A Harmless Love

I grew up in an age of increasing apostasy.  

Consequently, I tend to listen for ‘the spirit of error,’ especially when I am listening to a believer whom I do not know well. 

It’s good to be wise as a serpent, but I am not harmless as a dove when I am constantly looking for the false:  this insecurity [fear] actually inhibits my ability to recognize and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit  (Matthew 10:16).  

To be harmless is to hopefully anticipate and believe in the work of the Holy Spirit in other brethren–and this moves beyond simply recognizing that all believers have something true and valuable to share–to actually seeking the revealing of those good gifts by faith (1 Corinthians 13:7).  

6 thoughts on “A Harmless Love

  1. Brother, this is a great post and a good reminder for us all. How much we can miss when we’re always focused on the false instead of, as you said, “anticipating and believing in the work of the Holy Spirit in others.” May The Lord make it so in all of our lives, and may we not find ourselves to one extreme or the other, but in the right place that The Lord would have us. God bless you brother.

  2. This is great brother.

    That is why I have stopped with christian message boards and chat rooms because I found I was treating everyone with suspicion when the fact is some turned out be good brethren once I got to know them. I guess what I am trying to say is if you know me and my manner of life, than if I am off an area you can accept that I don’t have imperfect understanding without it devaluing our relationship or causing you to mark and avoid me.

    If we are only strangers on a message board and all you know about me is I think 2+2=5 on some subject you may be inclined to write me off as a false brother or wolf because that is all you know of me. Not sure if that makes sense but it is my experience that I have learned from.

    Luke 15:20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

    Something similar that the Lord put on my heart yesterday is that He is quick to run towards prodigals and backsliders who are sick of the pig slop of modern christendom and are yearning for truth and reality. This is his heart of the father as opposed to the bitter sons heart in the parable who is upset about the love and compassion of his father towards his brother. There are many brethren in bad places, covered in some bad doctrines, who recognize it all as pig slop and yearn for their fathers house. If we want to be perfect like our father and not bitter like the son in the parable we should run to these brethren and meet them when they are still “a far way off” and greet them. Even when their understanding of church meetings, tithing, growth in holiness, and other things are still “a far way off” in our opinion.

    Sorry for writing so much by I have been reading a lot the past week mostly in seclusion with limited internet access and was excited and encouraged to read your post. The Lord gave me a practical application for this yesterday as well to really show me what He was telling me.

    In Christ -Jim

  3. I was thinking about that saying the other day…as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove…The serpent is the beguiling enemy who seduces with words and worldly desires…to be as wise as a serpent is to “know his ways” and the remedy to what he is trying to do is “to be as harmless as a dove” – The world is desensitized to violence and sex through the media…which has slowly become more and more violent and explicit. If the things that are shown on tv today had been shown in the 1950’s there would have been uproar…they would have never got away with it…so instead it is slowly introduced, gradually….through the education system, through the media and through the markets…all linked with desire and showing people what they want…bewitching them…The media is the epitome of sorcery which beguiles people, like the serpent, away from God and into the desires of the world – eventually the fires of hell! To a child of today – it is all normal…children do not see any problem with sitting down and playing a game where the kill people…to them it is a game…the more realistic to them the better it is and the more they become excited about the game. They can’t see the slight of hand in all of it (not just the children but the adults too) – its the master of illusion – while the very fires of hell are licking all around them – they are at ease, sleepy, prideful, rebellious – the children of the devil…Not wanting God – not wanting to know Him.

