We face an enemy at our gates today far greater than a Syrian army. That enemy has many names including- Belial-Accuser of the Brethren-Angel of Light-Beelzebub. Most of us know him as Lucifer or Satan. He has many schemes at his disposal to divert believers from their calling to love God, one another and the lost. You don’t have to have a PhD in systematic theology to know that once you become a Christian, you immediately have a target on your back. Our common enemy, Satan, has made it his “life’s work” to discredit, discourage and destroy God’s people. He is a crafty fellow and knows our weaknesses better than we do. For that reason, we must pay careful attention to all places of possible encroachment at our gates. One such scheme comes in the form of disunity, strife and division. If Satan can divide MVBC, he can discredit our witness to one another and our assigned communities. Thankfully our precious king has not left us to fight Lucifer on our own! In fact, any strength we have to fight Beelzebub is a strength that comes from Jesus. With Christ’s strength comes knowledge, wisdom and skill. As I mentioned in a former blog, there are several simple steps we can take to prevent Satan from storming the gates of Mountain View:
First, we can do what Hezekiah did and seek God’s face in prayer. Both prayer and fasting are two critically important weapons to use in overcoming strife and division within the local church. Could I encourage you again to join me on Wednesdays in a lunchtime fast for the health and well-being of Mountain View Baptist? By praying and fasting, we commit ourselves to waiting on God to overcome spiritual forces of wickedness rather than our own wisdom or strength. Remember, we are no match for Satan in our own strength!
Secondly, we can commit to reserve judgment on someone else’s motives until we have talked to them in person. So much hurt and frustration have arisen from simply misunderstanding or misinterpreting why another believer said or did what they did. Taking the time to hear another’s thoughts in conversation goes a long way in preventing Satan from creating schisms. We really don’t know what another person was thinking or intending until we have talked to them in person.
Thirdly, we can prevent Satan from disrupting our progress by taking concerns to our church and committee leaders before public gatherings. Public gatherings designed to inform, encourage and discuss can be great venues for Christian fellowship and discipleship. They can also become breeding grounds for strife and division. If and when you have a concern about how pastors, deacons, or ministry teams are handling issues, be sure to give them time to prepare before member meetings. No one likes to be surprised in public meetings by a question that was in reality a veiled criticism of the leader’s actions. All leaders, all leaders have blind spots and need accountability. But the best place to have potentially heated discussions is in private, not public. If you are uncomfortable seeking out that ministry leader by yourself, ask a friend to go along.
Mountain View, we have an enemy at our gates right now but he is not your fellow Christian! The enemy is not the pastoral staff or the deacons or committee leaders or another member who betrayed your trust. Fight for unity by looking to the One who makes us one. Fight for unity by looking to Jesus Christ who equips us to stand against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places over Mountain View Baptist.