Deception 68: The enemy
...we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12
The Bible teaches that we Christians are in a warfare down here (ref. 2 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Timothy 1:8). We have an enemy, the devil, who seeks to destroy us. He cometh not forth but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. If he can get away with it, he will lay the axe unto the root of your tree--he will even deny who you are and the validity of your ministry. This recently happened to me. He will often accomplish this through an inside job, through somebody that you know. Don't let him do it. Don't listen to his suggestions and his innuendo. He is crafty and subtil (he even provoked David. We mustn't listen to his suggestions lest we find ourselves doing his bidding). What came to me yesterday was something like this, "Don't let him cut you off from your ministry, rather you cut him off by resisting him and by letting his agents alone."
I have found that people will chase you down persecuting you under the guise of "helping" you--like the parents that always have a snide remark for their homeschooling son or daughter because they don't believe in homeschooling. I believe that these people oftentimes really think that they are right. They are on a mission to save us from ourselves and from harming others with our beliefs. In looking back at my life, I see that I endured those sorts of people for a very long time, but the time came when I had to let those relationships go. "Let the dead bury their dead," was one of the scriptures that came to me during that time.
*** Laying in Wait ***
The tempter is laying in wait for us, to bring us down. We need to stay in position--reading God's word, praying, obeying, and striving to enter in at that strait gate (for many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able). And then when the tempter sends those crashing, breaking waves at us, our houses will stand.
*** Lingering ***
Certain people act like that woman in Acts 16:16-18 who had a spirit of divination. She kept following Paul and his company around and crying after them. She did this for many days. Then Paul, being grieved, cast out the spirit. These people that I am trying to describe keep on coming around you and calling you, but in this case, they use their words to crush and bruise you--and they don't listen to you when you speak. They have to have the floor at all times and are not listening when they don't have it. They have decided that they are right and that nothing that you say is right. They have a message that must be delivered to you--and they will never stop delivering it until you respond to that message by doing what they say. You won't do it, so they keep on delivering it. I have found this to be grievous in my life. They will take up all of the time that you allow them to (and even when the conversation is over, you have those grievous words taunting you in your mind). While you are listening to their erroneous, unfruitful (and often hurtful) words, other things that you could be doing are not getting done.
*** A Time to Move On ***
The Bible gives us rules for dealing with people. There is a time to everything--including a time when one is commanded to move on from a relationship. Here are a few such examples--Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Luke 9:60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
In the course of our walk, we are going to come across individuals that are not gathering with us, but rather scattering. They are not helping, they are hindering. If we are to continue forward in strength, we have to go forward without them lest we find that their interruptions become like a ball and chain on our time, our minds, and our resources, slowing us down to almost a dead standstill. (If we are not careful, we can find ourselves doing this to others. Walking around with an unrestrained self-life will do it.) Some people can become like a canker that eats away at our souls, gnawing at us (whenever they get the chance to) because they believe differently than we do. They will not listen to our strong reasons for our beliefs but are intent on destroying our beliefs, I therefore let them go. After the accuser is gone, there is peace. In too many cases, I waited far too long for the breaking of such relationships and therefore had to endure much unnecessary grief and shame.
Sometimes we meet with professed Christians who are not going in the same direction that we are. They tell us that they think that their path is better. If what they are saying is true, we make adjustments. But if it is not, we maintain position. Unfortunately, some of these people will not hear your strong reasons for why you believe as you do and will continue to want to dislodge you from your position. Their words are like arrows penetrating deep into the flesh, leaving one ill-at-ease. If unstopped, this can go on for years. But once one leaves them alone, the arrows will cease and the wounds can heal over. When I was in the visible church system, I used to say, "You have to learn how to take a bullet in the chest and keep on going."