There are two observations I’ve made about guarding our hearts. We’re never too old for Satan not to find another weak spot in our armor. And the other is there’s no fool like an old fool. I’ve seen people in recovery be successful, only to stumble from exhaustion and end up worse than when they’ve started. I’ve seem legalists so involved in judging others that the sin they were so focused on overtook themselves. And I’ve seen church members overwhelmed with guilt and no-one willing to help them.
When a soldier is in a war, does he throw his weapon in the corner, ignore the orders of his officers and complain about their leadership, carouse, put in earplugs to ignore enemy gunfire, ignore the maintenance of the surrounding defensive fortifications, and not bother to report the wounds of his squad members?
You could say that some do – but not for long. Are our churches any different? What is our focus? Do our bad habits cause us to fail in our mission and allow the enemy to infiltrate our camp?
(1 Peter 5:6-9 WEB) is the antidote to the literally deadly habits of undisciplined soldiers. But much more than a military campaign; they outline a strategy that will save lives (and churches) for eternity.
All these habits need to be corrected. But if there’s no goal it would be like running in place Therefore, to define the goal(s), my preacher used this poem written by a 15 year-old girl.
What is the goal of the church? What is the goal of the members? What are the goals of the church leaders?
The church exists to save lost souls. The members exist to win and mentor lost souls. The leaders exist to cast a vision for the church and to shepherd the flock.
We can see in (1 Peter 5:6-9 WEB) the strategy to get the church and church members on track with Christ’s original purpose for us in: (Matthew 28:19-20 WEB) 19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the world. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:6 WEB) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
“Humble yourselves is the very essence of being “poor in spirit”. Recognizing the “mighty hand of God” is there to strengthen, guide, and encourage us to take on the “Great Commission”. We cannot simply “consult” with God but must become wholly dependent on God. Towards the unsaved we must also be humble. We’ve not walked in their shoes, but we can listen. Our observations, questions about why they do what they do, our display of following the “beautiful attitudes”, and our own stories of out triumphs and defeats will display our sincere interest in our new friend which reminds him we’re there to encourage and inform, but not to lead. The Holy Spirit is the one to lead.
And note that Jesus was humble allowing Himself to be the sacrifice for all.
(1 Peter 5:7 WEB) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
A radio preacher said today that concern is not worry as long as were not fearful. When we allow doubt and worry to dominate our thinking we’re no longer in God’s will. Figuratively and actually we are distracted by spiritual intoxications. Then we’re on the slippery slope of being a negative witness for God.
If we are hunters of dangerous animals, such as lions, tigers, polar bears, etc. we must realize we are also being hunted by the game we’re tracking. The Devil’s favorite game is to bag a Christian.
(1 Peter 5:8 WEB) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Predators don’t go after the strong animals but the weak animals. If a Christian is not tightly bound by love to the current congregation, then they have no safety, especially against lions, as they hunt in packs. And how do weak Christians deal with their vulnerable situation? They humble themselves; receive
As I stated in my introduction, keep strong in the faith and cultivate a circle of Christians who are growing in their faith and able to encourage like-minded faith in others. One thing we can be sure of is that we’re all fallen beings. But together, with our faith in Jesus, we can win over nonbelievers to Jesus. And keep the Devil from walking past our doorstep and into our homes.
When we shift the focus to ourselves, in vanity or guilt? Then the work of the church is diminished. The Christian life is meant to be lived in community. Humility and concern for lost souls is the remedy. We also then can appreciate that we’re all going through the same trials and temptations.
(1 Peter 5:9 WEB) Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
We need close supporting groups in our churches, families, and communities. Of all the steps we can take to keep us spiritually strong won’t suffice if we seek to be a lone ranger. To be able to tell our story, with all the blemishes, frees us and gives us a team of people who will work and pray for us. As they tell their stories we receive additional comfort that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Between us and God there is no gulf unless we allow the church people to convince us that health and wealth are God’s goals for us. I think not based on: (Matthew 5:10-12 WEB) 10 Blessed [are] they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So do we know a person(s) without Christ? Sure we do; so let’s pray right now that they find God and the church will mentor that person, every year, every member.
OH – and BTW this isn’t about us – its about churches and their members reaching the lost. Our highest priority is accomplished by being humble enough at the start to LISTEN!
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