Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:58
Did you know that in ancient battle times, one tactic of the enemy involved releasing a mare into the other army’s camp to distract, confuse, and divide the stallions pulling the chariots? In this way, the enemy could create chaos and render the other army ineffective in battle.
This is what the devil is doing worldwide, in the United States, in our communities, among our churches, and within our families. He releases “mares” that are distracting, confusing, dividing, and thus destroying friendships, fellowship, and relationships.
These “mares” could be any number of issues, opinions, perspectives, or differences of convictions. From masks to vaccines to political perspectives, long-time relationships are being destroyed and families divided over difference of opinion and how we are approaching issues.
The problem is not that we might have convictions or feel strongly about specific issues. The problem is that any number of issues are becoming the issue. If we are not in complete agreement, the relationship itself is vulnerable or broken.
What really is broken is our approach. We are becoming so extreme and entrenched in our views that we can’t seem to handle honest and open disagreement and maintain a level of mutual respect relationally. It is an either/or world with no room for nuance. We are giving ourselves to ideologies that have become a form of idolatry and are wreaking havoc and destruction. We have lost a grasp on our priorities. We have lost our focus on what matters most. Everything now carries with it the potential that it might break the relationship.
I believe we need to see this for what it is. It is a tactic and scheme that has originated in hell itself. The devil is effectively using it to divide us unnecessarily.
The solution lies in the verse quoted at the beginning of this post. The apostle Paul reminds us of what unites us as followers of Christ: we are brothers and sisters in the faith. We need to remember that through the faith, we are family. And we need to stand firm, not letting anything move us, distract us, or divide us. Yes, we all have convictions and must follow our conscience. But we don’t need to make those issues the main issue and destroy relationships.
Secondly, we need to give ourselves entirely to the work of the Lord. Not every other issue or cause that comes along. Not culture war battles. Not this news agency or that news channel. Not that political talking head or that person who can articulate what we already believe and who gets us worked up emotionally.
We need to stay focused on the work of the Lord. We belong to Jesus. Issues and causes come and go. Opinions, emotions, and perspectives ebb and flow. Circumstances constantly change. Only our labor in the Lord is worthwhile and worth giving our lives too. Only our work in the Lord will last and matter for eternity. And this is what the enemy is rather effectively distracting us from.
It is time to see this for what it is and say enough is enough. Don’t let the enemy win through distraction, confusion, and division. He is shrewd and cunning. But when we stand firm in the Lord, the faith, and his work, we are unmovable, fruitful, and effective in our witness and service in this world.