Here’s the second part of last Sunday’s message from Rosie S. Oneal.
What happens is when your faith is truly damaged, and you don’t allow God to heal you…your faith will be fueled by filth. In other words, it is possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason.
God says, in Isaiah 46, that “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” So in other words, God has spoken some things over our life; And the evil one has tried everything he could to damage stuff within us: to steal our confidence, to steal our sense of self, to steal our faith in God, to steal our sense of destiny, so that we would back away from God’s plan.
So if your faith was damaged, because of serious attacks by the evil one; And you have not been able to put your mind at a place of peace with what has occurred in your life; Then you may come to Jesus, and you may come to the message of faith, but you may find yourself using the faith process to get revenge on people who hurt you. So this is where your faith becomes fueled by filth.
I was the “yellow sheep” of my family. They were loving people, but like any other family there were some issues. Now, I had a cousin, who would be considered the “black sheep,” that passed away as time went on. So because of a praying family, and an understanding that even though his life was cut short, it was still cut short in a way that my cousin had time to accept Christ as his Savior. So this is why you must keep praying for your unsaved family members, no matter what it may presently look like. Keep praying, Because even though it was very hurtful the way my cousin died, prayer is what allowed him to have a chance to get his business fixed with God.
It would have been very easy for me to travel that same road that my cousin did. I’d been molested as a child, started viewing pornography, and was having a serious identity crisis.
So what happens is when some of us come to Christ, For example, there are scenarios where men who have been molested by other men, will attempt to act “super macho” to prove something. Some men will do this almost to the point of becoming womanizers, because it is their way of masking the pain of what was done to them.
We must not allow our pain to fuel us. Maybe it wasn’t something that happened in our childhood, maybe it occurred in your 30’s. Maybe somebody left you, and said they didn’t want to be bothered by you anymore, and now you’re on a mission to prove your worth.
In Judges 11, we read about Jephthah, who was the product of a mighty man(Gilead) and a prostitute. Now, Gilead’s wife also bore him other sons, so we can already guess that half of the family looked at Jephthah like he was trash. So the family told Jephthah that he wasn’t going to get any inheritance from our family, because you are the son of another woman. So Jephthah leaves his half-brothers, and settles in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathers around him.
Let me pause here and say, many times when we encounter people who are fed up with the church, it is because they’ve been hurt by one of their brothers and sisters in the faith, and they never truly felt like they were a part of the church, to start with. The reason low self-esteem cannot be allowed, is because low self-esteem will sit in your spirit and then the first time you get offended, it will tell you that you never did belong. I remember giving my heart to Jesus, Oct. 14, 1981, and I said to Jesus, “Jesus, if You’re real, come into my heart and save me; And I will follow You, And I trust You.” Now I didn’t feel any lightning, I didn’t start crying, Nobody was there to lay hands on me, so there was always something on the inside of me that felt like maybe I wasn’t saved like I should’ve been. I was looking at the fact that other people cried, shouted, and hollered; And I really didn’t do that. It wasn’t until I read John 14:21, one day, that it hit me, “21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” I wasn’t sure I was truly saved until I read that verse, because low self-esteem will sit quietly in the left or right corner of our mind until somebody offends us; And then the enemy will use the combination of that offence and our low self-esteem to influence us to head right out the door of the church and or relationship with God. And this is how Jephthah ended up hanging out with scoundrels.
So let’s make this relatable to our day and time, Jephthah never got over the hurt of the “church folks” treating him like trash, because his mother was a hooker. His brothers and sisters were supposed to be family, and they decided to treat him like he was nothing!
So now the devil provides an opportunity for Jephthah to get revenge, and we need to be watchful of this also. The evil one will always try to counterfeit everything that God does. God says, “You keep your heart inline, and I’ll prepare a table before you, in the presence of your enemies.” What God is saying here is that, He will keep your human enemies alive long enough to watch you be blessed. So the devil pulls out his counterfeit and says, “Hey don’t forget what they did, and if you want me to, I can push you forward, so then they’ll have to see that they did you wrong.” The evil one will try to always make sure you get your chance to fall into the trap of revenge.
