READ: Psalm 60, Ezekiel 13-15, Mark 4, Romans 11
THE DIVINE RESPONSE
The demonic attack so often launched against us is this: “You are alone! No one really understands. No one has gone through what you have gone through.” Variations on this lie include the temptation to think that we are exceptional (better than others), irreplaceable, and independent. Paul points out that Elijah fell into this trap: “I alone am left” (Rom. 11:3)! To this demonic thought the divine response says: “I have reserved for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (v. 4).
We are not as alone as we think we are. Strong men and women of God are particularly attacked and vulnerable to the dangerous assumption of being alone, an assumption that is laced with pride. In reality, the “I alone am left” feeling is based on the assumption that we alone are righteous, defenders of truth, proclaimers of the gospel. Trouble, rejection, and persecution are often the trigger to make us feel isolated, and if we are not extremely cautious, the devil turns our isolation into pride. The divine response says, “I have many who have suffered for Me, stood up in times of pressure despite the cost. Be encouraged that others have stood before you and are standing with you now.”
We are not as exceptional as we think we are. When God uses us, the devil tries to make us think that God can only use us. Paul gives refreshing perspective by reminding us not to be haughty “but fear. . . . God may not spare you” (Romans 11:20-21). No one is irreplaceable. We must not believe the lie that God needs us and that His work will suffer if we are not in the center of it. God alone is the center of all His works. God can use us or discard us as He sees fit, and a sure way to be discarded by God is to arrogantly assume that He cannot work without us.
We are not as independent as we think we are. A sneaky form of hubris for the follower of Jesus is a twist on what is beautiful. We sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus,” and then add, “Though none go with me, still I will follow.” While the sentiment is noble, the reality is frail because none of us can follow Jesus by ourselves. We were designed to follow Jesus in community. The faith of the imprisoned over time is the more extraordinary because it is supernaturally sustained. We need each other. We cannot complete the pilgrimage alone. We need community; we need the body of Christ around us; and we even need the truth and comfort of the historic body of Christ. When the devil lies to us by telling us we are alone, exceptional, irreplaceable, or independent, may we listen to the divine response within, a response sourced in the interdependence of the triune Godhead.