The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
Dangers Amid the Holy
Prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with other Christians constitute three of the most spiritually dangerous practices in which born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can engage.
Whoa Nellie! How can that be??? Are not prayer, the Scriptures, and maintaining communion with fellow believers essential components of the Christian life? Most assuredly, they are. However, consider also the temptations involved.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation" (Matthew 23:14).
"Knowledge puffeth up" (I Corinthians 8:1).
"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ" (I Corinthians 1:11-12).
Our spiritual enemies do not surrender when they hear us praying, or see us with an open Bible, or witness our fellowship and ministry with our brothers and sisters in Christ. They rather seek opportunity by enticing us with a particular temptation found not in overt, but rather in covert sin. They tempt us with pride. In our present lives, faithfulness to God comes with its challenges. Satan and his minions well know that our flesh remains highly susceptible to think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3). Such enticement to pride most challenges us when we are doing God's will, as in the practices we consider (our enemies do not fight fairly!).
Of course, we do not suspend prayer, Bible reading, and fellowshipping with other believers. However, we do recognize the cunning foe we face, along with the inclinations of our flesh. Indeed, we do well to ask for God's work of furthering us in Christ's humility as we pray. We keep our hearts and minds much attuned to the subtlety of our enemies' temptation as we remember we are no better off by simply reading the Bible (it must be believed and obeyed - Romans 2:17-18; James 1:22). Our fellowship with like-hearted brothers and sisters must not lead us to the clannish exclusivism found long ago in Corinth, and which we must avoid at all costs by respecting all who seek to honor the Lord Jesus in accordance with the truth of Scripture. Thus, we pray, read, and fellowship, but we do so with a heart wary to temptations found amid holy things. Recall that the devil tempted no less than the Lord Jesus with the very Word of God itself:
"Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone" (Matthew 4:5-6).
We do not engage in a fair fight as we wrestle against devilish principalities and powers. We do, however, fight from the triumph of a battle already won in the ultimate sense by our Captain who showed us the power of humility in His life and death. Being aware of the temptation, and trusting God's preserving grace of humility will go far in enabling us to overcome perils that presently lurk even amid the holy things.
"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Weekly Memory Verse
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.