As believers, what we do with the walls of hostility is critical to our spiritual well-being and those around us. People need to see individuals who are willing to break down those walls and shift the atmosphere around them. How are we going to demonstrate the heart of God to a lost world if we continue to have walls of hostility in our lives!? …
Most of us have erected walls of hostility at some point in our lives and have kept others at a distance. We may have erected those walls to keep family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or church members at a distance. Some of us may still have walls of hostility against some people. For many years, Esau and Jacob had a wall of hostility between them, but there came a time that they had to deal with it and tear down the wall. …
The book of Jonah tells us a story of an unwilling prophet who attempted to run from the presence of the Lord and disobey God’s assignment. However, Jonah was not successful in his effort, and as a matter of fact, he put others’ lives in danger because of his disobedience! Jonah had to face the fact that it was God’s will for him to go to a people group he didn’t like and warn them about the upcoming judgment. We can have similar attitude to Jonah when it comes to some people. …
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 1Timothy 1:18-19a (KJV)
Mightest (According to Strong’s Dictionary): to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle, (spoken of a commander).
Paul told Timothy that he should wage a mightest war with the prophecies spoken over him. Paul saw Timothy not only as a spiritual son but also as a fellow soldier in the army of God! Paul’s instruction to Timothy shows clearly that some of the prophesies were not going to be fulfilled unless Timothy was willing to fight the spiritual fight!
When the Lord speaks to His people, it is generally two-fold. He speaks about the person or people’s lives, but it is also about His Kingdom purpose in their lives. Similarly, the prophesies over Timothy would not only have been about his personal life, but they also would have been about God’s purpose in his life, his role in the Kingdom of God, and how the Lord saw Him in the spirit. As Timothy fought for the fulfillment of those prophesies, he was also fighting for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth!
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12
Jesus told his disciples that they needed to possess God’s Kingdom by fighting in the spirit. This is not a carnal fight, and we cannot fight it with our natural strength! Our authority to fight the battle in the spirit realm is because we know we are God’s children, redeemed, and bought with the precious blood of the lamb. We belong to the Kingdom of God, and we have been authorized by God to fight the good fight. This fight is about standing secure and settled in our identity in Christ!
When we fight, we are fighting with faith and hope in the unchanging character of God. Jesus won the victory over every form of darkness, evil, sin, and principalities. Therefore, we fight the good fight by declaring that we want God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven!
Are you aware that you will have to fight the good fight to see God’s purpose fulfilled? How do you engage in this fight?
I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.
Being a Christian does not exempt us from being offended. On the contrary, it may even give us more opportunities to get offended than before. Generally, we seem to get more offended with our brothers and sisters in Christ than with the world. To some degree that is understandable. We’re the ones who are the new creation. We should know better because we read the word of God and should know how to live a life pleasing to the Lord. So when a believer does something that is out of character for a Christian, or they claim to know the truth but their actions don’t bear the same witness, we get offended.
The best thing to do with a personal offense is to follow Matthew 18 instruction in the Bible which describes going directly to the person who has offended us and settle/reconcile the matter. If we are an observer to another person’s offense, we need to remind ourselves that we don’t see/know the whole picture and let go of the offense before it develops into a root of bitterness.
However, there is another form of offense which is more dangerous. Let’s look at the scripture below:
“ And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Matthew 11:2-6
John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ, and he was the one who baptized Jesus. But now that he is in prison, things haven’t turned out the way he thought they should. So He questioned if Jesus was really the one or if they should look for another one.Jesus had to remind John the Baptist of what had transpired in his time of ministry. However, John the Baptist was offended because Jesus did not conform to his ideas of Messiah.
This is the more insidious and dangerous offense than the normal day to day offenses. We hear God speak to us through His word or His spirit. Some may have received a prophecy about their lives, and then we wait and wait and wait a little longer. We wonder what is happening
The same Jesus who was the rock of offense for the Jewish people and even John the Baptist can become a rock of offense to a mature believer. We think we have understood God and we have figured out how He works; and when He doesn’t meet our expectations, we are offended. We’re “too mature” to think that we are offended by God, so we don’t admit it. Instead, we project our disappointment on others and we question their integrity or their leadership.
When we look at the Biblical accounts of men and women who served God, we always find God moving in unexpected ways!! When Jesus heard about Lazarus’s sickness, he waited a couple of more days before going back to Judea to Mary and Martha’s house. By then Lazarus was already dead!! Talk about disappointment!! But Jesus had a more beautiful and powerful plan than what the sisters had envisioned. He brought Lazarus back to life! We cannot box Him in. We can read the Word and walk faithfully with God, however, it doesn’t mean that by doing right we can control God’s actions on our behalf. We do right because it pleases God, but we always have to give Him room to be God and do it the way He knows best even when it doesn’t make sense to us. The scripture says, “… the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate ” (1Corinthians 1:19b NIV).
In our walk of faith there will be times in life that we will not understand things or see things clearly. Sometimes other people’s actions or lack of action will cause great disappointment. That cannot change us. We keep doing the same thing until the Lord’s instruction changes, but we don’t act on an offense. That’s not God, and it can make us go around the same mountain over and over again without gaining spiritual ground!!
Is there any offense in your heart toward God or anyone? Repent and release people from your grip!!
Ultimately this isn’t about your relationship with the people. It has to do with your relationship to the Lord. Speak to Him about your aching heart and let Him heal you.