Sunday, December 25, 2016

Guarding Your Faith against Outside Influences

Stand Firm

“Be alert. Be firm in the Christian faith. Be courageous and strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 GWT).

From the onset, influencing another brother or sister with the aim of causing division is ungodly and amounts to gossip. Now this is not the influence we are referring to in this article; we refer to the misrepresentation by some who pretend to be Christian with the aim to deceive. Christians should guard against a veiled gospel the kind that promotes self, prosperity and the pursuit of worldliness. We further encourage the Brotherhood not to take the first flight away from their faith when fear strikes, for this is the first enemy to appear when our faith and courage is measured. STAND FIRM IN FAITH, FACE FEAR AND OVERCOME IT IN JESUS NAME!

As we already acknowledged in previous articles, (How to submit to test and trials and overcome it) living a life of faith in Christ was never meant to be an easy walk (2 Timothy 3:12). Historically, earlier societies used to be simple and largely homogenous. However, urbanization and technological advances have ushered in an exchange of cultures, ideas and influences which have forever changed the way we view things. We are certainly not lamenting or lobbying for the return of the ‘old gone days’ the present has been decreed to continue until the fulfillment of days (Matthew 24:12). Instead, what we are saying is stand firm in your faith because some of these influences have made its way to the Church.

How Fear Limits our Faith

The single greatest stumbling block to our faith is fear, and this is a powerful weapon in the hands of the enemy to both weaken and destroy the Christian faith. Let me qualify this, some Christian’s inability to effectively obey the Lord is restrained by fear (Matthew 14:30; 1 Samuel 15:24). If we are to be more than conquerors, which we so aptly sing and confess then we need to shake off the fears of hardships, persecutions, famine, fear of the sword, death, laziness and demons (Romans 8:35-39). These and many other fears conclude the plight of every person (Job 14:1) and what we need to survive these fears is courageousness and faith (Joshua 1:9; Acts 21:13). When we are clothed with these noble virtues, courage, and faith, we declare a cause of no return against our convictions (Matthew 26:39). This preceding verse is a classic example on how our Lord Jesus Christ bravely accepted the challenge of mockery, suffering, and death in obedience to His calling (John 3:16). By exercising His faith, and knowing the outcome beforehand, the Lord Jesus defied the spirit of fear and overcame its limitations (Revelations 1:18; 1 Corinthians 15:57).

How the World Influences Christians

When the Lord Jesus Christ started speaking to us back in January 2010, He confirmed the Bible message. We should remember that the Lord Jesus is the only faithfulness (Revelations 1:5) and "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22 NIV). This then is our conviction and the voluminous evidence we have which chronicles our experiences with Him has no trace of any departure from the Bible.

Sadly, the Evangelic Church has been deeply influenced by the world system, and the flock needs to be warned against these subtle devices of Satan. The Church and the individual Christian is meant to safe guard the truth and defend the Word of God (1 Peter 3:15). Under no circumstances are we (Christians) to compromise and agree to unjust laws, the promotion of sinful acts or the degrading of people in general (2 John 1:9). It would be wrong to blame the Church entirely for the moral decay in the world today. Regarding the preaching of the Word of God, in any given society, if we failed to preach, and inform the offenders of God’s wrath against their ways we share their guilt (Ezekiel 33:8). However, if our message is being rejected, we are freed from our obligation (Ezekiel 33:9). Factually, it is impossible to force someone against his or her will, and the Lord acknowledges that. When some people walked away from their faith in our ministry after they received a personal message from the Lord, we asked Him we could win those people over, and the Lord simply said we should just encourage them and pray for them.

Outside Influences

About two years ago (2014), I was approached by a man who was selling an insurance policy. As he continued with his sales pitch, I blessed him with a gospel tract, and after receiving it and learning that I am a born again Christian, he changed his approach to persuade me he started saying ‘amen’ to almost everything I said. He started using other Christians as bait saying that many born again Christians are his clients and I should do so also. I politely heard him out, but I rejected his offers.

Furthermore, about ten years ago I was encouraged by a close family member to see a fortune-telling witchdoctor to help me with my problems. By promoting the services and popularity of the fortune-teller, I was given names of long-serving Christians and that in general many Christians are trusting this psychic and her reputation speaks for itself. According to the person who suggested the psychic, this was supposed to be my only escape out of my life of misfortune, which is a lie! Upon inquiry, those ‘Christians’ mentioned had long abandoned their faith; they simply kept the Christian title. Devotion to Christ means being in union with Him (1 Corinthians 16:15-17).

Standing firm in my faith, and knowing my relationship God, and being armed with scriptural knowledge, I rejected these advances with contempt, and I opted to pray myself out of my circumstances which have and is still working today (Philippians 4:6-7).

Often, the world and Satan uses other Christians as admirable ‘trophies’ to influence, deceive and destroy our faith. This is the most explicit form of deception, and it makes a mockery of our faith. Consequently, Christians should remember once they succumb to temptation and the voice of evil, it would not just take a mere confession of sins to make right with God. Instead, the guilt and the spirit that caused that desire needs a body to possess (Ephesians 2:1-3) to enforce that desire. This may usually take on a two-way effect; the instigator provides the ‘bait’ or benefit, and the devil secures the continual indulgence through possession (Romans 6:16). Remember our lead verse and God’s charge to Joshua ‘be strong’ (Joshua 1:9; 1 Corinthians 16:13).

In conclusion, as individual Christians, we are responsible for our faith since God will Judge each one of us according to our ways (Ezekiel 33:20). Let us be careful not to be influenced by the flood of worldliness into being tattooed, the wearing of makeup as promoted by some ‘Christian’ artists and ‘Christian celebrities’ who have the courage to change and influence us. We have a Bible to obey, and conviction to follow, and the world targets such influential Christian leaders to penetrate, confuse and ultimately to render our faith useless. We will, therefore, undoubtedly survive the flood of deception if we are firm in our faith, courage and stand strong in our convictions.

We would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link Prayer of Sincere Repentance
by faith and follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.

Blessed love in faithful obedience to Christ.

Brother Glenn