My last post involved the first step in dealing with our dislike of others. That step was to simply “be quiet” regarding our bad feelings. Our dislike of someone else is no one's business, even if we want to make it their business. We love to talk, specifically about things and people that we don’t care much for. Consequently, when our inner feelings about someone manifests into actual audible words, we begin to do damage to their character and ours. We may not fully realize the amount of damage that can actually be done when we speak poorly of others. We can damage their lives, and we may destroy our own witness in the process. More often than not, our lives, and the lives of others, would be much better if we just talked less...and maybe thought more...in silence.
Assuming we can “hold captive” our words, we still find ourselves with feelings of dislike.
So, what’s the next step?
If we’re disciples of Christ, and we’re praying about how we engage the world in a manner that emulates God’s character and plan, then we must examine what’s on our inside, just under our shiny Christian exterior – and bring it under control.
Let’s look at a verse…
II Corinthians 10:5 – “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”
The context of II Corinthians 10 is spiritual warfare. Have you ever viewed your dislike of someone else as a form of spiritual warfare? If not, now is the time, because that can absolutely be the case. Our minds and our thoughts are the frontline on the battleground of spiritual warfare, and they are often our weakest fortification. How’s your defense looking? Can we take our very thoughts captive to become subservient to God's will for us?
Satan will go to exhaustive degrees to punish our earthly life. If he can establish a small dissension between us and others, he will. The subtle feelings of dislike for another that form in our mind can quickly lead us to develop stronger feelings of dislike, easily being a catalyst for hatred in the long run. Dislike is the seed of hatred; it’s often the seed of gossip and careless words, of which we will be held accountable (Matthew 12:36), and dislike brings severe distraction into our walk with God, making our day to day thoughts about the negative. These can all come about because we’ve carelessly allowed Satan to plant the seeds of dislike into our heart and mind.
I Peter 5: 8-9a – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…”
The instruction of I Peter 5 is directed towards those who “shepherd the flock,” but it’s great instruction for us all, because we all help to shepherd someone…specifically public opinion. Let’s be clear to understand that Satan, in his prowling around us like a lion, with a mind set on devouring, is looking for weak points in our walk with God and our feelings toward others. He only has to catch us distracted for a moment to implant some dislike into our heart, a dislike that is easily watered and ready to grow. When that distraction/weak point is identified, the spiritual warfare begins in earnest. Therefore, we should be determined to know and follow the instruction given us in I Peter 5:8 – to “be sober-minded and watchful,” expecting Satan to act, because we can be assured that he will. And he will act, or attack, our weakest areas. He loves to attack the areas of our life that he knows will easily lead us into bad behavior – behavior that we find easy to justify due to our strong opinions, whether those opinions be right or wrong, Godly or Godless. All he has to find is something that we don't like, or something that our friends don't like. Be careful of your friends opinions, they may also lead you astray. They can be tools of spiritual warfare.
“Sober-minded.” If you’re an alcoholic, it’s best to not surround yourselves with others who like to find the bottom of a bottle of spirits. If you’re prone to dislike (and you probably are), it’s best to not surround yourselves with those who like to talk about their problems and dislikes of others. We can quickly become “drunk’ with negative input regarding others, talking about our dislike of small things, or things that don’t even matter in our life – things we just like to find disagreement with. In this inebriated state, our focus is off the battlefield of spiritual warfare in our own life, and it becomes more concentrated on something damaging to others – "friendly fire," in some cases.
It’s interesting to note that I Peter 5:5b-6 tells us, “…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…”.
This is direction given to those who are younger, in helping them relate to and learn from their elders; consequently, this verse speaks directly to my point. If we walk in humility towards each other, not seeking to, in pride, wage the war of judgement or personal dislike against everyone we have a disagreement with, God will interject grace into our lives (v.5) and exalt us (v.6). I could use a little less negative and a lot more grace in my life, how about you?
