ARE WE FIGHTING THE WRONG BATTLES?
As a citizen of the United States of America I can clearly see the things that are transpiring in our nation. With that in mind, I’d like to begin this lesson by saying this. Often my wife and I will sit and talk about being lonely for things we use to see as common place in our lives. Most of those things have long since passed and will never come back in our lives. For instance, all of our parents have now passed away. Even though we now live in the house I grew up in it is impossible to bring back the things that I can only think about now.
My wife will often speak of childhood events and her family as well. Speaking of a loneliness that cannot be fulfilled in a time when often the places, the people have long since gone. WE have to learn to comfort each other, remembering that now we have the responsibility of creating the same types of memories that we once had in our lives.
In a spiritual sense, do we not often do the very same thing as we look at the very nation we live in? I long for a time once again when I at least think that I can trust and depend on my government. A time when the people in our nation looked at abortion as sin. We see living together, having children out of wedlock as ungodly. We could look at a man or woman and tell exactly, with clarity what they were. A time when our nation, being led by God’s Spirit called the act of sodomy sin and condemned the very of such things.
I long for a time when teachers, the kind of teachers that taught me in grade school set an example of morality and character and expected the children she or he taught to do the very same thing. A time when discipline was mainstream and often used to set an example that others might see the consequences of the lack of discipline in their lives.
I long for a time again when I can sit in any Church and see the preacher preach with a God given power, that with a passion for those people that are lost in a world of sin without a loving, forgiving Savoir. A time when Godly people will not except any less from the man that stands behind the pulpit in their home Church.
A time when the Church in our communities is a pillar of spirituality conviction, the members seek to be seen as different from the things of this world and even hate the sinful failures in their own lives. I long for a time when the truth is not evil spoken of, and that evil men and women cannot prevail within the cities they live in because the majority of the citizens are God fearing people and will not tolerate wickedness in any form. A time when our children are taught respect for the policemen and women, any people that stands for justice, not because of who they are but because to the righteousness and justice they hold sacred.
I pointed out that my wife and I often are lonely for something that we cannot go back to but, can we get back to this place as a nation? Yes! I believe we can. However, I also believe we are fighting the wrong battles as a nation or, the common citizens of this nation.
If you follow or study the things, I write you will notice that I make it a point to never call out Churches by name or even religious organization. I simply try to allow God’s Spirit us use what I might write to change individuals, if necessary, in their spiritual walk no matter what Church they might attend. However, here I’m going to call a religious organization by name. I remember back in the late 1950’s when John F. Kennedy was a candidate for President. One of his famous quotes was this: (Ask not what your country can do for you but, what can you do for your country). One of the things that the people didn’t like at that time about him was he was Catholic. It was often discussed by the news media, many wondered if he could be elected simply because of that one aspect of his life.
1960 has now been over sixty years ago! What has changed in our country? Anything? Most people know that John F. Kennedy did become President of our country. And, I might add that he, being Catholic has nothing to do with where we are as a nation. However, the spiritual mindset of our people has a great deal to do with where we are.
I only bring that up because I believe that our nation, during that time and even a few years before began a spiritual decline, bring us to the point we are today. In 1960 we, as a nation were just fifteen years beyond the conclusion of World War Two. Lat’s consider some things that were beginning to unfold. Many people at that time that were just beginning to start families had a desire, was determined to have their children live better lives than they had. Seemingly the focus was more on worldly goods and accomplishments that it was the spiritual aspects of life.
Many people became obsessed with bringing about the integration of our black and white schools and so on. It actually became a spiritual battle in our Churches. It doesn’t matter what side you might have fallen on, whether it was a black Church in favor or a white Church against it. The problem was that we left the very concept of preaching God’s word and turned to that issue.
Now, while we’re here let’s consider something. From the very beginning of our nation, if it was ever a place that integration should be a recognized normality, should it have been in every local Church? One of the cornerstones of the teaching in God’s word is the fact that we are all seen as equal. No Jew, no Greek, no Gentile. We are all one in the spiritual sense of Jesus Christ.
With that point being made, that wasn’t the case, was it? In our Churches, many pastors were segregationists as well as many people that were members of those same Churches. When these things became a debate in our country, the very institutions that should have been a power of spiritual teaching and a place of understanding became a place of great resistance, even to the very will of God.
I read a book once named (The story of John Jasper). You can still find it online. This book is about the life of a man that God called to preach. He was a black man. He preached fifty years, twenty-five as a slave and twenty-five as a free man. While in slavery a white man had to stand on the platform with him the whole time he preached. That was before the Civil War. What if God’s people at that time would have taken a stand for righteousness and declared that he was an equal to them no matter what color he was.
The point is that even born-again believes, the body of Christ on this earth far too often get caught up in the wrong battles because we are often afraid to be seen as different from the world. When, in fact we are different! Look at this verse:
AND I, IF I BE LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME.
AND AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, EVEN SO MUST TO SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP:
I realize that both of these verses are speaking of the necessity of Jesus Christ being crucified on the Cross. However, it also has a spiritual application as well. God’s people are to (HOLD UP) the name of Jesus Christ. Not only his name but all that he represents. It’s actually relating to (Knowing Him) and the power of his resurrection. We are trying in our Churches to fight the worldly battles in our flesh without to authority granted us through the blood of Jesus Christ and his saving grace.
We, for instance try to get the world to look at abortion just as we, as believers do. It’s not up to us to change the habits of this world but rather the hearts of the people of this world. Often that, it at all will be one person at a time.
We can use another Old Testament picture of Moses to make my point.
AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN MOSES HELD UP HIS HAND, THAT ISRAEL PREVAILED: AND WHEN HE LET DOWN HIS HAND, AMALEK PREVAILED. (12) BUT MOSES’ HANDS WERE HEAVY; AND THEY TOOK A STONE, AND PUT IT UNDER HIM, AND HE SAT THERE UPON; AND AARON AND HUR STAYED UP HIS HANDS, THE ONE ON THE ONE SIDE, AND THE OTHER ON THE OTHER SIDE; AND HIS HANDS WERE STEADY UNTIL THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN.
The Bible also tells us this:
2 Thessalonians 3:13-14
BUT YE, BRETHREN, BE NOT WEARY IN WELL DOING. (14) AND IF ANY MAN ABEY NOT OUR WORD BY THIS EPISTLE, NOTE THAT MAN, AND HAVE NO COMPANY WITH HIM, THAT THEY MAY BE ASHAMED.
It’s our responsibility hold up the oracles of the very word and will of God. To know what his will is and to stand and proclaim that will. It’s easy to get weary in well doing and to allow people that are not of us to crepe in to undermine the things that God desires for us to do. We often hear a term (the dumbing down of America). Well, we see that same thing in our Churches. It causes us to fight the wrong battles; that; completely apart from what we are called to do. It’s not that the causes might not be good things to fight but that it must our secondary calling, not our first.
The primary concern of any Church should always be the true act of the (born again) experience) and (the spiritual education) of that new babe in Christ.
I’d like for you to consider something here. Right now, in the United States of America we are facing the situation where schoolteachers are trying to teach our children about sexual orientation beginning at the age of five. Some years ago, we were told to or forced by law to send our children to a public school. Look what we have now!
Also, in our Churches we now have (Children’s Church). we send our young children to that Church rather than making them by our own discipline to sit in Church and hear God’s word. We also have (youth group) which, in many cases have their own pastor. Well, in a spiritual sense, whose responsibility is it to teach our children? Exactly what are they being taught in children’s Church and in our youth groups? (In my opinion) and you can agree or disagree. It all starts with the (lack of true spirituality) of the Senior pastor. He is teaching a false salvation in the very name of Jesus Christ, never mentioning (YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN) and that same false teaching is taking place in every pastor below him!
In most cases, the parents desire for their children to acknowledge Jesus Christ. From birth they, we they call dedicate their Children to the Lord in front of the Church, the pastor overseeing that formal dedication. As time moves forward, children’s Church, youth Group normally from a very young age. One day the child we say we love tells the pastor they desire to join Church just they have been taught. The say they believe in Jesus Christ; we watch them get baptized and join Church. However, there is never any mention of any Holy Ghost, sin cursed conviction and, not one of those children are ever challenged about their salvation again!
We spend millions of dollars paying pastors, buying religious literature, Sunday School quarterly’s and so on that is used to indoctrinate our children and ourselves to a gospel that is not of Jesus Christ! We fight the wrong battles often because we dodge our responsibilities and would rather pay someone else to do our jobs. How often have you either said or heard this: that’s the pastor’s responsibility? Let someone else do that. I’ll teach a Sunday School class, but you must give me a quarterly, I’ll teach what someone says, I can’t understand the Bible.
Have you noticed that now, anytime we have a funeral in our Churches? No one goes to hell. they all go to heaven! You might be sitting there thinking something completely different but, you’ll never say a word to anyone about it. Often in our Churches we fight against the very Holy Spirit, the only Spirit that can truly set us free. We don’t even realize we are fight the wrong battle.
In our Churches we have people that fight against abortion. It’s a very worthy cause but let’s look a little deeper. Let’s say there is a teen in your Church that is pregnant but not married. We know that sin happens, even to the very best of us. You are this teens youth pastor so; she confides in you. She says she is considering an abortion. The very first thing you should do is to question here salvation, not because she’s pregnant but because of the choice she is making. You should ask; haven’t you been born again? If she replies yes then next, what would God’s Spirit have you do. You can also tell her that God’s Spirit would never lead her to have an abortion unless it is a medical reason to do so. As a young man, I’ve been there! I had a very wise pastor listen to every word I said, never interrupted me one time the whole time I spoke. Once I finished this is the first thing he said: (two wrongs will never make one right)! When he made that statement, it’s like a light turned on in my being!
The problem is, no matter what choices we make, the very fact we sinned in the beginning will live with us our whole lives, no exceptions! As I look back at my life, do you realize I was baptized at the age of twelve and joined our Church? I question, was it just the lust of my flesh that brought about the sin in my life or, did it have just as much to do with the lack of real spiritual teaching and instruction from my parents and the Church I attended. Abortion is sin! So is fornication! Do we teach our children from an early age those things? Look at this verse of scripture:
WOE UNTO YOU, SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, HYPOCRITES! FOR YE PAY TITHE AND MINT AND ANISE AND CUMMIN, AND HAVE OMITTED THE WEIGHTER MATTERS OF THE LAW, JUDGMENT, MERCY, AND FAITH: THESE THINGS OUGHT YE TO HAVE DONE, AND NOT TO LEAVE THE OTHER UNDONE. (24) YE BLIND GUIDES, WHICH STRAIN AT A GNAT, AND SWALLOW A CAMEL.
We read that verse of scripture and assign it to those people of that day. However, doesn’t it fit us just as well if we neglect to give our children the spiritual education and knowledge they need? Often, we are trained very well to be Pharisees. We become hypocrites because with our mouth we say one and in our actions another.
We have pregnancy centers fighting against abortions. we have grief ministries fighting against grief seeking to comfort those that are grieving but, in all of these things we forget even to pray to share Jesus Christ and his saving grace. Even if we do, we forget to change babe into spiritual giants by instructing them in scripture, allowing the Holy Spirit to do the things we are seeking to change.
Do you realize that the world has its own definition of love? The way the world defines love has crept into the average Church. And the way God shows his love has greatly diminished to the point that often salvation never happens. We are seeking to fight spiritual battles with the weapons of this world! I often say that our greatest enemy is standing behind the pulpit in our Churches.
Our Churches are seeking to change the habits of this world without changing the very heart of the people we are talking about. Let’s say we actually get laws passed in our land totally against abortion. Now it’s completely illegal. Has that changed the heart of even one person? If every baby is now born, a perfect birth; what happens to that child if they grow up never knowing the truth about their never dying souls because the Church never tells them truth?
What happens is that we have fought a very good battle but lost the war! What happens if we help people through a very hard time in their lives but forget to share Jesus Christ helping them to see the true spiritual need in their lives? Again, we have won the battle but lost the war!
In closing, I’d like to make a couple of points to make the point of the whole matter using this verse:
THEREFORE TAKE NO THOUGHT, SAYING, WHAT SHALL WE EAT? OR, WHAT SHALL WE DRINK? OR, WHEREWITHAL SHALL WE BE CLOTHED?
You can go to that chapter and read the whole account that he’s speaking of there. I would like to show you one other verse right below this one.
BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; AND ALL THESE OTHER THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU.
Our lives, our Churches have become saturated with the things of this world! Have we become so vain within ourselves that we never even consider the righteousness of God? If we are going to begin to seek out a new Church to attend; what would be the reason or, what would be some attributes of any Church that might draw us to that new Church to become a member?
Let’s look at this from a strictly spiritual perspective. The very first thing I’d say would be to leave your children completely out of your decision or choice, no matter what they might say. With that point being made, if you visit a Church that focuses on the youth or children’s Church; that within itself might tell you something about that Church. The fac that you didn’t allow your children to have a voice, you already know that the children in that Church speak very loudly.
As (the husband) prayer while seeking spiritual direction for his family, it takes spiritual wisdom to make wise spiritual decisions! It’s so much to say here! However, let’s start here in:
1 Timothy 3:1-5
THIS IS A TRUE SAYING, IF A MAN DESIRE THE OFFICE OF A BISHOP, HE DESIRETH A GOOD WORK. (2) A BISHOP THEN MUST BE BLAMELES, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, VIGILANT, SOBOR, OF GOOD BEHAVIOUR, GIVEN TO HOSPITALITY, APT TO TEACH; (3) NOT GIVEN TO WINE, NO STRIKER, NOT GREEDY OF FILTHY LOCRE; BUT PATIENT, NOT A BRAWLER, NOT COVETOUS; (4) ONE THAT (RULETH WELL HIS OWN HOUSE, HAVING HIS CHILDREN IN SUBJECTION WITH ALL GRAVITY; (5) FOR IF A MAN KNOW NOT HOW TO RULE HIS OWN HOUSE, HOW SHALL HE TAKE CARE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD?) (6) NOT A NOVICE, LEST BEING LIFTED UP WITH PRIDE HE FALL INTO THE CONDEMNATION OF THE DEVIL. (7) MOREOVER HE MUST HAVE A GOOD REPORT OF THEM WHICH ARE WITHOUT; LEST HE FALL INTO REPROACH AND THE SNARE OF THE DEVIL;
As we read these verses can’t we say that this is the way a Godly home should be even if the man does not desire the office of a bishop? If the question I presented is not true, does that mean that since I don’t desire the office of a bishop my wife doesn’t have to submit to me, and my children don’t have to be subject unto me, and don’t have to have a good report of those outside the Church? And we can add all the rest that is said here also.
Now, how about the wife? What is her responsibility in the decision making? How should she fit in? I honestly believe that in the average (Christian) household we are force today to fight the wrong battles as men and (supposedly) spiritual leaders. A wife should never be forced to submit unto her husband. She is commanded by God to do so but, it a choice she must make, a desire she must have.
The problem is that according to the world we live in that never needs to happen, as a wife see should be free to do as she pleases even when she is married, the husband has nothing to do with her choices, if he tries to, he is the one out of line. In most cases we have put the cart, even ponies in front of the cart!
The children like what they see in a Church, mom’s desire is for the children to be happy, and the dad says OK; knowing that he is going to lose the battle! There is no spiritual, Holy Spirit leadership whatsoever!
I’m going to say something here that, to me makes perfect sense. You can see if you agree with me. The wife, being a woman has, or if she is spiritual has far greater peripheral vision that a man, her husband will ever have. (I even believe) that a man’s wife can be considered much wiser in her ability to make decisions than the man. If not, why would it be considered a curse to have to submit to the man? (Don’t forget) we are seeking to learn to fight the right spiritual battles. Any woman can be lazy and simply want the husband to do all the work, just look after her. But that’s not what we are talking about.
A wise spiritual wife understands her position in her marriage, knows full well what the Holy Spirit expects from her. Often, by the world’s standards a (stay at home mom) is seen as someone that doesn’t have to work. However, she has a much tougher job if she does what she is supposed to do than any man ever will. As a matter of fact, her shift is never over even as she sleeps.
There is nothing more powerful that a man that understands his spiritual position in his family and a wife that submits to him and helps him make wise spiritual decisions while being completely submissive to his leadership. A wise man that has a wife he can trust will always listen to her advice as he seeks to see the whole spiritual picture through her peripheral vision. What she does is to bring the whole picture into his tunnel vision sight that can better help him make wise spiritual decisions, she is being willing to follow him even if she doesn’t like the choice he made, bringing her children with her as they follow him.
Because of the lack of spiritual teaching in our Churches and in our homes, we often don’t even understand the battles we have to fight. Let’s look at these verses:
FROM WHENCE COME WARS AND FIGHTINGS AMONG YOU? COME THEY NOT HENCE, EVEN OF YOUR LUSTS THAT WAR IN YOUR MEMBERS? (2) YE LUST, AND HAVE NOT: YE KILL, AND DESIRE TO HAVE, AND CANNOT OBTAIN: YE FIGHT AND WAR, YET YE HAVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK NOT. (3) YE ASK, AND RECEIVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, THAT YE MAY CONSUME IT UPON YOUR OWN LUST. (4) YE ADULTERERS AND ADULTERESSES, KNOW YE NOT THAT THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD IS ENEMITY WITH GOD? WHOSEVER THEREFORE WILL BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD IS THE ENEMY OF GOD. (5) DO YE THINK THAT THE SCRIPTURE SAITH IN VAIN, THE SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN US LUSTETH TO ENVY? (6) BUT GOD GIVETH MORE GRACE, WHEREFORE HE SAITH, GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD, BUT GIVETH GRACE UNTO THE HUMBLE. (7) SUBMIT YOURSELVES THEREFORE TO GOD, RESIST THE DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU.
As we speak of (fighting the wrong battles; I believe it’s something we need to consider here. The Apostle James is an Apostle to the Jews. Actually, he is one of eleven that were strictly for the Jewish people. The Apostle Paul was the only Apostle to the Gentiles. As I make that statement, this is something we must see. Once the Church came into being, at that very moment there was neither Jew nor Gentile. That actually changed at the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. We can even say that through it all it has always been only two types of people that God recognized: those that believed and those that believed not. That picture became crystal clear at the birth of the Church.
I say all that to say this. When we speak of fighting, it doesn’t matter if it’s between a husband and wife, a Church and a pastor, two countries, two cities or two people it’s all of this world if no one has the Spirit of God. That is the point that the Apostle James is making to the Jewish people and, even us if we are not saved.
Let’s take a perfect spiritual marriage situation. Here’s a husband that loves his wife as Christ loved the Church, he seeks to be always obedient to the Spirit of God as that Spirit directs him. His wife is completely submission to him in every way possible. This couple sits down to talk, they pray, she gives her spiritual input, and he listens. Within that, when he makes a decision, she follows her husband.
Well, as they move forward, they begin to have children. Can you see the importance of instilling these same spiritual values within their children as they begin to grow? Each of these children will be born in sinful flesh. They will have a mind of their own, not their mothers or fathers. At the very est these two parents can do they will have to contend with a very corrupt world as they daily seek to instill spiritual values in their children and by grace see them born-again by God grace.
If we, as born-again believers fight any other battle other than that very concept then we fight the wrong battle! Most of us have to fight daily battles. We fight a battle for money to pay bills, to keep a house over our head, food on our table, pay insurance, for a automobile to drive, the list goes on and on!
However, those things are because we live in a sin cursed world. We cannot allow those things to become our main focus. If we do, then it’s very possible we will lose our children and the aspect of a spiritual community and family will be weakened.
I’d like to point out a scripture that I think we often don’t get and possibly never taught in our Churches.
AND HE SAITH UNTO THEM, FOLLOW ME, AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN.
In this verse, Jesus was speaking to Peter and Andrew his brother. These two men would later become two of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, however there is no way they could have known that when Jesus said to them (I will make you fishers of men). The point is that when we say we are going to follow Jesus then everything else such as fishing becomes less important in our lives. It’s not that we don’t still do things, but we now have a totally different priority.
I realize that there is no such thing as a husband or wife, even being born-again being perfect. We all know that! The secret is to get our priorities in order. Let’s be honest, most husbands spend a lot of time doing the things they like to do, that apart from the family. Things like fishing, golfing, racing, sports, we can go on and on. Although they say they believe in Christ, nothing, not onr thing changes in their lives.
In most cases today, we don’t understand marriage, a marriage relationship, salvation or the relationship with Christ. Therefore, we spend our lives fighting to wrong battles!