By Bishop Sunny Emmanuel*
I have received emails from several people and ministers of the gospel, some saying God is judging America, others saying God is not judging America, he is judging the church.
Frankly I think Presidents and Congressional leaders world over going years back are to be blamed, but no matter what comes our way, as disciples of Jesus, we are to use everything to grow in the Lord and trust Him.
The blame game
While the devil can certainly be a harassment and add insult to injury, most situations are very easily explained by someone’s actions, Congress or otherwise, not the devil. When people are under an authority structure; national, state, local, work, military, church, family; decisions – good and bad made by those in authority affect those under that authority.
When God is working on us to trust him through changes, human nature is to dig in the heels and gripe, or blame others. No matter, we still have to make the decision to trust Him.
Some don’t seriously ask the Lord how they should be looking at their situation and what He wants them to learn, or they may lightly ask, but won’t linger to hear the answer because it’s a hard lesson. It’s more comfortable and safer not to change, because growing is launching into unknown waters and therefore a scary, humbling and new experience.
One of the dangers of the victim culture in this age is that no one wants to take responsibility for their actions; it’s either the devil did it, or the spouse, or the bank, or the boss, or the government etc.
Most everyone reading this has been flipped off at some point in their driving experience by somebody who broke half a dozen laws before they cut in front of you, but they flip you off for inconveniencing them!
I heard on the news that a lady in a drive through lane was told that they were out of the diet cola she wanted, so she threw her French fries at the attendant, and then sprayed his face with pepper spray!
Maybe, just maybe, if she was a believer, the Lord might have wanted to use that lack of diet cola in her life as a growth tool for patience instead of blaming the guy at the window – you think?!
I rebuke you…is that you Lord?
A lady came to me one day after church, convinced a ‘spirit of condemnation’ was telling her to apologize to another lady in the church. Her exact question was: Will the devil direct you to do something that seems scriptural even though you don’t want to do it?
Turns out she had said something to hurt the other lady’s feelings and knew she did wrong, but was convinced because ‘there is therefore now condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Rom 8:1) it was the devil giving her those feelings of ‘condemnation’ and urging her to make it right with the lady.
When I told her she had been rebuking the Spirit of God who was convicting her of doing wrong, she wasn’t too excited because she didn’t want to do the hard thing and apologize (but she did).
What amazed me is that she manipulated scripture because she couldn’t imagine God asking her to humble herself and do a difficult thing. Her theology was that God was her servant ever present to make her more comfortable in this life!
To her, growing more Christ-like each day meant more joy, more peace, more goose bumps found on the cutting edge – she wanted to know the power of his resurrection but not the fellowship of his sufferings. (Philippians 3:10)
I wonder how many Christians rebuke the Lord in a store when He urges them NOT to put things on their Visa or pin pass and stick to a budget, after all, God wants you to always have abundant life, so God wouldn’t be telling me not to charge it! Worse yet, are some blaming the devil for the card payments, like the devil was the one that had to have those shoes or weed eater or new 42″ plasma TV?
Back to centre
The Lord will always ask us to turn the finger we have pointing at others back around towards us. He will always ask us to stop the blame game and look at our own heart.
Have you ever wanted to tell that person driving aggressively and flipping off drivers to relax? What if they took responsibility for their actions and stopped being a danger to themselves and others?
The reality is that our first responsibility is to ask the Father what if anything we did wrong, how did we open the door, and to know ourselves well enough to know why we did what we did, and then repent if needed and learn of it. If things are happening beyond our control, then we have to ask what we can do to make the impact less, and how we can grow and trust the Lord through the changes.
Because the Lord builds us from the inside out away from the gaze of others, it affords the opportunity to be honest just between him and us, in very private moments of admission. Those private moments between us are when a person’s life turns around. That’s the point the momentum changes – when we take responsibility for our actions and determine to use whatever confronts us to grow more Christ-like.
On one level, I really don’t care if God is judging any country or the body of Christ. I watch with interest, don’t get me wrong. But I know that He and I are at peace, walking closer than ever, and in my spirit I have peace.
You see, God is judging me every day; every time I say something in a wrong attitude or tone to my wife, children, relatives and my church members, I get convicted, which is judged, and I repent. Every time my mind wanders to things I shouldn’t be thinking of, I get convicted which is judged, and he brings me back to centre. Every time we weigh to do right or wrong, and choose right, we have judged ourselves.
Every time we are convicted of doing wrong and we confess our sin as I John 1:9 says, we are responding to judgement by judging ourselves and receiving the benefits of a humble heart.
So I’m not afraid for the future, because I know the Father and I are at peace, in fellowship, and he will always lead me through the valley to the other side.
If we do these things, we won’t try to blame someone else for what is happening to us, or blame a bad spirit as the source of our problems, we’ll walk in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!
*Bishop Sunny Emmanuel is a Senior Pastor with Christian Faith Centre International, Tilburg (Holland). He may be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org