By now you're probably asking yourself, why would Christian's need to learn to "survive" in today's world? There's actually a good number of reasons. Every day in our world Christians face:
- Social Persecution
- Physical Persecution
In order to survive in the face of these things, there are eight key things to learn as a Christian in today's world:
- First Aid
- Building a Shelter
- Taking Stock of Resources
- Building a Fire
- Finding Food
- Signaling for Help
- Reading a Survival Book
The neat thing about learning to do all of these things, is that the Bible tells us everything we need to know about surviving. I've ranked these eight things in order of importance as if you were really lost out in the wilderness, and then equated these to Christian terms.
1) First Aid (Am I hurt? How do I heal?)
The very first thing you need to do is take a look at yourself and figure out if you're hurt or not. I don't mean in a physical sense, but when facing persecution, oppression, and temptation, Christian's can get hurt both spiritually and emotionally. If you are hurt, how do you heal? Let's take a look at some scriptures to find out:
Psalm 119:50 "This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me." (Quicken means to make alive). So who do we look to in order to heal us? We look to God's Word, which quiekens us. It makes us alive spiritually.
2Corinthians 1:3-4 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, but the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." Why does God comfort us? So that we can heal, but also so that we can comfort others and help them to heal in the same way.
1Thessalonians 5:11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." Here we see that we can also go to each other for comfort.
We see that in order to heal, we are going to be getting our comfort from God's Word the Bible, from God himself, who is the "God of all comfort," and from each other, and we are also going to help comfort others in need.
2) Build a Shelter (Build it on a rock, or in the sand? How do I go about this?)
So now that you've given yourself some first aid, it's time to build a shelter. Shelter is very, very important when you're out in the wilderness. Why? Shelter protects you from the harsh elements like wind, rain, and snow. It gives you refuge... or in the case of Christians in the world, it protects us from fear, threats, temptation, and possibly even persecution.
Now if you're just making your shelter in the woods, it will be made of sticks, pine needles, and branches. But as a Christian you get to make your shelter out of something much, much better.
Psalm 57:1 "In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast." Instead of a feeble handmade shelter, we get to take shelter or refuge in God. He is so great and powerful, that He doesn't even need to hide us under His wings to keep us safe, just the shadow of His wings is good enough for us. How awesome is that?
Psalm 71:7 "Thou art my strong refuge." God is not only our refuge, but He is our strong refuge. It's important to have a strong shelter so that people can't just come up to you and try to knock you off balance in what you believe in.
2Samuel 22:3 "The God of my rock, in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence." If we put our trust in the Lord, He will be our shield, saviour, and refuge.
Psalm 9:9 "The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble." God is going to be our strong shelter in times of trouble, especially for the oppressed.
Luke 6:47-49 tells us the story of what happens when we build our house upon sand instead of the rock. When the rain came crashing down, the man who built the house upon the rock survived because he built his house upon God. These verses in Luke also tell us how to go about building our house upon the rock.
Luke 6:47-49 "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation build an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."
When we go to God, listen to what He says, and then do what He tells us, we are building our foundations upon the rock. As we know, you can find what God tells you to do in His Word the Bible.
3) Take stock of your resources:
So as a Christian, you're out in the wilderness. What resources do you think you have to help you out? You have your knowledge of the Bible, the Bible itself, God in your heart, Prayer, Other Christians who can help and comfort you, and you have the armor of God.
Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:14-18 "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above al, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
Now that's a lot of supplies you have at your disposal. We've got truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, a shield of faith that will keep away the "firey darts of the wicked," we've got salvation, the Word of God as our sword, and then we have prayer.
4) Build your fire
Have you ever heard the term "That person is on fire?" I don't mean literally on fire, but on fire as in, they burn for God. If you go up to somebody and try to witness to them and preach the Gospel, and you go up to them and say in a monotone, "Hey man... I think God loves you. My pastor told me so. And, yeah, I mean, maybe you should think about reading the Bible sometime, because, that's what they told me..." Do you think that person you're witnessing to is going to take you very seriously? Probably not, because you don't seem all that excited or enthusiastic about it yourself.
If you go to a person and say, "Do you know that there's somebody who really cares about you and loves you? I really felt like I needed to come and talk to you about this because I want you to experience the same excitement and joy that I'm feeling. His name is Jesus and he died for your sins so that you wouldn't have to. John 3:16 says..."
