Thursday, March 22, 2012

Source of Struggles

I have been having some problems lately with people in my life I interact with on a frequent basis. I was torn over what to do as all of my attempts to be peaceable seemed to be met with resistance, defensiveness and attacks at times. I began to feel hopeless, devalued and defeated. I was asking the Lord to help me forgive, to help me prevent these problems. I was repenting, asking for help to forgive, praying my eyes out and felt that the problem was actually getting worse! This morning my mother-in-law reminded me of this word:

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
 
My focus was on the wrong thing! I was trying to fix people, fix myself, but there was something greater involved in our problems. I needed to realize that there are spiritual forces at work and I needed to shift my efforts to see this problem turn around. The Lord revealed to me that I was living a defensive Christian life waiting for the enemy to attack to defend and protect myself. I needed to also live offensively. Rebuking the enemy and advancing God's kingdom should also be part of my Christian life.
 
When my thoughts are spiritually focused, I can look over offenses and forgive easier because I understand that there are spirits influencing this person (as well as their own selfish desires). Though they will be held responsible by the Lord for their actions, there are spiritual forces in the heavenly realms that are influencing their attitude and actions, just as these same forces influence mine. I can pray and ask God to give me discernment to know what part of the problem is a spiritual problem, what is an attitudinal problem and what part is a sin problem and how to respond to it.
 
Thinking this way gives me freedom to love, forgive, bring unity and peace.
 
James 3:17 (NIV)
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

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