On Being A Christian
1999 by Natalie Pappas

There was a time when I trusted God, but I was not familiar with His ways. I did not understand a lot of the Bible or what to think about things that happened in my day to day life. It seemed as if I was simply drifting along, reacting to circumstances beyond my control. Sometimes if I sat down and thought for a very long while, it seemed like I could come up with a plasible reason why a particular event had happened in my life. If I continued thinking about what God's Word said, then I might even realize how to fix a problem before it started, or even how to ignore getting sidetracked from the goal. This is part of every Christian's growth process. We become more and more precise everytime we read the Word of God.

Other times we know something is wrong and we just can't put our finger on why it is wrong--but we feel in our gut it is wrong. It is good to wait and ponder such things until we can come up with a Biblical reason. This is a thinking process we should all pay more attention to applying to our lives. It is a thinking process that takes time. It does not come naturally. It must be developed and practiced, all the while imploring God for His wisdom over our own. Reading through the minor prophets in the Old Testament helped clear much up of my relative thinking. You see...God thinks precisely (and perfectly) and I don't. Now, as I continue to walk this Christian life, I realize that I understand Him better each passing day, though I am nowhere near perfect. This is the Christian life. Knowing Him.

There comes a time when we realize our thinking is a bit sharper than it used to be and we discover that God has rooted out of us tons of bad habits. We are so thankful to Him, understanding this is His good work in our lives. We are just beginning at this point to understand obedience. Up to this point we have slowly been practicing the art of of nailing this carnal flesh to the cross and we find are able to do so not by our own strength but by His! We are willing, even eager to rid ourselves of every thing that is offensive to Christ and set out to do so at full speed. Though it is extremely painful to deny ourselves, we rejoice because we know when all is said and done that we are going to be so much better.

This is when Satan becomes furious. As inmature Christians we often did ourselves in. Or ... perhaps we did other people in. Maybe we did this through ignorance, maybe not. But the point is that at this point in our lives we are doing all we can do to be pleasing to God in the knowledge and understanding of Him that we currently have. No longer are we trying to pridefully please ourselves, but we have let go of our pride and are seeking humbly to please Jesus.

Watch out! Now that you aren't doing yourself in and you aren't doing others in, the devil is going to try to do YOU in! The destroyer is going to attempt to destroy you ... but here comes faith! No one snatches God's own from His own hand! You may stumble, but you will not fall. Remember: Christ is your Strength, your Hiding Place, your Rock of Salvation. Never forget through this trial and tribulation that it is God who is faithful!

How will the devil attack you? He'll do it through someone close to you. That way it will really hurt! This person the devil uses will be someone who says they love you. However, if they really loved you, they would act in love, not out of it. Do not be deceived: acting OUT OF LOVE is really hate!

There is a certain way God would have us deal with problems. If we deal with them in a carnal manner, we will fail. We should never blame God or others. We must put the blame on the instigator of this persecution: Satan! Yes, there are times when it is all Satan's fault. Job is a perfect example of this. You will never be able to fully put the experience behind you until you understand the demonic influence going on behind the scene.

If you don't believe Satan will ever target you, you are the perfect target. Move out of the way as quickly as possible by sticking close to Jesus Christ. Immerse yourself in His Word and in prayer. When Satan sets out to destroy our peace by using others to do us in, this is called persecution. Satan will get a foothold in people who are close to you and he will use their weaknesses to hurt you -- emotionally or physically. This is the battle of every Christian. That is why Paul writes that we are not to be ignorant of Satan's wiles (tricks).

Let's remember to keep our eyes on Christ when we are stumbled by those claiming to be Christ's. It is the only way to make it through such betrayal. Every Christian is betrayed by someone who claims to love them. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, remember? Above all, don't ever let Satan use you as his tool of destruction. Don't ever discourage or stumble a fellow believer. We are to build one another up in love not out of love.