Mark 9:42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”
Through a train of thought too long to explain here, and a little touch of revelation, this verse really pierced me Wednesday night/Thursday morning while I was prayer leading. It was kind of out of the blue… the verse and the associated concepts are familiar ones to me, but I had never had this sort of encounter around it before.
As I was prayer leading, one eye on a Bible verse (not the one above), and the other eye on the Prayer Room, asking the Lord what He was thinking, I began to experience a little bit of God’s wrath against people who purposefully lead His children astray. And I don’t mean I felt righteous indignation against those people myself. I mean I was trembling, terrified before the Lord — I suddenly really became aware of how extremely jealous He is against such deception. Jesus was not exaggerating one bit when He said drowning by a millstone would be better. He meant it. And that’s terribly serious stuff.
I began to think of different things I had seen just within the past few years that have rattled a lot of believers who were weak in their faith. I thought of how I have seen Christians who were willing to readjust their theology because of the so-called “proof” that Jesus never physically rose from the dead. I thought of the DaVinci Code. I thought of different atheistic anti-Christian movies, books, and articles that have been released lately, and I trembled.
I have to admit that, while I found these to be tragic when they first came out, I shrugged them off because, well, bless God, I knew what the Bible said, and I knew the claims were ridiculous, and so therefore I rolled my eyes at them as if they were not that big of a deal. I was somewhat right in that, because nobody’s ever going to disprove God, and He is not threatened by the claims of angry people. When the nations rage, He is totally unmoved.
However, I was not very much in touch with God’s heart about this thing at all. I would get bothered by this to a degree… if you’ve read my Theology 3 1/2 post, you’ve seen some of it… but I have never touched the burden of it quite like I did Wednesday night. Little ones — Christians who are new, immature, or weak in their faith — are really getting derailed by this stuff. And God has unfathomable zeal for every one who is being led away.
As I was trembling under the revelation of this, I began to be pierced thinking of our colleges in this nation. University campuses are notorious for destroying the faith of Christians. In 1994 — thirteen years ago — a painful fifty-two percent of people who went into college professing Christ came out no longer doing so (http://www.mbbc.edu/page.aspx?m=1768). I can’t imagine it’s gotten any better in the past decade. I began to think of the college professors who pride themselves in shaking young adults out of their “delusions” of Jesus and heaven and hell and absolute truth. From philosophy professors to scientists, even to certain professors in seminaries, there are men and women who see scores of young adults come through their classrooms over the course of their careers, and if they do their job effectively enough, most of those young adults come out the other side having lost faith in God.
These professors may see these statistics as success, something to be proud of. Jesus said the millstone would be a kinder fate.
I began to feel my heart groaning two separate ways. On the one hand, I felt deeply pained for the enormous numbers of young people in the West who are all but biblically illiterate, who get tossed to and fro by every random wind of doctrine that blows their way. It moved me to tears as I tried to vocalize it on the prayer mic (first time that’s ever happened to me on a rapid fire). There is a massive deception just on the horizon, and multitudes of people in our nation (and world) are not ready to withstand it.
On the other hand, I felt this desperate cry for the professors, leaders, and celebrities. Even as I was touching God’s zeal against those who were causing His little ones to stumble, I simultaneously felt this cry for them to be saved. What if the biggest blasphemer in academia has their own “road to Damascus” encounter and becomes the next Paul? What if the person who takes the most pride in destroying 20 year-olds’ faith gets radically converted to be one of the most effective teachers of the Word? Why not?
It’s not a light thing, and it’s not a joke. So many teachers and other public voices in our nation have the blood on their hands from dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of weak believers who have fallen away from the faith due to their teachings and actions. It’s a fearful expectation that awaits these men and women if they do not turn. God is fiercely serious about those who harm His little ones. And yet, He gave His life for His enemies.
So what do we do? We pray. We pray like people’s lives depend on it — because they do. We pray for salvation of student and teacher alike. We must intercede, considering both God’s kindness and severity (Rom 11:22) as we do. We ask for revelation to fall on the Church, and for conviction and repentance to fall on those opposed to the gospel. We ask for God to raise up voices of truth and righteousness to get young people anchored in Christ before they go into college and their faith is put to the test.
And then we say yes when God uses us to answer those prayers. All of us are called to be witnesses. Some of us will be preachers and teachers. Some of us will be pastors and mentors. Some of us will be on platforms, some of us will have one-on-one conversations over coffee. Some of us will have that prophetic inkling at the right time to totally turn the heart of a random person we meet in the grocery store. My whole life, I’ve felt called to those in the church who have no real knowledge of the God they want to serve. On the other side of this encounter, it is more cemented in me than ever. We have got to know God. Our generation needs to know God. And there is a battle being waged for their hearts and minds.
I feel as if I have not even begun to do this justice. But God is jealous for His little ones… and I mean jealous… and it makes me want to pray. It makes me want to know and testify the Truth. It’s given me renewed zeal to stand in the counsel of the Lord and actually have something to say to the generation I live in. God wants to be known, and people need to know Him. There is great deception and great glory rapidly approaching, and I desperately want to see as many as possible stand firm in that Day.