ungaro at Pexels

Power with God and Power with Men

It is written in Genesis 32:29 that “God blessed Jacob there”. The word “bless” is perhaps the most frequently used word in the prayers of Christians; but few understand its real meaning.

What is blessing? What was the blessing Jacob got? It is described in verse 28 as “power with God and power with men”. This is the blessing that we all need and that we should be seeking for. And this alone can make the sun to rise upon our lives. Nothing less than this is what God desires to give His people.

Jesus referred to this blessing when He asked His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. He said, “When the Holy Spirit is come upon you, you shall receive power” (Acts 1:8) – power with God and power with men. Jacobs would be transformed by the Spirit’s power into Israels. This was what made the sun to rise upon Peter’s life and upon the lives of the other disciples that day in the upper room at Jerusalem.

And this alone can provide the answer to the crookedness of our self-life. It is not a question of reformation or of good resolutions or even of our determination. It is a question of the Holy Spirit possessing us fully and governing and ruling our lives.

But where does the Spirit lead us? Always to the cross. It is only when we are crucified, that Christ can live in us in His fullness. It was when Jesus was baptized, buried under the waters – symbolically accepting death to Himself – that the Holy Spirit came upon Him (Matt. 3:16). It was when Jacob was broken, that he was blessed. It was only after Moses’ self-confidence had been shattered through 40 years of looking after sheep, that he was ready to deliver Israel. The rock had to be smitten before the living waters could flow. The Israelites had to go through the River Jordan (symbolizing death and burial) before they could enter Canaan (symbolizing life in the fullness of the Spirit). Gideon’s army had to break their pitchers before the light inside was visible. The alabaster vial had to be broken before the odor of the ointment could fill the house. Peter’s boastful self-confidence had to be shattered before he was ready for Pentecost. We find this truth throughout Scripture.

It would be dangerous for God to empower an unbroken man. It would be like giving a sharp knife to a 6-month-old baby, or like handling 20,000 volts of electricity without proper insulation. God is careful. He does not give the power of His Spirit to those in whom ‘self’ is still unbroken. And He removes His power from a man when he ceases to be broken.

Jacob was now blessed by God Himself. Earlier, Isaac had laid his hands on Jacob and blessed him when Jacob brought him the venison (Gen. 27:23). But that had brought no change in Jacob’s life. The real blessing came at Peniel. And this is the lesson we need to learn too. No man can ever give us this blessing. A man – even a saintly man like Isaac – may lay his empty hands on our empty heads and pray for us. Yet, we may get nothing. Only God can really empower us. When Isaac put his hands on Jacob’s head, the sun merely set on Jacob’s life. But when God blessed him, the sun rose! Power belongs to God and He is the only one who can ever give it to us.

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at cfcindia.com / Arnie Chou at Pexels

5 Ways To Be A Godly Woman

Being a woman of bold faith is what we have been called to. Boldness is not a personality trait. Boldness is acting by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take risks for the sake of the gospel to the glory of God. ~ Heather Riggleman

“You will be a woman of bold faith who empowers and encourages those around you.”

This was declared over me after I handed my life over to Jesus. I was barely toddling in my walk with God, yet others could see the calling and purpose He already had for me.

What Does it Mean to Be a Godly Woman?

But what does it mean to be a godly woman? Becoming a woman of faith is not about perfectly checked church attendance, being the most modestly dress, how much you volunteer, having the best snacks for life groups, or having all the answers in Bible study.

A bold woman of faith has real, bold, Jesus-glorifying, heart-wrenching, deep-in-the-trenches, and fight for God’s truths in the midst of the lies, kind of belief.

John Piper says it best, “The deepest root of Christian womanhood is hope in God,” and “this hope in God yields fearlessness.”

However, becoming her means embodying a warrior willing to bleed for her cause. Becoming a godly woman is digging-your-heels in the dirt when your marriage falls apart, when your child rebels, when your career gets decimated, or when everyone follows tradition without question or when your health fails.

Why? Because we have a very real enemy whose goal is to destroy us. Why was Satan so anxious to have access to us?

Because clearly, Satan was listening when Jesus declared: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).

We are the keys to God’s kingdom! We are the keys to help others unlock their faith. We are the keys to our home and our community.

Our enemy wants to knock us down — blow by blow until we are so bloodied and wounded in our hearts and minds that we lose sight of Jesus.

He wants us so focused on the mess, the hurt, and pain that we forget God’s promises of who we really are: Heiresses to His Kingdom. And the “brutiful” (beautiful and brutal) truth behind this: you will then help others through the sifting.

