“I have arrived,” you might think, “I have made the ultimate decision to follow Christ and it feels great!” As I reflect back on that particular moment in my own life, I can concur --it does feel great. When you finally stop ignoring the nudges taking place in your spirit, the ever-accelerating speed of your heartbeat, and the sweaty palm sensation that occurs right before boldly confessing your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; that’s when you can truly experience His liberating presence for the first time. Your hopes are high and your outlook is positive. You feel strengthened and, many times, renewed. But if you’ve been a believer for a while, you’ve probably realized by now that this life-altering decision can be difficult to sustain. That’s because accepting Jesus doesn’t mean all your troubles go away. As a matter of fact, the moment you began operating in faith by surrendering your life to Christ, the enemy began attempting to take it back. All of a sudden, you’ve become a threat. That means you may immediately experience even more trials and temptations that will test your commitment to God. The enemy does NOT want to see you free from sin, guilt, and condemnation. He would love for you to give up on your faith early on so that you don’t even get a taste of the future God has for you.
We can learn more about this dynamic by looking at the life of Rahab. When Joshua son of Nun sent two spies into the land of Jericho, Jericho’s King heard of their arrival and was on a mission to capture them. They would have easily been caught if Rahab hadn’t hidden both spies on the roof of her home. What’s interesting about this story is that Rahab was a disreputable member of society. She lived a sinful lifestyle of prostitution. However, that evening, Rahab made a momentous decision that not only changed her life, but saved it.
The first thing Rahab did was profess her faith and fear of God to the Israelite spies. She understood the dynamics of the situation and that the city of Jericho would be taken over by the Israelites because the Lord was on their side; but while she feared the authorities of her land, she feared the Lord even more. As such, she readily agreed to help the two spies escape in exchange for sparing her family during the upcoming battle.
The two spies were grateful for her courageous hospitality, and agreed to Rahab’s request as long as she met three conditions:
1. She had to leave a scarlet rope hanging out of the window of which they escaped. This served as a distinguishing feature that set her house apart from the others. Furthermore, the scarlet color is symbolic of the blood of Jesus. Upon seeing the scarlet rope, the Israelite soldiers would bypass her home. The blood of Jesus was protecting her family!
2. Her family needed to remain inside during the battle. I believe this coincides with the scripture verse from John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you.” As long as Rahab’s family remained covered by the blood of Jesus, they were safe from any attacks. Death would not come near them. In the same sense, when we abide in God’s presence, He hides us in the “shelter of His wings.” (Psalm 91:4) The moment we step outside of His Word or presence, we become open targets for attack. He is our refuge and our strength. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (Psalm 46:1, John 15:5).
3. She must not later betray the spies. Even when she was out of harm’s way, Rahab’s loyalty was to remain. She had to stay true to what she professed and remember what she was saved from. In our own Christian walk, we can sometimes forget what God brought us out of during our moment of desperation, or our zeal to follow Him. When trials come, we cry out for His help, but when life is good, our focus can be sidetracked. Stay focused on His goodness. Every good thing comes from Him!
Through this powerful story of redemption, we can be assured first of all that there is not a single sin that cannot be covered by the blood of Jesus. You are always only one decision away from His redemptive plan for you. We also learn that God desires for your life to be both saved and changed. But, just like Rahab, we have to do our part. Living victoriously requires living a life that is noticeably set apart for Him, remaining in His presence through His word, and remembering all that He’s done for you. Not only will you be unequivocally impacted, but your family will, as well!