“The gloves are coming off. I’ve had it up to here. Every time I turn around you’re at it again. If that’s how you want to play the game, I can play it too. If you want to be nasty – then we’ll see who wins! I’m no pushover. I’m not naive. I know what you’re up to and I won’t let you get away with it!”
Would a Christian ever talk that way? Maybe not; but, then again, maybe. For sure, we can think that way, even if the words never work their way out of our heart into the domain and morass of discernible sounds. You don’t have to audibly announce that you are launching a fight. Actions alone are very convincing.
As a believer, you’ll find that not all relationships are lovey-dovey. There will be personality conflicts and a wide variety of attitudes to deal with. There will be differing opinions on just about everything. There will be misunderstandings. Some will play annoying games. Occasionally, there will be false accusations and even vicious rumors spread. Yes – it happens in Christian circles too.
- You can use the feline approach – soft furry paws with hidden sharp claws, or
- You can use the canine technique of angry barks and sharp fangs, or
- If you really want to get nasty, you can engage in UFC fighting.
The Apostle Paul was under fire. False teachers were attacking his credentials, character, motives and teachings. They were trying to turn the tide of opinion against Paul. Here’s how Paul responded to the believers in Corinth:
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ— For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2Corinthians 10:1-6
Paul never ignored or turned a blind eye to the underlying agitating issues. The issues were real; they were not a figment of his imagination, stemming from a bad case of paranoia. But, here’s where many of us fail: Paul realized his greatest strength to counter the opposition was not his own ‘smarts’.
Paul was not pondering and calculating and plotting his next line of attack to squash or annihilate his detractors. He knew his God. He could take the entire matter, with all its complexities, to the very Throne of God and leave it there. He was aware of a dark sinister power behind the scenes, waging a war ultimately against God – not himself. Paul made sure he was fully protected with all the defensive and offensive equipment of Ephesians 6 which, by the way, is also available to you today.
Are you exhibiting the meekness and gentleness of Christ? Or, are you all bent out of shape over an issue? Are you stubbornly determined to win this battle by hook or by crook? Forget it. You won’t.
Take the matter to the Lord and leave it with Him. If He should choose to use you in some future way to help resolve the matter, the Spirit of God will direct you accordingly. But never try to fight a battle on your own strength. You will lose every time and lose badly.
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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