Hindrances to the Cause of Christ
Furthering the cause of Christ should be the supreme goal of every Christian (Matt. 6:33). In order to accomplish this goal, we must follow the teaching and example of our Leader, Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6; 1 Pet. 2:21). No one knows better how to defeat Satan and win the victory in this life than Jesus, and if we deviate from the path that he has laid out for us to follow, then we will be doomed to failure (Heb. 2:14-15; Jer. 10:23).
Jesus was a tireless worker while he sojourned on this earth and he urges us not to faint as we work in his vineyard (Jn. 9:4; Gal. 6:9). His field is vast and he needs men and women who are diligent workers to serve him (Matt. 9:3738). The servant of Christ chooses to work in his vineyard and the benefits are endless, but the enticements to quit are sometimes very strong. It takes self-discipline and support from other workers to keep up the good work.
In seeking to do a good job in the Lord's vineyard we sometimes are tempted to slow down by Satan. These temptations can come from a variety of sources and it is good to be reminded of them from time to time so as not to lose sight of our true goal.
Satan works in many ways to thwart the cause of Christ (Eph. 6:11). He makes direct frontal assaults as well as working sneakily to accomplish his goals. One of his chief weapons is lying and/or deception. He is the master of this device, since he is the father of it (Jn. 8:44).
One of the deceiving tactics of Satan is to use the good things that God has created to further his wicked cause. He takes the sexual relationship that is good and proper in marriage and perverts it into lustful, sinful liaisons that bring heartache and untold misery. He takes the Word of God and twists passages to lead some astray (Matt. 4:6). He will stoop to nothing to destroy a soul.
One good provision that Satan has used to his advantage is the opportunity of work. God intends, in fact, commands that we work and provide for our family and others who may be in need (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10). However, work or rather the making of money can become an obsession that causes us to switch our allegiance from God to mammon (Matt. 6:24; 1 Tim. 6:10).
The seed that fell among thorns in the parable of the sower sprouted and grew, but the "worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches" choked the word and it became unfruitful (Matt. 13:22). As man begins to work more and more in order to obtain money, he has to work less and less for God. Some Christians may begin to feel that as long as they give the Lord four hours a week at the services the rest of their time belongs to them. This is a false concept.
There is more to serving God than meeting three times a week. The sick and afflicted need to be cared for and the erring Christian needs to be visited and encouraged to repent and return to the fold of God (Jas. 1:27; 5:19-20). The Lord's church is in desperate need of elders and deacons and it takes time and hard work to prepare for and carry out the work involved in these offices. Where are the men who should be serving? Too often, they are out serving mammon!
Materialism can deceptively enter our lives and choke the Word of God right out. We must be alert to this wily scheme of Satan (1 Pet. 5:8).
False teaching is a hindrance to the cause of Christ. The Judaizing teachers in the churches of Galatia were not praised by Paul for the good that they taught. Rather, they were rebuked and the Galatians were warned not to follow their false teaching (Gal. 5:10; 1:6-9). This false teaching was hindering the work of the Lord (Gal. 5:7). No amount of false teaching is good and regardless of who is doing the teaching, it is sinful and destructive to the cause of Christ!
A third hindrance to the cause is apathy. Indifference to the work of the Lord is like any other sin: it can rub off on others (Gal. 5:9; 2:13). If we meet and worship with a group of apathetic Christians, then we, just like the one who associates with evil companions, are susceptible to catching their disease (1 Cor. 15:33).
What would be the answer for one who finds himself in such a group? Our Lord gives us the answer in his message to the Laodiceans, "be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev. 3:19). Just as apathy can infect others in a congregation, so can zeal and hard work. Remember, someone has to take the first step and if you are waiting for someone else to do it, you may be waiting for eternity.
Let us be alert to these and other hindrances to the work of the Lord. There is no better or more rewarding work that can be done. Be zealous!
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 22, pp. 675-676