Monday, September 28, 2009

Do Not Let The Devil Reign In Your Heart

I was reading and studying the bible this morning on 1 Corinthians 4 and 5 and thought how similar it was to our church condition today though the trials may be different. Even Matthew Henry’s commentary opened my eyes to see the problem of my church:

“Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed.”

I know this is a sin of our church for not disciplining those who have harmed the church as a whole. In 1 Corinthians 4: 5, it is written:

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

In his commentary, Matthew Henry has this to say about not judging others and leaving it to God:

“There is a day coming, that will bring men's secret sins into open day, and discover the secrets of their hearts. Then every slandered believer will be justified, and every faithful servant approved and rewarded. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not.”.

This should be a comfort for all those who have been hurt by exchange of harsh words in church. In the first place, there should be forgiveness in the heart immediately. I was taught in Deeper Life Seminar to say in your heart right in front of the person (but not aloud!) “Father, In the name of Jesus, I forgive you” and then walk away before any further exchange of harsh words. Then come before the Lord and pray and release all the hurt and anger to God. In that way, you leave no room for the devil to take a foot hold in your life. By allowing the hurts to develop, it will just get deeper and deeper until the devil reigns. Henry’s car was knocked by another car as he went to the market recently for his favourite chee cheong fun. The lady promised to call Henry shortly as he left his handphone at home. He did not take her details as he relied on her promise that she would call and fix his car for him. He got so mad when she did not call. Head throbbing, he took out Psalms and cursed her! I was so shocked and felt in my heart it could not be right to curse someone else. I asked for her name and he said “Angel”. Immediately, it struck me, it was a spiritual attack. We have been praying very hard for protection and understanding how the devil attacks so I was shocked at how Henry handled the situation. I told Henry if this continues, he will be no different from the old days when he cursed drivers. Is it not better to forgive and ask for the holy spirit to work in her life. The holy spirit may even convict her heart to call him one day. At least too, he would not harbor any hatred in his heart to allow any foothold by the devil. After all, her name is Angel, a devil in disguise to provoke anger in Henry, particularly to in his area of weakness too!

Anyway, I was left perplexed then, if we do not judge, do we live with the sin committed by the offender that hurt the church as a whole? In 1 Corinthians 5:3, it is written:

“Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.”

Rightfully, a single person cannot judge to discipline/ex-communicate another for wrong doing as shown in 1 Corinthians 4: 5 but any disciplining, according to the Geneva Study Bible, “must be done by the authority of the whole congregation, after the matter is diligently examined”.

Matthew Henry goes on to say:

“The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy.”

So friends, forgive each other, do not let hurt build up in your heart. Be willing to be disciplined when it happens and allow God’s words to reign in our lives. For we must all be aligned to His word. Anything else would be in disagreement with God and we are not following God even though we claim to be.

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