There are many people we will encounter in our lives who do bad things that are dislikable. Some of those things may bring hardship to us, but many of these things aren’t even “bad”…we just don’t care for them, even though they have nothing to do with us at all. They don’t alter our life in any way; they are not sinful, and they don’t hurt anyone – but, because we don’t like them, we choose to make them a part of our life through our thoughts. It’s often just a control issue. We can’t expect to control everyone to fit into a mold that brings us comfort. We’ve not been allotted that kind of authority. Our attempts to claim that authority leads to further distraction, making us very weak on the battlefield of spiritual warfare.
We should be careful to examine the real reasons why we dislike someone, and we should caution ourselves to not be reactionary, but responsive, because our dislike may be fueled by the simple, but very real, reality of spiritual warfare. Examine every thought for origin and worth. Is it from God? Is it justifiable under the shadow of Scripture? Or, is it grounded in our sin nature? If it's grounded in our own personal opinions of right and wrong, or like and dislike, devoid of Scriptural foundation, then it's probably being fed by Satan through spiritual warfare. When you realize that, know that you're in the battle.
When feelings of dislike arise, first, don’t speak them. Second, examine the nature and cause of the dislike. Do your issues of dislike involve you directly? Is it something that brings physical hardship to you, or is it more a matter of your opinion being challenged? Like I said in my last post, we’re not always right. Satan uses our desire to always be correct as motivation for bad feelings, and often "bad talking."
Our mind is a battlefield. Guard it, specifically from feelings of disdain towards others. We’re called to live in peace, and peace with others begins in our own mind and heart.
Romans 12:14-18 says, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Step #1 - Stop talking!
Step #2 - Don’t lose the battle of spiritual warfare!
We'll continue soon!
God Bless, friends!
My previous blog post, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” elicited quite a few responses.
The biggest questions seemed to be directed at how to deal with those people you just
can’t be friends with? What do you do as Christian when you realize there are people
in your life that you just don’t like? How do you reconcile your feelings, when Scripture
tells us to love everyone? This is a hard subject. I like hard subjects, because they make
me think about how to apply the truth of Scripture to my own life when my feelings fail to
naturally emulate God’s commands. I'll discuss these in a series of upcoming posts,
because it's an important subject to examine.
So, let’s talk about it...
As a Christian who struggles to meet almost any of the standards that I feel God has laid before me, let me go ahead and admit that there are people that I just really don’t like. I’m not talking about politicians, news commentators, sports figures, or delusional third world dictators. Sadly, I’m talking about people that I know – people who are in my life everyday. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. Be careful not to judge my honesty to harshly, fellow Christian, because it’s the truth in your life, as well. So what do we do when we find this dislike emerge from our heart for another?
A really good initial step is to simply be quiet, and be very quiet...very quickly!
I would say this first step should be taken before any other, lest our own witness and character be destroyed before we allow God to change our hearts. Sometimes the best action is found in closing a mouth that contains a sinful tongue…an instrument capable of great harm.
Proverbs 18:21 warns us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
It’s easy for anyone to develop a distaste for another, and it should be very hard to admit that distaste/dislike in public, but it’s not – is it? For a Christian who should be loving the world around them (John 15:12), we should be very quick to “hold our tongue” in the propagation of our own unChristlikeness toward another. Be aware our opinions of someone else will assist in the formation of the opinion others will hold of them. And, therein, we find a HUGE problem, because we don’t prefer our personal feelings of dislike to go unaccompanied. They get lonely. Instead, we prefer to develop allies for the cause. Allies bring justification to our own bad feelings, and it’s always easier when “no one else likes them either.” We like to be judge and jury, specifically of the public discourse…but we should be extremely careful as we seek to spread the newest "bad word" about others...
Luke 6:37 tells us, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven…”
We have a responsibility to not blur the lines of someone’s character just because we may not like them. If we know they’re a thief, or a murderer, then we should speak up, but we should be very careful to not malign another simply because we have a dislike for who they are. Remember, we're not perfect, despite the very high regard we have for ourselves. We'll discuss this more in later posts on this topic.
