“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came
with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted
against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength
so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the
Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes,
and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will
bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to
God forever and ever! Amen.”
–2 Timothy 4:16-18 [NLT]
It is easier to endure spiritual warfare when we understand our battle is not against people but against principalities. Paul was able to let his attackers off the hook because he had a unswerving trust in God. He knew that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Regardless of what people did to Paul, he was sure that God would deliver him from every evil attack. God had done it before and he would do it again. Paul was free to keep serving the Lord.
When we trust God, we don’t count people’s faults and get stopped by them. When we know there are invisible forces trying to hinder our progress, we don’t hold a record of wrongs against others. We don’t nurse and fertilize offenses in our soul. We don’t abandon the plow to attack back, but faithfully continue to harvest the fields–fixing our eyes on Jesus– the author and finisher of our faith. We simply turn over our cause to God who is able to turn injuries into victories and collapse into success. When others leave you, God will stick with you. When others corner you, God will rescue you. When others debilitate you with their words and actions, God will strengthen you that you may continue to serve joyfully and faithfully.
This was the secret behind the victory of those who honored God to the end, as they endured lethal Satanic attack. They became very bad counters because they trusted God relentlessly. Joseph did not count his brothers sins against him when they sold him into slavery. Job did not count his friends’ hostile suspicion against him when being tested by God. Stephen did not count the religious leader’s evil actions as they stoned him to death. From the cross, God himself showed us that revenge is never an option to advance the Kingdom of God. Even though Jesus could have called legions of angels to destroy all his abusers and transgressors, He chose to intercede for them, asking God to forgive them for all they were doing to him. He was not calling wrong right by doing so, but showing us it’s never right to do wrong and expect to win the battle.
Are you a good counter of faults? Have you gotten trapped by the ropes of rancor? Have you lost your sweetness? Have you lost your joy? Has resentment towards those who have harmed you crippled your ability to love? Has their harshness made you brassy, critical, and judgmental? Has their stiffness disfigured your Christlikeness? God does not want you to be an emotional mathematician, recording and counting every wrong others have inflicted upon you. You must realize there is an enemy behind this natural world that wants you to bite the bait of discouragement and hostility. You must disarm the devil by losing count and fully entrusting your life to the care of God who will bring you to safety. Trust God. Forgive. Keep serving.
– Is there anyone who has hurt you that is keeping you from advancing in your Christian call? Do you feel trapped by feelings of indignation?
– Release these people, clear their offenses, and trust your life fully to the care of God who judges fairly. Shift the energy you have spent in feeling sorry for yourself into serving the Lord with joy. Don’t wait any longer. God wants to use you for greatness.