What was different about the second response? There were three main things different about the second attempt to witness to a person. First we were sincere and showed that we really cared about what we were talking about. Second, we were specific about why we were sharing this with the person and were specific about what we were sharing with them. Third, we used scriptures to back us up, instead of just telling them, "because my pastor said so."
If you are unenthusiastic about God, other people aren't going to be enthusiastic, and are going to think you're not sincere in your love for Him.
So here you are out in the wilderness surrounded by temptation, persecution, and unsaved sinners, and you need to start a fire to keep warm. Guess what, you are the fire! And it doesn't take much to start that fire up in yourself. If you get into the Word of God, God is going to be the one keeping you warm. And the best part is, once you've started that fire out in the world to keep warm by, other people are going to gather around your fire because they want to keep warm too. Just as we saw above, if you have no fire, they're not going to listen, but if you've got this big bonfire going, and your amped and enthusiastic and ready to spread the Word, people are going to go, "Hey, what does that guy have that I don't? I want what he has!"
Matthew 5:14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick: and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 18:28 "For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness."
5) Find food
As Christians, were do we find food to sustain us? I don't mean the kind we eat and digest, but the kind that keeps us alive spiritually.
Luke 4:4 "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Again, we have God's Word in the Bible.
1Peter 2:2 "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." When we drink the "word" of God, we grow not physically, but we do grow spiritually. Let's take a look at another scripture that talks about growing spiritually.
2Peter 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." When we grow, we're growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus.
6) Navigation (Where do I go from here?)
Psalm 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." God's Word shows our feet where to travel, and lights up the dark path for us so that we can see where we're going. This is when it's definitely important to pray. If you don't know what God wants you to do, or which choice you should make, pray for God's guidance.
7) Signaling for help (How do I ask for help? Who do I ask for help?)
If you are lost in the wilderness, and a plane flies overhead, you signal for help, right? But how do you do that? Do you shout up at the plane? Probably not, because the people inside won't hear you. What about starting a signal fire? I hope you have the wood ready beforehand, because if you wait until the plane is flying overhead to try and find wood to start the fire, then it will pass you by before you can get it started. Another important thing to think about is this: is the person flying the plane somebody who is likely to help you?
If you're in the real world trying to figure something biblical out, or trying to find help dealing with being persecuted, you're probably not going to ask for help from people who aren't believers. Instead we want to be asking for help from people who have solid roots in the Bible. This can be your pastor, parents, friends, teachers, other family members... anyone you know who has already built their shelter on the rock.
Remember what I said about having your signal firewood ready beforehand? There are things you can do to prepare yourself for when that plane flies over. Part of building your shelter on the rock is getting into the Word of God yourself. Oftentimes I can't remember the exact wording of a scripture I need to use in defense of my beliefs or the Bible, but I remember the book it was in possibly, or at least I remember if it was in the old or new testament. This helps later on when I'm asking for help because I'm able to say, "Hey, do you remember that scripture that talks about treating others as you want to be treated? Where was that exactly... what was the exact wording of that?" If you're not reading your Bible and growing in the Word, then how can you possibly ask for help when you need it?
At the very least you should be reading and giving yourself a foundation in God's Word, even if you can't remember every word of the Bible, or the exact place that it's in.
Psalm 55:16 "As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me." We signal God for help.
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
8) Read a Survival book (The Bible)
2Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
This goes right along with having that firewood ready as well as building your foundation on the rock. You want to be in the Word of God all the time, so that if ever you are in need, you're ready because you've read the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.). The Bible also says in 2Peter 1:19 "We have also a more sure word of prophecy..." Being in the Bible is going to help us discern if what people are telling us is the truth. If you're in the Bible you're going to be learning the truth... the more sure word of prophecy, and be able to say to yourself, 'hey, what that guy said isn't right... he totally ignored the scriptures.' We take the Bible as our final authority over all things, even what other people, including men of God (pastors) say, because God has given us His more sure word of prophecy in the Bible we have today.
There are of course many other things you can take into account when thinking about Christian survival, but these are the basics that you should be familiar with, just as these are the basics of survival if you were in a plane wreck in the middle of nowhere. You really do want to have a basic idea of what to do before you're in this kind of situation, and the Bible is the start of this. A lot of people like to say that the Bible doesn't fit in today's world because the world is too different, but you'd be surprised what you find in God's Word that has real world applications in your life today... everything. The Bible is supposed to be our final authority, but you have to let it be if you want to survive.
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