I'll admit it, I am a hockey fan. Because of my busy life and the low priority I give to watching television, I don't get to watch many games. However, if my favorite team makes it to the play offs I make the time to take in as many games as possible. Hockey is a game of strategy and there are several ways to approach playing it. You can concentrate on being fast and fancy or you can turn it into a physical game with a lot of hits and fights.
The last round I just watched, my favorite team decided to play fast and fancy. The other team was bigger and wanted to play a physical game. They tried to draw my team into fights but the players knew what was important and skated away. They ended up beating the physically bigger team. However, in their current round the roles have reversed. Now my team is trying to play the physical game and it cost them. They were beaten badly yesterday as the other team skated away from invitations to fight and concentrated on scoring, which they did, a lot.
This morning I was reading a portion of Scripture that reminded me that we aren't here to be drawn into fights. Yes, we are in a war but we don't fight like the enemy. We have a purpose and we contend against our enemy, Satan, for that purpose. Too many of us are getting enticed into useless arguments which distract us from our goal of making disciples.
Jesus was heading to Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him to prepare his way. As they came into a Samaritan town they were turned away, simply because they were heading to Jerusalem. The disciples were insulted and became indignant that they would be turned away. They were expecting Jesus to come into Jerusalem and be crowned king. They thought they were about to become very important people and here was this town refusing them hospitality. So they asked Jesus if he wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them. Jesus rebuked them for a clear reason:
“You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:55-56)
Talk about missing the point. Because they felt dishonoured they wanted to abuse their authority and destroy the ones that Jesus had come to save. I am sure you are beginning to understand my point here.
There are times when we feel ill treated or even abused in situations and conversations. That does not give us the right to go all "ninja" on people. Jesus accepted this town's rejection and simply moved on to another. We are not going to win every battle. We are not going to save every person. We are not going to win every argument. But instead of unleashing a vicious attack, we need to remember that these are the ones Jesus died for because he loves them. Even if they are out to destroy him, we must respect his love for them and walk away. Yes, drop the argument, don't even do a last word thing, just walk away.
We need to be aware that sometimes the enemy is baiting us, trying to draw us into useless fights to distract us from our goal. Our goal is making disciples not winning arguments. Our goal is humble and simple, to win as many people over to the Light before the darkness is destroyed. The people we argue with aren't even aware what they are doing because the spirit behind them has blinded them. All we can do is walk away and pray. Yes, pray. It may not seem like much but Jesus told us to love our enemy and pray for those who persecute us. Against your prayers the enemy has no defense but if he distracts us so we forget to pray, he wins.
It has taken us years to get mixed up in our theology and understanding of Jesus. It has taken us years to twist the selfless gospel into a thing about "me". It has taken us years to drain the power away from the Holy Scriptures so that now it rings hollow and false. We have chosen a wrong path, one without the Spirit, without a demonstration of Yahweh's power, without power. Now we fight with nothing more than intelligence and emotions and it is getting us distracted from the simple fact that Jesus died so the lost may be rescued. Nothing else matters. We don't have to prove anything to anyone. Salvation belongs to the Lord, it comes from the the preaching of the Word, from the sharing of our testimony as witnesses, and by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It has taken years to destroy but it takes one decision to be restored.
Let's stop trying to kill people with our fine sounding arguments. Let's stop making enemies. Let's start learning to walk away for the sake of Jesus' love. Let's get back to what we do best. Let us pray. Let us testify. Let us bear witness to Jesus' glory and love. Let us make disciples.