In Philippians 1:27-28, Paul urges us to “stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have unwittingly allowed ourselves to be politicized and polarized by the issues around the coronavirus and the past presidential election. As a result, we are not “standing firm in the one Holy Spirit.” What is meant by that phrase?
As followers of Jesus, He has given each of us His Holy Spirit to be with us forever. The Spirit of God indwells us. So, when we come together or communicate with each other we each bring the Holy Spirit’s presence with us.
But the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself or disagrees with Himself. So, when we fight and bicker, it is not from the Holy Spirit, but from our own flesh. James says as much, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1)
And when we quarrel and disagree rather than coming together in the unity of the Holy Spirit, we are not “striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” Nothing turns the world off to the gospel faster than bickering Christians who are at odds with each other.
I’m not talking about differing on issues that the Scriptures speak very clearly about. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Scriptures and He doesn’t contradict Himself there either. Instead, what I’m referring to here has to do with the next part of that passage in Philippians 1:28. “Without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”
This past year, Satan has enjoyed free reign when it comes to lying and deception. Jesus said of him, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Over the last twelve months we’ve been lied to about so many things. Jesus warned that deception would be the hallmark of the end times (Matthew 24:24). These lies have been propagated through all the mainline media outlets who have fomented fear among the people. Fear is the currency of this movement and lies are their bank account.
But when we give in to the fear and believe the lies, we start fighting among each other. Neither the fear nor the lies are from the Holy Spirit who would have us “strive together as one for the faith of the gospel.” The lies and fear come from the evil one.
Instead, we must not be “frightened in any way by those who oppose us. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that we will be saved—and that by God.” In other words, when we refuse to believe and live by the lies and refuse to be frightened or intimidated by those who oppose us, our stand demonstrates to them the truth of the gospel. Therefore, we must not fear or live by lies.
Lies and deception are part of the opposition or persecution that Christians have always faced, and this is what we’re experiencing now. Paul warned Timothy, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
Frequently in the New Testament, the Lord urges us “do not be deceived” (James 1:16 for instance). But because of the bickering and fighting we see among many Christians, it is evident that many have already believed the lies and are deceived.
What do we do? Who do we believe? How do we even know whether we’ve been deceived?
Mark Twain observed something about human nature that applies here, “It is much easier to fool people than to convince people that they have been fooled.” No one likes to admit they’ve been fooled. It’s a pride thing. When we’ve stood our ground and argued passionately about our viewpoint, it’s very difficult to recant and admit that we were wrong.
But our pride will only let us down. Instead, we must seek truth. Not the ever-moving target of relative truth of which the progressives speak. I’m talking about rock-solid truth with evidence to back it up. In fact, one of the best ways to spot lies and deception is when those who oppose the lies are censored, silenced, ridiculed, or discredited. Those who speak the truth will gladly dialog with those who don’t. But those who lie will not and cannot dialog, so they slander and silence the opponents.
That has been the go-to strategy of the mainstream media for the past year. They have knowingly spread lies and openly participated in fear mongering. And when anyone challenges their script, they’re censored and ostracized. Our society as a whole has bought into the lies and subjected itself to deprivations and loss of freedoms that have caused inestimable damage.
Some might think I’m mixing religion with politics and will dismiss what I’m saying because of the misconception that following Jesus should only be relegated to the “religion compartment” of our lives. But following Jesus should permeate and impact every area of our lives. Because of this, believing a lie in one area of our lives leaves us open to deception in every other area of our lives. Jesus must be Lord of every facet of our lives.
I urge us as followers of Jesus to seek truth and expose the lies. Don’t be frightened or intimidated by those who oppose the gospel and spread lies and fear. We will have to depend on one another and look for truth in places other than the mainstream media sources. Those places are out there, but they are increasingly difficult to find because they are being censored.
Pray, asking God for wisdom. For we have the “Spirit of truth” living within us (John 14:17).