Cast Your Burden on the Lord

by Mike Ratliff

For it is not an enemy who taunts me– then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me– then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. (Psalms 55:12-14 ESV)

As the great Apostasy of the Church deepens and widens it seems that even those we once looked up to as solid and faithful servants of the Most High are slipping into unbelief. It is these failures that seem to strike the hardest at our hearts. We even begin to wonder, “Who’s next?” However, we must not become consumed with discouragement because of this. Yes, it should make us sorrowful, but we must not allow the lack of faithfulness by people to affect our walk with the Lord. Our role model is Jesus Christ. We should look to Him alone as our rock and firm foundation, not other people. Men will always let us down eventually.

We are fooling ourselves if we believe that persecution is not coming upon the Western Church. In every other part of the world Christians lose status in their society when they are saved. Their lives do not automatically become better when they profess Christ. Instead, they are seen as second-class citizens because of their faith. Here in the West, we exist in a climate of spiritual bankruptcy and easy-believism that is the product of decades of man-loving semi-pelagianism that has sucked the spiritual life out of the Church.

Our Lord said that to follow Him is costly, but in the West, it requires hardly any commitment at all. Christianity is seen as an add-on to ones life instead of what actually defines it. However, those in our culture who do take a stand for truth and attempt to live as Christ directs will find that they are no longer seen as “normal.” In fact, even in their churches, they will find there is a great deal of resistance to that level of commitment. Those who stand against this will soon be excluded and shunned. Why? The Western Church acts like the world because the world is in it. The world cannot tolerate true, genuine Christianity. It has no problem with empty religion, but Christ’s disciples who live out their faith as led by the Lord, will be at odds with the worldly.

Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. (Psalms 55:1-3 ESV)

Psalm 55 is a Maskil of David. Commentators believe he wrote it to reflect on the time when his son Absalom, helped by David’s friend Ahithophel, rebelled against him. Let us look at how David reacted when those who used to worship with him have now turned on him and seek his destruction.

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah. (Psalms 55:4-7 ESV)

When I left my old church back in 2006, it was actually the culmination of well over a year of constant frustration and agonizing over the resistance of some of the people there to the truth from God’s Word that spoke of the level of commitment that God was showing me that His people must have as they walk before Him. Since that had little or nothing to do with being religious, but with being obedient and Spirit-led, it was not a popular message. The last six months there were agonizing for me. No matter what I taught or shared, I was put down. I was excluded. I was seen as a troublemaker. Our Pastor had every man in the Deacon’s Bible study class, except me, preach on alternating Sunday’s for a couple of months. I didn’t ask why, but the next time the Pastor preached, he made sure to stare at me when he preached that Man’s Free Will trumped the Sovereignty of God. When I left because he started implementing the Purpose Driven Church stuff I have never felt so devastated in my life. I wanted for God to kill me and take me home.

I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.” Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace. For it is not an enemy who taunts me– then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me– then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. (Psalms 55:8-15 ESV)

I was not physically threatened in any way. I was only silenced. However, what we must remember is that when the Great Apostasy comes into fruition, those turning on us will be the religious professing Christians who have believed the lie. Not all who profess Christ actually have Him. Those who do have Him will not believe the lie. However, they will be treated as an enemy of that lie that has been accepted as the truth.

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah, because they do not change and do not fear God. (Psalms 55:16-19 ESV)

Our only hope is in God, our Lord. We must seek Him alone. We must keep our eyes on Jesus alone as we continue to walk in obedience. Those who are in darkness, but believe they are in the light, will persecute those who do not conform to the lie. They will believe they are the ones serving God, but will be actually persecuting those who really do. To believe this won’t happen in the West is being very naive.

My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you. (Psalms 55:20-23 ESV)

We must cast all of our hope on God, not other people. Those who will turn on us are those with whom we used to worship. Our Lord will sustain us. We may be persecuted horribly in an attempt to make us recant, but those the Lord upholds will never stumble or fall. Soli Deo Gloria!

20 thoughts on “Cast Your Burden on the Lord

  1. Amen, Amen, and Amen! All glory and honor to the One Who is able to keep us in the time of trouble and persecution.

  2. Very good article.There is a deep grieving when one must leave a church that refuses to see their error.Once the pastor would fear God and rely wholly on the Holy Spirit,then something,a number of things,happens and it all changes to man’s ideas for the church.It’s as if blindness or stiff-neckedness sets in and any inquiry is met with disdain.It is grievious because it is as if there were many family members who had died.At least that was my experience.May all those who are going through this same situation be encouraged to stay steadfast in the faith even when it means no church for awhile,and especially when it gets worse in apostacy. May God’s peace and comfort be with those who find dear friends coming against them for not getting with the program.May it not cause them to question their faith in Christ.For me it became a growing up experience and I dove into God’s Word all the more,at first seeking answers to the “why” but eventually to know God all the more.

