Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Being Self-controlled & Alert

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Of the many reasons Christians sin, this one is the most disheartening. It happens to strong Christians. They are not alert. They are blind-sided. They get caught unaware.

When I was midshipman over fifty-three years ago, there was a framed picture in the Department of Seamanship and Navigation at the Naval Academy. It was a photograph of seven destroyers up on the beach in the Santa Barbara Channel on the California coast. There are eight destroyers in a squadron. The captain of the eighth destroyer decided not to follow the leader. Underneath the picture was this caption: “The price of good navigation is constant vigilance.”

At the present I am aware of five churches that have elders that are accusing or are being accused. Some of this accusing is within a local church and some is between churches. The nature and name of this roaring lion is the Accuser. It is possible that the saints are not alert and have believed a lie that a fellow believer is the enemy. That is never the case. The fellow believer may have believed a lie and passed it on as truth. That puts him in the wrong camp. He is now an accuser and a gossiper.

“The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” Revelation 12:9, 10

There seems to be a misreading or misapplication of Ephesians 5:8-14a.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.”

What we are: “Light in the Lord”

What we are commanded: “Live as children of light.”

What light is: “All goodness, righteousness and truth.”

Additional comment: “Find out what pleased the Lord.”

Negative comment: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness.”

Positive comment: “Expose them.”

How not to expose them: “For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.”

How to expose them: “Light exposes.”

In our exposing, we are prone to mention the misdeeds of darkness. That is shameful. Our life of light makes things visible, not our talk of darkness. The accuser should confess the accusations. The accused should not defend against the accuser or accusations.

(Taken from Day & Night, 2003)

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