Have you ever felt at war with everyone and everything? When we wrestle with dissension and criticism we find fault with everyone around us and think we can do it better. In such an attitude of walking we are constantly at war with all those powers and people that God has set up around us. Initially it may start out with an issue we have with one person, then another, then it spreads to every arena of our lives. Finding fault, criticizing, and convincing ourselves that we know-it-all and could do whatever task is at hand better than another is exhausting.
Let us be careful in dwelling on the slippery slope of fault-finding and criticism, for with such a mindset we can trade the fresh childlike faith and exuberant wonder of walking with Christ for the putrid bog of dissension. With such a dark mindset we see people after the flesh and highlight their faults rather than viewing others through the promise of what God can do through them. If left unchecked, we can get so used to operating in this way that we will find it hard to even find the goodness in another.
We may even hide this fault-finding technique and reveal it behind closed doors, but to the world we look as though we are a team player. Oh, let us instead operate not with an undivided heart. Instead of criticizing someone or talking about them behind their backs, let us go to the Lord and pray for them? Ask the Lord to bless them and fill them with the knowledge of Christ, to give them wisdom and understanding that God may complete His perfect work in this situation and the body of Christ would be built up. We do not know what this dear one may be struggling with and how God is positioning that one in his/her walk. The Lord may put this precious soul in a position of authority we think is completely out of their reach; however, God sees something of promise in them, He sees what He can create in them and pour through them.
The Lord may be working to take this one and everyone along side him to a higher level of faith and action. Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to stay hidden from his enemies when the angle of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). Even Gideon thought God chose the wrong person to deliver his people from such overwhelming oppressors as the Midianites and others. But the Lord wanted to deliver Israel in His way and through His chosen servant. The Lord knew that Gideon’s family and even Gideon did not see himself as the strongest candidate for the job or the most popular person in the realm. For instance, if Gideon had a social media profile today no one would “like” his posts.
The Lord often chooses the most unlikely vessel to bring about great deliverance, to manifest His power, and to change nations. The Lord proclaimed that He would be with Gideon and work through him to strike down all the Midianites (Judges 6:16). God recognizes something in us that no one else may see. He sees the reason He breathed life into us, the reason we were born, and He desires to fully cultivate His purposes for our existence. Our usefulness does not depend on the opinions of man, but on what God sees and desires to bring forth in us.
It is easy to look at another and judge them based on their visible limitations and from our own experiences. What if we were a skilled public speaker, but the Lord chose another more limited vessel in this skill to deliver His word or even deliver presentations within a company. This could become a point of contention if we let it ,if we focus on our own strengths and criticize their limitations. We may have had 20 years in the field and they are just beginning. What if God wanted to refine and strengthen us in an area of our limitations. How we would long for others to believe the best about us rather than receiving harsh criticisms, jeers, and murmurings.
Oh let us be careful not to judge and force our uninvited opinions on another when we only see in part. The Lord may be taking this precious one through a refining fire and positioning him in a role that will change not only his life but everyone he touches. Does not God often call us to stand in positions that we cannot be successful in through our own wits and strength? This is generally how He likes to operate and give us no opportunity to put confidence in our flesh. So let us pray for strength for all the precious souls we once found fault with, so that we may be a blessing and not a stumbling block.
As we learn to work together and walk in unity as the body of Christ, we may not understand how a gift should work with another gift, especially if we are new to really operating in the Spirit of the Lord on a higher level that He desires to take us. There may be some points of tension or struggles as we let go of our selfish fleshly opinions and druthers and give ourselves selflessly to the gifts God works through us. Let us be patient with one another and let not dissension get a foothold in our speech or hearts as we learn to operate in unity with one another as the body of Christ.
Let us encourage and love one another deeply, let us approach each other gently and humbly, let us honor others above ourselves. Whether the kindness is returned does not matter, what matters is our means to the end is a blessing to our Beloved. Let us speak and do unto each one as unto Him, for whatever we have done for the least of these we have done unto Him. Let us be very careful not to limit what God can do in others, for He is mighty to save and redeem. As we let go of dissension, criticism, and fault finding and release our know-it-all attitudes we too can be more fully used by the Lord, for we will be a pure vessel displaying His light and love and ready to build up those around us rather than tear them down. How joyful and quick our steps will be as we seek God and become a delight to those around us. Who knows…we may be God’s next Gideon.
How much the cares of this world and the criticism of others has weighted you down. Beloved, I have called you to walk above the weaknesses of man, not to see their faults but to proclaim their strengths and give them hope that all things are possible through Me. As you limit others so too are you limited in how I can use you. For with a critical spirit you breed dissension and disunity. So let go of these mindsets and strongholds and walk in My freedom – My freedom to love others genuinely, to serve Me with an undivided heart, to pour out on others in delight and generosity.
Walk in My light and not in the clouded mindset of the enemy, for how dark is his thinking. Let your mind be renewed in Christ and ask Me for a new perspective even on those around you. Build them up and proclaim My goodness over them. Let Me handle the areas to be strengthened, for I surely will. Not one weakness goes unnoticed by Me, but what I do is mend and grow. So let Me have My perfect work both in these vessels and in you.
I Corinthians 12:13-27
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
I Timothy 2:1-4
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
II Timothy 2:24-25
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”