Monday, June 26, 2017

Jealousy's Offspring

Speaking truth brings opposition.
But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said (Acts 13:45 NLT).

Paul and Barnabas were preaching with much success in Antioch.  Almost the whole city turned out to hear them preach.  Concerning the Gospel, success always breeds opposition.  The resistance to truth is conceived in the human heart through jealousy and slander brings it to birth.

There is the inclination in the human heart towards pride.  Vanity seeks to elevate ourselves by denigrating others.  The Jewish leaders resisted Paul and Barnabas not just because of their message, but because of the popularity of their teaching.  The Gospel has a polarizing effect on people.  You either accept it, or you organize yourself against it.  As Christians, we should never be surprised by the reaction to our message. The key question here for believers is, how do we respond to accusations?  We never fight pride with pride.  Our weapons for warfare are mighty, but they are not carnal.  Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NLT).  If we allow the enemy to entice us to fight the conflict on his level, we will always lose.

We don't overcome slander by more slander, which is like fighting fire with fire.  We must respond in the opposite spirit.  When accusations come, we must react with humility, which is strength under control.  Doing so brings credibility to our message. Sometimes our actions speak louder than our words. It is not about winning an argument, but winning a soul. It is possible to win the battle (the argument) and lose the war over the souls of men and women. Jealousy and strife’s offspring, slander, never bring people to Christ.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Staying By The Stuff

An army marches on it's stomach.
....”We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.” (1 Samuel 30:24 NLT)

God's army has essential logistical workers.  People who stay behind the scenes doing everyday activities, without which the army does not march.  As with David, God's reward for his servants is same for those go out to battle and those who stay by the stuff.

Often in the Body of Christ, we have a Christian pecking order.  There are certain functions that we consider more acceptable and therefore more valuable.  These are ones that are usually more visible and recognizable.  God has called us and gifted us according to his will.  We often confuse function and value.  We have equal value in the God’s eyes.  God does not play favorites, yet, he does bestow different rolls on us due to our gifts and callings.  Some jobs have more privileges than others. For instance, I was a school teacher. The administrative team (principals, etc.) had more privileges than I had.  Not because they were better than me, but because they needed more to perform their function.  The fundamental mistake in relation to this discussion is that we try to get our value or identity from what we do for God and not for who we are in God, a child of the King.

For all believers who have back-up rolls in churches, mission organizations, or just in life, the rewards of those you serve, are yours also.  You do not derive your worth from what you do, but you give significance to it because you are a person of value bringing dignity to your task. On that great judgment day, those who have stayed by the stuff and those who haven't, will share and share alike.

Image used with permission by Google.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing