Monday, January 18, 2016

Fighting the Enemy with Peace

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. 

If you have been reading my blogs lately or if you know me in person and have talked to me, you already know that I am looking everywhere to find ways to get people to seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14).  As I have written previously, one of the greatest tactics of the enemy is to cause division among us and keep conflict in an uproar no matter what.  Once I am sucked into contentious relationships, my focus on my mission is buried so deep I can't even remember what it is.

So it makes much sense that the gospel of peace be our shoes, because we have to take it wherever we go.  It is our responsibility, as much as it depends on us, to leave at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18).  For this reason I encourage you to live as though the ball is always in your court.  

How many of us live a life that is similar to a tennis match?   I ask you out for lunch.  We have a great time.   The ball has now been hit into your court and I wait and wait and wait for you to ask me to lunch.   But I want to have lunch again.. so what can I do?

I'll tell you what I do.... I ask a person to lunch two times in a row.  Or three sometimes.  I trust people to say no if they don't want to do it, but some people just don't initiate things and if I didn't, nothing would happen.

That's a simple example, but in other areas we think the same way.   We are in a conflict.  I go to you and explain my side and then think to myself, "OK, the ball is in your court."  And I wait and I wait and I wait for you to come back to me and apologize or share your side.   But I want to resolve the conflict, so what can I do?

I'll tell you what I do..... I keep going back to the person and trying again.   Sometimes I take breaks in between to restore my emotional energy, but I head back to try to resolve things.   I'm no hero, but I try to live as though the ball is always in my court.  

So in the midst of a dysfunctional system, after there has been mistrust and triangulation as the norm, this principle definitely applies.  If you don't trust me, the ball is in my court.  It's time for me to go to you and ask you what the issue is.  If I don't trust you, the ball is in my court.  It's time for me to go to you and ask what the issue is.  If I have heard that you don't like me, or if I don't like you, the ball is in my court.  If someone told me something about you that may or may not be true, the ball is in my court.  If I know someone has told you something about me that isn't true, the ball is in my court.  

Waiting for someone else to take the initiative to resolve a past hurt may never result in healing and it it is a waste of time.  Because only when these things are cleared up do we have the emotional energy to do beat the system.

If we stop viewing relationships as a tennis game, we are on our way to beating the dysfunctional system.

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