    The other day while preaching in sheffield the rebellion was immediate. I stood up looked up to God and said ‘Lord be with me’ – I looked down and began – “God so loved the world…”
    Immediately the crys of “ahh no!” – They hated the word. Some came but the majority hated it. Towards the end – about 4 hours – an individual man was so filled with rage that he was uncontrollable – he so much wanted the law to say to him – kill these people…He hated us so much that the obscene language that poured from his mouth was so vile and filled with hate that it even took me by surprise…He kept standing in front of us and looking us in the face and kept saying over and over again – I am going to knock you out if you don’t shut up…we just kept going on and on…and even when we finished he kept following us all the way back…he kept pushing into us and tried to provoke us and every time we said “God bless you, God loves you” – it just filled him more and more with hatred…you see what we did was “be as harmless as doves” and the devil in him hated it…the was no answer to it…he wanted us to retaliate in the flesh or hit him or something like that because then the spirit in him could have then said “ahh look now we see what Christians are really like…” – he wanted an excuse and he didn’t get it…so all he could do was spout out hatred and pour out scorn…I kid you not…I could see the spirit of the devil working in him toward us…it was pure and I mean pure hatred…if the law had said to him “you are allowed to kill all Christians” – he would have done it…he was not bothered about being abusive…the crowd gathered round and was almost wanting him to get violent…he kept saying I am going to hit you and knock you out you XYZ…I won’t repeat the words…he kept knocking into us and pushing us and getting in our face…another guy came up and started…and then even the children were laughing, shouting out and mocking us…at one point I looked around and it was people filled with mockery, laughter, hatred…

    When I got back I thought about the Christians who where in the colosseum when the crowd were crying for death and mocking them and thought…the heart of all men is greatly wicked…we must thank God for saving us and we must pray for our enemies…they need to be saved from the evil that is abusing and using them for his own end. Someone once said to me that “evangelists are just lepers telling the other lepers where to find the food”. 7 years ago I would have hit this man – I was completely in the flesh 7 years ago…he would have said 2 or 3 words and it would have been it…only the grace of God and the Spirit of God kept me from doing it this time. But my heart was saying to me – “This man is puny, you can take him anytime” – the voice was also in me, trying to entice me to fight him with my flesh but I ignored him…because God was with me…and He kept me from doing this…it was hard…it was an aggressive provocation…and it was continual without any let up…not just a heckler…the devil had truly got hold of this man and it was something I have never experienced…I know this and I tell you now – When they hand you over to the councils and judges…be ready to be put to death – that time is not far from us…be ready! If the hatred that I experienced is anything to go by…its on the rise – Israel is now being, once again, hated by nations and so are the people of God. I know it sounds strange and unwise to say that these people hate us … we know that the world hates us … but there is one thing reading about it and having knowledge and actually seeing it and looking into the eyes of a man who truly hates you with all his heart and truly wants nothing more than to see you die…I just knew that it wasn’t actually the flesh that was behind it but the spirit of antichrist – when I looked into that mans eyes it was possessed madness – a hatred very great that I had not seen before – I can stress this enough! but what conquered that hatred was the Spirit of Christ – “be as harmless as a dove”

    When you see this brothers – be as “harmless as doves” – on a side note – doves were the poor mans sacrifice in the old testament. Be a living sacrifice of Christ. Don’t listen to the voice of violence but listen to the voice of Christ.

    We prayed for this man and the other who came up to us…and all of the crowd…we will go back again and we will pray for him again…Not just pray but fast for them…pour out our hearts to God to save them. On a good note many tracts went out and the gospel was preached…people will be saved from the word going out that day…Christ lives in His words…He is the one who will save for He has said “My words will not return back to me empty but they shall accomplish my will where I have sent them”

    • Thanks for sharing that Colin, I was just reading a book about some gang members who were born again and as young Christians they always had to resist the urge to fight those who threatened them because it was so ingrained in their flesh. Feel free to email me any updates on the street ministry, it is close to my heart though I am busy with home ministry right now instead!

      In Christ Jim

  4. I found it Mark! Very powerful words aptly portrayed by both Jim and Colin through their like experiences. Maybe someday I’ll add to the above if possible. For now, I choose to reflect upon the realities of how for so long I’ve got this backwards and made my own convictions the dividing impetus for many of my decisions with family and friends.

    Yes, truth needs to be defended, but not with a sword bloodied with my own hands. Jesus made it more than clear the manner in which others would see and eventually be brought to the reality of who He was- not with a strong forceful defense of a position or agenda, but with an overarching confidence in something outside of ourselves- a God whom has revealed Himself to us through both the Person and the representatives of Jesus Himself.

    Until His character is fully formed within us, we need not wonder why our efforts bear so little fruit. It is in dying to ourselves that others see the saving life of Christ within and trust us to tell them what they need to hear…..to tell them they’re not forgotten…..that they too have a hope beyond this world and most of all……that someone somewhere loves them despite who they have become.

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