Dear Messianic brothers and sisters,
This letter is as much to me as it is to you, and is offered with love in spirit.
Too often these days, some of us are found to be Christians misbehaving. We’re to be a light in this spiritually ever-darkening world. Examples of the change of heart Messiah Jesus accomplishes in us. We’re to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, blessed peacemakers, humble in spirit, merciful ones to whom mercy will be shown. And one scripture really bites: By their fruit you will know them. Whatever our initial reaction to something or someone may be, what we think next, say or write, or do, reveals what resides in our heart: Fruit of our Lord Jesus—or of the Adversary.
We’re to stand for God, stand against sin and evil, and pray for those who can/might still be saved (only God knows). We’re not to take pleasure in demeaning them. But on “social” sites, and elsewhere, we sometimes behave more like a bad odor that repulses, rather than a pleasing fragrance that invites others to draw near. In one meme or comment, we declare we are followers of a loving, merciful God who set us free not to sin. In the very next, we ridicule, gossip, slam, snark those we disagree or have a grievance with. I confess there are times I come up with oh-so-clever words and phrases that my carnal nature finds hilarious and on-point, and my flesh shouts, “Post that!” or “Email that!” And then I feel Holy Spirit’s conviction. I’m not talking about sharing need-to-know facts or the Word of God. You know what I’m talking about, and it seems a good time for each of us to reread James 3 (all of James, really, and Romans 1) and talk it over with Abba Father. We’ve let pride infect us; that is our virus in this oh-so-biblical time.
A few weeks back I made a note to myself that social sites are carnal weapons of the Adversary and his minions. No matter where on the scale of spiritual maturity we register, too many of us stumble and fall into the temptation as described in Luke 18:9-14 CJB: Also, to some who were relying on their own righteousness and looking down on everyone else, he [Jesus/Yeshua] told this parable: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Parush [Pharisee] and the other a tax-collector. The Parush stood and prayed to himself, ‘O God! I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, immoral, or like this tax-collector! I fast twice a week, I pay tithes on my entire income, . . .’ But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God! Have mercy on me, sinner that I am!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home right with God rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”
God’s Word addresses the need to replace hearts of stone with ones of flesh; that circumcision of the heart is the greater circumcision that affirms our willingness to think, speak, and walk in covenant with our God Who created us. William Gurnall wrote, “Any kind of sin by its very nature hardens the heart…. God’s Holy Spirit stands by the lane, entreating the sinner to leave his sins and come to Him for forgiveness. He can make the heart soft again…. When God removes His restraining power, the devil has a sinner under lock and key. If God leaves your heart hard and unbroken, it is a sad sign He does not intend to sow the seed of grace there. Pray that none of these things will come upon you. And to assure that they do not, be careful not to reject any offers He makes to soften you…. God will harden none, damn none, unless they willfully reject His grace.”
How easy it is to be like the Pharisee on social sites—and anywhere in our lives, actually, especially if/when we feel self-righteous. And as though the memes and comments of the as-yet-still-lost ones don’t grieve Holy Spirit enough, we who are expected by our God (and those watching us, including children) to know and do better as His representatives, join in and grieve Him even more! Example: There’s a meme going around of the current president made up as a transgender female. I don’t know who created it, but it was shared by a Christian with a Christian show who teaches other Christians how to be an example of and promote Christianity. And though I didn’t check, I’m fairly certain Christians responded with whatever emoji appealed to them.
Brothers and sisters, how many people can you count in the above paragraph who need prayer and to repent—perhaps starting with any of us? I’ve posted things, felt self-righteous pride about it, only to have Holy Spirit ask me to consider that post: Did it convey the Heart of Jesus? I’m thankful for Delete options. But some stains aren’t so easily removed.
I hope this also speaks to fellow Christians who promote “love your neighbor” but slam those they disagree with (we are commanded to exhort with meekness); and those who’ve been posting sexual-in-nature memes; and those promoting happy-easy-going-only Christianity, which contradicts the very words of our LORD Jesus. Umm… Houston, I mean, Heaven, we have a problem.
