Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just something I've been learning...

Just some thoughts on what God has been showing me...

When the Jews were rebuilding their temple after being released from Babylonian captivity, the Samaritans used several tactics to hinder the building of the temple; tokeep the Jews from doing God’s work, from doing something that was pleasing to God.

One thing they used was accusations. They sent letters to the King of Babylon accusing the Jews of doing something wrong. They falsely accused the Jews of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem to fortify their city in order to make it powerful again. This was, of course, false. They were only concerned with rebuilding their Temple so that they could worship. They were only concerned with honoring God and doing God’s work. They were, in addition, following king’s orders, as Kind Cyrus had ordered them to return to their homeland and to rebuild the Temple. He even gave them necessary tools to do so. This reminds me that just as Satan used the Samaritans here to discourage and falsely accuse God’s people of wrong or impure actions or motives, Satan, clearly, still uses these tactics to this day. Often times, sadly, those false, hurtful accusations come from other Christians or church family, which is, I believe, even more hurtful than if they came from those that you know are not Christians.

The Jews stopped working on the Temple for 16 years after the Samaritans, with the help of the current king, used fear and intimidation to hinder their obedience to God. The Samaritans lost faith and got discouraged, which is often what we do when we are faced with others who have falsely accused us. The fact of the matter is that Satan hates God’s work, and when you are doing God’s work, Satan is looking for ways to stop it. Discouragement and fear are two very effective tools that Satan uses to accomplish this goal. Unfortunately, he often uses other Christians to plant these feelings. I can tell you from experience that there is no better way to discourage someone than to speak lies and spread false accusations.

The application of this principle in my life is two-fold, as is the lesson that God slammed me with this morning. On one hand, as a person who chooses to follow God and wakes up each morning and prays that I will live each day in a way that is pleasing to my Savior, I know that I will be attacked by Satan. And Satan may use others to attack me. If I allow this to discourage me, this is a lack of faith. I have to remember that whatever God commands, He always backs up with his own power .

One the other hand, I have to be aware that at any time, Satan could try and use me in his plan to hinder others. I have to be vigilant and careful about the things that I listen to, or say to others. Am I listening to gossip that could possibly be used to discourage someone or hurt someone? Am I spreading gossip that could discourage or hurt someone? We have to be conscious of the spiritual warfare going on constantly and to realize that just because we are Christians, doesn’t mean we are exempt from the pressures of Satan ; it is often more effective for him if he can get us to do his work for him. I, personally, don’t want to be Satan’s go-to person when he needs a job done. I want to live and walk in a way so that I am God’s go-to person when he wants a job to be done.

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