Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fire Starters

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.  Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”   But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”  He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.” – John 6: 66-71

Christian life is not supposed to be a path lined with roses.  If it was, God would have to take us out of this world at the very point we were saved.  But it’s not supposed to be that way.  We have to struggle, to be tested and tried in order to draw closer to Him and find our dependence on Him. 
Sometimes the struggles are internal, such as with fears and our own personal failures and guilt.  But sometimes they are external, as Jesus had in the passage above.  Many were following Him, but when they could not understand His words concerning eating His flesh and drinking His blood, they turned back and stopped following.  Can you imagine the discouragement of having those close to you turn away?  Maybe it’s not an imagination in your own life, but reality.
Pick any Christian group, any Church, any fellowship, and I fully believe there will be a ‘devil’ among them if they have any salt in them at all.  It has to be that way because they play a part in the struggle we must have to be sanctified, truly transformed into what God wants us to be.  Just as Judas had his part to play in the plan of salvation, they have their part to play in the plan of sanctification. 
Does your group have a person that is stubborn and unwilling to concede for unity’s sake?  Do you know one who is lazy and unwilling to work with the group?  What about one who is just the anchor weight of unhappiness and dread, drowning your joy?  Is there one who is continually trying to create division, gossip, or being judgmental of all others? Brothers and Sisters, we are told that he will purify us as silver placed in the fire.  Someone has to be there to light the fire! 
But as Jesus did with Judas, knowing long before the crucifixion which side Judas was on, we are to walk through life with them.  The test is worthy of our endurance and struggle, because it is within the test that we find our weaknesses.  Each person around us plays a part in God’s plan for us.  Count no one as fringe, or unimportant players in your life.  Whether they are a shelter or the storm, they all are there by God’s design to make you who He wants you to be.

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