Posts Tagged ‘Hatred’

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?  Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different form anyone else?  Even pagans do that.  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

A very popular “Christian” website publishes pictures and stories of the current Islamic “Crusades” happening in the Middle East and Africa.  The author is supposedly a convert to Christianity from Islam, having weighed the ways of Islam against his own moral compass and deciding that Christianity is superior.

As such, he calls his readers to take up arms to wage “Militant Christianity” and cites history’s many examples of Christians taking up physical arms, swords, and such to physically fight against zealous and extremist Muslims and purge them from the earth, since they are wicked and spiritually inferior to Christianity.

He writes about the “Us Versus Them” stance that Christians must take and he says the root of the spread of Islam throughout the world is the Church’s lukewarmness.  Essentially, he says, if the Church was strong, Islam would be a non-issue. But where Islam is strong, it is evidence that the Church is weak.  He says, if the Church is strong, then Islam will be weak.  But what kind of “strength” is he referring to?  He equates spiritual lukewarmness to physical battle-ready weakness and spiritual zealousness with a Christian’s willingness to physically battle flesh and blood wickedness.

A quick read of his standpoint and theory makes sense to the emotionally charged mind.  It’s a very human stance; one that every religion and nation has taken at some point.  He says his call for Christians to take up their “sword” is backed even by New Testament Scripture and he says that Jesus calls on Christians to do this. Whatever he found in Christianity that he considers “Superior” to Islam, he has yet held fast to the extreme Islam principle of killing the “enemy”.  Sadly, a skimming of the hundreds of comments on his website from fellow “Christians” shows that even those who wish to be zealous for God are lost and worldly in their reasoning, as they unfortunately agree with him.

But this is the age-old trick that makes Satan so powerful.  Present 90% truth, mixed with 10% falsehood, and those without the power of discernment in their spirit will believe that all of it is 100% truth.  The best liars that have ever existed have followed the evil one’s lead on this and it is most common in religion and politics, where the average person is fed just enough truth to believe everything that is being said.  CHRISTIANS, BEWARE OF THIS AND PRAY TO GOD ALMIGHTY THAT HE WILL GIVE YOU A DISCERNING SPIRIT THAT CORRECTLY DIVIDES TRUTH FROM LIE.

The old saying, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” has never been so real as it is in matters of spiritual warfare.

What did Jesus Christ tell us to do about our enemies?  He told us to love them.  Indeed, He commands us to LOVE our enemies and to pray for them.  The “sword” our Lord speaks of is the Sword of the Spirit of God (The Word Of God), which we wield in prayer and obedience.  We protect ourselves by putting on the Armor of God, spiritual armor.

It is true that the mainstream Church, especially in the West, is lukewarm and dull; being subjugated more and more each day to liberal agendas and philosophies that are popular in culture but completely contradictory to Scripture.  The Word of God has instructed us that this is a sign that the end is near.  

The answer is not to take up arms and take part in the new Crusades of violence and hatred that is spreading across the globe, but to live righteously and to pray.

The battle is the Lord’s. We are called to pray. The Lord will purge evil and wickedness according to His perfect will on Earth, as it is not His will for evil to be in the Earth.  But, we are called to pray for it!  Prayer is the vessel that carries the will of God.  The lukewarm, dull Church is failing in this regard because they are not praying for God’s Will or His intervention in the Earth as they should.

The Lord raises up kings and authorities and armies as we see time and again throughout Scripture.  He uses people according to His good pleasure to accomplish His Holy Will. But Christians, who have been handed the keys to the Kingdom in Christ Jesus, must exercise our authority by praying and living righteous lives; demonstrating that we are citizens not of this world, but of the Kingdom of God.

Our lives should be living testimonies of the glory of God and his Supreme Authority over all creation.  Our lives should be conducted in a way that cannot be criticized: “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.  Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:14-15)

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” (Philippians 1:27a)

We harvest what we plant.

