(I know I have not been able to post much these past few weeks. When you have been called to write modules, you get the enjoyment of writing for the Lord but get robbed of the time for posting on blogs. Here is one of the posts I have written a few weeks back but was only able to post it today. This was part of a message I delivered a few weeks back.)
The world we live in right now is quite different. The youth today tend to rely more on social media and on their gadgets. It has become their source of entertainment, news, and, sad to say, knowledge. But it is not just the youth. Even the adults, the parents, the grandparents, have come to believe what is being posted on their gadgets. This makes the work of the enemy easier and more varied. There are trends that we follow that do draw us away from God. Misinformation has spread far and wide that it has become difficult to decipher the truth from the lie.
The funny thing is the Christian social media user is never silent about it. Most are even out in the open to criticize information that they see, or share the information that they receive. A lot of our Christian brothers and sisters are very outspoken in their sharing and shaming that sometimes they forget to filter and discern the truth from the lie. Others are also quick to point out the wrongs in an effort to lead others back to Christ. The effort and the intention could be pure. These trends when taken in excess do lead us away from Christ. These false information when believed and shared do lead us away from the truth.
But I am not here to analyze each one because if you do that it would take you eternity and we would lose the focus of our whole lifetime. What I want you to focus now is that there are far worse things that prevent us from focusing on God. There are also far worse things that cause us to lead people away from God. In fact, the enemy’s best weapons are the hidden weapons that are hard to combat. These are the following:
A. An Eye that Criticizes
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
We are all closet hypocrites. Most of us are too quick to point out the mistakes of others. From the grammar to the way they dress, we are too quick to criticize. Much more so when within the bounds of our faith, a lot of us are still criticizing and voicing out the dangers with total disregard of the people who are receiving our criticisms. Sometimes instead of drawing them to realize a hunger for Christ, we push them away.
The enemy uses this to push us further away from Christ. We begin to look at other people’s faults, the worlds’s faults and make us forget that we are also at fault. Our critical eye leads us to belittle others because of their actions, putting us in the spotlight. This is a strategy of the enemy because the more we put ourselves in the spotlight, the dimmer our focus on Christ becomes. By being overly critical instead of overly loving, we become farther away from Christ and push people who want to know Christ farther away.
B. A Heart that Fears
But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Some of us may remember the context of this verse. Jesus and the disciples rode a boat after a long day in their ministry. As they set sail, Jesus must have felt tired from all the preaching so he fell asleep. Suddenly the winds grew strong and the waves began to overwhelm them. The rain poured down and a storm commenced. The disciples were so afraid. They were so helpless that they had to wake up their Master. Jesus said these words to them.
Often times, we focus more on our fears. In the process we forget who we should rely on. The enemy uses our fears to make us lose faith in Christ. One example is that he presses upon us the uncertainty of the future. How long will I have this job? How long will we be financially secure? How long until I find true love? When these questions and more become the focus of our mind, we tend to work more, find more ways to be financially secure, and try our best to find our life partner. This uncertainty of the future tends to make us lose focus on who really loves us and who really cares for us.
C. A Mind that Worries
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
We may remember the story of Mary and Martha. Mary listened to Jesus preach while Martha came hustling and bustling over what to eat and who has not yet eaten. Jesus reminded Martha that she was too troubled over many things.
As Christians, we also have the same worries. Worries tend to be connected with fear. We worry about our food, our money, our position, our status in life, our relationships and many other odds and ends that in essence do not really matter. We sweat the small stuff when the big stuff is ready to give us help. Sad to say even in our services in church we tend to worry. Who will offer the opening prayer? Where are the Sabbath School Participants? Who brought food to the potluck? Our worries are many and the enemy tends to increase it because it puts God out of the focus.
D. A Belly that is full
“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:21
The message of this parable is true until today. The rich man thought it best to make more room for bigger crops so when the big harvest came, he was secure for the future. His belly is full and his barns are full so what more does he need?
This is the problem with most of us, Millennial. We tend to have every comfort and luxury in our fingertips. We have a stable job, a great relationship with friends, and a steady source of income. We attend church once a week. We have everything ready and secure even for our future.There has been a lot of people like this, you or I might even be one. We think that everything is smoothly flowing in our lives, so why do we need God? Why do we need to bother with religion or spirituality? Everything is at our finger tips. Everything is secured.
We do not realize that not everything is money, fame or power. Not everything is at our fingertips and our life is actually empty despite our barns are full. It is easy to put God out of the picture if we have everything we need. This is where the danger lies. Self-sufficiency prevents us from coming to God – even if God is offering more than what we already have. We are drawn away from God by the illusion that we are already fine and OK. We don’t have to go to the foot of the Cross because we are already on our way to a promotion or a raise. We do not need Jesus because we just bought a new house or car. This happens often and the enemy is usually successful.
E. A Body that is lifeless
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. – 1 Corinthians 12:27
1 Corinthians 12 in summary tells us that we have many talents, we have many spiritual gifts, but we ought to move as one body of Christ. Meaning this church is made of many members but represents the body of Jesus.
Now think about how Jesus moved. He moved with love and made sure that the people around Him were healed physically, nurtured emotionally, and mature spiritually. Are we that body? If we will look at the statistics published by the General Conference, a huge percentage more than 70 percent of new converts backslide after a few months. What happened? Is the evangelist at fault? Is it the pastors? Is it the elders? Or maybe the deacons? Instead of playing the blame game which we have done for the longest time, we as brothers and sisters of Christ, we as the body of Jesus must move not just to keep our new converts interested and relevant within the church but to make each church a hub of care, friendship and love in the community. I was once invited to a speak in a school in Muntinlupa. to give a professional seminar about how to handle the children with special needs. I was amazed that the school was not just a school but a church. The church or school was not just a church or school but a community center for children with special needs and for women from the slums. What was more amazing was that the women from the slums do not look like from the slums at all! The founders of the church school saw to it that the women learn not only about Jesus as a church should, but should give them a better outlook in life, a better lifestyle practice and a livelihood for their family. Are we doing that? Are we moving bodies of Christ or are we a paralyzed Jesus Christ?
These and more are the enemy’s hidden weapons. These weapons are so strong they are embedded deep in the person’s heart. The enemy only needs to tap into it and voila, a man is lead away from God.So are we really that hopeless? Are we so full of pride, so caught up in fear and worry, so secure of ourselves and so lifeless that we are hopeless?
I do not believe so. Yet the truth is we cannot do anything about it. We can try to change ourselves but we will go back to old practices. That is the human story. Yet God does all the work for us. He is the one who will mold us and change us the way He sees fit. But this is for another post.