I’m tempted to quit social media these days. Discord reigns thick and I’m out of breath. The tongue lashings so strong I second guess my resolve to write and rise up as a faith warrior.
But then I realize it’s not just social media stirring up turmoil. It’s everywhere. It’s not new either. My reasons for wanting to step back and forget it all aren’t because of the tensions of the last few weeks (months? years?), but because of a trend which is far too common to humanity.
We have an enemy continually seeking to devour and he’ll use us to do it. Our weaknesses. Our fears. Our pride. Our self-ness. He’s tearing about the bride of Christ and I want to throw up at times for the amount of heart ache it causes.
This destructive divisiveness is just as true today as it was 2000 years ago. No one event makes it more so, but every season of turbulence brings a reminder of these words:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8
Then I remember.
The story isn’t over and the author hasn’t left us to fend for ourselves. God has given us tools to live well in the tension around us.
Whether our emotional angst is due to a political climate, family breakdowns, or a personal firestorm of challenging circumstances, God’s power is never lessened.
Battle the Enemy Not Each Other
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ~ 1 Peter 5:9
We are given a whole of commands in scripture and they are all based on God’s perfect love and perfect wisdom.
To love one another. To stand firm in our faith. To be courageous. To not fear. To be humble. To be kind. To love. To love the law of God. To teach our children. To welcome the sojourner. To protect. To serve. To seek peace. To fight. To be still. To be kind. To be wise. To be strong. To be meek.
None of these are mutually exclusive. In many cases we’re fighting a battle of “this” over “that” when God is really saying “this and that”. When we engage this way, we spend more time fighting over semantics than fighting the enemy.
Fight the real enemy. The real enemy is determined to see you and others destroyed.
Get Equipped for the Battle
When we don’t know how to do the hard things of life, we try to figure it out on our own. At least, I do. Yet, all along we have access to the giver of wisdom and the truest defender of our faith. He is the giver and sustainer of everything we need to follow Him and know Him more.
We are given significant equipping throughout scripture. Are we utilizing it the way God intended?
When I watch the way professing Christians treat each other, I think we’re missing something vital to our ability to live well in this tension.
If we use the Word of God as a weapon against each other in an attempt to defend our own position, we’ll refuse to let God’s truths penetrate our own steeled hearts.
When I get online and see all the verbal volleys, I find it overwhelming. I have friends holding polar opposite positions on many hot issues. Part of me wants to chime in, part of me wants to stay away.
If we were to sit together, could we have a table friendly discussion and hear each other out? Could we open and end in prayer? Could we remember that each person is still a child of God created in His image and none of us are created perfectly or have it all figured out?
It’s time we take up the Word of God and remember to seek Him out first. The more we come to know Christ, the more we find rest in being known, and the more we can make Him and his truths known. It’s my premise for Rise Up Writers and the premise for much of my life.
If we know God more, we will know the kind of love and truth which equips us to fight the real enemy.
Make Informed Choices
This article, and another, and another. The truth is, I don’t have time to read them all, nor do I have the emotional stamina to exercise the sheer volume of passion.
I have to choose. I choose to listen, to learn, and to speak up when the Spirit leads. I also choose to words take their time to churn. I might feel a whole lot of fire and want to respond as if I’m moved by God, but really I’m not. That’s called a reaction and it’s living by flesh not the Spirit.
More than the news & opinions shared by many, I need the good news and truth shared for many.
In order to know God more, we must choose to regularly return to His word. We need to know that we can also learn to hear from God.
Are we so busy getting informed and informing others that we forget to soak in the formative works of the Holy Spirit?
Remember Who You Are
You are a unique creation. You are made in the image of the God of creation.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.~ Galatians 2:20
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.~ 1 Peter 2:9
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,~ John 1:12
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.~ Romans 12:2
Remember, these verses apply to other believers whom we are arguing with too.
Live in the Tension
We will always live in the tensions of this world and the next, of others and ourselves, of sin versus righteousness, and of flesh versus the Spirit. No matter what is happening in our circles, something within us longs for the holiness of his presence while living in the corrupted world of today.
We need Him every minute of every day.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:5
For more on how to live well as a Christ follower, please see: 31 Choices We Can Make to Live Well
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