Discernment, obedience and terror

by Mike Ratliff

12 “ For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. (1 Peter 3:12-17 NASB)

I remember when I first began this ministry at Possessing the Treasure that there would be times when the ugliness of the attacks from those who opposed God’s Truth that we presented here would cause me a level of anguish that seemed to be about to overwhelm me. The very fact that a group of people was bound and determined to shut this blog down and silence me would nearly paralyze me. However, as God taught me, over time, how to work through these things in total dependence on Him, I was able to see that the anguish or fear or whatever it was, was really part of the attack coming from our enemy. When I would tell the truth then endure the attacks the fear would always be part of that. However, when I went through them while being led by the Spirit in total dependence on my Lord for His wisdom and discernment in the midst of the fiery trial, I was able to then look back on those events after the fact and wonder at why I was so fearful. It was then that God gave me the wisdom to see that everything was being blown out of proportion the more I was focused on me and what the outcome would be for me and this ministry, but when I was focused on His Truth and the fact that what I was doing was for His glory alone the attacks became meaningless to me. I was willing to endure anything for my Lord’s glory and was able to bear it all in the power of the Holy Spirit.

25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught. (Proverbs 3:25-26 NASB)

25 και ου φοβηθηση πτοησιν επελθουσαν ουδε ορμας ασεβων επερχομενας  26 ο γαρ κυριος εσται επι πασων οδων σου και ερεισει σον ποδα ινα μη σαλευθης (Proverbs 3:25-26 LXX)

25 And (και) you shall not (ου) be afraid (φοβηθηση) of terror (πτοησιν) coming upon (επελθουσαν), nor (ουδε) the thrusting (ορμας) of the impious (ασεβων) coming upon (επερχομενας). 26 For the (ο γαρ) lord (κυριος) will be (εσται) over (επι) all (πασων) your (σον) ways (οδων), and (και) he shall establish (ερεισει) your (σον) foot (ποδα) that (ινα) you should not (μη) be shaken (σαλευθης). (Proverbs 3:25-26 translated from the LXX)

These two verses are designed by God to be an encouragement to believers to walk in God’s wisdom rather than by mere sight, i.e. walk by faith, not by sight. Why? The impious, ασεβων, who are those who are devoid of reverential awe of God, may indeed cause us pain, anguish, and even fear at times, but they are under the hand of God’s judgment and we are not to fear the ruin that is coming upon them. That judgment is for the ασεβων not those whose confidence is truly in the Lord. The Lord will keep those who walk in this wisdom from their foot being caught. How? ο γαρ κυριος εσται επι πασων οδων σου και ερεισει σον ποδα ινα μη σαλευθης; for the Lord will be over all their ways and he shall establish their foot that they should not be shaken. This is telling us that if we will walk in obedience to the Lord, by faith and not by sight, He will sustain us and keep us from been afraid of sudden terror. The enemy may indeed raise up his servants to attack the Lord’s Truth, saying all kinds of evil about us and attacking us in ways that no one controlled by the Holy Spirit would do, however, even in this, our trust is in the Lord and so we are able to endure it all for it is for His glory and what happens to us or our ministries through this is not important.

I know that many reading this have been intimidated in the past by those opposed to the truth to keep silent and believe that the humble thing to do is not confront evil. However, we are actually commanded to be bold and stand firm against all who oppose God’s truth. We are told to do all for God’s glory and understand that God may indeed allow us to suffer for it (see the passage I placed at the top of this post), but that is okay for He is glorified in this.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Discernment, obedience and terror

  1. Thank you brother. Thank you for your website, your writings, your love of our Lord, and thank you for this article in particular. Many of us have faced similar situations (and many more will), which makes this article very timely.

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  2. Thank you for continuing to encourage us, Mike! I also watched Church of Tares and it was extremely eye opening. I am very grateful to have discovered your website last year, Mike, I learn alot here. I can’t read every day, but try to check it once a week. much of what you say is not taught in church, but is taught in the bible, I agree. Right now, I struggle bc I am continually admonished by my leaders and pastors to work harder and “do” more, achieve more in works (i.e. volunteer more, be nicer, do more bible studies, cook more meals, discover God’s call on my life for something BIG, ext.) I’m exhausted by this teaching, and I fear I’ll never get “it” right. (“it” meaning, the Christian life)

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  3. Leslie, that “work harder to get it right” stuff is not going to get you there. It never worked for me. What did work for me and works for everyone I know of that is “getting it” is coming to the place of realizing that God is sovereign, we contribute NOTHING to our salvation at anytime either before or after. We are to live humbly and obediently always remembering from where we have come abiding in Christ as living sacrfices. I call that working harder stuff as Treadmill Theology. It almost led to me ditching Christianity because it does nothing more than exhaust you and turn you into a leagalistic, religous person who thinks they are earning their way to heaven. Forget that, I’ll take grace.

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