When you walk in obedience to God, it is inevitable that the enemy will try to attack you and weigh you down to distract you from your commitment and perseverance. At the end of the day, all he wants (but something he will never get no matter how much he tries) is to build his empire and for that he needs to attempt to thwart God’s Kingdom. For those who aren’t strong, who don’t sincerely desire, long for, yearn for God and intimacy with Him, Satan may be able to pull away.. not those whose hearts are in the right place. They may stumble, they may momentarily have moments of despair and discouragement.. but that will not linger.
The enemy tries to distract by temptation – tempting with GOOD things as the obviously bad things the believer won’t nudge for. Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden was a strong example. The forbidden fruit would give them wisdom – which is good right? Yet God had forbidden it as that wasn’t good for them. They chose spiritual death over spiritual life.
It is so important to DISCERN the good verses that of God… Any good without God is worth absolutely nothing,,, we need to discern the COUNTERFEIT.. and understand what is TRUE, what is SINCERE, what is of God! God only gives us good gifts – not good as we see good but good as He deems fit for us. A lot of good things that are not of God become our idols – taking time and attention away from Him, precious moments of intimacy wasted … pursuit of wealth, treating pets as human beings as God had created them for man to rule over, not for animals to rule over man.. wanting a name, establishing your own kingdom under the pretense of ministry.. whatever consumes our energy demanding us to distract from HIM, then that’s NOT a good thing. Remember Martha was distracted by many things – those were Jesus’ words! All that Martha was doing was to serve HIM, Jesus, a meal! Yet she was distracted while her sister Mary chose what was better.. she chose to be in relationship with HIM over serving Him and being distracted from HIm. Jesus said what she has chosen will not be taken away from her.
Another way the enemy taunts us is through relationships – through the very friends and family members that we love. They reject us, avoid us, label us, falsely accuse us, ignore us.. the list goes on and for us believers who value LOVE as love is from God and is what should be characterising our lives, it’s very difficult. Once again we need to discern what is of God, what is good but not good for us. We need to remember that God is working behind the scenes even in such cases!
Think of Joseph – not just one brother but all of them -ridiculed him and tried to get rid of him. Joseph’s brothers had already hated him and couldn’t speak a kind word to him – this dream where he was going to rule over them made it worse. At his second dream even his father rebuked him saying “Will you rule over us?”. Yet the father kept this matter in mind. I guess there was pride on his side too but he couldn’t ignore the possibility either.
Their response could be a ‘reaction’ to our values – people often belittle the things that they cannot do or they do not want to do even though they know that’s what they should be doing, it’s the Holy Spirit convicting them to stop choosing the flesh and the world over the Spirit. Many keep procrastinating doing the wrong things even though they are WELL AWARE that they aren’t on the path they should be.
There are areas that they need to be working on, but they don’t want to sacrifice their fleshly desires so they blame shift… Isn’t that what Adam did? He could have stopped Eve as he was right beside her but he took the fruit she gave and ate it too. Wasn’t it to Adam that God had given the commandment before He had created Eve? Shouldn’t Adam have protected what God had told him? Then they both HID from God’s presence. When God questioned Adam, he put the blame on both Eve as well as God! Blame shifting to cover up started then itself.. and it continues on today too..
People’s reactions to us, the need to reject, block, avoid, label with words of condemnation… it’s often because a battle is going on within them.. Hurt people do hurt others in turn.. Where they need healing, they don’t want to do it as that’s a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice, it’s easier to make others appear the bad ones so that they look saintly. Isn’t that why Jesus asks us to rejoice when people insult you for HIS sake?! What the enemy intends for harm, God is amazing at turning those around for good… Joseph’s brothers had to be at the mercy of Joseph, Haman was hung on the gallows he built for someone he despised and before that had to honour the very same Mordecai… the list goes on.. Tables can turn and they do turn.
People who shun or avoid forget that they aren’t perfect but it’s easier to look at other peoples specks and reject them, then analyse our own logs.. Of course we need to see other peoples specks with the desire of building them up, not tearing them down.
Whatever treatment we give others, whatever level of mercy or lack of mercy we show is the very scale God will use for us too. Yes there are times we need to avoid so that we don’t feed into the other persons sin – especially if they are bullies or abusers or simply wicked (those who pretend with their lips to be repentant of their wickedness but their hearts are rejoicing in fooling others).
However, if we are shunning on the basis of our fears or our self righteous attitudes, then God will use the same standard with us.