Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Political Agreement or Unity of the Spirit?

One thing I've realized this year, much due to the presidential election, is the power of "popular opinion." By that I mean the level of discomfort many people feel when they begin to think they are holding a minority opinion. Whether a person is actually in the minority or not, if they think they are in the minority they may begin to feel anxious about their opinion. Depending on the strength of their beliefs, they may waver, doubt and even end up changing their mind. This has been the strategy of the enemies of our country--to make righteous people feel they are in the minority and holding to a ridiculous opinion. By doing this they attack the core of your beliefs and therefore your confidence to hold fast and stand strong. But one thing Christians need to realize is that this is not just the plan of the enemies of America, but the strategy of the enemy of your soul.

If you value the opinions of others more than the Lord's, then this will bother you to think you are in the minority. In reality, it doesn't matter if you are in the minority, as long as you are in agreement with the Lord. Remember Micaiah the prophet? He was outnumbered 400 to 1 in his prophecy that Ahab would be defeated, yet he stood strong.* Micaiah knew the voice of the Lord. He was able to keep free from doubt because he did. It didn't bother him that everyone else disagreed with him. In the end, it didn't matter at all. Of course there are also times we think we are all alone and we're not. Elijah thought he was the only one left who worshiped the Lord when the Lord told him He still had 7000 who did not worship Baal.* We can become discouraged if we think we're all alone, and this is why we need to gather together and encourage each other to stand strong in the faith until the end. At the same time, we need to be willing to stand alone if we need to.

The danger of relying on majority opinion, is that it is not a guarantee that your agreement is in line with the will of God. (Think Tower of Babel*). People often think that just because a lot of people believe something then it must be true. This is not the case. Jesus said the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and few people will find it.* Following the crowd will not get you there, following the Lord will.

The body of Christ is not a political group, it is a spiritual body. Yet the devil would love for you to view your relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ as political--whatever the majority is doing must be right, right? When we value the opinion of people above the opinion of the Lord then we will look at His body as a political group which is ruled by the majority of those who call themselves Christian rather than the will of God. Jesus is the Head of the body, and we must all listen to Him above all else.

Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to:

1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.*

God comes first. We must seek His opinion above anyone else's. Only He can give us the unshakable faith that doesn't waver, because He is the rock. He is the truth. His Word is the only thing that will stand.* It is the only thing that we can have a genuine confidence in, and without this confidence we will be swayed by the opinions of others. We will end up seeking approval and acceptance from people first instead of the Lord.  (Of course I'm not saying you should not be teachable, or open to correction, from those God has placed in your life for this purpose).

The only way to prevent falling into the "majority" mindset is to spend time with the Lord--in prayer and in His Word. This is how Micaiah did it. He went into an "inner room" to hide himself. He spent time seeking the Lord--alone. We can't ride on the coattails of other Christians who are seeking the Lord any longer, we must seek Him ourselves. The Lord is making us aware that this is happening so we can fix this. He is calling you into His presence, to spend time with Him, seeking Him, hearing His voice. Get ready, He wants to show you things!

We are bombarded with "news" and advertisements and opinions of people everywhere we go. If we do not spend time with the Lord so we intimately know Him, and know His heart as well as His voice, then we will become swayed by what we see and hear. There is no substitute for time with the Lord. There is no other way. It's not just hearing people talk about the Lord and what He's saying to them, it's talking with Him ourselves. It's not just speculating about what we think the Lord thinks, it's hearing from Him ourselves. Do you know the Lord's voice? How does He speak to you? We've got to get this!

Once we are confident in knowing the Lord's voice, and then we hear others say similar things that He has been showing them, it becomes a confirmation that unity is developing. We begin to come into unity with the Lord, who is our Head, not just a political agreement of the body. There is a unity of the Spirit that is far above a political agreement. However, I might throw in here that we will have "political" agreement on issues to the degree we have unity of the Spirit. As we all come into greater agreement with the heart of God, we will agree on the issues of our day. Will we all be the same? No, but our uniqueness will enable the body to work together for the Lord, not hinder it.

Remember, we don't just hold fast to the Word of God when it's popular. The Word of God is truth no matter what people think. When we care more about the opinions of people this means we fear them more than we fear God. If we are concerned about being laughed at or excluded because of our faith in the Lord then we fear people more than God. If we deny Him before others, even in the face of death, then we fear people more than we fear God. If we don't possess a fear of the Lord, we will not properly honor His Word. Proverbs tells us that the fear of man brings a snare.* It will trip you up and bring you down. But when you hold fast your faith in the Lord until the end you will be saved, and receive the reward which the Lord has reserved for you.*

No matter what happens in this earth, hold fast to your faith in the Lord, above everything else--even if you appear to be standing alone. Yet, let's get together now and encourage each other while we have the opportunity.* Remember that your faith, once tested and found to be genuine, will grant you the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him!

Click on the Scripture links below to read the Scripture:

* Micaiah outnumbered 400 to 1: 1 Kings 22
* 7000 who did not worship Baal: 1 Kings 19:9-18
* Tower of Babel: Genesis 11:1-9 
* Narrow is the way: Matthew 7:13-14
* Two Greatest Commandments: Matthew 22:37-40
* Word stands forever: Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 24:35 
*The Fear of Man brings a snare: Proverbs 29:25, See also Matthew 10:24-39
*The End Reward: Matthew 24:13, 1 Peter 1:3-9, James 1:12, Philippians 3:12-14
* Assembling together: Hebrews 10:24-25 

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