Friday, February 8, 2019

Who’s the Real Source of Opposition In My Life

In review of 2 Timothy 2:25-26 it says, “Be humble when you correct people who oppose you . . . They have been trapped by the devil, and he makes them obey him, but God may help them escape” (CEV).

2 Timothy 2:24-26
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.

Paul's advice to me (like Timothy) is to be kind and gentle, patiently and courteously explaining the truth. Good teaching never promotes quarrels or foolish arguments. When I am teaching, remember to listen to people's questions and treat them respectfully, while avoiding foolish debates. If I do this, those who do oppose will be more willing to hear what I have to say and perhaps turn from their error.

When I face opposition because of my faith, I need to recognize its source.

It’s not other people. It’s not your coworkers. It’s not a political party. It’s not some other nation or religion. It’s not a competitor. The pressure I feel to cave in or be quiet or sit down when you should stand up, that pressure is not coming from other people. It’s really coming from Satan.

In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called the accuser of the Christians. His number one job is to put me down.

I’m reminded this morning that there is an unseen spiritual battle going on all around me. This pressure to keep me from doing the right thing is not really coming from others. They’re just weapons. Most of the time they don’t even know they’re being used. The real issue is spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “We are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world” (GNT).

Satan knows it’s ineffective to attack Jesus Christ directly, so instead he attacks Jesus’ followers. He uses the media and music and popular culture and anything he can to ridicule those who belong to Jesus. He’s behind the voices saying, “Those Christians are out of date. They’re on the wrong side of history. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re bigots.”

The Bible says I should: “Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble, and God’s servants must not be troublemakers. They must be kind to everyone, and they must be good teachers and very patient. Be humble when you correct people who oppose you . . . They have been trapped by the devil, and he makes them obey him, but God may help them escape” (2 Timothy 2:23-26 CEV).

If I don’t have the Holy Spirit in your life, then I have no defense against Satan. He can master my moods. He can lead me into depression. He can make me angry.

I may think I’m strong, but I’m not strong enough to fight Satan’s attacks on my own. What I need to do is recognize the source—the Devil, not the person—and treat the opposition the way Jesus did.

How did Jesus treat those who opposed him? Even on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

The people who attack me don’t know what they’re doing. The people who put down Jesus and church and Christianity? They don’t know what they’re doing.

Just like Jesus, I need to pray, too, “Father, forgive themso that I can show love even under attack and so I’ll have more energy to fight the real enemy.

Bottom Line:
Be gentle in your approach to those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change their hearts and escape from the enemies traps.

What this means to me:
I am to be kind and gentle to all who oppose the truth. Be patient and courteous in my explanations. They will be more apt to listen and be changed in their hearts by God, allowing them to escape the enemies traps.

In summary, be kind to everyone. Be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth. Listen to peoples questions and treat them with respect. Recognize the source, Satan. People are just being used as weapons. Lean on the Holy Spirit for help, then treat the opposition the way Jesus did. He forgave them. Show love under attack and have more energy to fight the real enemy.

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