Regarding any president or leader, we’re to be mindful of how David, because Saul was God’s appointed one, treated King Saul who was bent on killing him. God commands us to pray for our leaders. He’s commanded us to do a lot of things too many of us don’t do, like readily forgive those who harm or offend us, and pray for God to forgive and bless them. He prefers we do this rather than assault another verbally or physically, or gossip, or slander others. God does not suggest obedience from us, He commands it: For our good and protection and blessing. If/When any of this is difficult for you, ask Him for grace to help you with this. He’s quite familiar with my knock.
None of this means we remain silent in the face of evil, or accept and approve of sin with some “I’m okay, you’re okay” scripturally incorrect behaviors, much less say that any sin is now okay because it’s been made legal by godless people. God has commands about that as well, but He was clear that we can be angry, but do not sin. Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, too many of us are sinning like the Pharisee.
Here’s something we, as representatives of our Lord Jesus and His soul-saving sacrifice, are obliged to keep in heart and mind regarding the memes we share and comments we make on social sites and elsewhere: “Do you not know what you do when you tempt? I will tell you. You do that which cannot be undone by your own repentance. You contaminate your family and friends with error, and send them rushing to join the devil’s throng. Later, you may see your mistake and turn from your wicked way. But can you force those you have led astray to fight against the press of the worldly crowd to get to Jesus at all cost? You may plead and weep, and prostrate yourself before them. Your heart may break, like Lamech’s, with the weight of your sorrow. But unfortunately their rescue is out of your hands. What a grief to your spirit to see them on the road to hell and know you paid the toll, yet not be able to call them back! Even after you are dead and gone, your sins may be perpetuated in those who are alive, generation after generation.” – William Gurnall
We all stumble; some, like me, in ignorance have caused others to stumble. We’re all sinners who need to repent and mean it. We need to ask God to give us clean hearts and renew in us right, resolute spirits (Psalm 51). We need to ask Him to make us godly men and women so that when those in darkness look in our direction for a way out, they see more of the love of God and what walking in Kingdom looks like. I get it: Some of us, like me, were never taught the way to be a true light of God in the world or a proper warrior for His Kingdom, but we’re in some of those difficult days of tribulation Jesus told us to expect. If we struggle to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves now, what will we do if/when it worsens? Will we really be beacons of light to the lost looking for help and a solid place to land or more like clean-on-the-outside-only bowls?
I suggest that in these dark days, we can be light in the world if we magnify the LORD. I was delighted to hear Jamie Walden speak about this in recent videos and podcasts, because God has had this sacrifice of praise, worship, and thanksgiving on my heart for over a year, reminding me of His mighty works through Jehoshaphat and Joshua at Jericho, and others. As prices increase and food and others supplies decrease, praise and thank God that we are His people and He is our Portion. That greater is He Who is in us than he who is in the world. That His right arm will never grow short. That His grace is sufficient.
God promised to reveal the sins of the leaders to the people, and He’s doing that now. Yes, each reveal stirs strong emotions, but I say let’s thank and praise our God for each reveal and for His faithfulness; and remember: His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. Brothers and sisters, we need to magnify God, rather than the evil and wickedness happening now—and definitely not magnify ourselves—both of which can happen through pride sin. Let us be faithful, even though imperfect, servants of our LORD, not tools of the Adversary. Will we stumble? You bet. Repent, ask for grace to do better, get up, and keep going, with Holy Spirit’s guidance, being more deliberate than before about what fruit we present before our King. And do this every day. Without God’s grace, we’re windbags (or Psalm 103:14 :0).
Abba Father, by Your grace . . .
Cause my soul to magnify You.
Cause my thoughts to magnify You.
Cause my words to magnify You.
Cause my actions to magnify You.
Cause my love to magnify You.
Cause my wisdom to magnify You.
Cause my discernment to magnify You.
Cause my knowledge to magnify You.
Cause my understanding to magnify You.
Cause my trust in You to magnify You.
Cause my reverent love-filled fear and awe of You to magnify You.
Cause my obedience to Your will to be a joy in me that magnifies You.
Cause my rejoicing in You to magnify You.
Cause every moment of my life to magnify You.
In Jesus’ Name, and in thanksgiving and praise, beloved Holy Father.
May God be generous with His grace and mercy upon us. Shalom.
A Few Quick, Inspiring Reads:
“When You Don’t Know What to Do”
“Give Thanks and Be Delivered”
Judith LeBlanc says
Great article. In much simpler words, my grandmother’s advice was right on. She said, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”