Jesus experienced these personal and malicious attacks when dealing with the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were quick to publicly voice their dislike of Christ and the way He chose to live His life. They lived for moments where they could diminish His character and make Him look small to the world around Him. They were bullies in fine clothing, and they assumed they were speaking from a point of authority. Jesus just made them look foolish. We should be careful when we speak negatively about others in public; the character being diminished may be that of our own. As we read these accounts in Scripture, it should put a bad taste in our mouth for this type of behavior, but it doesn’t always.
When we dislike someone, it’s always the first and best step to keep that opinion to ourselves.
Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
James 4:11-12 – “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Matthew 5:22 – “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
So, the first step, the best first step…just be quiet as a lamb. In our silence, we will preserve our own character and not sin against another. The world doesn't need our opinion; the world needs to see Jesus in us.
Pray for the ability to control your tongue, even when you have a captive audience awaiting your slanderous thoughts on someone you don’t like…because that’s what they are, right...slanderous? It sounds bad, but let’s be sure to put our “bad” words, spoken toward another, into the correct perspective. We're all guilty, and we could all benefit from some Christlike moments of silence.
Just a couple of questions before we end Part I...
1. When you don't like someone else, does everyone around you know it?
If this is the case, beware. You've already compromised your character and witness, so it's now time for the damage assessment and repair. Again, the first step is to just stop talking...specifically about others. Our opinions are not always necessary...frankly, unless we're asked, they are normally not necessary at all, and seldom are they really appreciated. Keep your negativity to yourself.
2. Do people come to you with an expectation of receiving your bad opinion on everyone else?
If this is the case, congratulations...you're a leader! You're just not the leader you may think you are. People will always seek out some drama and negativity. The human race seems to love the allure of some hurtful gossip. It's as if we "like to dislike." Don't be the leader of that. Don't do or say things that cause your brother to stumble.
Romans 14:13 – "Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother."
3. How often do you have to talk silently (to those who will listen) to hide your mean-spirited conversation from others?
If you can't say it aloud, for everyone to hear, then it's probably best left unsaid. I'm so guilty of this, myself. When you find yourself huddled in a corner, speaking in hushed tones, your conversation is probably beneath your calling. Again, stop talking.
I wish I could say that I don’t struggle with these thing, but I do. Most do, but that doesn’t make it right. So, the first step...bridle the tongue. It may be like trying to wrestle a bear to the ground and hold him there, but it's a fight well worth your time.
I wish you God’s best for your day! I’ll continue this post soon…
We all remember the show “Friends.” If you’ve been living a in bubble, and you’ve never seen it, you might also be shocked to learn that we’ve landed on the moon, smoking is now bad for you, and Star Wars has more episodes.
Friends was a funny show about – well, it was about friends. I would say they were real friends who argued and had disagreements, but they were always friends. They may have experienced some problems that separated the group from time to time, but, for the most part, they always seemed to end the show with their relationships intact. Wouldn’t it be great if our own lives could mimic that kind of friendly cohesion? But often, our lives fall way short of that fictitiously high sitcom standard, and we find our friendships divided among quarrels that can be senseless and petty.
I think of the Bible narrative of Abram and Lot in Genesis 13. These two men held a relationship that should have been even closer than friends, for they were related. Abram was Lot’s uncle. Yet, they had a problem develop between them. Oddly enough, the problem wasn’t even between Abram and Lot; it was between their respective herdsman.
God had blessed both men with great possessions that included livestock and men who watched after their herds. These possessions were so great between the two of them that the land “between Bethel and Ai” (Genesis 13:3) couldn’t contain them both. So, their herdsmen began to argue.
God had a plan for this, and Abram and Lot parted ways to keep their own relationship intact, because, as Abram pointed out in verse 8, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.” It’s nice to see a levelheaded suggestion prevail. And so, Abram and Lot parted ways because of the disagreement of others.
