Week 1: Seeking God: The Creator of Relationship
DAY 7: God’s Plan vs. Satan’s Scheme
In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul is teaching about what to do when someone among us has grieved or offended us. He tells the Church that when someone has already experienced punishment for their behavior inflicted by the majority, we are to be more concerned about the person being forgiven and not being overwhelmed by excessive sorrow, He instructs the church to reaffirm their love for him. He then ends his thoughts about this by cautioning us to not let Satan outwit us “for we are not unaware of his schemes.” There is a backward message here: don’t be unaware of Satan’s schemes! I find it incredibly helpful to remember that Satan has an overall scheme to get us out of loving, supportive relationships through shame, unforgiveness, selfishness, punishment, anger, and short-sightedness so that in our isolation, he can pick us off so we are not fulfilling our God-given destiny. God’s plan, however, is that through relationship with Him and others, we feel loved, accepted, supported, influenced, and full of joy so that we are built up, lifted up, and rise up to glorify Him who created us. If we can keep both the Plan and the Scheme in the forefront of our minds, then we see a much clearer picture of what our contribution will be. I don’t know about you, but it motivates me greatly when I think that something I might do, say, think or believe would in any way cooperate with the Scheme of the evil one! I am quick then to turn to God and get the perspective, grace, empowerment, and revelation needed to keep me and my relationships on track with His Plan!
It is also helpful to ask God for wisdom on the specific schemes the enemy has for your specific relationships. For instance, many marriages start seeing a pattern emerge that is not particularly helpful. When this is the case, ask God for insight as to why this is happening. It is usually to cause one or both of you to feel less connected and to believe past lies because there is now “proof” in your marriage. Resist this lie! It is usually a familiar spirit trying to keep the old lie alive. In my case, the lie is that “I don’t have a voice.” The “proof” the enemy may try to get me to believe is when my husband is preoccupied. In actuality it is not because he doesn’t care, but because he gets fascinated by so many ideas and he is dreaming with God! If I pick up the “I don’t have a voice” lie and criticize him for not listening to me, I have taken the bait Satan wanted me to and I have cooperated with his scheme of disconnection and accusation. Instead, what I find helpful is turning to the Lord first. In fact, I use negative feeling emotions expressly for this purpose. I take this as a sure sign I need His voice in the matter that I may not be seeing clearly through my emotions. Once I get His insight, I tenaciously fight to keep God’s perspective. This looks like remembering the truth that “I have a voice and my God and others love to hear what I have to say.” It also looks like believing the very best about my husband and patiently communicating what is going on with me while keeping what is going on with him at the forefront as well. I love the sandwich method of communication and am practicing to get better at it. Communication, especially in confrontation, would look like this: Encouragement or reminders of truth, what I am struggling with, more encouragement or reminders of truth. It keeps our relationships wrapped in God’s best plan for us leaving less room for the enemy’s lies that cause the other person to feel belittled, criticized or unimportant. Connection is ALWAYS the primary goal in healthy relationships.
Declare, “I am a partner with God in good, loving, connected relationships. I do not partner with the enemy who accuses, criticizes, blames, and devalues. I passionately co-labor with God so that everyone I am in relationship with feels loved, accepted, valued, and enriched. As far as it depends on me, I live at peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:18)”
Author of this post: Melanie Connell