Truth unites and truth divides. If we think we can make a compromise between following Jesus and seeking to live in (false) harmony with everyone else around us, we will make a big mistake. Our Lord clearly said,
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 10:34-39 ESV)
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Mt 12:30 ESV).
These Scriptures above clarify that there will be persecution for those who decide to follow the Lord down-the-line. If we have already experienced some hatred and rejection in our lives while God enabled us to love others, we know that we were not rejected by doing the wrong thing but simply because we listened to the Lord and obeyed His guidance. If we hurt much from being rejected by the ones we love, and normally that is how we feel as human beings, Satan comes in and tries to tempt us. How so?
Our natural man wants to be loved, or at least approved, by everyone and seeks to live in harmony with others. Our spiritual nature instead, which always wars against the carnal nature, seeks to submit and surrender to God instead. Here is conflict, dear brothers and sisters! Although Jesus told us to live in peace with everyone if possible (cf. Rom 12:17-18), we know that the most peaceful person who ever lived on earth was not acknowledged by His own and was finally killed in the cruelest way on the cross in Golgotha.
So, if we truly follow the Lord, we will find ourselves being rejected again and again, not because we were so unlovable, yet because it is Christ in us who is hated by those who unknowingly submitted to the lord of this world (i.e., the devil). Here we need to see that it is not our job to tell others that they are wrong and “follow Satan” instead of Christ. Our only task as Christians is to love our enemies because we know that they do not know what they do. Jesus Christ, eventually, is the One who will deal with those who reject us if they could not be won by the agape love shown to them before.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. (Mt 21:42-45 ESV)
Now I will present to you an excerpt from a blog post by a dear brother who died two years ago; this article was only posted this year by Pamela Spock who carries on with publishing Jay Ferris’ works. In this entry Jay Ferris described those relationships that come from God and embody the invisible church on earth that has been built by God’s Spirit. If we find ourselves in the place of being part of her, we know how often we have been attacked, simply because of belonging to God.
Jesus is the stone that all of the builders reject, because it is either His building or theirs. He is the only one who can build His building. All man can do is submit as building material or mess it up when we try to help. As soon as we build anything, we have something to lose, and so are compromises.
The war against the saints is a war against God’s building. God builds with living stones, and He builds by placing them in right relationship with one another. It is right relationship under God that is the focus of the beast’s attack or warfare against us. “And because iniquity abounds, the love of most will grow cold.” It is the Love of Christ that binds us together in right relationship. Iniquity is a weapon against love.
If we claim to be lovers but have not love, we are dead meat or if the love that we have is not God’s kind of love, i.e. the love that was redefined at the cross, then our love cannot overcome iniquity. The “old man” is incapable of God’s kind of love. Only the “new man” of Christ in us is capable of a love that is more than a conqueror in the face of iniquity. It can only be that the beast has the power to make war against the saints to overcome them because the saints are trying to muddle through with the wrong kind of love. We must be beheaded of that muddle-headed kind of love, and the beast, inspired and energized by Satan, is God’s instrument for the completion of that task. It is the task of the cross, and He who began this work in us, to finish it in us.
Relationships that come from God are the enemy of Satan, and the builders are his agents against such relationships. They make war against relationships that come from God. You have heard that the beast is coming; even now many beasts have come. What else could Paul be talking about, that he “fought wild beasts at Ephesus”? 1 Corinthians 15:32
If our being one, “as Jesus and The Father are one,” is the way He has chosen and prayed “that the world may know..,”, then our loving one another in that oneness is the greatest possible threat to Satan. It is no wonder that the builders do everything possible to alienate us from Christ in each other. They want us to be zealous for them and their buildings.
In my experience, the war is horrendous.
Yours in Christ,
To put it briefly, Satan hates love and thus he always persecutes those who enjoy the freedom of having become God’s beloved children and having been enabled by the Holy Spirit to love as God loves. The devil was excluded from being loved and he knows about his eternal fate, being cut off from God’s loving presence forever. Satan’s only goal now is to spread more and more hatred, esp. among Christians. Dear brothers and sisters, we need to be careful that we do not find ourselves waging war against one another, that is, particularly against Christians who do not believe the same way we do. Is God not able to make them stand? Didn’t He alone open our eyes to more and more truth over time? Isn’t it wiser to be thankful for what God has done in our lives than to criticize those who still believe what, maybe, even we once did? As I read on another blog in the past – I really loved that short statement – we should rather be an example, not a critic. The blog where I took the quote from was this one http://www.blogforthelordjesus.com/2014/01/11/be-an-example-not-a-critic/. (*)
(*) Meanwhile I saw that the link is broken. Maybe, that changes later. If not, here’s a compensatory link which refers to the same post http://www.blogforthelordjesusbiblenotes.com/2014/01/11/bible-notes-on-be-an-example-not-a-critic/.