Don’t give the devil a seat at your table
Overcoming through a spirit of forgiveness
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger to do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you".
— Ephesians 4:22-27, 29-32 (NIV)
Connection is not only something that we learn to make, connection is also something we have to fight for and overcome to keep.
Things this scripture shows us.
Our relationships can be quickly hijacked by anger, hurt, and division. Being a successful kingdom family is not just wonderful, it is warfare. We will either learn to fight for our families or we will fight with our families.
Things the scripture tells us about offenses and division.
1. Offenses will come.
“Offenses will certainly come…”
— Luke 17:1 CSB)
“And then (in the last days) many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold.”
— Matthew 24:10-12 (NKJV)
Every successful relationship goes through three stages: belief, breakdown, and breakthrough. Seeing, Sabotage, Success.
2. Offenses are the bait of Satan.
3. The biggest attacks will come as we are attempting to make our biggest efforts to connect.
“Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem to create confusion. Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”
— Nehemiah 4:7-9 (NKJV)
4. Overcoming struggles in our relationships makes our relationships stronger and better than they ever could’ve been. God specializes in turning breakdowns into breakthroughs, disconnects into even better reconnects, breakups into makeups!
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to save many people alive.”
— Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)
How to get from breakup to breakthrough
Don’t be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Recognize how the devil gets a seat at our table:
1. By our reaction. We can be hijacked by emotion. Paul warns us not to reach into the bag of old ammunition such as bitterness, rage, hate, and slander.
2. By our ruminations or thoughts. We can’t help what happens to us but we can choose what happens in us. The enemy first tries to hijack how we behave; he then tries to hijack what we believe. The enemy’s ultimate goal is to get us to harbor roots of bitterness and mindsets of disconnection (victim, librarian-score keeper, martyr or defender of a just cause). Examples of thoughts that say the enemy might be sitting at your table: “You’re pathetic,” “This situation is hopeless,” “Nobody appreciates me,” “God isn’t going to help you now,” “You screwed up too bad,” “All of those kinds of people are jerks,” “Cancel them-it’s no use,” “Don’t risk being hurt.”
How to kick the devil out from your table
1. Slow down your response to the emotion of anger, find the pause button. The fast way to stay connected is to learn how to be slow, small, and soft.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry...”
— James 1:19 (NIV)
a. Prepare your response in advance (put on the armor of God) Define what your family “peace plan” is in advance.
b. Don’t put gasoline on the fire.
c. Look up before you speak out.
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude. Forgiveness is the fortitude to remember truth, to understand, to submit to God, to forgive so as to be able to move on in time and not remain in the past.” — Martin Luther King jr.
2. Reframe your perspective. If you want to walk in love and do spiritual warfare for your family you have to become a thought warrior.
“Love believes all things”
“The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
— 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV)
We need to reframe:
a. Our beliefs about the situation: Who our real enemy is, what does “winning” look like.
b. Our identity, who we are and who God is with us and for us in the middle of our situation.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
— Psalms 23:4-5 (NIV)
“I will not say much more to you, for the prince of the world is coming. He has no hold over me.”
— John 14:30 (NIV)
3. Release your feelings to God and receive His grace to have peace, calm, and kindness.
“Don’t curse it, nurse it, or rehearse it, disburse it to God and He will reverse it.” — Larry Lea
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
— Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)