“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13.5).
Isaiah 35 & 36
2 Corinthians 13.1-14
The schemes of the enemy
Chapter 36 repeats a story from the life of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19). The King of Assyria had sent the Rabshakeh as his representative to convince the Israelites to surrender. First, he stood outside the city wall and tried to intimidate them into surrendering. He even attacked their faith in God:
“Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria?” (v. 18).
When scare tactics didn’t, immediately, work, he tried sweetening the deal by saying, in effect, “Look, if you just surrender I’ll let you stay here in your own homes and your own land until later when I come back for you and take you to a really nice place, almost like this.”
In other words, see what I can do for you! Don’t trust your God, trust me!
Nothing much has changed when it comes to the deceitfulness of our enemy, has it? He’s still trying to deceive us into trusting in anything and everything but the Lord.
If we’re single and want a mate, he often tries to convince us to quit waiting on God’s choice and look to the world. He tries to convince all of us that we need more “stuff” instead of being content with what God has provided. And pleasure … he works hard to keep us believing that pleasure can only be found outside of God’s parameters when the only lasting pleasure and satisfaction can be found in God.
The devil often wraps sin in such a pretty package. Hebrews 3.13 talks about the “deceitfulness of sin”:
You can try this drug just once, you won’t end up hooked! It won’t take you captive. In fact, if you try it, it will take you to a “really nice place”!
You can have lunch with that married co-worker; you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re just “friends.” Besides he’s a guy; maybe he can help you understand your husband better. The next thing I hear in the counseling room through tears is, “This wasn’t supposed to happen!”
Living together is fine as long as you’re “committed.” After all, a wedding license is “just a piece of paper.” But Jesus said to the woman at the well:
“You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly” (Jn. 4.17-18).
I can do this just once.
I won’t get caught.
I deserve this!
Everyone is doing it! What’s the big deal?
This is just what you have to do to get ahead!
This is 21st century, not biblical times!
Well, how will Hezekiah and the people respond? To be continued in tomorrow’s reading …
This prayer by David against his enemies is called an imprecatory prayer. Probably most of us have felt like praying a prayer like this at one time or another.
“Set a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand” (v. 6). Lord, why don’t you do to her what she’s doing to me?
“When he is judged, let him be found guilty, and let his prayer become sin” (v. 7). I hope he gets caught!
“Let his days be few, and let another take his office” (v. 8). Lord, let his boss catch him and fire him. Let him see how it feels.
“And let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him” (vv. 11-12). I hope she loses everything and has to file bankruptcy!
Unfortunately, that’s not in keeping with the spirit of the Scriptures. First, we must remember this prayer was prayed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and looked forward to the enemies of Christ whom a Holy God will someday judge. We, who are sinful creatures ourselves should not think we can judge someone else in this way.
Instead, Jesus told us:
“… love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5.44).
Like a city without walls
Verse 28, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.”
Don’t be disqualified
In chapter 12 in yesterday’s readings Paul wrote:
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced” (12.20-21).
After that sharp rebuke, the Apostle wrote:
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (13.5).
As believers, we can and do sin, but genuine believers will experience conviction and, eventually, repent. If we can sin without any conviction, we too, should examine ourselves to see if we are really saved. A redeemed life will produce good fruit. Jesus said, “You will know a tree by its fruit” (Lk. 6.44). And John the Baptist warned the Pharisees, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Lk. 3.8).
Have a great day in the Lord!
Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura:
“Spiritual Warfare is thoughtful, biblical, theological, accessible, and impactful. Authors Borgman and Ventura make much of Christ and what He has done without negating the reality of our adversary and the real danger he presents, as well as our call to faith, righteousness, prayer, and perseverance that flows directly from our Savior’s finished work. What a timely, refreshing, encouraging, convicting, and empowering book!” — Voddie Baucham Jr. pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.
“Many voices in our day present a version of spiritual warfare in which Satan seems to hold the position of prominence—even preeminence. Christians are left to wonder what magic spell or formulaic expressions can be invoked to see their demons excised. Yet, since Christ has triumphed over all the forces of darkness, His people should grow in hope and faith as they look to Christ. Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura present one of the finest and most biblically responsible and insightful studies of spiritual warfare now available. While they account fully for the reality of Satan’s deception, cunning, and power, they give greater stress (as they ought!) to the superior and indefatigable victory and sovereign reign of Christ. Christians need the message of this book.” — Bruce A. Ware, professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Feelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life by Brian Borgman:
Emotions are a vital part of what it means to be a human being made in the image of God and redeemed in Jesus Christ. But often our emotions confuse and mislead us. So what is the proper place for emotions in a Christian’s walk of faith?
NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:
I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings A Proverbs 31 Wife Marriage, Motherhood & Missions
Tuesdays Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky Cornerstone Confessions Titus 2 Tuesday Teaching What is Good Time Warp Wife Solo Deo Gloria Sisterhood
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Juana Mikels My Daily Walk in His Grace Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays Judith Whole Hearted Home Where Joy Is
Thursdays Serving Joyfully/Thriving Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life/Thought Provoking Thursdays Becoming a Godly Wife Children Are a Blessing/Growing in Grace Linkup The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy
Fridays Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Essential Thing Devotions Women of Worship Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Living in Green Grass Fulfilled Fridays
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew Missional Call
This post may contains affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!