Times of refreshing
November 20, 2019
“Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults…Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Ps 19:12, 14)
This prayer of David concludes an outburst of praise for God’s glory displayed in the heavens and a compilation of seven different ways of extolling God’s law. Even David, who had much experience with God’s majesty and power, and whom God called “a man after his own heart” (1 Sa 13:14, Ac 13:22), had trouble discerning his own errors.
The goal of Islam (“Islam” means “submission”) is that everyone submit to Allah’s will as spoken, taught and lived by his messenger, Muhammad. That is, everyone – not just Muslims. There is always a controlling spirit associated with Islam. In Muslim-majority nations, it means that Christians practice their own faith under restrictions, as 2nd class citizens. In nations with a Muslim presence (such as Canada with about 1.7 million Muslims or 4.6%), it means there is pressure on society not to criticize Islam even though there is freedom to censure Christianity. In both cases, Islam works to require non-Muslims to submit to its doctrines.
This controlling spirit creates challenges for Christian workers among Muslims, for Christians with Muslim friends and for those with public responsibilities. It may disguise itself as “cultural sensitivity” and taking care not to “offend” Muslims. It can be deceitfully called “wisdom” instead of fear or intimidation. It can sow distrust in ministry teams. It can cause confusion, hopelessness and despair among those who must study Islam in order to minister. In extreme (but not rare) cases, it can come with a seductive aspect that leads to Christians converting to Islam and/or marrying Muslims.
All believers working with or living among Muslims come under the doctrines of Islam to some degree. God was not caught unawares by the enemy’s methods. The apostle Peter, speaking to the Jews about disowning “the Holy and Righteous One”, tells them to “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus…” (Acts 3:14, 19-20).
Repenting is simple and powerfully effective in restoring “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Ro 14:17). Regular repentance is like having Jesus wash one’s feet as He washed the feet of Peter, who was otherwise clean (Jn 13:6-10). Excellent material specific to Islam is available to help Christians renounce its doctrines (See Mark Durie, Liberty to the Captives, Chapter 7 “How to Renounce the Dhimma”). Every few years, I pray these prayers to cleanse anything I may have unknowingly picked up while writing about Islam.
Thank the Lord that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).
Pray for yourself and any workers among Muslims you know to be cleansed, healed and set completely free from the doctrines of Islam. Call forth the “times of refreshing”! Praise the Lord!