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Don't Ignore the Problem

Do you ever respond to problems in your life by simply ignoring them and hoping they will go away?  If so, then you have probably had some success with this strategy.  As a child, you may have ignored a bully, and eventually he stopped picking on you.  As an adult, you may have had physical pain that you didn't treat, and it got better after a while.  Such successes may encourage you to continue ignoring problems, but don't be deceived. Most problems don't go away on their own.  Ignoring them only delays the inevitable and often causes them to grow worse.

Spiritual problems never go away on their own.  Instead, they tend to get worse and worse.  Sin breeds and multiplies.  A single act of sin opens up the likelihood of repeating the sin and making it a habit.  It invites other sins along with lies and deceit designed to hide the sins from others and cover the shame.  Even if a single act of sin is not repeated, the damage it has caused can never be corrected until it is addressed directly according to Christ's gospel.  The old saying "time heals all wounds" fails in the case of sin.  Old sins left unforgiven will still condemn a soul at the Judgment.

Therefore, it is necessary that we work to oppose sin and to correct spiritual problems rather than ignoring them.  Whether it is a matter of seeking forgiveness and redemption for one's own personal sin, helping others to overcome their sins, or exposing the sins of false teachers and the opponents of God, a Christian must be active whenever spiritual problems exist.  The Scriptures do not allow us to merely overlook problems and hope they will disappear. Instead, the word of God counsels action.

Concerning our own spiritual conditions, we must be proactive.  First and foremost, every sinner must faithfully obey the gospel of Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Rom. 16:26; 2Thess. 1:8). There is nothing else anyone can do to find spiritual salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  Once we obey the gospel, we enter into a spiritual battle of resistance against evil.  When the devil tempts us, Scripture instructs, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:14).  The Lord equips Christians with the tools to succeed in this resistance via the "full armor of God" (Eph. 6:10-17), which we must make the effort to put on.  If we do succumb to Satan's lures, then Christians "have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1John 2:1). To receive the blessings of Christ's advocacy, we must confess our sins and repent from them to have forgiveness and cleansing by Christ's blood (Acts 8:22; 1John 1:9).

Concerning the sins of others, we must attempt to lead them to Christ for their salvation.  For sinners who have never known Christ, we need to teach them the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Rom. 1:16).  For Christians who are weak, we must encourage them to be faithful to the Lord and not to fall away (Rom. 15:2; Eph. 4:12-16; 1Thess. 5:11).  If any fall into sin, then we must try to rescue them from spiritual destruction by turning from their sins and directing them back to Christ (Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20; Jude 22-23).  For those who refuse to return to the Lord, we must disassociate with them to save them and the church (Matt. 18:15-17; Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 5:4-5, 9-13; 2Cor. 6:14-18; 2Thess. 3:14-15).

Concerning false teachers and those who oppose God, we must actively work against them and sound forth the truth about their ways.  It is our responsibility as the church of Christ to expose the deeds of darkness, to be the pillar and support of the truth, and to contend earnestly for the faith (Eph. 5:11; 1Tim. 3:15; Jude 3).  It our charge to combat false teachers both inside and outside the church with the Scriptures according to 2Timothy 4:2, which says, "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction."  If there is a problem within the church, we must work quickly, decisively, and Scripturally to solve it.

In all of these areas, inaction will only allow the problems to become worse. Doing nothing is not a Scriptural option.  Scripture says that "evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2Tim. 3:13).  Such men will capture many souls, families, and churches for Satan if Christians stand by and do nothing.  The wickedness of the world will not go away if we ignore it, but instead it will creep in among us and consume us.  Dear Christians, "fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1Tim. 6:12).  The slaves of Satan are tirelessly fighting for their master.  Are we fighting for ours?

Stacey E. Durham



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