Thursday, November 22, 2007

Caterpillars; Socialize or Fight?
Christians; Fellowship or Fight?

IO Moth caterpillars Automeris io socialize; they tend to stay in a group the first week or two of life. Gold Rim (Polydamas) Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars Battus polydamas behave the same way. Several species of butterflies and moths stay together.

Then there are the Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus and Palamedes Swallowtail Papilio palamedes butterfly caterpillars. Wow! While working at our butterfly farm a couple of years ago, I watched these caterpillars behaving in a very different manner. When more than one caterpillar climbed onto the same leaf, they were not happy to be together. Quite often one caterpillar would force its head underneath the side of another caterpillar, lift sharply, and simply flip the other caterpillar off the leaf onto the ground! After watching this happen dozens of times, I started naturally calling them my 'little bulldozers'. The rascals.

These two species of swallowtail caterpillars remind me of how we, as Christians, often 'work together’. We tend to fight each other rather than fight our true enemy. We become sidetracked and focus on little things that we differ upon rather than focus on Jesus, the big 'thing' we agree upon.

For example:

Christians find themselves gossiping, sometimes excusing their gossip as ‘prayer requests’. “We need to add so-and- so to our prayer list because he/she is blah blah blah.” Instead, we should simply pray for them and, when possible, to help them.

Christians tell other Christians that they vote for the wrong party rather than spending time encouraging each other to pray for wisdom and for our government officials and to vote after praying to God for this wisdom.

Christians criticize fellow Christians … we aren’t as near as faithful about praying for them as we are about sharing ‘prayer requests’ (gossip) and (with the wrong attitude) ‘teaching or instructing’ them.

We should be praying for them and reaching out to help instead! Some things are better not added to prayer lists in detail.

Praying brings a double benefit; first, we’re talking with God AND bringing to our attention the one who needs help. It brings the person we’re paying for to our attention and as a result we often think of ways we can help them.

So how do I recognize these and other ways Christians fight each other instead of our enemies? I’ve heard myself say and do the very things that I would expect from an enemy; rather than from one who is supposed to be standing firmly by the side of a fellow Christian.

We don't do these things intentionally or to cause problems for our brothers and sisters. We do them without realizing the damage we can cause. We don't realize that we are allowing Satan to use us as his tool when we speak against our brothers and sisters. We can pray for them and help them, we can disagree in a positive method; we only need to stop and think before speaking.

I, as a Christian, should spend my energy fighting our true enemy rather than causing problems (unintentionally or intentionally) for others. I should be fighting the ‘powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil’instead!

Too many battles and too much persecution are caused by fellow Christians rather than by the enemy, Satan.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

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