Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“He who does these things will never be moved.”
David, in Psalm 15:5
Jesus suffered and died in hope of gaining influence in our lives. He wants to influence us so that he can save us from heartache and, in the end, from eternal death. He loves us and desires nothing but eternal happiness for us — and he knows how to make it happen! If we trust him, and cooperate with him, he will lead us to the happiness we all want, both for ourselves and others. The word “trust” means simply to yield to the sweet influence of Jesus! The happiest people on earth, and the safest, are the ones who are most yielded to the influence of the Spirit of Christ.
In ancient times in heaven, the cherub called Lucifer began to envy God’s influence over His creatures, and he began to lie about God in order to steal some of that influence for himself (Isa. 14:12—14), and it worked, even among many of the angels! Another way to say this is, Lucifer wanted to move others, to share in God’s holy influence over their choices and feelings; he wanted God’s creatures to think of him as they had always thought of God. And that is still his purpose.
Whoever influences you has power to move you or to prevent you from moving. The goal of every child of God should be to grow in grace to the point of being “led by the Spirit”; that is, to move only when the Spirit leads one to move. And when the Spirit is not leading you to move, then obedience to God means to “be steadfast, unmoveable,” and “established in grace” (1Cor. 15:58; Heb. 13:9).
To remain unmoved by the spirits of this age, in spite of all they say and do, to remain unmoved in our decisions, our thoughts, and our feelings, requires great spiritual strength, but then, that is exactly why Jesus died for us, to give us strength. Paul said it this way, “When we were yet without strength, at the appointed time, Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God commends to us His kind of love, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6; 8).
Many people are moved by fear of death, but Jesus came “that by means of death he might . . . set free those who through fear of death their whole lives were subject to slavery” (Heb. 2:14—15). We see this fearlessness in Paul when he was being warned of the suffering that lay ahead for him by believers who loved him. In Acts 20:22—24, Paul told a group of saints “I am bound in spirit to go to Jerusalem, not knowing what will befall me there, except that the holy Spirit testifies [to me] in every city, saying that chains and afflictions await me. But I consider myself as nothing. Nor do I hold my life dear. . . .”
David was moved by Satan once (1Chron. 21:1), and the result was tragic for all of Israel (1Chron. 21:14). David was crushed with grief over the suffering he caused his beloved nation by allowing himself to be moved from perfect trust in God. Over 70,000 of his fellow Israelites died as a direct result of David’s error. The grieving king pleaded with God to let him suffer instead of the people, and God soon forgave him, and Israel’s suffering ended.
Of course, there is more to the story than that. The whole nation had provoked God and brought this terrible disaster on themselves (2Sam. 24:1), and God had sent Satan to move David so that He could chasten Israel for its disobedience. But the point is that it was only by the king being moved by Satan that the suffering came about. Both the king and the nation were chastened by God because the whole nation, including the king, was already doing something (we are not told what) that displeased God.
We hurt ourselves and everyone around us when we are moved. I know that by experience. But I also know that the Lord is for us, not against us, and that he is listening for our cry, as he was listening for David’s, when we find that we have been moved by some strange spirit away from communion with God. He is able and very willing to help us in those times. If you ever find that you have been fooled by the adversary and have moved from your heavenly Father’s peace, don’t even try to cover it up. Confess it and let Him heal you. Don’t be afraid of losing your status among the saints; they are all “helpless pilgrims, just like you”, and they will understand, and will respect you even more for being a good example of what to do when we find that we have been moved.