[intlink id=”913″ type=”post”]In my last post I presented one of God’s amazingly short lists and admired His incredible intelligence, as evidenced in His ability to compile such a complete, concise and accurate list[/intlink]. I talked about the influences in our lives, namely: the world system, our flesh, Satan and his angels, and God. My focus was to identify these four influences in our lives, and encourage each of us to be alert to them.
Today, I would like to focus on how we, as Christians, can be agents of these influences in the lives of others.
Because there are only four influences affecting us, we will, necessarily, be agents of these same four. We see some examples of Christians acting as agents of each of these influences in the following passages:
1. Acting as an agent of the World
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain” (Galatians 4:8-11).
Some modern examples of this would be trying to grow the church by using any means other than God’s Word and truthful Gospel presentation, or adding human ideas, which actually go against God’s message, in order to “help” the message.
2. Acting as an agent of our Flesh
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).
Whenever we are not presenting the fruit of the Spirit, we are being agents of our flesh. Pride all too easily raises its ugly head in our lives.
3. Acting as an agent of Satan and his angels
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man'” (Matthew 16:21-23).
Any time we are going against the will of God and His Word, we are acting as agents of Satan and demons.
4. Acting as an agent of God
“I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you” (Philemon 1:4-7).
When we know and obey God’s Word we are acting as agents of God. It is only possible for us to do this through the work and power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we can act as agents of two or more of the influences at the same time. For instance, when I talk to my wife about God’s Word and explain to her its applications for life, I am acting as an agent of God. However, even though I say the correct things, I sometimes speak to her in an impatient way. In these moments I am being an agent both of God and of my own flesh. So I return to her to say, “Please forgive me! I was impatient and unloving with you.” It is very important to be alert, even when we are doing God’s work.
So, when evaluating the influences of which you are being an agent, keep in mind that there can be more than one. Sometimes it can be hard to separate the three evil influences from one another, since all three go against God and His Word. However, by relying on God’s Spirit and working through His Word and prayer, we can rightly divide the evil influences from God’s influence—and by His power, turn from evil and towards God.
I pray that we will be alert and able to identify both when we are being influenced by, and being agents of, these four influences and that, by God’s power, we would be diligent agents of God and ambassadors for Him.
“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
For His Glory!