Throughout my lifetime it seems that the church has been embroiled in a constant battle with error within its own borders as men with an allegiance to something other than truth and someone other than God have infiltrated our pulpits and elderships to purvey a diluted doctrine of self-serving pablum designed to weaken weak and encourage ignorance. They have long felt at home in the company of the world and long for others to join them. Thus, they have show no respect for those who refuse to join their ranks. However, in this process, far too many preachers, elders, and other Christians have allowed these false teachers to determine their focus. As such, they have drained the energy out of generations of Christians just trying to hold on and do what is right.
Unfortunately, the truth is that we have allowed these false teachers and the problems they are intent on creating to become too much of our focus. As a result, other aspects of the church’s work have been neglected. When Nehemiah faced a similar problem (Neh. 6:1-2), his response proves instructive: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3). This answer did not prevent God’s enemies from taunting him and lying about him, and Nehemiah responded to them, but his focused remained on the work at hand (Neh. 6:4-9). They tried lying, they tried intimidation, and they tried fear mongering. They tried everything they could to ruin Nehemiah’s reputation, but he recognized these attacks for what they were—attempts to distract him from his mission and cause it to fail (Neh. 6:10-13). However, Nehemiah stayed the course and completed the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem—to the dismay of all his detractors (Neh. 6:14-19).
The inroads error has made in the Lord’s church over the last couple of generations is undeniable, and no one can sugarcoat the devastation this has created. Nevertheless, while the faithful may not have met them on the plains of Ono, we have spent too much of our time fretting about what they are saying, worrying about what they might do, and mourning over the problems they have caused instead of continuing to build the walls of God’s city. Christians need to know far more than what issues they face in the church; they need to have a faith strong enough to withstand the challenges of daily life. Christians need more than a constant reminder of the problems of error; they need regular encouragement and admonition regarding morality. People need so much more than a checklist of salvation issues; they need salvation.
I am so thankful for those who have refused to compromise over the years. However, let us not act as if we have remained focused on the things that matter most. We have had many distractions around us, and we have fallen prey to many of them. We have not compromised with error, but we have compromised with our purpose. It is time we regained the proper focus, seeking the lost, strengthened the saved, living for Jesus, and standing for the truth. Will opposing error be part of this? Absolutely. But the moment we allow that to become our focus, we have fallen into our adversary’s trap. Therefore, as we rededicate ourselves to the purpose God has given us, let us in unison, “Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands” (Neh. 6:9b).