Have you ever been minding your own business and then BAM! Out of nowhere, an ugly attack launched at your character, your integrity and your works has hit you like a heat-seeking missle? Perhaps it’s even been at the command of someone who claims they are a Christian?
How do you remain who you are called to be, continue doing what you are called to do and still love in the midst of belligerence?
Mull this over:
1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. NIV
1 John 3:9-10 People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test. The Message
Well now….That’s pretty straight forward and simple, huh? Those are YOUR instructions. But is it that easy? No. Doable? Yes. How?
In chapter 2 of Philippians, Paul makes it clear that if we are of Christ, unified with him, we are to be encouraged! That love is to COMFORT us. He says we are to fellowship in the unity of that love and that it brings pure joy. And that we have the ability to share it. In verses 3-8 he gives us clear instruction. (Please dig in this scripture for yourself. Study those notations and scripture references. This passage will change your trouble-shooting thought process when you feel the need to “defend” and become standard for how you operate in your daily interactions.)
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Here’s A BREAKDOWN of those scriptural instructions to follow:
- Question the motives of YOUR actions. Are you trying to harm someone? Make them seem “less” because you find their existence blocking your joy? Are they an imagined rival that you have spent too much thought and time and energy on? If yes, then DON’T do it! Time spent on an “enemy” is time wasted anyway! You CAN’T get time back! (James 1:2 Consider it pure *JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the *TESTING OF YOUR FAITH produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work…)
- Question if your motives are out of conceit or fullness of yourself because you feel more deserving of the audience than the target (the attacker) of your words and actions? If they are… DON’T do it!
- Instead…Be humble. Put others before yourself. Even those you can’t stand. Either put blinders on and ignore the rivalry until your faith is to a place where you can openly show love or show love now. Of course, if they are not of God, you may have no other choice than to seek wise counsel to co-exist. Just remember, the author of this scripture killed Christians. So, you don’t know who God is doing a work in. However, if your target is a brother or sister in Christ, your duty is to see them as such.
- Instead…Serve others. Do this first. BEFORE you serve yourself. Remember Christ washing the feet? Are you any better? No. To love is to serve.
- Instead…Be obedient. Someone taught you it wasn’t cool to hit the kid in your toddler class at daycare, at you holiday dinner or in the nursery at church over the head with the toy you wanted to play with. You learned that was not ok. You had the ability to change from that sinful nature. Learn to LOVE. Ask God for more LOVE. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., ” I have decided to stick to love. Hate is to great a burden to bear.”
I have experienced those tests of my faith where someone questioned my character and integrity. They had slandered me to a broad and even national audience. I felt the strong urge to defend my reputation. I felt fear and anxiety about what would happen to the good works I have been called to do. One thing I’ve learned in my journey of being a daughter of God, fear and anxiety are not sourced from Him. So, I had to dig deep examining my own heart and my own motives in my reaction and response. I had to identify the real enemy.
I have wanted to “go there”. I’ve wanted to “engage”. The Holy Ghost tightened his grip on my shoulder and I backed down. I backed down not because I changed my opinion of the injustice hurled my way. I backed down not because I’m a big sissy. I backed down not because I’ve been defeated. Exactly the opposite. I backed down because God fights my battles. Sometimes he calls us to engage while he leads us forward being our shield bearer, and sometimes he calls us to “stand down” and watch him do work. He called me to stand down. Dang that’s hard to do. A refining moment for me for sure. But a moment of victory over the powers of darkness nonetheless.
In Isaiah 41:10 God says:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Surely, if God is for me, who can be against me?
Dear Heavenly and Mighty Father,
Thank you for taking the yoke of the burden of injustice and insult hurled my way and turning it to benefit your glory. Thank you for changing my heart to reflect yours. I pray for my attackers and that you turn their heart of stone to a heart of flesh. I pray that I someday am able to call them a brother or sister in Christ. Thank you that whether you lead me into battle or you command me to stand down, the results are the same, YOU win! I will ever praise you my Mighty Protector for delivering me to a place to be more effective for the harvest for your Kingdom.
In the name of my Lord and Savior,
The next time you are under attack, your first response should be to hit your knees and pray for God’s guidance. He delivers. He delivers. He delivers.
Be blessed friends and BE A BLESSING!
Straightening my crown,
Jana Kaye Kuhnert