The bible clearly teaches us that we should expect to find people in positions of authority in our churches, and church communities, who exist simply to destroy.
Jesus dealt with it and so did Paul, so we shouldn’t be surprised.
We shouldn’t accept it either! But how can we work out who is for Jesus, and who is not?
The bible gives us some really clear guidance: we need to look for the fruit of the Spirit, which always exists, and grows, when we are following Jesus, and seeking to get closer to Him as one of His disciples.
We're going on a bear hunt.
Those words probably conjure up for you a children's book all about going to hunt for a bear, as the title gives away. But on the journey of looking, and hunting, for this bear, there's all these different animals and things and stories that come along and come alive.
And Scripture is really clear that when we are in churches, and church families, we're gonna to make people who were saved, who are disciples of Jesus Christ.
We're going to meet people who have just found Jesus Christ.
But it also is very clear that there'll be people in that church who are not disciples, not Christians and are there, specifically for the enemy, to cause destruction, and strife and harm.
I've met many of them in churches and different positions.
I've met priests.
I've met worship leaders.
And prayer leaders.
And they're not just not walking, having a good walk with Jesus. They're working for the enemy, and we shouldn't be surprised by this. Scripture is replete with examples.
We look at what Jesus faced.
We look at what Paul had to face, with all the churches. All the New Testament, how frequently was Paul having to deal with people who were in the church who were not of Jesus Christ? Who were there to cause trouble and cause strife?
So it should be no surprise we're going to face it today.
So how do we make good judgments without being judgemental?
Well, a judgmental thing would be to look at someone and say, oh, look they've just had a bad day, they've just sworn, they've slammed the wall, they've just driven off at speed, and say they're not a Christian.
Well, they could be having a bad day, and there could be a lot of reasons why we don't know what's really going on.
But actually, if we're gonna make a good judgement, we can't make it in a snapshot. We do that as people, but we shouldn't!
We need to look at their lives over 3, 6 months, 12 months.
If someone is walking for Jesus Christ, then you should see the fruit of the spirit pouring out of them. You should see that spontaneous outpouring of the Holy Spirit from me. Fruit from my life. "By their fruit will they be known".
So if we want to know, on our bear hunt, if someone is saved or not saved, we need to give them the opportunity, we need to study them, at one level, and walk alongside them, and walk with them for long enough to have a good grasp of their life.
Are they generally walking towards God or the general walking away from God?
And we all have bad days, and bad months, and bad years, and bad seasons. So let's make good judgments, not snap judgments. Let's not be judgmental, but let's exercise wisdom and let the power of the Holy Spirit, in us, show our fruit of the spirit to others, as we look for the fruit and the spirit in others.
Let's go on a bear hunt.
Let's look for all the exciting things in churches.
Let's look for exciting people.
We've all come from different places, and we all know Jesus in different ways, and we all have different ways of working out that relationship with Jesus Christ.
But if we want to go on a bear hunt, in a church, and find the Christians, and the disciples, people who we need to be alongside, who need to be along side of us, to encourage and inspire us.
Let's look for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Let's look for that fruit.
Just a thought.
Written by Andy B