We all do it. It is so easy. "Its their fault." Ah, the infamous "they." "They" do a lot of things, apparently. Whether "they" have a name, or they are a government group, city council, school, etc... We love to blame others. Anything bad that happens in our lives, anything that goes wrong, the fault is never our own. This is, unfortunately, something that is incredibly easy to do, and often times the people we blame don't even know they are being blamed. We even, arrogantly, blame God. Instead of taking responsibility for our sin and disobedience, we blame God.
There is someone that we blame more often than anyone else. Someone that gets the glory for things that do not go our way. Someone that is easiest to blame, and lets us relinquish all responsibility for our actions and sin. The enemy. I have heard Christians blame the enemy for everything from a flat tire to their family pet dying. This is not to downplay the very real spiritual warfare taking place every single minute of every single day. There is an enemy, and he does come to lie, kill, and destroy. One way he does this is to obtain glory from us. By blaming the enemy, and constantly talking about how mad we are for what he is doing in our lives, we are giving him the glory. We are fueling the fire of his delusional chance at victory. This not only gives the enemy glory, it allows us to rid ourselves of any perceived responsibility for our own sin.
So how do we fight this urge? By giving the glory to God in all things. The enemy only has the power that you and I give him. If we are focusing on giving God glory instead of blaming others for anything and everything in our lives, then we take that power away from the enemy. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." Resist the devil when you are discouraged. Don't give up on God, He has never and will never give up on you. Stand firm in the faith. Look beyond your circumstances and know that Jesus obtained your victory over all trials when He gave His life for you. The enemy has no power because he has already been defeated. Take comfort in that you are not alone in this. Know "that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." He is the one who has the solutions to your problems, so there is no need to blame anyone else. Focus on giving God glory in all things. In trials He teaches us and produces perseverance (James 1:2-4), and through His Son He produced victory for us. Trust in Him.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Have you ever had an epiphany? You know, to suddenly realize something and to see it clearly? This has happened to me recently about the subject of apologetics. First, for those of you who are not familiar, apologetics is the branch of theology that is concerned with the defense of Christian doctrines. In other words, apologetics is the practice of answering questions that challenge our faith. In this manner, it is how we answer questions about our faith to non-believers, differing faiths, etc… There are multiple scriptures to back up the practice of apologetics, for example 1 Peter 3:15, “but in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I am not going to bash apologetics, I realize it is necessary and good; however, its use is not always necessary, and definitely not always good. I love talking about scripture, the gospel, and God as much as anyone, but sitting around debating all day really doesn’t get anything done, does it? Too many Christians use apologetics as a way to save the lost, or consider it spreading the gospel. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening. Some of you may not have had parents who used this phrase, but mine did: “A child should speak when spoken to.” This is how apologetics should be used. You are a child of God, and when you want to affirm and give someone the reason you have hope in Christ, be sure you have been spoken to first. Give an answer when there is a question. The further I dive into apologetics when talking to a non-believer, the less I see it matter. I am in no way saying not to share your faith, by all means share the gospel of Christ, but don’t consider it your life’s purpose to prove it. My main form of apologetics is my life. I want others, non-believers and believers alike, to see my life and know that there is joy, light, and purpose in all that I do. Too many times, intelligent Christians will lean on apologetics as sharing the gospel instead of simply caring for someone. How many chances have you missed to honestly listen and care about someone because you felt the need to justify your faith, even though it was never in question. You have to ask yourself, are they really challenging my faith?