From the Pastors Desk
Nov1FriNovember 1, 2019 Pastor Byron Hand
Charles Haddon Spurgeon once wrote that “the best evidence of God’s presence is the devil’s growl.” In other words, the best evidence that God is at work (or about to work in great ways) is the manifestation of satanic opposition and attack. By satanic opposition I am not talking exorcist stuff, Satan is more subtle than that. His modus operandi today is to “masquerade as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14) In other words he is our Arch-deceiver. One author states that “when Satan is at work we never smell sulfur or glance down at a cloven hoof; rather he is sweetness and a congenial, smiling light—until he has control.”
I have been thinking lately (dangerous, I know!) about how Satan subtly opposes the church. I will take a few weeks on this.
The first way that Satan subtly opposes us is that he causes us to look backwards instead of looking forward. This is appropriate to consider since we just spent a month (positively) reflecting on the first 40 years of CBC. This weekend I will be attending my 40th high school reunion. So, reflecting back can be a very positive and encouraging thing. How Satan uses this practice to oppose us is to get us to look back INSTEAD OF looking forward.
Our enemy is so subtle! He takes the healthy practice of reminiscing, and turns it into our main occupation (even an obsession). In the church it can become a toxicity to the very health of the body. There is a subtle danger in nostalgia! It keeps us focused on the glory days, and not the days ahead. H.C. Leupold, in commenting on Ecclesiastes 7:10 (“Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.”) states that many have a tendency to “to look backward with many a sigh to the bygone times and to wish them back. But such a course of conduct does not savor of wisdom.”
There are at least two reasons why this question is not from wisdom.
- One reason is that the question falsely assumes that the former days were better than the present. The truth is that the good old days were not always so good. Every age has its good times and bad times, but we tend only to remember the good when it suits our minds.
- The other reason that this question is not from wisdom is because we cannot recreate the past nor return unto it. It is fruitless, counter-productive obsession to long for something that can never be again.
Our enemy is so subtle, he causes us to focus on the past to the neglect of the future. For a church this is lethal. Instead, our attitude should reflect the apostle Paul:
Philippians 3:13–14 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Learn from the past, celebrate the past, BUT DON’T live there … WE are to be Future Focused.
Have a Great Sunday