Temptation to bulldozer

When I have a strong desire, I want to bulldozer people into it. Paul shows another way-

We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive …

Romans 15:1

Convinced of my cause, I confuse my will with Jesus’.

We must not just please ourselves.

If I push my will, I become self-righteous and if I succeed, I have taken God’s place in the one who succumbed.

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.

 Romans 15:2

Instead of forcing others to my view, I can enter their perspective, and help them discover Jesus and his way. The whole atmosphere changes.

For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”

Romans 15:3

At each stage of Jesus’ trial we find him serving his accusers by helping them towards God’s perspective rather than using his intellect and wisdom to save himself.

… the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement …

Romans 15:4

I shift from a hope in myself and my desire to a hope in Jesus. He who is both good and Sovereign, will intervene, with his salvation.

Relational battles

There is a person blocking us in an endeavour we sensed the Lord directing us towards. It had seemed a case of praying and seeing how the Lord would protect his endeavour. Then Psalm 18 challenged me.

I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed … [Psalm-18v37-38-NLT]

The Lord entrusts the battle to us, a challenge of faith to someone who avoids confrontation.

You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. [Psalm-18v39-NLT]

The Lord’s desire for destruction challenges my compassion. There is a reason-

Many caught in sin only apologise where caught. There is remorse but no brokenness that owns the guilt. All is explained away and fault is assigned to others. There is no humbling or turning their backs in flight merely withdrawal to a new defiant defensive position.

They cried for help, but there was no one to save them – to the Lord, but he did not answer… [Psalm-18v41-42-NLT]

The enemy’s defeat challenges their self-righteousness. Those who have stood in defiance presume God is with them. Defeat forces self-righteousness to acknowledge its presumption.

You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; … They come trembling from their strongholds. [Psalm-18v43-45-NLT]

The battle is not one sided. The enemy fights back and fights dirty, yet God delivers.

Surrender is not merely to us, but from the strongholds of self-righteousness. Through victory the enemy’s road to reconciliation with God is cleared.