For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:12 HCSB
I’m in pre-Thanksgiving mode, and so – quite appropriately – the Holy Spirit is reminding me about the rules of battle. And make no mistake, it’s a rare family gathering that doesn’t involve battle! That’s the sad news. The good news is that disciples of Jesus Christ don’t actually fight against their family members; they fight the kingdom of darkness that rules them.
I love, absolutely LOVE, my family. I thank God for them every day. But I have to fight every time I see them. I have to fight to hold fast to the work God has done in me, because there’s no greater temptation when family gets together than to slide back into the designated roles we were assigned in childhood – black sheep, most likely to succeed, clown, fixer, peacemaker, dunce, pride-and-joy, servant, etc. It can feel like an inescapable vortex, pulling you back in time, out of your present life. And that pull appears to be a universal deal, attacking saved and unsaved alike. I doubt that any of us actually enjoy being pigeonholed in the past, but it’s especially excruciating if you feel helpless to stem the onslaught.
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds…
2 Corinthians 10:4 AMP
God doesn’t play by the rules of the world, and as His children, neither do we. Manipulations and machinations and dominations and expectations and obligations are the weapons of the world. They are the only means for succeeding in the kingdom of darkness. How fortunate that we belong to a different kingdom and are ruled by THE King!
I was utterly defeated by the Love that would not play by the rules of my game. I zigged and waited for the zag that never came. I was surrounded by people who lived in a different reality from mine. They weren’t bound by the same rules, and I could NOT figure out where they were coming from or where they were headed. It was maddening! And in the end, the Love of God – unbound and undeterred – won. I had no effective defense against Him.
My work, my preparation is to abide in HIM. I remind myself, as often as the Spirit brings it, that I belong to Jesus Christ now, not my family. He bought me, and the only role I have these days is that of His disciple and God’s own child. It is this FACT, this truth of ownership that arms the greatest weapon I will ever wield: the Love of God. That Love needs my arms so He can wrap them around my family. Love needs my eyes to look at them. Love needs my tears to weep over them. Love needs my laugh to signal His delight over them. And Love needs my feet to carry Him into their midst, a vessel for the kingdom of God. When these two kingdoms clash, Love wins. I’m counting on it.
Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, extend to the skies, and Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Psalm 36:5 AMP