Internal Conflict

           Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, "Therefore do not deceive yourself! Of all deceivers fear most yourself!”  Sometimes we think that our inner thoughts are creating a better path for us, when truly they are leading us toward sin. Prideful nationalism, self-deprecating negative reinforcement, and the like, are examples of thoughts that deceive us from the truth. Children of God are meant to spread the Gospel by embodying Jesus Christ. However, the Bible never mentions Jesus favoring one type of person or country over another and using His divine power for selfish gain. Galatians 3:28 reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Then Jesus says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

            If we are to serve God and others with a Heavenly mindset like Jesus, then how can make sure we aren’t deceiving ourselves with false truth? Acts 17 records the difference in attitudes that Paul and Silas observed of the Jews in Berea versus Thessalonica. Acts 17:11 says, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Paul and Silas noticed the zeal that the Berean Jews had for the word of God. They daily tested everything according to the scriptures so they could determine what was God’s truth. Romans 12:12 states that God will transform our actions by renewing our mind toward His will. Yet, God can only do this if we are doing our part to let Him—as the Jews in Barea show.

            Another Jew who showed his zeal for Christ was an Alexandrian man named Apollos. The author of Acts describes Apollos as being, “competent” in the scriptures. (Acts 18:24 ESV) After being instructed in Jesus’ teachings, Apollos started boldly preaching about His message. During Apollos’ time in Antioch, Acts 18:26 says, “ He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” No matter how studious we are, there are always areas of spiritual knowledge where we can grow. As children of God who are seeking to imitate Jesus’ example. We should all be like Apollos regarding instruction and correction. He used the opportunity to listen and learn from Acquila and Priscila: expanding his knowledge. Then, he sought to pay it forward by expanding the knowledge of the people in Achaia. (Acts 18:27)

            2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” To prevent the mishandling of God’s truth we must seize all our opportunities to become confident in God’s truth. Confidence is the key to beating deception. James 1:22 reads, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” A big component of certainty is repetition. When we are taking action to grow in our relationship with God and then put that faith into repeated action, then there is nothing that can sway us from bringing glory to God. Let us not be deceived, “God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10)