Friday, September 11, 2020

Among the hated

Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me. Psalm 5:8 NLT

 The hatred of the world is very bitter against the people of Christ. Human beings will forgive a thousand faults in others, but they will magnify the most trivial offenses in the followers of Jesus. But instead of vainly regretting this, let us turn it to our benefit—since so many are watching to see us fall, let this be a special motive for walking very carefully before God. If we live carelessly, the eagle-eyed world will soon see it. With a hundred tongues, it will spread the story, exaggerated and emblazoned by the zeal of slander. They will shout in triumph: “Aha! So we were right! See how these Christians act! Every one of them is a hypocrite.” This will do much damage to the cause of Christ, and greatly insult His name. The cross of Christ is itself an offense to the world; let us be careful that we add no offense of our own. It is “a stumbling block to Jews,” so let us take care never to put stumbling blocks where there are enough already; the cross is “foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23), so let us not add our own folly and give credence to the scorn with which the “worldly wise” deride the gospel. How cautious we should be with ourselves! How rigid with our consciences! In the presence of adversaries who will misrepresent our best deeds and impugn our motives where they cannot criticize our actions, how prudent we should be! Pilgrims travel as suspicious persons through this world, what Bunyan called Vanity Fair. Not only are we under surveillance, but there are more spies than we would ever guess. The espionage is everywhere, at home and abroad. If we fall into the enemy’s hands, we might expect more generosity from a wolf or mercy from a demon than patience with our infirmities from people—people who spice their infidelity toward God with scandals against His people. Oh, Lord, always lead us, or else our enemies will trip us up! - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

It doesn't take much for people with cell phones to capture a Christian who is caught slipping up to bring that which happens out for the world to see. 

Whether the slip up was intentional sin or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Satan has people ready to attack. 

His greatest aim is towards Christianity is to shut it down. At the least, to make it ineffective.  To make it as unattractive and unappealing as possible to those who have not come to Christ.  An to those who have, his aim is to discourage as much as possible.  To distract as much as possible to slow the effectiveness of the Gospel. 

Your success at work can be a hindrance to the cause of Christ. Yes! Even that.  Your failures are easy to point to when looked at with the naked eye for reasons for ineffectiveness.  But success can also be its own trap. How can this be?  Look at the Old Testament.  When things were really rockin and Israel was at peace and all...what happened?  Caught off guard they stumbled and got lazy and things like idolatry crept in.  King Solomon was the richest King ever in everything imaginable. Wrote the Book of Proverbs. Was so wise, by God's direction, that world leaders came to just hear him speak.  Yet he still fell into sin, into having way more than one wife, thousands in fact along with concubines. Had the grandest Temple ever built on this Earth.  Along with his palace.  It was all utterly destroyed by God because of sin.  By far, by all worldly standards he was the most successful King in the history of the world. 

Every single person who has won big at the lottery or at any casino has regretted it.  Oh people wish great wishes for wealth, thinking it solves their problems.  The truth is it brings destruction.  Howard Hughes had everything imaginable at his fingertips, did not have Christ, was alone at his death and richer than anyone.  

I do not want riches or fame.  You read Proverbs and it certainly isn't something to desire.  I would like to be debt free for sure, but I do not want to lose my reliance upon Christ.  Again in Proverbs it's acceptable to work to be debt free. 

Given the waywardness of man it's all too easy to fall into traps that keep the believer from focusing on Christ and the unbelievers from finding Christ.   People think that greater technology means more sophisticated solutions to the world's problems. If that is so, why are people like the Amish or many third world countries actually richer than the big countries?  When the Bible tells you plainly to be wary of temptation, then you should be wary of temptation.  Are we really better off today than 100 years ago? Culturally no. Technology wise possibly.  We have now thousands of distractions to keep our minds from the truths of God.  Binge watching television, an industry exists for nothing but videos called YouTube.  Using videos to bring ridicule, shame and hate is becoming the norm.  Being concerned about your Facebook status is higher up on the list of priorities to many people than what the people who actually see them think of them.  That if you aren't following certain people, if you aren't accepting of everyone's ideology that you are in the wrong. You should be prosecuted. Corporations are afraid of offending any of its employees so they force all employees to accept everyone else, regardless of what they believe. 

Satan is very real and very much at work in this world to attack and malign Christianity.  He will most often not make a frontal assault on anyone, he will be subtle.  A little compromise here, a little there.  Until things snowball. 

For those of you in Christ, Ephesians tells us to put on the full armor of God.  We don't have time nor the luxury to be letting our guard down.  For those considering coming to Christ, my friend,  it may appear to be something scary, but it's far from it.  The only safe harbor is in the arms of Christ.  You who are weak and weary can find rest in Christ. 

Be on the alert for your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  He will use those who are the closest to us to get to us.

Prayer is essential, it's a requirement, to get Heavenly reinforcements.  Be on your guard. 

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