Acts 22:8 – And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
Once again today, I address you concerning personal matters; that is, matters that should be personal to you. Take a moment and read our Text for Today once more. Consider the words of Jesus, and the first-person-singular in which He spoke them. Again, I call your attention to the very personal attitude He takes concerning the persecution of His church, His body.
I am a husband, a father, and a grandfather. I have many people in my life whom I dearly love and deeply appreciate. Having said that, allow me to reveal something here that is in no way intended to be hostile or threatening, but is simple truth. I will not stand by and allow anyone to harm my bride, my sons, my grandsons, or my loved ones if it is within my power to stop it. I will deal with it in any way I can to spare those I love, family or friends, from injury. That, my dear friend, is a simple statement of truth that I pray no one ever challenges. I will defend those I love. That is not a threat to be kept against an attacker, but a promise to be kept to those I love. And I believe it is a Biblical position.
I likewise believe it is the position taken by our Lord relating to His church; the body of Christ. Paul’s (Saul) persecution of the church was taken personally by the Lord. He did not ask Paul why he was persecuting the church, but said it was Himself Who was being persecuted. I write about this again today to say to you, don’t get in God’s way in this arena. This is why forgiveness is so keenly important in the life of every believer. When I forgive, I am releasing myself from the struggle of strive, bitterness, and unforgiveness. When I fail to forgive, I keep myself bound up by and entangled in the same elements. If you have been offended, or wronged by someone, forgive, and do it now. Release it by faith. Loose yourself from the bonds of that conflict, enabling the Lord to step in with His full force and weight of heaven.
I said earlier that I would defend those I love, but I can only do so to the degree that they are not in the way and run the risk of being injured further. If Jesus steps in on your behalf to deal with someone injuring you, but you have not released yourself from that by forgiving them, your unforgiveness, being sin, places you in the place of being dealt with by the Lord. Forgive. Free yourself first. Don’t stand in God’s way.
Manna for Today – Acts 22:1-21; John 1:1; John 10:30; John 17:22; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:2; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6