We all have barbarians at our gate on occasion. We often can see them coming, but other times they show up quickly and begin doing more than gently knocking to come in. The barbarians are not there to be friendly, they are at our gate to stomp and trash whatever they can find and get a hold of while doing the will of the Devil.
Sometimes the barbarians are in our family. Perhaps we have a family member(s) that threatens to never speak to us again if we become believers or if we change churches for good reasons. These barbarians are often visible before they get to the gate, but it makes them no less easy to deal with. Often, time will soften the heart of the barbarian, but sometimes they will not leave until we give in to their demands or we ourselves leave.
Remember, Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it,” in Luke 8: 21. The spiritual and physical family of God in church replaces in many instances the intractable family that cannot or will not accept Jesus as Lord.
Sometimes the barbarians at our gate come from our means of employment. Our boss may continue scheduling us through ministry opportunities or not allow us time to worship. Or our co-workers may regularly decide to take the Lord’s name in vain as they speak, which happens often in the work place, creating a hostile environment for people that love the Lord.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 6: 5-7, “Bondservant obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as a bondservant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man…” We may not all like it, but we are all subject to the Lord. Therefore let believers remember God is in charge, so if others decide to misbehave, that is their problem, it is not ours and by our love and sincere concern, may they be won to Jesus.
Or perhaps another church in your area regularly attacks yours church or even you and your pastor. As shameful a practice as this is, many wicked men climb into pulpits and fail to realize when they are attacking other churches, they are attacking Jesus, just as Saul persecuted Jesus through the early believers. Some of the worst people you will ever meet will cloak themselves in self-righteousness while holding a Bible and attack the faithful as if they are protecting God himself!
For these fools in particular, we must remember the great Apostle Paul himself was harassed with every step by those who thought they were doing the will of God, which when we think about when regarding Paul was a bit of turn about is fair play! In 2 Cor 10: 12-13 Paul writes, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even you.”
So when barbarians are at your gates, will you take on the traits of the barbarian or will you cloak yourself with the righteousness of Jesus and continue with the mission of the Kingdom of God so that those who hear, may believe, and some may be saved! For that is what is important, not the fools and barbarians at our gates. As steel sharpens steel, grow from the attacks of the devil, whether it is a self-deluded pastor doing the work of the devil, a family member trying to hold you back, or someone at work that tries to put up barriers to your faith or growth.
Keep your eyes and thoughts on God and righteousness and you will not go wrong. Put on the Full Armor of God.