Spiritual Swindlers or Not and the Question from 1 Peter 3:
Today, if you are on any mailing list, Facebook feed or part of the social media frenzy you have probably gotten plea letters to pray as well as their solicitation for monies. We need to be wise as we read these because there are spiritual swindlers everywhere. So take heed. The question is how do we practically assist in times of need? Let’s take a leaf out of Peter and Paul’s letters to help us navigate these waters. Peter’s advice and counsel are apropos for today there are many across our globe, like Asia Bibi as she sits in a squalid prison in Pakistan or Pastor Brunson in Turkey. These are truly facing tough times and we do need to not only be aware, be sensitive but also support the efforts to get them released. Yet while they languish, our job is to be educated and to pray and to ask God if we are to do as Job: “I rescued the poor who cried out for help.” But we also need to be discerning.
Peter has been encouraging his fellow believers who are far from him and experiencing persecution. He has told them these trials will strengthen and prove their faith which is more precious than gold. Peter says don’t forget to follow the “three musts.” If you missed that post return and read it. He now stops and asks them a pointed question “who is going to harm you if you are devoted/zealous to what is good?” That is a hard question because of what we read on these FB posts and other newsletters that swamp our mailboxes and/or what we may be experiencing, but Paul helps us answer this question in Romans 8.
Here’s what we should not only know but cling to:
Romans 8:22 We know…that it is certain…that all of creation is suffering along with us. We and they are not the only Job’s in this world. Jesus told us we will, not maybe but we will face persecution.
Romans 8:28 We know…that ALL..not some… but ALL things work together for good for those who love God. We are the chosen, the elect, from the foundation of the world. The qualifier is that we love God and as Peter tells us in chapter 1, we are obedient children.
The problem is that we lose heart and like John the Baptist we ask “Are you the One?” Yes He is the One and this is also true:
God is working.
His plans are not like ours. (Isaiah 55:8-10)
Our job is to keep an eternal perspective and trust God.
These are God-sized problems that need God-sized solutions.
So when the posts send you into a tizzy or make you feel guilty, stop and seek wisdom from above.In other words be discerning as Hebrews 5:14 tells us to do. Ask God what your part should be. And beware of the “spiritual swindlers” who are dogging your every step.
And why is this “sooooo: important? Because as a discipler you will be mentoring or discipling those who are weak in the faith or ‘newbies.”
Are you ready?