We are none of us an exception, immune to the effects of a sin-ravaged world.
Or to the forces at work in our own flesh.
1 Peter tells us that our “adversary, the devil, roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” We know from the animal kingdom, that predators often seek the young, the old, the weak, the lonely prey to bring down. Separate from the herd, and pounce.
And, boom! They’re down, and thus become another feast for hungry beasts.
So it is with us. Only the devil’s subterfuge is much more subtle than outright pursuit. No, his tools to isolate are misunderstanding, bitterness… in short, the frictions of a fallen world that, like sandpaper, often rub us raw.
The pastor says something we don’t like, and boom! We’re gone. A friend levels a harsh word, we’re done. The church lets us down…
We walk away.
And the biggest lie the enemy perpetuates is that we are alone in this (insert your this here).
It’s just a few short steps from believing we are alone to living like it. Believe me, I’ve been there alone in my shame, believing that no one would understand, and if they knew, would shun me.
And that is just where our “adversary, the devil” wants us to be: alone in our shame, ripe for the picking. Consider well Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV):
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Because God has elsewhere said that He has given us the “ministry of reconciliation,” the hurts and slights are worth working through. The misunderstandings are worth surmounting.
But we have to be willing to so the work.
Or we run the twin risks of believing we are alone, or can do this alone. But God’s church is a body, and needs all its parts to function as it should.
I’m here to tell you today that:
You are not alone.
You can’t do this on your own.
We need you. Your story, your voice, your unique giftings, and abilities.
You are not an exception. If you think so, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. You will become a victim.