If ever there was a most wanted man in history, it would be Jesus. During His time on earth, ‘people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him’ (John 7:43-44). His life was under constant threat. While some failed to seize Him physically, many tried to seize Him with words. While going about His Father’s business, Jesus incurred an arsenal of insults that would be enough to bring a heavy weight man down without lifting a finger.
After teaching in the temple, Jesus would encounter questions like, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’ (v15). While asserting the validity of His testimony, Jesus would receive retorts like, ‘Now we know that you are demon-possessed!’ (8:v52), ‘Who do you think you are?’ (v53), and ‘you are not yet fifty years old’ (v57). After performing miracles, some would ask, ‘How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?’ (9:v16). However, day after day, Jesus would still go about His business knowing too well that many would undermine his character and his work- using words.
Like Jesus, as we go about life, we encounter verbal assaults that may infiltrate our souls and ruin our day. They can be in form of a statement, a question or news received- all designed to deflate and crush our morale, and ruin not just our day, but our pattern of thinking. These infiltrators of the soul can be people close to us or strangers. For instance, for Jesus ‘even his own brothers did not believe in him’ (7:v5) and even dropped comments like, ‘No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world’ (v4). Jesus however was unshaken whether people He knew or didn’t spoke against Him. Jesus would always respond calmly- either by answering their questions, posing with a question, or rebuking firmly- for He knew the infiltrators’ intentions.
‘At the same time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”’
‘He (Jesus) replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day- for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem’
Jesus knew that those who tried to infiltrate his soul and cause worry, despair, anxiety and other negative emotions were only trying to deter his goal and cause premature termination of His mission. No wonder He asserted that ‘I will reach my goal’ and ‘I must keep going’. Likewise, as we are carry out our goals, many voices will rise day by day to dishearten our cause or character; to infiltrate our souls so that we give up and loose hope in ourselves and eventually our mission.
When David went out against Goliath, many tried to deter his mission using words. His brother asked, ‘Why have you come down here? . . . I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle’ (1 Samuel 17:28). David after posing a response back to his brother, ‘turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter’ (v30).
Again when David appeared before King Saul asserting his mission, ‘Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him: you are only a boy, and he has been fighting man since his youth.”’ (v33). David remained immovable and when he eventually appeared before the giant from Gath, ‘he (Goliath) looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him’ (v42). Goliath even ‘cursed David by his gods, “Come here he said, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”’ (v44). David remained unperturbed and gives the final word that silenced the infiltrator of his soul.
You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’ (v45).
David knew who his God was and so had boldness to carry on his mission, ‘for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7). As children of God, we also have the authority to silence every infiltrator of our soul and every broadcaster against our goodness using only the Word of God, for ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Plasm 118:26). When we fail to get to know God and who we are in Him, we fail to assimilate Him when He walked on earth. We then allow every voice contrary to God’s to creep in and contaminate our souls.
When we fail to silence and then ignore infiltrators of our souls, they cause us to doubt, sin and eventually rebel against God- causing harm not just to us, but to our loved ones. Aaron, under pressure by the people, ordered idols to be made because Moses had tarried long in the Mountain while speaking to God. Using that opportunity, Satan used the mouths of the people to infiltrate Aaron’s soul saying, ‘make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’ (Exodus 32:23). While infiltrators of the soul may not directly attack us, they may speak against our loved ones and beliefs in order to get us out of control and remove us out of our safe haven. The remedy as Paul suggests remains, ‘Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil’ (Romans 14:16).
Jesus cautions infiltrators of the soul that unleash careless, hurtful and poisonous words on people: ‘But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned’ ~ Matthew 12:36-37