38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
The enemy of our souls doesn’t just distract us from our mission by sin. Many times he will distract us by bringing conflicts to us in an attempt to get us involved in a battle that is not ours.
Recently this happened to me. I got involved in the conflict started once again by John MacArthur with his “strange fire conference”. I went so far as to write a rebuttal to his claims on the Christian Post. I followed every blog post and refuted the claims of those that would try to say that Charismatic/Pentecostal Christians are blaspheming the Holy Spirit as MacArthur claims. In all honesty, it was a big distraction.
Many of us get caught up in battles that are not any of our business getting involved in. God neither needs us to defend Him nor does He need us to make sure others are following the path He has set us on. We are not other people’s Holy Spirit.
This is where the wisdom spoken in the above passage comes into play. This advice was given to the high council by a man named Gamaliel. The advice is simple. If something is of God, then it will spread and work. If it is not of God, then it will fail. God is in control of whether something works or not.
The Apostles were on trial for ministering in the name of Jesus. The high council was jealous that they were being used by God. They were the same people that condemned Jesus to death. They had a guilty conscience. The result of that guilty conscience was their attacks upon the Apostles, and in reality against God.
Why was I fighting against John MacArthur? Honestly, I do not know. I never want to be in his position. I am not a suit-wearing intellectual. I don’t want to be. I definitely do not want to live his particular lifestyle. Nor do I want to have a relationship with God that is devoid of any experience of the presence of God like we see in the book of Acts. So why was I fighting him? There was no good reason. It was a distraction.
You might find yourself in a similar situation. You might fight against the message of grace. You might fight against new methods or ways in which the church expresses itself. Whatever the situation maybe think about these things.
- Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? If you cannot say you are either one, then it is not your battle.
- What is your motive for entering the battle? If you are not motivated by love, then it is not your battle.
- Do you need to be right? If you have a “need” to be right, rather than find out the will of God, then it is not your battle.
You see God does not need us to protect, defend, or control things for Him. He is a big boy. He can take care of Himself. When you set yourself up to protect God, defend God, or make sure others line up with what you think God wants, then you are actually fighting against God. You are taking upon yourself what is His job and God doesn’t appreciate that any more than any other person would.