How does Satan win modern-day battles? One way is by successfully convincing Christians not to engage in battle—to instead focus on how we come across to others and how we “appear” to those in our culture.
He has convinced Christians and many preachers/elders that being nice is the only way we can demonstrate a Christian spirit.
Sure, we read about the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6)—and we may even talk about it at VBS—but we currently live in a culture where it is politically incorrect to actually suit up and go into battle.
Satan has convinced Christians to focus so much attention on niceness that we have totally lost sight of righteousness. A quick look at the New Testament reveals Jesus and His disciples were a lot more concerned about righteousness, rather than making and keeping friends.
Jesus was not concerned about being nice and making friends with the greedy moneychangers. Jesus was not concerned about being nice and making friends with the religious hypocrites. Jesus was concerned about doing the will of His Father.
We have been silenced into thinking we should never make someone mad or else we may not be able to convert them. Obviously, as Christians we should never be mean-spirited or antagonistic.
But if Jesus and His disciples couldn’t convert everyone they interacted with, what makes you think you can?! There will always be people out there who have stiffened their necks against God. Don’t allow those individuals to silence you!
Friends hear this loud and clear—Jesus had no problem making some people mad.
In fact, He made people so mad they ended up killing Him. Stop and really think about that: Jesus angered people so much they want to kill Him. Many of the apostles did the same and experienced horrendous deaths. But also notice neither Jesus nor His disciples were willing to compromise or sugar-coat the Truth. He knew there was a battle going on, and Jesus was not afraid to engage the enemy. He was not afraid to call people out.
Take a minute and look at some of the phrases Jesus used in Matthew 23.
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (v 13)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (v 14)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (v 15)
Woe to you, blind guides, (v 16)
Fools and blind! (v 17)
Fools and blind! (v 19)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (v 23)
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! (v 24)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! …inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. (v 25)
Blind Pharisee (v 26)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (v 27)
Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (v 28)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (v 29)
Serpents, brood of vipers! (v 33)
Fast forward to our common era and social media. Imagine for just a moment if I called religious hypocrites or immoral pagans even a fraction the names Jesus used in Matthew 23. Social media would blow up as preachers and those seeking to take the moral high ground called me out as “unloving” and “hateful.”
I would be “tar and feathered” in the virtual world for not loving my neighbor—and I can assert this confidently, because it has happened to me in the past. And yet, Jesus used these names—and He didn’t back off. He kept calling them names. He kept piling on the insults. He kept pointing out their wicked hearts.
Friends, Jesus had no problem calling people out. He did not walk on eggshells, always worrying about what people thought. Yes, Jesus was the sacrificial lamb that we all needed, but He was also the Lion of Judah. Jesus was more than nice.
We know according to Scripture that God is love (1 John 4:8). Sometimes love means rebuking someone practicing immorality. Sometimes love means reproving things that are displeasing to the Lord (2 Timothy 4:2). Jesus loved individuals enough to say the hard things that needed to be said.
Please stop allowing Satan to sit you down comfortably at the tables Jesus flipped. Do not be afraid to suit up and engage the enemy. Why would you need the whole armor of God if there was never going to be a battle? Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
Maybe instead of trying to always be nice and make the world love us we should ask ourselves why we covet the love of the world in the first place!