What happens when we have a disagreement with our friends? Or, what happens when our friends have disagreements with our other friends? I guess, at that point, it’s just time to take sides and develop an effective strategy to destroy the “friends of our friends” that we like the least…maybe those that don’t go to church with us? Or, for even more intriguing drama…those that do! Yeah, that will make Sunday School more comfortable; moreover, it will really bolster our witness! Wait, on second thought, that is a bad idea. Let’s reset.
Three quick thoughts regarding a “much better” idea from the life of Abram…
Make Peace, Not Confrontation, the Priority
Peace is important. We shouldn’t be “peacekeepers,” meaning someone that is trying to always facilitate calm waters, even in the midst of bad behavior. Sometimes peace needs to be broken for “just and right” to prevail; however, we should strive to be “peacemakers,” or people who are seeking a peaceful and right resolution in the midst of conflict.
Abram, as Lot’s uncle, could have told Lot to take his livestock, and his argumentative herdsmen, and head out of town…but he didn’t, did he? Abram took the road of peace, acknowledging that their relationship was more important than the conflict between their herdsmen. He used gentle words, patience, and mature reasoning. Abram’s words were meant to deescalate the intensity of the moment, in the search for a peaceful and amicable solution.
Abram became the epitome of Hebrews 12:14, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” This “peacemaker” mentality is a characteristic shown by those who truly have a relationship with Jesus, and these “peacemakers” will be blessed and outwardly identified as “sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Drain the Situation of Any Attempt for Personal Gain/Victory and Fill It with Humility
Abraham did not use this situation as an excuse to profit because of conflict; instead, he actually received the short end of the deal. He gave Lot the choice to pick the land he wanted, and Lot, in typical human fashion…”lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord…So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east” (Genesis 13:10-11). Lot really didn’t do anything wrong here, because Abram gave him the first choice, and he chose. Instead of focusing on what may be a manifestation of greed in Lot, let’s focus on what is absolutely a manifestation of selflessness in Abram. Clearly, Abram is living out the call of Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Someone told me once that “in every tragedy, someone profits.” That’s probably true, but at what expense? Scripture tells us to do nothing that would purposely lead to profit from our selfish ambition and conceit. Could that also include the “profit” of simply winning the argument in order to make your opponent look bad in front of others? I think that is certainly a meaning that can be applied to this passage of Scripture, specifically in this situation. That’s a tough one for me personally, specifically when those you’re in a disagreement with take the low road of name calling, gossip, and character assassination…all over what is normally only a small matter. Jesus says to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39). I have to remind myself of that verse often, lest my flesh nature fall out and rupture something important…like my character and witness.
Trust God to Honor the Decisions You Purposely Make that Line Up with His Instruction
Colossians 3:17 simply says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Notice the lack of addenda in that verse that stipulates it’s OK to act in a reprehensible manner when the people you’re dealing with are behaving like “evil off the chain.” Nope, it doesn’t interject that thought anywhere. That verse doesn’t even give permission to deal more harshly with bad behavior in relatives, either. Hiding your crazy inside the family isn’t permissible. Instead, it just plainly states to do everything in the name of Lord…and to give thanks for it…on purpose.
This was what Abram did, and God rewarded him. Abram simply chose to take the road of peace, humbly offered Lot the land of his choice, and then packed up his RV and headed to Canaan. (Full disclosure for you theologians, there may not have been an actual RV).
The end of this narrative is God telling Abram this…“Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17).
What’s interesting is when this promise to Abram was made. The beginning of verse 14 tells us, “The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him…”. In this particular instance, God didn’t make this promise to Abram beforehand (although God had previously promised to make him into a great nation); instead, God made it after Lot had left the building with all the good stuff...the prime land and well-watered valleys.
