Thursday, January 10, 2008

Guaranteed: How to Stop an Attack

The third guarantee I listed two posts ago was: If you're being attacked, rebuke the devil and claim God's presence, and the attacker will flee.

Is this true? Is this a guarantee? 

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Yes, I believe this verse is true. It is teaching a way of life. But is it a guarantee that you can claim and teach like it's a magical formula or chant that you use when you're in trouble? I don't think so. Why? That's not the purpose of scripture; i.e., a magic wand that you wave to get what you want or to get desired results.

How many times have you heard testimonies of someone who was being attacked and out came the claiming of God's presence and the attacker fled or some miracle happened? I've heard it countless times. And I've read of miracles in the Bible exactly along these lines.

So, what's the problem?

My problem is for every single testimony like that above I know of a dozen or more testimonies that have the opposite result.

Example: In two or three different seminars I attended years ago, I was given formulas for what to do when attacked, especially if you're a woman. Thousands were attending these seminars. 

Later I counseled a young woman who one day returned home from buying groceries and she had her young baby in the car. She took the groceries into her apartment and a man was in the process of robbing them. He attacked her and raped her. She immediately did everything she had learned in the seminar. Nothing worked. The man continued and did not leave. She was brutalized. 

She was devastated. Apparently she didn't do it right. Hadn't God promised He would? This is very difficult. The God who had been presented to her had failed her. What happened? I believe it's false teaching.

I do believe God has performed miracles for people; I believe He has delivered believers from imminent danger. The problem arises when how God worked in one person's life becomes the rule or standard or guarantee for everyone. Teaching if you will do this and this, then I guarantee God will do this and this, to me is false teaching not backed by scripture.

I could continue with numerous examples of believers who have been devastated because the guarantees they were taught were in scripture didn't work for them.

My reality check for today calls for this: Every time we are at a gathering and we hear a wonderful testimony of deliverance by God, we should have one or two testimonies where God did not choose to deliver in the same way, but the believer still loves and trusts God and honors Him for loving him/her and being with him/her no matter what happens. That's reality and that's the true gospel. Remember Hebrews 11! 

Final thought: years ago at another church an old believer in her eighties told me that she believes God performs miracles for the new believers because they don't have a lot of faith and they need help. She continued that she believes God refrains from miracles with the strong and seasoned believers and is delighted by their faith in Him regardless of circumstances. 

That was one of those freeze frame moments for me, something I will never forget, and as time has gone by, I know so much better what she was referring to and I agree.

May God help us be trusting and seasoned believers who know Him as He really is in grace and truth.
MB 

7 comments:

Rex Ray said...

Mary,
I’ve been on both sides. When someone would say, “If the Lord wasn’t with me in a car wreck, I’d be dead now”, I’d think, ‘If the Lord had been with you, you wouldn’t have had a car wreck.’

My pastor told me the Lord could have intervened by revealing water long before Hagar’s boy was about to die, but he waited till the last moment.
My pastor said, “Sometimes, sometimes, He intervenes today.”

I believed him because of an experience I had just told him:

I was driving the posted 60 mph at night facing blinding oncoming lights of traffic. I changed to the shoulder to let a car pass. As the car was passing a thought came to drive like a race car driver, and I whipped behind him with just three feet to spare.

As the car swerved, three things hit me about the same time: I’ll never do that again, I’ll bet the driver is angry with me, and I saw the back of a boy walking in the middle of the shoulder.

I turned around and told the boy how close he came to being killed.

Rebel4Reality said...

Rex Ray, Interesting comments in your first paragraph. Why would you think the thought that if the Lord had been with you, you wouldn't have had a car wreck?

Do you think everyone who's had car wrecks were bereft of God's being with them? Hmmm... Interesting way of thinking.

If I've understood you correctly, I think you're saying just the opposite of what I was trying to convey.

I believe God loves us and is always with us believers, no matter what happens.

Isn't the excitement and adventure of living the Christian life trusting God in every situation, event, and happening in life? Even when we've been in car wrecks or other bad circumstances?

And even as I'm trusting God for His protection and care, I am totally responsible for every single one of my actions. Your actions in your related story call for your taking full responsibility and changing your actions to reflect your inner life. Isn't that all of our calling?

And, yes, aren't we glad the young man's life was spared. And for that we can thank God.
MB

Rex Ray said...

Mary,
I woke up this morning thinking of a PS to my comment. It went like this:

In 75 years, I’ve only done that once.
Except for a ‘split-second idea’, a high-school boy would have died.
Except for a ‘little game”, I’d be in prison for manslaughter.
Except for a ‘thought from God’, families would have suffered and grieved.

I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clear when I said, “I’ve been on both sides”, I meant ‘I used to think one way’ and now ‘I think another.’ My whole comment was to explain why I changed my attitude.

I think the poem “Footprints in the Sand” tells it all when God explained only one set of footprints: “That’s when I was carrying you.”

I couldn’t find “bereft” in the dictionary, and I disagree about God refraining from miracles with the ‘old’ even though being young and foolish requires more.

Someone, after reading my father’s biography, said “God’s bound to be grey headed.”

Bernard Shuford said...

I love this series of posts, and I want to thank your son Wade for linking me here... I'm one of those Baptists who has a lot to learn, both from women and from men. Thanks so much. KEEP EM COMING.

Bryant Owens said...

Thank you Mary...

I am so thankful for this posting. God does protect his children, but he also doesn't teach us to be naively blind either. Perhaps God is using a difficult time to mature us in our faith to him.

Rebel4Reality said...

Rex, Thanks for clarifying. My online dictionary had the word bereft defined as "an adjective: deprived of or lacking something, esp. a nonmaterial asset." Perhaps it would have been clearer if I had just said without instead of bereft.

Also, the older woman's suggestion I referred to about miracles are for the young who need to build their faith was just that, a suggestion, perhaps to encourage believers who wonder why God doesn't perform miracles in their lives. I was casually addressing my belief that it's a little harder to stay excited about our relationship with God unless we see miracles from Him, that perhaps He is well pleased with those who don't require the miraculous. Just a thought. MB

Bernard and Bryan, thanks for the words of encouragement. How nice to meet both of you. Hope you come again. Being of the older generation I never cease to be amazed at the possibilities and the exciting ways of instant communication of the Internet and the blogging world. Too fun. MB

Rex Ray said...

Mary,
Thanks for the definition of “bereft” (without). So, back to the person’s statement: “If the Lord hadn’t been with me, (in a car wreck) I’d be dead now.”

The Lord is ALWAYS with Christians, so the person’s statement “If the Lord hadn’t been with me…” was impossible.

I know I’m sounding inconsistent since I had thought “If the Lord had been with you, you wouldn’t have had a car wreck”, but in a way (it’s hard to explain this) I was retailing against people that have a ‘corner on God’. I mean, they seem to have a way of everything they say as being backed up by God…“God told me this and God told me that.” And as time passes, it’s easy to see what ‘God told them’ wasn’t true, didn’t happen, or was a bad decision.

It’s like that rabbit that no one wanted to chase…”For it was the Holy Spirit’s decision…to put no greater burden on you than these NECESSARY things: that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 15: 28-29 Holman)

The three ‘food rules’ followed tradition. They did not know/care that Jesus said what enters the stomach does not defile a man but what comes out of his mouth.

Do you see what was ADDED in the letter that was not in James’ speech?

“Necessary” could be argued by the Christian Pharisees as a requirement to be saved, and down the road they kept adding a PS to the letter by adding more and more rules and they were named Catholic in 313 which was 62 years after Anabaptist split from them because they started baptizing babies for salvation.