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.