  3. Excellent post, Mike. In my family, I think we began seeing the beginning of some of these types of problems in our teenage daughter’s high school years. The fact that she was a sold-out, on fire Christian wasn’t a good thing in her youth group … it was something that caused her to be exculed and ridiculed by the other kids (and these were “good” Christian kids from good “Christian” homes). We thought it was just something ailing the youth group at that particular church. Since then, we’ve moved to a new community, visited and attended numerous churches while we sought out a new church home, and the more time that went by, the more we saw that it wasn’t just an isolated problem in a single youth group. It’s now become a church-wide problem throughout the Church at large. The Bible promises that those who desire to live godlly will be persecuted. But I guess it never really dawned on me before that we should expect that persecution coming from within the ranks of Christendom, itself. What a wake up call it’s been for us the past couple of years.

    http://thegreatapostasy.wordpress.com

  4. Sadly, I can witness this common thinking is quite at work here in France. Evangelical churches are diving each day more deeply in this man’s philosophy. My wife and I had to leave our baptist church during the implementation of Warren’s PDL program.
    At the beginning, I was troubled by R.W.’s book and I took a lot of time to learn more about the man, his church and his vision.
    What I learned from sites like yours has been a revelation and put clearly the problem I had to cope with.
    Thank you so much for your ministry, holding fast the true light. Thank God for man he rises with discernment, daring telling the truth against all this tide that is flooding our churches.
    After a year without church life, we found a small church (27 adult members) and it was like a renewal for us. But today, 20 monthes after, our pastor wants to launch PDL 40 days program. I had an opportunity to warn him and tried to share a lot about my own researches, and you know what ?
    He didn’t want to ear a single word… He never took time to learn about R.W., not even to read his book but had firmly decided to run the program just because “so many churches and federations think it’s great and quite suitable to feed the flock and bring a spring of spiritual life among a sleeping community”.
    O Lord, where are the men who will stand steadily upon the only true rock : your word, your whole word and your only word ?
    Now again, we are getting excluded, little by little, deemed as troublemaker and “always criticizing and negatives.” Seems we are living a great falling down of the pure faith, submitted to many waves of unbiblical teachings. Sadly, PDL is only a wave among many others ; I think the next one could be Mc Laren’s emergent church.
    Please, let us all faithfull children of God pray for each others to stand firmly on our dear Lord’s way ! God bless you all !

  5. AMEN!

    This is an ongoing battle with me…not to care what others think, but rather, lean on and trust totally God…He alone!

    He reminds me often that it is He that I serve, not man.
    It is He that defines me, not man.

    To put God first in my heart, this worry has to go! Take me out of the way Lord!!

    Thanks Mike for another edifying post!

  6. When you search the Internet for advice on changing or leaving a church, it is always suggested to talk to the pastor about your concerns. Now that advice may have worked for better or worse in the past, but these days the pastors are so steadfast in their “programs” or too ambitious to see it any other way. Without ever saying one word to the pastor, I believe my reputation for being critical to the charismatic, seeker-friendly, etc. style of “church” preceded me and he would get very somber when he believes I’m approaching him. I definitely know I’m not going to get anywhere with him so it would be a moot point. So there’s a Reformed Baptist church that I’ll be checking out soon.

  7. We were just having a phone conversation with some friends who live about an hour from us on this very thing. Is there anyone left out there?!?! Yes this whole ordeal is coming from within. All we can think of is what Jeremiah preached. But our True and Faithful Lord will sustain us. He is Faithful when we get down and out. Our Dad is the King of the Universe who loves His children dearly. We do win. And once again………look up!! Thanks for the article Mike. Have a blessed day.

  8. Sometimes it is best to leave a church in error rather than stay and be devisive(as per how you will be viewed by those in error).Perhaps the exodus of many will open the eyes to see the error,but at least you obey the Lord’s command to come out from among them.Is it odd of me to wonder if persecution in the western churches just might be a good thing?Of course,it as you say,we do deal with it in the form of deception from our own supposed brethren and its only the tip of the iceberg at that!Praise God,He knows His own and will provide for us the place of fellowship and true spiritual food.

  9. Sherry C,

    I believe that if the Western Church was persecuted as the Chinese Church is, that the recant level would be huge. Those of us who would not recant would be those of us who do know the truth and are our Lord’s servants even unto death. Yes, it would be a good thing.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  10. “Our role model is Jesus Christ. We should look to Him alone as our rock and firm foundation, not other people. Men will always let us down eventually.”

    A very anointed post, Mike, as are all of your writings. Not to puff you up, but I find the writings that come from your own heart the most edifying and challenging to me personally. You are a blessing to my family and the body in general. All praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

  11. This post was an encouragement to me because I am surrounded by ‘seeker’ types at work and in my family who think I am cursed or something because they do not understand that sometimes sanctification can look like death to the world when God is cleansing you and separating you.

    The hardest part is when they try and corner you to agree with them on false doctrine or wrong beliefs. Truth in love day after day becomes a huge challenge because to them truth never sounds like love. It sounds judgemental even if you show them chapter and verse in context. It is almost as if they ‘cannot’ see it.

    I have thought for the past 2 years that some of the persecution will come from professing Christians.

  12. Lin,

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I fear you are correct about where the persectuion will come from. The deception you are describing will deepen more and more until no truth can break through. Come soon Lord Jesus!

  13. Pingback: To follow Christ WILL be costly « The Great Apostasy

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