How often would we like God to cushion our obedience with promises beforehand? (Well, frankly, He does. His promises for us can all be found in Scripture, but that’s another blog.) But, wouldn’t we like God to tell us where He’ll be taking us a result of our choosing to be Christlike BEFORE we humble our flesh nature into actually being Christlike? That would fabulous, but it's not how God always choses to conduct His business in our life.
The solution is to read Scripture. Interact with God through His Word, and daily communicate with Him through prayer. His promises will be revealed, and your faith will grow. Obedience and sacrifice will become easier, and you will begin to understand the great love that God has for you and for others…even those who strain our ability to behave as “sons of God.” It will become easier to allow yourself to be second, to turn the other cheek, and to give up what you think you want for what God knows you really need.
So the life of Abram, even early in the book of Genesis, reveals a man who not only honored God, but honored friendship, family, and peace. There can’t always be peace, but there can always be a Godly effort put forth to make peace. That effort normally begins when we make a purposed decision to place others ahead of ourselves. Don’t assume that effort will be made by anyone but you. Accept that hypothesis, and be quick to show your Christlikeness first. Be ahead of the curve, and God will honor your efforts.
Anyone who knows me would certainly understand that I love good music. Music has been a foundational aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. My mind is an extensive library of songs, old and new, and that library seems to never reach a point of overload. Much of the music that is stored forever in my mind is sung by my wonderful friend, Janet Paschal.
Early last year, I invited Janet to Rainsville First to sing at Christmas. The previous year, in 2018, we had set up a concert date which ultimately fell through, because North Carolina was covered in snow. In December 2019, she made it! The concert was beautiful, and it was great to see Janet again. It was also wonderful to meet Kay, Janet’s sister, and John, her pilot…who also serves faithfully as her loving husband. I had never met John, but I will assure you that we became quick friends. He said he would let me fly his plane. John was a Senior Captain for United Airlines who flew 747's...my expectations on the plane are high!
Following the concert, we spent a few hours talking over dinner. Well, John and I were talking. As the “think-tank”, John and I solved more than a few world problems that evening. I’m not sure what everyone else did. John and I assumed they talked too, but who knows? It was a great evening with wonderful friends. We laughed, reminisced, and thoroughly enjoyed our time together.
As Janet sang through her program earlier that night, I began to recall her decades of spectacular music that has graced the lives of so many. Songs like, One Rock, Written in Red, If I’d Had My Way, God Will Make A Way…and so many more. My eyes teared up a little as I thought about how these songs integrated themselves, not just into my heart, but into my own ministry, as well. Many of Janet’s greatest hits were sang by me at churches across the southeast in the early years of my own ministry. Those songs helped to form my mindset of how wonderful God actually was and His great love for me. And, those same songs, slowly and methodically, taught me the power of one voice willing to be used by God.
We all have a voice. Some of us use that voice behind a microphone, accompanied by music, to sing to others of the wonderful message of Jesus. Many would preach or teach. Whether you have a voice that reaches many, or a voice that reaches only a few, you still have a voice. Everyone’s voice has the capacity to reach someone. What does your voice say to the world around you? If, more often than not, it’s full of gossip, opinion and complaining, then you’re probably not saying much of worth. If it’s full of compassion, grace, and love, then you may be saying more than you even realize. Using our voice is a privilege. Whether speaking or singing, our voices are created to bring glory and recognition to God. We carry a powerful message!
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” – II Corinthians 5:20. (ESV)
Have you ever stopped to really understand what that verse is actually saying? God has chosen us to carry His message to the world! He makes His appeal, His holy and righteous appeal, through our lives and our voices. What an incredible privilege to be found worthy to pass along that powerful and life-changing message. Do you view yourself as an ambassador of Christ? You should, because you are! If you do, you’ll understand the importance of your voice and the message it speaks forth.
