11/8/2018 5:13:00 AM Encourage Others--But Recognize The Snakes
Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
When the Love of the Lord guides our hearts we seek ways to build one another up. If we are not doing that in our hearts then we should humble ourselves before the Lord and seek His perspective on how to conduct ourselves. Through Christ, God lifted us up from the grave, sin held over us, all of us. To be His servant is to serve others as He has served us; to love others as He has loved us. We live in a world that will be defined by those who tear down others or build them up.
Remembering my seminary days, I had a glorified and naive view of the way things worked. I remember telling a professor how Jesus built up every one he encountered. I felt so very justified in my view until it happened, the professor said, “I see you guys come through every year and ignore what Jesus did… he called the religious leadership snakes and vipers and turned over the tables of the money changers.” What do we do with that? His point was well taken. There again is the wisdom of Christ showing through with words that reveal the need to dismantle some attitudes and actions before you can proceed to building them up?
Strangely enough, Jesus could have restored those who were his accusers had they but repented and yielded to Christ and His teachings. They did not. Dismantling anyone who is committed to an unworthy message about God is necessary. It’s like trying to build a structure on a foundation not level. No cut will fit its intended purpose. The hope of rebuilding must begin upon the solid and sound foundation whereby the future cuts will fit just right. This requires a dismantling of the poor foundation to replace it with the foundation that is sure. It is not in everyone’s calling to be dismantlers either. Not everyone is cut out to confront the ‘snakes and vipers’ as they were called. The Lord can help here. We pray and stay faithful and honest and God will enter the picture, for His name is on the line as well.
Be an encourager; only recognize when the snakes and vipers come upon the scene, you have an advocate with the Father. He will deliver you and train the troublers in due time. Do not fret, trust in God. This way, we can be about trusting God and building His Kingdom consistently from now on. And yes, that means encouraging one another unto good works and acts of kindness.
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