A godly woman isn’t something that just happens without the “becoming.” Look at our savior:

  • It’s what Jesus did
  • He helped others through the sifting
  • He demonstrated the process of becoming
  • He was the light of God in a world that didn’t even want Him
  • Like Jesus — bold women of faith lead others to God 

The word “godly” in the Bible means pious or holy. This means we are set apart from all others. Holiness is achieved when we are made new creations in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Born again Christian women are indwelled with the Holy Spirit.

In Him, we produce godliness that molds and shapes us into the image of Christ. A godly woman controls her thoughts and takes them captive, making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). She also controls her tongue and uses her words to encourage and build up others.

Godly women inspire change. They question tradition for tradition’s sake. They lift up other women gunned down in the trenches.

They impact their community. Their table always has room for one more. They friend the unwanted. They love the rejected.

They speak for those who do not have a voice. They change the world right where they are at all the while keeping their hearts and minds focused on Christ.

Becoming a godly woman means stepping into your God-given leadership. Let God’s voice speak louder than all the others. Here are a few ways to be a godly woman within God’s parameters for us.

Five Ways to be a Godly Woman

1. Always stay in God’s Word. Know what the Bible says. Study it. Read it every day. Understand what scriptures say within context. God’s Word is our go-to source for wisdom, encouragement, and nourishment.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

2. Pray. Ask God to use your gifts, your personality, and your community to further his kingdom. Ask God to reveal to you the things that matter to Him.

Take all of your hurts, worries, dreams, and petitions to God! Ephesians 6:18 is our battle call, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known”(Jeremiah 33:3).

3. Know the things that matter. Hold firm to the beliefs that God has placed heavily on your heart. When you make a stand for these issues, make sure you know why God stands for them too.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).

4. Speak with gentleness. Always remember who you represent every time you open your mouth to voice an opinion or idea. And always, always speak with love. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

5. Respect authority. All authority comes from God and He calls us to respect those He places in authority over us. This includes husbands, fathers, pastors, elders, and other leaders.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything(Ephesians 5:22-24).

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God (Romans 13:1).

Yet, John Piper once said, “The deepest root of Christian womanhood is hope in God,” and “this hope in God yields fearlessness.”

Becoming a fearless, bold woman of God didn’t happen overnight. Those two years of lost time were spent on my knees in prayer for our hearts and health.

What seemed like wasted time was actually the refining fires that created a boldness for believing God’s truth and promises for my family.

And the more I spent time with him, the more he began to send others in need of a good dose of Jesus’ strong courage my way.

Each of us has causes that make us come alive, things that move us and make us eager to share our vision.

Each woman has a chance to embody what it means to be bold, brave, and fierce for the life she has given. Even though you are not Maya Angelou, Malala, Mother Teresa, or Mary — mother of Jesus, you are still changing the world one breath at a time.

Why? Because being a woman of bold faith is what we have been called to.

Boldness is not a personality trait. Boldness is acting by the power of the Holy Spirit, on an urgent conviction in the face of some threat.

A shy, soft-spoken, introverted, calm person can be bold at a time when a typically driven, outspoken, brash person shrinks back. A Bold Woman for God contains these ingredients.

Spirit-Empowered Courage, Conviction, and Urgency

Meaning — every woman must get uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel. A bold woman:

Seeks God every morning (Psalm 5:3).

Looks for one person to share the gospel at the grocery store, meetings, appointments, or the park (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Hosts without grumbling. Open your front door and add one more spot at the table (1 Peter 4:9).

Welcomes fellowship in difficult seasons — all seasons (Hebrews 10:24–25).

Adorns herself in His word through good works — not the latest trends (1 Timothy 2:9–10,4:7–8).

Takes time to disciple and discipline your children with grace and love (Titus 2:3–5; Hebrews 12:5–11).

Christian women, we have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. Let’s live like we have the greatest hope to offer the world.

Let’s get uncomfortable by hoping in God and not in what the world offers. Let’s not be conformed to the world in its apathy toward the things of God.

Let’s take risks for the sake of the gospel to the glory of God.

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** By Heather Riggleman at Christianity.com / Photo by Ellagrin at Shuttershock

Progressive Sanctification

Jesus told His apostles to teach others to obey all that He had commanded (Matthew 28:20). One who loves the Lord will first of all seek with all his heart to find out what those commandments are; and then he will seek to obey them (John 14:21).

Under the Law, God gave man commandments, but not the power to obey them. Why then did God give the Law? Only in order that man might discover that he’s unable to come up to God’s standards, and thus see his need of a Saviour and a Helper. “The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24).But now God has made a new covenant with man. And He has given us, not only commandments, but also an Example in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus demonstrated by His earthly life that it is possible for us to obey all of God’s commandments.

God has also promised under the new covenant to put His Laws into our minds and to write them upon our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). He does this through the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit is our Helper Who not only shows us what the will of God is, but also gives us a desire to do that will and grace to obey all of it too.

