I’ve been spending the last few weeks getting my office organized. That includes sorting through dozens of notebooks of half-written blog posts, story ideas, and journal entries.
Last night I came across one such entry that made me (once again) laugh at my naivety. For a fairly smart person, I can be so clueless sometimes. But, as I’ve said before, I believe this is what makes me special- a childlike wonder for life and a heart that wears rose-colored glasses.
This entry was from five years ago, when we moved to the Coast and I first joined Dale in full-time ministry. We had gotten involved with many churches and many other ministries and, with my enthusiasm for this new adventure I was embarking on, I assumed everyone was in the same place as I was, mentally and spiritually.
We were all going to work together and change the world!
So day after day, I’d wake up and put on the armor of God. I never forgot because I had the verse taped to my dresser mirror.
Then, when we’d get to another church, a ministry, or even our own church, I’d think, “Whew! Time to relax a bit!”
Now if you’ve been in church any length of time in your life, you’re probably laughing right about now. You may have been through a church split or served in a church or even seen the ugly underside of a ministry in it for all the wrong reasons.
But I hadn’t.
I’d spent thirty years in a large Baptist church that I thought operated on love and sunshine. If there were problems within, I never saw it. Why would I? The inner workings of a church are fraught with issues the congregation need never be concerned with.
Nor had I any dealings with people who were using the name of the Lord for personal gain.
So when I found myself a little hurt and angry, and more than a little bit confused, I had to consider that my romanticized view of ministry wasn’t realistic. And I had to figure out what to do about it.
I had scribbled on the top of page, “Why in the world did I think church was the place to take off the armor?” But what I wrote in confusion immediately turned to clarity.
My resistance wasn’t going to be on the streets where people are mistakenly convinced they are one day headed to the ultimate party of all parties in hell.
No, the real threat to Satan is in the churches where the power of God can transform lives.
So why wouldn’t he spend more time there instead?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 13: 29-30 that where there’s wheat, there are tares. We should expect those tares, those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, those who embody the spirit of the antichrist in our churches. That’s where Satan needs discord the most.
But we, as Christians, also need to remember that we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Seeing what (or WHO) is wrong doesn’t make it our mission to destroy them. Pray for them as they are under the sway of the evil one. There are times to confront, there are times to go to an elder, and there are times to walk away. If you are in such a situation, pray for wisdom.
But never, never ever ever, take off the armor of God!