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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Working For The Enemy

Working For The Enemy

As I look around at the body of Christ, I believe that few things grieve the heart of God more than strife within the church. God has seen fit to make an entire chapter of His word dedicated to the opposition of division (1 Corinthians 12). Jesus said that he who does not gather with Me opposes Me. If we are allowing rifts to drive us apart, surely we are opposing the work of Jesus. He has called us to be one body under one Head, Him, led by one Spirit. If we truly are, how can we have contradictory goals? God does not contradict Himself, and as Jesus said, "a house divided against itself cannot stand. (Matthew 12:25)" However, when we exalt ourselves or we honor our wishes above God’s plans for us, no matter how good our intentions, we may end up conflicting with someone who is truly being led by the Lord.

Unfortunately, all too often we are so wrapped up in our own interests and blinded by pride that we cannot see the simple truth that we are actually fighting against God and in fact, serving the enemy by backbiting, slandering, and even going to the extent of praying against brothers and sisters in Christ. Just like Jesus did, right? When He prayed that God would ruin the Pharisees? Of course not, He told us to pray for our enemies. Later, the Holy Spirit, writing through the apostle Paul, wrote, "for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." These principalities are our true enemy and they want nothing more than division and strife in the body.

This aim of theirs is evident all throughout scripture, from the persecution suffered by the prophets to the Pharisees’ murder of Jesus to the repeated jailing of Peter, John, Paul, and all of the apostles. God’s purpose has always been to strengthen, edify, and empower his people while the enemy seeks to weaken, tear down, and incapacitate the body. This actually serves 2 purposes. The first, by diverting our attention from the real foe, satan gets us to expend our energies fighting each other rather than building the kingdom. However, worse than that, think of the witness we are living when the lost see us cutting our brothers and sisters to pieces. James compared it to a fountain that alternately gives fresh and bitter water. We are called to provide refreshment and renewal to the weary with the river of living water springing up within us, not to further pollute them with the muddy cisterns of our fleshly attitudes (Jeremiah 2:13).

Just as the father grieved over the unforgiveness in the heart of the prodigal son’s older brother; as surely as David was crushed by the hatred, deceit, and strife between his own children; as certainly as Adam was devastated by the realization that one son was dead and the other was his murderer; our Father in heaven’s magnificent heart is undoubtedly broken by our petty squabbles, thoughtless gossip, unremitting bitterness, stony unforgiveness, black-hearted slander, and outright character assassination. We must make the choice within our hearts: to not perpetuate this attack on the body of our precious Lord and Savior.

If you are already entangled in strife, then you must decide to be the one to humble yourself, to reach out to those who you have attacked or who have attacked you, to bind their wounds and begin to mend the damage created by the ravages of the enemy feeding our own insatiable flesh. If we truly trust in the Lord, we are able to release any grievance to Him, knowing that He will resolve it. All you have to do is obey Jesus’ command to bless those that curse you, do good for those that hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44) Jesus even went so far as to reach out and heal one of the very soldiers who came to arrest and crucify Him. (Luke 22:51) Anyone can keep a feud going, but it takes a true child of God to be a peacemaker. (Matthew 5:9)

God’s will is for us to be a strong, unified body moving together in common purpose toward a single goal: advancing the kingdom of God one soul at a time. Please stand with me against this tragic snare of the enemy and let us pray for God’s perfect will to unite and strengthen every member of the body of Christ. Stop doing the devil’s job (Revelation 12:10) for him. Freedom's calling, will you respond?

© Steve Shematz

Steve Shematz is the co-founder of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries and is married to Julie Shematz. Both over-comers, they have been assisting victims of sexual exploitation since before they were married six years ago. Steve is also a graduate of Teen Challenge International and served on staff there for five years. Both reside in Fort Myers, FL with their dachshund, Jehu.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Steve:

    I see the same divisions in the Church, and they do trouble me. The enemies forces are unified and organized, yet the members of the Body can't seem to agree on how to stand against them. It's so easy, if one looks long enough at another's ministry, to see "imperfections."

    What I believe is, we shouldn't be blind when someone we love, or some work we care for, is struggling (if, indeed, it is struggling, and the perception isn't arising out of our own smugness and pride), but we need to act with care and concern, carrying one another's burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2) Only in this way can we come together as a body and defeat the forces of darkness that are flooding the earth with their filth.

    God bless you in everything you're doing. My prayer is that you will find willing allies and strong supporters in the ministry God has given you and BFA.