Our minds, hearts, body, and voice are designed by a loving God to be used as ambassadors for Christ to a world in great need. That great need is Jesus. I’ve often heard it said that we may be the only “Jesus” someone will ever meet…meaning, we may be the only person who takes the time to speak the love of Christ into someone’s life. You know, we don’t meet anyone by chance. Every person crosses our path for a purpose, even when the point that “path-crossing” occurs happens as they carelessly run a red light and almost plow into the side of your car. At that moment, how you choose to use the voice that God gave you might be instrumental in their life. Know that it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to either be screaming mad and obnoxious or to “be Jesus.” What will you leave as the legacy of that spoken moment? It matters.
We’re still in the opening week of a brand new year, and this is a great time to evaluate our own voice and examine what it’s speaking to the world around us. It’s hard to always be nice to a world that may seldom extend any nicety to us, but it’s not harder than Jesus dying on a cross for the very people who nailed Him to it. Our ability to speak Jesus into our world is not dictated by our circumstances...it's chosen by the depth of our walk with the Lord. Regardless of what may be occurring at any given moment, choose to use your voice to "speak Jesus."
I thank God for Janet and her voice. I’m thankful that it’s always quick to speak and sing about the love of God. I pray my own voice would be tempered by her example, and I pray my future words might be evaluated under the light of Christ abiding within me…and those words be found worthy of the ambassadorship God has called me to.
“And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
– Revelation 14:7
The great English preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, “The present age is so flippant that if a man loves the Savior, he is a fanatic, and if he hates the powers of evil, he is a bigot.” That quote would have emerged from his lips in the mid 1800’s, referencing an opinion that society held, even then, regarding true followers of Christ…”fanatical bigots.” It was a prevailing thought in the 1800’s, and it continues to be a prevailing thought to this very day.
Spurgeon’s quote is reflective of several promises in Scripture, and I’m not referring to “feel good” promises; I’m referring to the promise of some harsh criticism and ill-intent towards those who outwardly live a life that seeks to glorify God.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” – John 15:18-20 (ESV)
What does 2020 hold for you and your relationship with a sinful world? Let me encourage you to hope and pray that your walk with God is so strong that the new year will hold some harsh criticism (and even hatred) of you by a world that sees you making a difference for Christ.
Now, that doesn’t sound right, does it? Why would we hope for criticism, hatred, or even persecution? Here’s why: It’s proof that our life is showing the outward signs of the Lordship of Christ, and therefore, it’s boldly challenging the normalization of evil in our world. There will always be evil in this life, and thus, our own lives should always stand in stark contrast to that evil. So, until the Lord returns, if we are living for Christ, we can expect some problems. Frankly, instead of fearing those problems, we should revel in them.
Instead of praying that this new year holds only calm waters, agreeable peers, and great personal prosperity, would it be so odd for a serious child of God to pray that their life is at least a tad disruptive to Satan’s agenda, disruptive enough to possibly see some consequences from the opposition? Remember, if we’re not receiving opposition from the world regarding our faith, it’s probably because our faith isn’t making a difference in the world.
Do we long for that type of walk with God? Do we have the faith to pray for God to use us even if it means we will have to stand against a world full of angry people (many who identify as Christians) coming against us? I guarantee you that very few people who read this will start praying for a walk with God that produces friction, criticism, or problems of any kind, but very few people will choose to live a life that brings any challenge to the comforts of Satan’s agenda in this present age.
Let 2020 be a great year of building your walk with God, increasing your faith, and living a life that is constantly disruptive to Satan’s plans. Let people say what they will. We’re not present on this earth to please people. Expect some criticism, and walk through it empowered by a much greater vision…a vision of pleasing God by living a life in stark contrast to the world. Trust me, if you truly intend on following God, you will not please the world. Honestly, you won’t even please many of those at your church. They may think you to be crazy, fanatical, or even bigoted. In the context of this post, love the Savior, hate evil, and be the fanatical bigot!
I wish you a wonderful New Year! I hope it’s a year of happiness, health, wonderful relationships, growth in Christ, and immense disruption of Satan. If it is, expect some problems. Greet them with a smile, because your God is greater than the war that rages against Him! Live 2020 in victory, my friends!
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!