The Christian does not plant hatred and violence, but love and righteousness. This is what separates us from the world and makes us stand out as citizens of the Kingdom of God.  Things that concern us, make us worry, make us feel helpless and scared, make us feel unprotected and fragile, or make us feel that we’re at the mercy of evil and wickedness, are the very things we must take to the throne of God Almighty in the Name of Jesus Christ who conquered death and has promised us eternal life.

We must live zealously, yes!  Zealous living for God is one of worship, right living, obedience and prayer.  This kind of zealousness is a sacrifice that greatly pleases the Lord and demonstrates that we belong to Him and are under His supervision and provision for our lives.  When we live this way, we show that we have a King we belong to and we trust Him in every way and in every situation.  If our dying breath is at the hands of a Muslim or any other persecutor, then so be it, as this world is not our permanent residence anyway.  We are guaranteed that we will leave this place behind, whether comfortably or violently.

The goal, therefore, is not to kill whoever does not believe in our God.  The goal is to present them with the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ so that they may believe and be saved from the second death, that is the spiritual death.  Many of us may find that this is our last action on earth; and what a glorious action that would be.

If we are ever tempted in any way to react to troubles the way the rest of the world does, the devil is nearby, guaranteed. Stay alert and pray!

“This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15b)

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I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.  Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods.  Once I was stoned.  Three times I was shipwrecked.  Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.  I have traveled on many long journeys.  I have faced danger from rivers and robbers.  I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles.  I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas.  And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.  I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food.  I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.  Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak without my feeling that weakness?  Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-29)

“How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again.  I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.  Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty” (Philippians 4:10-14)

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have.  For God has said, ‘I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you.'” (Hebrews 13:5)

“Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Discontentment; 1) a restless desire or craving for something one does not have. 2) a longing for something better than the present situation. 3) a dissatisfied, unhappy, disgruntled state.

Complainer; 1) one who is discontented with his lot in life

Thanks; an expression of gratitude towards someone who has helped you, given you something, etc.

Discontentment is a dark spiritual fruit of Pride, the sin found in Lucifer which led to the disruption of the heavens and war against God Almighty.  To be discontent is to be dissatisfied, unhappy and restless, believing we deserve more or better than what we have. To allow this poison to seep into our thoughts and hearts is to invite destruction and death into our lives, but it is a subtle, smooth poison, very hard to detect since it has no obvious effects at first.

Once infected, the discontented heart is easy to identify, as it is capable of little else other than complaining“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of–and that’s what defiles you” (Matthew 15:18)  The Complainer is sick to his core, poisoned and dying, poisoning others and taking them down with him; he is a danger to himself and others.

A person living in a state of discontentment never has enough, no matter what they have.  They cannot enjoy what they do have because they are consumed with desire for what they do not have.  They live with tunnel vision, aiming down their scope at the only thing they can focus on; and in the crosshairs of their sights are the perpetual “others” who have “fill in the blank”.

Discontentment -> Envy -> Bitterness -> Resentment -> Hatred, the progression of the poison.  Each of these stages are emotions/feelings and each of them can be acted upon with destructive results.  The person living in these stages justifies each stage in his heart with “I deserve better than…”

While things take place in our lives that may elicit complaints from us, living in a state of chronic complaining is one of the fastest ways to annoy God since complaining, at its roots, is really professing that we aren’t satisfied with God and we do not trust him.

The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years because they would not stop complaining about their circumstances.  Where giving thanks would have ushered them straight into the Promised Land, their complaints against God kept them in their unsatisfactory situation for 40 years, at which point God ran out of patience and forbid them entry into the Promised Land at all.

