Looking in the Mirror
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may 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" ~ Eph 6:10-12.
Well, that started MY day off with a bang! I admit I was at first taken aback when I opened my daily devotional to this on our first day of school-prep...but really, it's right on. This year is a new beginning for us in so many ways, and it's good to be in touch with the reality of what we are dealing with.
- How many times throughout the trials of my daily life, have I looked into the eyes of someone who was struggling, as an opponent to overcome?
- How often have I perceived the effects of their behavior, in a way that resulted in blame and resentment toward them?
The reality that MY FEELINGS are MY RESPONSIBILITY plows into me like a mack truck. How someone else's behavior effects me in entirely within my control. Infact, more than that, how it effects me - is a reflection of ME.
Today's devotional highlighted the only way to embrace this reality from a perspective of Truth with a capital T. It is not the other person that I should look at as the "opposition," but as Ephesians rightly points out, it is rather our flesh, reacting to "the world forces of this darkness."
I remember relaying this verse to my daughter, who in the heat of whatever controversy, translated the verse into yet another accusation: "Hmph, figures so-n-so would be on the wrong side of things."
Aren't we just so human? Even after realizing it's a spiritual battle we are engaged in, it's still quite easy to take this verse as some type of spiritual "green light" to look at our brother as an ally to the enemy, but that too would be a distortion. In all circumstances, rather than placing ourselves on the white horse and our brother on the black, it is best to look at ourselves first, to consider what our Father might be trying to teach US through this difficulty...
"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." - Luke 6:42
If I still find myself "assigning sides," without looking in the mirror, I too am in the wrong. It is the "spiritual forces of wickedness" working against BOTH of us that are the driving force behind every circumstance that goes against the Will of God, particularly between brothers & sisters. In this case, it is so important to pray for eachother. And while I pray peace and mercy upon the struggling individual, I must be mindful to pray peace, mercy and humility upon myself.
In Mat 5:9, Jesus calls the Peacemakers - Children of God. Let us desire to give the Holy Spirit full reign in our hearts and actions today!