“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
Ephesians 6:10-13 NASB
There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed. Back when I worked I dreaded Monday’s. Even the drive in was wrought with stress as unhappy commuters feeling as miserable as me were heading into their work week.
What I dreaded most was that initial contact with my clients. I spent much of my later career working with people with mental health challenges. Monday was hard for them too.
I learned to pray in my car before going in to the building. In the beginning I neglected to do this and far too often my words were less than edifying.
What often helped was remembering that I was not dealing with a person, but a spiritual oppression that had nothing to do with them. There were just pawns placed in my path to disrupt, distract, and hopefully, destroy my testimony.
We are in a contentious time where people are at each other’s throats and the stakes are exaggerated and hyped by the media to create a frenzy and more conflict.
This is also being played out on the individual level. We all have someone that we are at odds with, such as that person you try to avoid when you see them coming at you across the aisle during the greeting time at church. Or perhaps the family member such as a sibling that you cannot stand due to some long simmering childhood wrong.
We get lost in the conflict with the person and we no longer see the human before us. They are simply a problem. Sadly, we become blind to all of this and we fail to see that our beef is not with them but forces far more powerful and bent on our destruction.
I regularly read the passage above to remind me. This is especially true if I am actively engaged in activities that glorify the Lord. Attacks come out of the blue, and bring up emotions that distract me from my work.
I have found that it is best to stop
and pray for them. So often the person being used against you is lost. Even worse, some are brothers and sisters in Christ.
I keep my eyes on the in the prize. Sometimes it means taking a hit. I show mercy. I remember that Jesus showed mercy as He went to the cross. He could have vaporized the planet with a thought. Instead He submitted to the pain and humiliation so that He could bring salvation. My prize is seeing people saved and transformed. I have so many memories of foes turned brothers and sisters by the grace of God.
Today, let that conflict be a call to pray. When that person coming at you across the aisle at church approaches, embrace them, pray for them, give them to God.
You might not think you have the power to do that. He does. His grace is amazing!
I remember hearing about Corrie Ten Boom encountering a prison guard from her past who had come to Christ. She had speaking at a church in 1947 and he approached her and extended his had. All the memories of her camp experience came to the surface; the humiliation, the mocking that the guard had done and the death of her sister in the camp. She extended her hand to his and she was able to forgive him. God did that.
You may be thinking, “sure Bernie. But you don’t know what was done to me.” I do know what was done to Jesus. I also know that it was for my sin that He endured, and for my salvation He paid.
Praying for your enemies gives God the victory!!! Do it today!