NOTES FROM "STAND" part 2 - "LANDMINES AND SPIES"
Some people in the church are like the landmines we read about in the papers. You know...the ones that sit unnoticed and harmless until one day, years later, someone happens to accidently step on them and they explode...much to the surprise of everyone around? There are people who actually play a part in your life or in the church for years and then one day inexplicably 'blow up' without warning!
Unless a landmine is actually diffused before that fateful day, then one day someone is going to trip on it and blow up everyone around it ! Thus one cannot afford to wait until someone steps on it! There has to be a pre-emptive preventative action taken before that day comes. And it's up to the landmines to defuse themselves because again...so often, nobody else even knows they are there…
But if I am one of those landmines that need "defused", then where am begin on this?
Suppose I have a bag of corn in my garage. Constantly mice and various little critters are getting into this bag and eating the corn...scattering the remains about...making a mess, and depleting my corn. So I set traps, put out poison,...everything I can do to stop the raiding. And yet, the issue continues. As soon as I am gone, the critters come out and eat my corn, and my garage is constantly a mess. What should I do? How about get rid of the corn! Or maybe I should at least move my corn?
Some of us are very much needing to acknowledge within ourselves that we are not going to be able to "have corn in our garage" and keep away the critters! Yet many of us insist on keeping the corn in the garage, so thus we are constantly and consistently "set up" for the problems...the meltdowns...the explosions, the “falling away” and the running from church to church... to occur and reoccur, again and again. So what is the "corn" for you in the personal application of this metaphor?
How many of us handle the problem this way: we'll say..."you know....I just need a new garage!"
So we get rid of the old garage, build a new one, and guess what? The problem starts all over again in the new garage! We then think it is the "location." It is my current "state of living"...my "present church"...my "present job, spouse, friends, etc." We think we need to change these things instead of acknowledging I need to get rid of the "corn." I must come to the truth of the situation. It's not the mice...they are just doing what mice do naturally. The problem isn't the garage either. The problem is you! And the problem is your thinking and refusal to see the truth. Everyone one else would just get rid of the corn, but not you! You believe that you can make this stop happening by your own efforts. This is the 'power of the lie."
You see, spiritual warfare is not just a matter of suiting up and learning some spiritual 'kung fu' moves. It's frankly not that exotic! It is much more a matter of the correct weapon at the correct time. An order to your life, a watchfulness, a repentive heart and lifestyle...an alert mind and discerning Spirit, and clear communication with the General.
Spies are used against us in different ways.
One, is the fella that knows clearly what he is doing. He or she is coming amongst us as an overt wolf to seek weakness and ambiguity in our midst for which to carry back to his side to then use to exploit and capitalize upon. Often all of that is for the "private army" that he is trying to establish. He is not a real soldier, but rather a "mercenary." A "soldier-for-hire." He works for whoever and whatever will advance his own personal agenda and advancement!
The second individual is the person who is the "patsy." He or she is used merely as expendable cannon fodder for Satan. He or she doesn't understand...doesn't realize that he or she is just being used by the enemy. He could be young in a chronological or spiritual way...ignorant of Satan's ways and therefore easily manipulated. He too is used to carry information out like the first fella...albeit his info is generally mislabeled and only half of the total picture. It becomes the stuff of slander, and misinformation. Innuendo and gossip. Such a person can even gain information to do this without ever even entering the church building, attending a service, or even talking to you! Welcome to the digital age! Satan and his followers love to watch your facebook page. They love emails and social media!
Lastly is the person...the spy, who is operating in another spiritual dimension than the rest of the group. He or she has “secrets.” Another life during the week away from church. Perhaps there resides a bitter or evil heart, a personal agenda or a self-serving motive. He or she hangs out with you, attempts to act like you and of course participates in all the activities. They will make every attempt to look like they are “with you” ...they will take part in prayer and will join you for communion. They will serve beside you, and “break bread” with you. Yet these folks provide a weird “funk” in the dynamic of a group that is rarely pinpointed or even totally grasped and acknowledged until the person is final gone, and everyone suddenly breathes easier and feels inexplicably that a weight has been removed from the room!
This effective enemy does not have to be an overt "divider' to do damage. He or she does not have to be an obvious wolf to wreak havoc. Just having someone around who is in sin or 'assisting the other side' or not altogether 'on board' and part of the team can cause problems! Remember Joshua and Achan at the battle of Ai?
Again, these folks are not always aware that they are detrimental...that they are effectively aiding the enemy! But because they are not truly born again or because they are not really spirit filled, alot can happen without them even knowing what they are doing!
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-40 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. "But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. "So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ "He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ "But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."... Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
Matthew 15:10-13 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear and understand: "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted."
We avoid these scenarios by keeping our eyes on the frontline.
Firstly, when we are truly aware that we are at war, we are apt to be more attentive to do exactly what the general says. We don't try to "interpret" what he says, but rather we make sure we clearly understand want he wants and then we seek to execute those commands as succinctly and absolutely as possible once we engage the enemy. This is where that "truth" aspect comes in! What is on the table must be absolutely clear and succinct. No room for "interpretation" or skewed by emotion or bias. As Christians we don't "re-interpret" the generals orders when we get out there in the field of battle based upon our feelings or our take on the situation! We are 'privates'...we don't dictate objectives, methods or policies. So the place to start, is we must first know exactly what the general is saying, and exactly what he wants from us. This is where the attention to the "front line" comes in. It's our personal devotional, prayer and study life! Without these elements firmly and regularly in place, we won't know what to do, and we are dead for sure out there on the battle field! We must be constant, faithful, and consistent.
Secondly, we are called to 'stay in the squadron.' Being part of a group... in our case as a living and dynamic community of believers, is absolutely critical. Satan's goal is to ISOLATE. It is simply the premise of "divide and conquer." If he can manage to get you separated from the rest of the troops, you will be without communication and direction, and you are ‘going down.’
I cannot overstate this fact! For this is one of Satan's greatest methodologies. There are no "Rambo's" in the Christian faith! The whole of the New testament teaches and operates within the overt realm of the group dynamic...that's why God has established the local church. It is unconditional and there is no room to argue that fact! You are only a part of the body of Christ. If you go it alone, you are without all the other parts, and they are without you. You must never get separated from the other troops or you are certainly finished! A real soldier knows this. He will do all he can to keep from being separated from his squad. That's because he knows it is a matter of life and death, but sadly, we generally don't accept this fact. The idea of it, is an affront to our pride and sense of independence!
Back in verse 10, we are encouraged to "...be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." So we have been given access to a 'divine power.' This power is made available to us in a very intimate fashion, in our "filling" by the Holy Spirit of God. Through salvation and re-birth, we are now inexplicably 'linked' to the work...as well as the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In that fact, we are given admittance to his presence and thus His strength to do battle with the ' dark side.'
Thirdly, we must move to be absolute in our carrying out of His directives exactly as given when we are in the heat of the battle. Again, this must be done before we get to the battle, because at that point we must have a clear resolve that we will execute the generals orders exactly as they were given. We cannot deviate from the plan and expect that all will be ok. We don't make up our own minds when we are out there. We don't rewrite the orders according to the perceived situation. We don't have the “Intel”! Only the general has that. If we are not so clearly absolute on this, in the crisis and intensity of the moments of battle, we will take matters into our own hands and we will spiritually 'die' with nothing to show for it but our misguided pride. And we can get our mates hurt or killed in the process too!
(...to be continued!)