As Christians we are not to take advantage of the poor, those less fortunate, with no status or influence, nor show favouritism to those who are well off (Prov 22:22,23; Jas 2:1-9). In Jesus name, we should minister to the vulnerable and hurting as if they were Him and “Doing unto others as we would like them to do to us” (Mt 18:5, 25:35-45; Lk 6:31). The Bible asks, “What benefit or advantage is there in gaining the whole world, but missing out on what is truly important [eternal life]” (Lk 9:25).
Do I manipulate situations for personal benefit?
causing us to be ineffective Christians. One major means he does this is by un-forgiveness (2 Cor 2:10,11; Eph 4:27, 6:11-18; 1 Pet 5:8). As we all have weak areas where we are vulnerable to attack, we need others to help guard us by our being accountable to them. However, even in the areas where we think we are strong we can also suffer defeat (1 Cor 10:12).
Our emotions are another realm where we can be walking tall one minute, but then an unexpected event can see us tumble rapidly. Our desires need to be constantly submitted to the Lord or else these longings in our heart can become gods turning us away from dedication to the will and purposes of God. The Bible is clear, “Guard your heart more than any treasure for it is the source of all that comes from your life” (Prov 4:23). Actively monitor what you allow to enter “your heart” as if undesirable it will subtly bring about the start of what will become a disastrous result when it outworked (Mk 7:18-23).
Satan also gains access to people through destructive words being spoken over people, self-fulfilling prophecy (‘I can’t do anything right’), carnal desires, unwise choices, ungodly habits, verbal and physical reactions to criticism resulting in wrong indulgences to ease the wounding of spirit, mental idols and curiosity to continue when the conscience says ‘no’. All these vulnerable areas occur because God is not first in everything. Satan will quickly take up residence and seize the authority in areas we yield to him, including when we have nothing constructive to do or think about. He cannot take ground legally, instead only snatching what has been surrendered to him through deception on his part and wrong human choices (Gen 3:1-6).
What areas in my life do I need to strengthen and grow more resilient? Will I ask a mature friend to hold me accountable?
Often our view of things is different to that of God. The disciples wanted Jesus to remain with them in the physical sense but Jesus said it was to their advantage He went so the Holy Spirit could come and indwell them, and all who would become believers (Jn 16:7).
As Christians we are to actively be involved in good works, helping those in need yet we must have wise discernment so we don't encourage a pattern of laziness or dependency. Boundaries must be established and maintained so we are not deceived and exploited. There is a difference between giving a person a hand up to get them back on their feet, and a continual handout when they are capable of helping themselves as this is detrimental to them and it is your good nature being taken advantage of. In such cases counsel outlining biblical principles is required to instruct them in personal responsibilities. There is wisdom and truth in the saying, 'Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime'. The Bible puts it plainly, "If a person will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thes 3:10).
Paul said what he did was not for his own benefit, but so others would be blessed (1 Cor 10:33). Later he again stated we have taken advantage of no one (2 Cor 7:2). His motives were honourable.
See also: abuse, accountability, armour (spiritual), desires, entry points, manipulation, spiritual warfare, thinking/thoughts, un-forgiveness, weakness.