They were barely out of Egypt when they started complaining that they were sure Pharaoh was going to catch up to them and massacre them (Exodus 14:10-12).  They watched as God saved them, only to complain 3 days later that they were thirsty (Exodus 15: 22-24).  Then, they complained that they were hungry and wished God had just killed them in Egypt (Exodus 16:1-3). God miraculously fed them dew, manna, and quail from heaven only to hear them complaining again for water (Exodus 17:1-7). While Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days, fellowshipping with and receiving the 10 commandments from God, the Israelites again complained until they had a gold calf idol to worship in place of God Almighty, leading to a devastating judgment (Exodus 32). The trend of complaints continues on in the book of Numbers when the Israelites leave Sinai until Moses, in his anger, finally loses control and sins against the Lord, forfeiting his chance to enter into the Promised Land he had so faithfully worked towards. (Numbers 20:10-11)  This is one of the most significant examples in Scripture of how discontent complainers affect and even rob righteous people of their blessings.

THERE IS A REMEDY IF YOU’VE BEEN POISONED WITH DISCONTENTMENT

The remedy to the poison of Discontentment is Thanksgiving.  The human heart cannot be both thankful and discontent.  Thankfulness overrides discontent; it neutralizes the poison.  Thankfulness brings the proper perspective back into our hearts and checks the imposters of greed and envy at the door before they can sneak in.

Thanksgiving is the appropriate spiritual weapon that we wield against Pride and every dark root of Pride and it is the only way to overcome discontentment.   “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Each day, purposefully think of and write down 3 things you are thankful for.  Give God thanks for those 3 things and watch your life break free of the spiritual poison of discontentment.

“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!  Worship the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing with joyAcknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are his.  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100)

Poison Bottle

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.  But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”  (1 John 2: 15-17)

Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.”  (Job 5:2)

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12: 16)

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.  For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom.  Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”  (James 3: 13-16)

Pride has layers.  The virtues of humility and meekness deal with much more than just making sure we don’t behave in overtly arrogant ways.

Pride is like a giant ugly weed that grows in plain view along the surface but also has many deep roots that are hidden.

Some of those roots are selfishness, discontentment, jealousy, self-pity, bitterness, resentment, and hatred, and they all begin with the subtle irritation or frustration we experience when we believe we “deserve better” than whatever has happened to us; we deserve better than the way that person treated us, than to be given less, than to not have been acknowledged and praised, than to have been left out or slighted, than to have been criticized, than to have been mistreated.

Since we have no control over the fact that what we got was less than what we believe we’re worthy of, we feel justified harboring and nursing these dark roots in our hearts.  And as we do, we open wide the door for Satan to enter into our hearts and tear us apart.  Our lives and the lives of our loved ones are deeply impacted, and for many, destroyed.

This is why Jesus commands us to forgive! (Matthew 18:21-22)  And not just to forgive, but to actively love.  To repay good for evil.  To bless those who curse us.  To be kind to those who mistreat us.  (Luke 6:27-31)  Indeed, we are commanded to do the exact opposite of what our flesh and hearts naturally want to do, which is to resent and hate, to pay back evil for evil, to curse those who curse us and seek vengeance when we’re wronged.

If our wicked hearts find it hard to be obedient to Christ’s command to love in all circumstances, may we remember the story of our Lord; that he was laughed at, mocked and scorned his whole life.  May we remember that when he returned to his own hometown, to his family and community, to help them and heal them with miracles, they rejected him and didn’t believe in him. (Matthew 13:53-58) May we remember how often he was criticized, looked down upon and scoffed at.  May we remember that, after everything he’d done for them, every single one of his friends deserted him in his darkest hour. (Matthew 26:55-56)  Most of all, let us always remember that though he never sinned against anyone, the very people that he came to save spit in his face, humiliated him, beat him, had him stripped and tortured, demanded he be killed in the most horrific way ever known and then pointed at him and laughed while he was dying. (Matthew 27:39-44)

If anyone who ever lived had a legitimate reason to justify yielding to the dark roots of pride, it was Jesus.  But he did not yield.  He chose to forgive.  He chose to love.  He is the ultimate example of humility.  We are not better than our Christ.  We do not “deserve better” than whatever circumstance offends our pride and, no matter how justified we may feel, we are sinning against our Lord Jesus if we harbor any of pride’s dark roots in our hearts.