“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” (Matthew 10:16-20, 26-27)
The deacon demon story
I was doing an interim pastorate in a rural congregation one time. The chairman of the deacons (a man in his late sixties) seemed to not like me very much. I was not denominational enough for him. And that I was “too charismatic.” I’ll admit that I probably didn’t minister like a traditional Baptist and that I was enjoying the liberty and power of the Spirit as I ministered. But I had no agenda whatsoever other than teaching the people to love and worship Jesus and become fruitful witnesses for Christ.
It all came to a head one Sunday morning. The deacon stood up during a Sunday School class and both criticized me and blamed the entire church of being in error and being against him. It was sad. Everybody in the room, except the man, knew that he was over-reacting, being insecure and being the source of strife. He grabbed his wife and then stomped out. Needless to say it kind of put a damper on the class. I stood up and told the people to be praying for them and to not take any offense.
The couple didn’t return on the following Wednesday night or Sunday service. I was feeling really bad for them, so on Sunday afternoon I called them and said I wanted to drop by their home for a few minutes. He said it would be okay. I was really carrying in my heart a burden for the man to be reconciled to God and the congregation. As I sat down on the couch in his living room he began to immediately criticize me again. I had no intention of defending myself or of arguing with him. So I quietly looked down at the floor as he went on and on. He even mocked me for not being able to defend myself against his criticisms, saying I was not fit for leadership, etc.. It was ugly and actually cruel.
People are never the enemy. The enemy is the enemy.
We wrestle not with flesh and blood but with spirits of darkness. This sometimes gets a little fuzzy. God was really helping me because I wasn’t getting angry at the man. Left to myself, I would have been offended.
I really was way out of my depth at this point. In my mind I was praying, “Lord, I thought that it was You leading me over here to be a peacemaker and to somehow bring reconciliation to this situation. But it must have just been my good intentions. Forgive me if I am here of my own accord. I really need your wisdom right now, Lord.”
Suddenly the peaceable wisdom from above dropped into my spirit. I sensed the Lord saying to me, “He was called to preach at a young age.” God gave me His prophetic provision for the situation. And in an instant it all made sense!
I asked the deacon,”Is there any chance that when you were younger that you wrestled with a call to preach?” He immediately got quiet and looked down at the floor. His wife suddenly spoke up, saying, “Pastor, he sure did. He wrestled over the call to ministry for several years in our early marriage.” At that point God’s wisdom just began to flow through my mind. And it was very gentle and fatherly, but also direct.
“Joe (not his real name), the Bible says that the gifts and callings of God are without reproach. Even though you did not yield to God’s call many years ago, you have been trying to pastor churches from your deacon’s seat ever since. And it’s been frustrating for you and for the pastors you’ve served with.”
I went on to tell him that it possibly wasn’t too late for him to experience a greater freedom and fruitfulness in ministry. But he would have to humble himself and submit to God’s hand, God’s timing, and God’s people. God might raise him up to provide pastoral leadership yet.
At that point there was such an immediate change in this man. He apologized for being so hard on me. He apparently hadn’t realized the actual condition of his own heart. He went from being my biggest critic to being a warm and loyal supporter for my remaining time as interim pastor there. The change was instantaneous and remarkable. It is amazing what the living word of God can do when it divides asunder soul and spirit.
The hour of trial was turned into the hour of His power…through a timely revelation from the Spirit of God.
And this is exactly what our Lord has promised. What He shows us in the midst of the dark trial, we are to then speak in the open! Beloved, where is your trust? Who do you look to for wisdom in the hour of crisis? Look to Him!
When facing the enemy, don’t look down, look up! If you love Jesus and walk with Him, you never walk alone. You never face the trials alone. You never face a demon alone. This makes me want to shout. I think I will! Glory to God in the highest! Hallelujah!