(Luke 9:55 – But he turned and rebuked them and said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of).
Choosing sides can be tricky business. If you choose one side, people will slap you on the back and say, “We like her, she’s one of us.” If you choose the other, those very same people will turn on you and say, “We don’t care for her, she’s not on our side.” Choosing sides just naturally seems to create hostility in the heart. Even Jesus’ disciples fell prey to the hostility produced by choosing a side. When Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, he entered a village of the Samaritans and they didn’t welcome him there. It seems they weren’t on his side. His disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven and consume them but Jesus rebuked them saying, “You know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” The disciples were on the right side but they were of the wrong spirit. If we’re not careful, we can be too. Jesus doesn’t just want us to be on his side; he wants us to be of his spirit.
The same spirit influencing the disciples that day lies behind the hatred influencing people’s hearts today. Fear, force and intimidation are the means the enemy always uses to control people. Jesus wanted his disciples to know that was not his way and was not of his spirit. God doesn’t use fear and intimidation to force people into bowing in compliance with his wishes. You can be sure that anything that uses force and intimidation as the means to acquiring its end is not being led of the spirit of God. James 3:16 cautions, “For where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” As we are witnessing today concerning many issues, envying and strife only serve to breed evil works and Jesus doesn’t want us joining ourselves to anything that is breeding evil works.
Tony Evans (The Tony Evans Study Bible) writes, “God does not come to take sides, he comes to take over.” Thank God and Amen to that! When God was about to deliver Jericho into Joshua’s hands, scripture says Joshua looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Not knowing which side the man was on, Joshua approached him and said, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” In other words, “Which side are you on?” He replied, “Neither. I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.” God doesn’t come to take sides; he comes to establish his side. He intervenes in the affairs of life on behalf of his agenda alone. He doesn’t take sides on behalf of worldly issues, he takes sides on behalf of kingdom issues. Tony Evans further notes, “When you bring the world into the word, you’re asking God to bless something that is contrary to his kingdom. He won’t do that.” God’s only desire for mankind is to create one new race in Christ, thereby bringing an end to all division between men. Galatians 3:26,28 tells us, “For through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That’s God’s side and he wants us all to be on it.
Jesus said in Mathew 12:30, “Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters abroad.” That should make our choice of sides in this world pretty clear. God’s word also tells us that we are to, “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” (John 4:1). We are to test the spirits behind those who are to be leaders in our nation and ask ourselves: Are they promoting God’s kingdom agenda or their own? Is the side we have aligned ourselves with gathering our nation together in the gospel of Christ, or are they scattering them apart from him? If you are a Christian, whichever side is working toward the freedom to spread the gospel of Christ and to make this nation a nation under God again, that’s your side, because that’s God’s side. To be sure there are a lot of issues going on in our nation today, but as one faithful servant of Christ wisely concluded, “Making America born again is the only way to make America great again. Nothing else matters until Jesus matters.” So get out there and make your choice but remember what spirit you are of and try not to rain down fire from heaven on anybody!