“For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived. So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him” (Isaiah 59:12-16, NIV).
I was privileged to hear an amazing message by Dr. Beth Grant tonight at the Kentucky District Council being held near the Cincinnati airport. Most believers have no idea the unbelievable atrocities women and girls face around world through human trafficking. Grant explained that in Bombay, India alone around 100,000 women and children are trapped in a vicious cycle of bondage and degradation. Becoming aware of the problem nearly fourteen years ago, missionaries David and Beth Grant are doing everything they can to rescue and restore these individuals by providing them an escape from the brothels, by introducing them to Jesus Christ, by providing them a safe place to go, and by ongoing ministry. I want to share her message with you. I believe it will challenge and stir you to stand up.
The essence of her message is that the world is awash in evil and darkness, truth and justice are hard to find, and as Isaiah says, “and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” The Scripture indicates that the Lord was “appalled” that there was no one to intervene or stand up so he stood up himself to work salvation with his own arm. The call tonight is for the people of God to also be appalled by the condition in this world and be subsequently motivated to stand up to address the issue with the message of freedom and redemption in Jesus Christ. Dr. Grant’s pointed question to the congregation was simply this: God is standing up. Are we? My blog today is based on four powerful principles she shared for standing up in this dark hour.
First, stand up with presence. We must go where the people are in bondage because people in bondage are so demonized that the last place they will go is to church. The story of the incarnation is clearly a demonstration of God being present to help hurting, crying, sighing, dying humanity (to quote John Osteen). Man could not go to him so he came to man. From the brothels of India to the hurt of the middle class home in America we too need to be present, engaged, and among the hurting.
Second, stand up in truth because it is the truth that sets people free. There is no substitute for truth. We can’t talk people into freedom with our good intentions and good ideas. We can’t just wish them free. We must give them the truth. Recall the words of Jesus: “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is amazing to realize that when Jesus makes someone free through his truth he makes that person free like he is free. As the mind is renewed to the truth the life begins to go in the direction of God’s thoughts rather than the old patterns of defeat, bondage, and despair.
Third, stand up in transparency. The challenge is for the believer to be open and honest revealing to the hurting where hope can be found (and how we ourselves found it). To that extent, our personal stories of deliverance and freedom shared in humility with those in bondage are a powerful tool for healing. We must not be apologetic for boldly presenting Jesus Christ as the key and the source of our hope and deliverance. A bold, authentic, and transparent witness for Jesus Christ and the difference he made in our lives has the ability to arrest the attention of the hurting and deposit into their hearts the seeds of hope for freedom.
Finally, stand up with supernatural authority. Satan knows the voice of authority and he knows if we do not have it. We need to remember that we do not speak for ourselves, we speak for God. The enemy is not impressed with our affluence, our assets, or our education. All that matters is can we as believers touch God on behalf of those in bondage. Let us not hide out in the church for we demonstrate just how “Spirit-filled” we are by what we do outside of the church rather than inside of it. Let us become the voice of supernatural authority in a world too often under the heel of the enemy.
The great need of the hour is for the body of Christ to stand up unapologetically against the darkness, against the wickedness, against the spiritual power in the heavenly realms that is destroying and enslaving human lives in the physical realm. I encourage you to look for the chains of the enemy wherever you happen to be in the world because you don’t have to be in Bombay to find bondage. Stand up with presence, truth, transparency, and spiritual authority and watch the Lord set the captives free in your mission field.