Ever since I was born (reborn) a child of God, Satan has tried to distract me from what is important in God’s Word. He has tried to get me to focus on little side issues that at the time seem very important to the person I was talking to, or church I was attending.
Issues like whether or not I should be calling God, Jehovah or Yahweh. Issues like whether to be a good disciple I need to be speaking in tongues, or even whether speaking in tongues exist at all anymore. Arguments over how the scriptures should be interpreted, and which of the Old Testament laws we should still be following. I have seen churches tore apart over issues over dress codes, membership requirements, how the communion should be served, or whether a woman should be behind the pulpit. Satan has tried to distract me with discussions on whether smoking and drinking is a sin. He has brought up arguments over divorce, tattoos, and sex. He has, in point of fact, even used me in some of those arguments to be stumbling blocks to other brothers and sisters.
One night during my teenage Christian period (when I thought I had all the answers), in the midst of what I considered a prayer of righteous indignation, the Lord stopped me in mid-prayer with a whisper. What He whispered in my ear was this; "What part does that play in My salvation plan?" I stumbled to a stop, and in confusion tried to justify my point of view. He whispered, "Is this part of what I did for you?" "-Well no", I said. "Does it contradict the fact that I am the Son of God?" "Well, no", I stammered. "Do they deny that I was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary?" Now, thoroughly cowed, I whispered back, "No." "Do they deny my walk, or my death on the cross?" –Again, with bowed head, I whispered back, "No." Stronger now, that small voice, "Do they deny that when I died on the cross it was for their sins? –Or, are they denying that death had no hold over me, or my resurrection?" Now, thoroughly miserable, I whispered softly, "No, Lord, they do not doubt you as their Lord and Savior." "Then," He whispered, "Why are you worrying about things that mean nothing? I thought I told you clearly in my Word that everything would be made clear to you when I returned. –Did I not promise this?" "Yes, Lord," I whispered through my tears. He softly drew my eyes to one phrase in the bible before me. It said "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and I heard Him whisper, "If you truly love Me with all your heart, with all your soul, and all of your mind, then you must also learn how to love your neighbor with all the concern and love you wish for others to have for you." (Matthew 22:37-40) I came away from that prayer with a different attitude and a new way of looking (new eyes) at my brothers and sisters and their walks.
The Lord has changed me in so much in the years since then! Time after time, He has picked me up when I failed, dusted me off when I have fallen, and shown me how to get back on the path of salvation. He has given me a new heart for my brethren. A heart not of judgment, but of Compassion and Love. So let me encourage you, brothers and sisters, to not let Satan distract you from the Salvation Plan. Our job is to witness, uplift and encourage each other… let us not be distracted by foolish arguments over things that will mean nothing when He comes. Maranathan! – Aramaic for Our Lord Comes!