God is the One Who is going to sanctify us entirely (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We can’t do it on our own. We have to depend on Him – for He is the One Who works in us giving us both the desire as well as the ability to do His will. But we have to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12,13). We have to work out what God works in, for He hasn’t turned us into robots!

God cleanses us from the guilt of sin. But we are commanded to “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We have to do this, as and when we get light on any defilement within us. It is thus, as we “by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13) that the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – will become more and more manifest in us. This is what it means to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Thus our path will become one of increasing light (Proverbs 4:18). This is the glorious way of sanctification that God has made for us.

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author: cfcindia.com / Picture Creator: Mike Waters Copyright: © 2008 Michael D. Waters

Resurrection Power

In 2 Kings 2:13-14, we read about Elisha dividing Jordan which is symbolic of a ministry of life that conquers and overcomes spiritual death. The waters of Jordan, in the Bible, are symbolic of death. And the parting of the waters is therefore symbolic of triumph over death. In the ministry of Elisha, we find him engaged again and again in bringing life out of death. In Jericho, he brought life into the barren land there (2 Kings 2:19-22). In Shunem, he brought life into the barren womb of a woman (2 Kings 4:8-17). Later, he brought life into a dead child (2 Kings 4: 18-37). He once brought life into a pot of deadly food (2 Kings 4: 38-41). He ministered life to a leprous general’s dying body too ( 2 Kings 5 : 1-14) Elisha’s power never faded away. Even after he was dead and buried and his body had disintegrated,when a dead man was thrown into his grave, the dead man arose!(2 Kings 13:20-21) This was Elisha’s ministry-bringing life out of death wherever he went. This was a direct result of his being anointed. This is the type of power that the anointing of the Holy Spirit brings-power to bring life out of death, resurrection power. This alone is the unmistakable evidence of the anointing. We read of this power often in the New Testament. Paul writing to the Ephesian Christians, says that his prayer for them is that they may know this power. He goes on to tell them that the greatest manifestation of God’s power was not in creation nor in the miracles recorded in the Bible, but in the raising of Christ from the dead (Eph. 1:19-23). Writing to the Philippian Christians, Paul tells them that his own desire is that he may know more of this resurrection power (Phil. 3:10).This, I am convinced, is the power that Jesus said His disciples would receive when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8) – resurrection power, the power to bring life out of spiritual death. And God desires to communicate this to us too.

This, brothers and sisters, is the mark of the anointing. Not some experience, not some utterance, but the power to bring spiritual life out of death wherever we go. Is our ministry accomplishing this? This is the acid test whether we have the anointing or not. Alas, so often Christians, instead of ministering life are ministering death. The heathen are so often driven away from the Lord instead of being drawn to Him, because of the bickering and quarrels, the lack of integrity and other un-Christlike habits that they see in the lives of those who profess to be born-again Christians. How we need to humble ourselves before God and ask for His forgiveness for bringing reproach upon His Name by our behaviour.

Let us not glory merely in the fact that we are “evangelicals.” If we are not careful, we can end up like the church in Sardis, having a name that we are alive but in reality being dead (Rev. 3:1). It is not enough that the creed we repeat and the statement of faith we sign are Scripturally sound. We may be able to sign the most fundamental statement of faith. So can the Devil! He knows the Bible well and so he is no modernist. He is a thorough fundamentalist as far as doctrines go! It is not much use therefore taking credit merely for our fundamentalism. Doctrines are important. God forbid that I should decry their value. But over and above doctrine, the thing that counts with God is whether we are ministering spiritual life or not.

The Apostle Paul could say that through God’s help, he was an able minister of the New Testament, ministering spiritual life (2 Cor. 3:5,6). He didn’t just boast that he was a fundamentalist. Neither did he merely talk of his experiences-either the Damascus Road one or the Straight Street one. No. He demonstrated the reality of his fundamental beliefs and of his spiritual experiences by constantly bringing life into situations of spiritual death.

In Paul’s life, as in Elisha’s, there was no fading away of the power. There was no losing of the anointing in later years, as seems to be the case with so many servants of God in our day. Paul and Elisha never came to a stage where all they could do was to glory in what God did in days of yore. They constantly lived in the present enjoyment of the anointing and of God’s power. Their spiritual strength instead of waning, waxed more and more. As their days, so was their strength. Their light shone brighter and brighter until the perfect day. What a blessed way to live! And yet this is the path that God desires all His children to walk in (Prov. 4:18).

Elisha lived in constant touch with God and this was why he was always able to bring life out of death wherever he went. And so people came to him with their problems and their needs. He didn’t have to go looking for a ministry. He didn’t have to go around asking people to sponsor him and to invite him. No. Opportunities for ministry came to him in abundance, without any fleshly efforts on his part.

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** Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at cfcindia.com / Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels by