There are so many wonderful things going on in San Diego County right now. Not just wonderful things, but spiritual things. God's Holy Spirit is definitely moving across denominational lines, cross pollinating with various influences as His body enjoys fellowship and ministry with one another. It seems that everywhere we look, there are now a variety of gatherings in multiple places on a variety of different topics, all designed to enrich and grow the body of Christ.
When God's Spirit begins to move in a greater way, it goes without saying that the enemy will rise up to try to stop all the great things that are happening. When ever the Kingdom of God advances, Satan feels threatened and will look for ways to shut down the progress and quench the Spirit of God.
One of the first things the enemy will tempt us to do is to formulate judgments against others in the body of Christ. There can be a multitude of reasons, but please just allow me to draw your attention to the temptation so that you can recognize it and shut it down before it goes anywhere.
You're walking out of a meeting you didn't really enjoy...
You hear something negative about someone else and feel tempted to repeat it...
Someone did something that offended you, and you want to vent about it...
A twinge of jealousy and competition rears it's ugly head...
You feel forgotten by the Lord and frustrated...
Others didn't do things the way you thought they should be done.
And before you know it, negative words escape out of your lips. It's bad enough when you say it in private. It's much worse when you say it to someone else, and here's why.
"Don't bad mouth your leaders, not even under your breath, and don't abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your own home. Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around. Little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide." Message Bible, Ecclesiastes 10:20
Proverbs 6:16-19 in the Message Bible says this:
"There are six things God hates, and one more that He loathes with a passion:
Eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family."
God really, really dislikes trouble making in any form. Sometimes even good people don't realize that the enemy may be tempting them to say the wrong thing. We've all been there. Something comes out of our mouth and we immediately want to snatch those words and shove them back in our mouth. We're human and we make mistakes. But, Nehemiah 4:11 reminds us of the enemy's intent. He always looks for a person that can be used as his pawn. He looks for weaknesses to exploit, and someone that can be easily offended or manipulated to be used for destructive purposes. When people were working in unity to rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, the enemy - working through a couple of influential people - made this statement:
"And our adversaries said, "They will neither know or see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause their work to cease." NKJV
Satan's objective is still the same: cause the laborers to become discouraged, weary and interrupt their unity of heart. Nehemiah's advice then and our wisdom now is not to allow the enemy to intimidate anyone. Don't let other people's words or even your own renegade thoughts become a distraction. The work of the Lord is far too important. Stay focused on whatever the Lord has given to you as your assignment, and remember to pray for God to continue to expand His kingdom and bring about His designed purpose. He will fight for us as we do, and whatever the enemy has planned to try to interrupt, divide and stop the work will come to nothing.
When God does something new, people can tend to question a lot of things. Jesus himself said that a person can't sew a new patch on an old cloth because the fabrics weren't the same. He was making an illustration to the new fitting in with the old. He also said that people used to drinking old wine wouldn't necessarily find new wine very appealing. They wouldn't want it because they were used to something else. When God does a new thing, it is often those that are comfortable with the old form that aren't comfortable with whatever or whoever God brings on the scene. God is not into old forms. One thing I know about this new move of God is that He is using new faces, those that have been hidden in caves and those that have been feeling sidelined. This move of God is for His body to find their place and become effective and fruitful. No one will be able to own it. Past moves of God have been shut down by those that have tried to control what God was doing or they spoke against it, creating negative judgments, offense and unbelief in others. There is so much that could be said on that topic alone! My point though, is to be alert and aware of these things so that we all recognize our own little 'hot buttons' and not fall prey to the enemy using our mouths to try to discourage others from participating in or enjoying the variety of things God is doing in our midst. UNITY allows Holy Spirit to flow unhindered.
Psalm 133 says this:
"Behold, how good and precious it is for the brethren to dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, Aaron's beard, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing - life forevermore."
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor." James 3:17,18 Message Bible
As we learn to develop a greater sense of community with one another, it's important to recognize the growing pains. We may not all see eye to eye on a lot of things, but we can enjoy the fruit of our labors together as we exalt the Lord Jesus. It's His kingdom, after all, and He will built it His way. Your kingdom come, O Lord, and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.