Jephthah felt betrayed, because he’s thinking, “I didn’t have anything to do with who daddy slept with. Why would my own brothers treat me differently?” And that’s what I say to the church now. We have to stop mistreating people. We should treat everybody with dignity and respect. If you’re born again, you shouldn’t let somebody come in the church, who seems like their mama might be a “woman of the night,” and then mistreat that person. We should love everybody the same.
So Jephthah was offended and hanging out with scoundrels; And the day came when the people that had mistreated him now needed him. They now needed Jephthah to lead them in battle against warring enemies. So Jephthah rebuffs their plea for help. The folks apologize to Jephthah, and plead with him once more to help them. So because Jephthah had never truly dealt with the resentment that he felt towards the elders and his family, Jephthah sees this opportunity: not because he cared about Israel, Not because he wanted to do something great for God…But all he wanted to say was bow down to me!
And this next part is what troubles me the most about Jephthah. If we don’t deal with what’s been done to us, If we don’t learn that we’ve gotta love the saints, If we don’t learn that we’ve got to let people go and recognize that people are faulty, If we don’t learn to live in forgiveness which means we’re able to proactively offer forgiveness before others actually need it. We’ve got to understand that everybody who walks around in a fleshsuit can let us down, other than Jesus: And He’s the only One that we can ever look to who will never fail us.
If you don’t deal with the hurt, then it is most likely that you will take the devil up on his opportunity to get revenge…And because you are a Christian, you’ll try to use faith to help you do it.
27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.
28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
What are we learning here? All through the Bible, people vowed and paid to God. Isaac did it! Jacob did it! When you make a vow to God, and then you keep that vow that you made to the Lord, then God shines light on your way and gives you insight and favor. You are then able to decree a thing. That is an established principle of faith.
So Jephthah is about to use a faith principle to progress a filthy motive, because he has got revenge in his heart. Jephthah wants to win, so badly that he vows to sacrifice the first thing that comes out of his house, if God will allow him to win the battle. How many of us have done this? “Oh God, if You just let me have this or that, I’ll never ask You for anything else again.”, is a phrase that many people pray in haste and desperation.
Jephthah didn’t truly care about defeating his family’s enemies, nor did he truly care about his family; He just wanted to get back at his family by showing what a mighty warrior he was. So Jephthah and his army were indeed victorious in battle. …HOWEVER everybody that wins the battle does not always win the war. You can win in life, but lose out in eternity. The Word of God warns, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul.”
Now Jephthah does model the principles of faith, even if his motives are completely wrong. If the motivation for our actions are ungodly, even though the act is based upon a godly principle, the action is still ungodly. If we are devising a scheme to take advantage of other people, but we mask our true intentions behind kindness, we are still wrong. Our motives must always come from a pure heart. Yes, Jephthah does appear to be doing a good thing by helping Israel, however his motives are wrong.
Now, here is why this whole situation is so messy
John 3: says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” So if our intentions are born of the flesh, then they are going to have the same end that the flesh has, and that end is death.
On the surface it seemed like Jephthah was doing a good thing, but James 1:20 says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” So trying to begin with a wrong heart, no matter what you are doing, it is not going to work righteousness.
The tragedy is that his daughter was the first thing to exit Jephthah’s home, upon his victorious return…And the Bible tells us that he did that which he’d vowed. What truly became of his daughter, we do not know, but we do know that God forbade human sacrifices.
Yes, God wants to bless and prosper us, but not for the purposes of us becoming puffed up in sinful, egotistical, pride.
You want to ask God, “God, I want to be successful, but I want to be successful because I want to please You. I want to be successful so that I can reach people on multiple levels for You.” You have to stop and think, and realize that you don’t have to prove anything to your family
We have to live for an audience of One. We have to come to a place where we can be happy with the person that God has created us to be, and we have to be true to that.
Each of us has a calling on our life, but it is not so that we can show people that we are better than them. This life walk, is all about having a pure heart, and letting those who have hurt us walk away, because we recognize that they aren’t currently at a place where they can do any better right now.