Monday, June 21, 2004

Refuse to Offer the Sacrifice of Fools

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come so that you might have life, and life to the fullest.” As I see it, the “thief” wants three things from us:
1. Our experience of the loving presence of God
2. Our response of loving God back
3. Our act of giving this love away to others
How does the thief do this? By fulfilling his “job description,” which is “accuser.” Fault-finder. Finger-pointer. Judger. This has been Satan’s strategy from Genesis 3:12 through Revelation 12:10. The “fault-finder” works in two ways. First, he works internally, inside us. He whispers words like “You are nobody,” “No one likes you,” “You will never succeed,” “You are a failure in God’s eyes,” and so on and on. Secondly, he works through other people to communicate to us these things. I believe that Satan’s greatest pleasures are when he succeeds in tempting Christian brothers and sisters to whisper and murmur such accusations through the ungodly vehicles of gossip and slander. In Romans 1:28-31 gossip and slander are marks of evil, wickedness, and a depraved mind. As this mentally depraved activity happens “life to the fullest” gets stolen, destroyed, and killed. That’s horrible, isn’t it? What can we do? Here are some things the Bible tells us so we can have victory in this area and thus release more people into the loving presence of God.
1. Refuse to offer the “sacrifice of fools.” This “sacrifice” is described in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2. The “sacrifice of fools” is to “be quick with your mouth and hasty in your heart.” The remedy is to “let your words be few.”
2. Meditate in your heart on whatever things are good, true, and beautiful (Phil. 4:8). That which is meditated on in the heart comes out of the mouth. Meditate on the faults of other people and guess what comes out of the mouth? Note the intimate link between what goes on in the heart and what comes out of the mouth in Psalm 19:14 – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
3. Resolve that your mouth will not sin. Psalm 17:3 states, “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” Decide not to sin with your mouth. Can you do it? One of the enemy’s lies is the whisper “You’ll never succeed at this.” But that is another of Satan’s deceiving strategies. Remember – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And, you’ll sleep better at night.
The thief’s strategy is to get the followers of Jesus so much in disunity that a powerful corporate voice cannot unite in its focus and praise of our Savior. This angers me. I want to see every one of you experience the Christ and His promised “life to the fullest.” Therefore let us make our heart-meditations the good, true, and beautiful things of God and our mouths will follow in united praise to our King Who visited our world and remains by His Spirit to offer life like we’ve never known it before.