by David Brenneman
It's often been a long road to get to the other side of things in life. Quite often it's not measured in miles, or distance, but in days, months or even years.
Sometimes it's only for us to see and watch God do what only God can do, other times it merely could be that we are to know in order to pray more effectively.
Sometimes we do indeed have to engage people. It's been an interesting week to be sure. Have had battles without, battles within. Have been encouraged along the way by Godly men not to listen to those who would speak negativity to me about me.
I had asked one such Godly man about a verse that had come to mind at the time. His interpretation was indeed good, but I have to wonder if God meant for me to see something else in it.
It's in Proverbs and was 27 verse 6. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend,But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."
I have been forced throughout much of my life to have to deal with how deeply a weapon from people I allow to get close to me can get. I sort of self-describe as a selective introvert. If the setting is favorable I can easily appear to be an extrovert. If it isn't, well, it's basically "Shields Up!". If indeed someone is allowed into my inner circle, at the time, there must have been good reason to allow them in. Sometimes, like what I discovered in 20 plus years, time tends to show people differently than at first expectation.
I don't have a perfect relationship with Jesus. I have an ongoing relationship with Jesus. I don't know all there is to know about my faith in Jesus because it's an ongoing thing. My hope and prayer is that I am closer to what it should be today than it was yesterday. Than it was last week, last month, last year.
I would like to say it was a hard lesson to learn but it wasn't. Stepping back to allow God to deal with excessively problem people in my life. Early on in my working life God easily manifested Himself as my Protector. I could easily share stories that I would call of "Biblical Proportions" that happened to people whom chose to not be stellar examples of humanity towards me. God's Word says to not to take our own revenge. Romans 12:19 NASB "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.". Right before this it says "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people." 12 verse 18.
It's easily spelled out that it might not always be possible. Being ready for those moments can be a challenge.
I don't pretend to know what others who are more learned in theology know. I have been taken down a different road in my learning than they. Not that I compare myself to any who were, but many a fantastic Preacher men weren't schooled at seminaries.
Jesus Himself said the Helper, the Spirit of God, would come and teach us all things. He said nothing of opening new schools to do so. Nothing in the Bible actually points to any such institutions that I know of.
When to step away is where wisdom comes in. When people attack in Spiritual matters I tend to go to known Godly men to be a sounding board concerning those matters and people. God, in this, has never left me alone in having a surplus of Godly men in my life. At times it may have been as few as two or three, but never ever been without.
I was never taught to always fight back. Knowing your enemy, should you have one, requires some semblance of a level head. Knowing how to approach people can be tricky. The only One who knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart automatically is Jesus. We have to pray and make an educated decision.
We often need a strategic withdrawal in order to get ahead. Look at Paul's imprisonment. It was years long in its litigation. Year after year of court dates that did ultimately end in his death, but not until he wrote a great deal of what is now the New Testament. Satan meant his imprisonment for evil and God turned it for the good to benefit trillions of people. Even the parting words of Paul are inspirational.
If I can point to difficulty in hard situations it is in learning how to measure my words. To think before speaking and before reacting.
It's rather long, but read what Paul said in Ephesians 4 NASB "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When He ascended on high,
He led captive the captives,
And He gave gifts to people.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
So I say this, and affirm in the Lord, that you are to no longer walk just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their minds, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Therefore, ridding yourselves of falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are parts of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. The one who steals must no longer steal; but rather he must labor, producing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."
How we are to relate to other in Christ is spelled out here. When people who claim to be Christians aren't behaving in this manner we indeed still have an Advocate in Christ Jesus. We take such individuals to the Throne of God to ask Him to go where we cannot. For His wisdom to prevail in our lives and the lives of those having a problem with us.
The Scriptures say that the battle belongs to the Lord. 2 Chronicles 20:15, Proverbs 21:30-31 NASB "There is no wisdom, no understanding, And no plan against the Lord.The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But the victory belongs to the Lord."
We are told we are His workmanship. The plan for us is by and through His hands and His will WILL be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus is also the Good Shepherd. He will always defend His sheep.
It's not always easy to step away but I have found that when I leave it to God, amazing, interesting, fascinating, things happen that are always beyond what I could ever have come up with.
Praying is always the first thing. The Nehemiah prayer is often the quickest and best. No time for long extensive prayer go straight to "Lord help!". The battle becomes His. We will either be an instrument of whatever happens next or we won't.
Praying is the second thing. We can see in Jacob's turmoil at knowing his brother Esau was coming with a not so small army, he had to pray in a bit more than Nehemiah did. That prayer changed him and his brother.
David's writings in Psalms were often about battles. Asking the Lord to deal back on the heads of those pursuing him what only God can do.
I pray daily for those whom I know have recently voiced things to me about me. In His time, God indeed will work through this. As I was reminded in someone's post on Facebook, God tells us we don't use the same clock.
Lastly, pray. Because indeed as said, it will change you and those with things against you. We need to make sure we are right before God ourselves before He will work in what needs to be done.
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