As I sat in my house a few years ago reading various news stories, I finally had enough. I guess I reached my tipping point when it came to the current state of affairs in our country: the insults, the name-calling, the ignorance, the pandering, the lack of civility, and on and on and on. I just couldn’t read anymore. Not much has changed since that time. It makes me ponder, again, just how easy it is for us, as Christians, to get pulled into debates which take our focus away from our purpose: the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19) and doing the works of Jesus (John 14:12).
Since, according to Acts 1:1, it is the ministry of Jesus that each one of us has a part to fulfill, I thought it would be beneficial to note how Jesus responded when people tried to drag Him into debates that took the attention from the real issues.
1. John 3:1-3
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus was curious about Jesus, but he wasn’t quite sure who He was. So, he opened with a statement acknowledging the works of Jesus without making a full commitment to Him. Jesus let him finish, then went straight to the heart of the matter: no matter who you are, “You must be born-again.”
2. Luke 20:20-25
“And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”
Although we live in this world, and the everyday events of this world impact us, we must remember that this world is not our home. Romans 12:2, admonishes us not to be conformed to this world, but to be changed by the renewing of our minds. We cannot allow ourselves to get sucked into thinking, talking and acting like the world. We have a higher calling. We have to see things from God’s perspective. The things that are important to the carnal man have little importance, if any, in God’s eyes.
3. Luke 13:1-5
“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
What was the motive behind mentioning these Galilaeans? Jesus sheds light on the possible motive when he asks them if they thought these people were somehow worse sinners than other people. Men tend to evaluate sin and often judge its degree based upon the punishment that a person receives in this life. Unsaved people, and some Christians unfortunately, call it “karma.” Jesus, however, bypasses this thinking by telling them that everyone who doesn’t repent is going to perish.
God said: “… pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” – 2 Timothy 2:22-26 (NLT)
Someone said: “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” – Winston Churchill
Distractions are everywhere and in everything. Choose your battles wisely. Fight the fights that matter. Seek God first and stay focused on your purpose. Remember, the Lord does not want anyone to perish. That is why we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are not fighting flesh and blood: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:10-12
We will never arrive at the supernatural by focusing on the flesh.