One beautiful spring day, I felt filled with peace and joy … until I stepped from the vehicle. Standing with my hand on the gas hose, my thoughts took a suddent and unexpected turn. A memory resurfaced, bringing with it a surge of anger.
Dazed, I finished filling my tank and tried to make sense of the situation. I’d forgiven this person long ago. Lord, don’t You remember all the prayers I sent out? Don’t You remember the tears I shed? Don’t You remember my surrender?
At first I felt defeated. Maybe my forgiveness hadn’t been genuine. So I poured my heart out to God once again, asking Him to remove my anger, committing myself, yet again, to put the offense and offender behind me.
Since then, I’ve learned forgiveness isn’t always a one-time event. Nor does it always begin with emotion. Rather, it starts with a decision to forgive, a teeth-gritting commitment followed by a desperate cry to God for help. Then, as we continue to draw near to Him, surrendering our hurt and bitterness, He begins to align our feelings to match our commitment.
But while God’s working to bring us wholeness and freedom, our adversary the devil is devising counter measures to keep us in bondage and isolation. Satan doesn't want us to experience healing or reconcilation. But he probably won’t attack us when we’re in the middle of prayer. Instead, he waits until we’re caught up in life to bombard us because then, just maybe we’ll be surprised enough to give in.
Scripture says he's a thief and destroyer. He wants to rob us of our joy, victory, and peace. He wants to destroy us and our family (John 10:10). He wants us to trade relational intimacy with others for loneliness, self-protection, and isolation.
The minute we move toward wholeness, Satan plots ways to steal it from us.
But here’s the good news. If we're in Christ, Satan has absolutely no power or authority over us. Though he wants to destroy us, Christ, who defeated Satan on the cross, has given us the tools to experience abundant, filled-to-overflowing life.
Each day, we have a choice to grab one or the other. We seize life by drawing near to Christ in surrendered obedience, regardless how we feel. He takes care of the rest.
James 4:7-8 is one of my favorite verses, one I claim as a promise. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Let's talk about this! When have you struggled to forgive someone who hurt you deeply? What helped? What did God reveal to you as you sought to obey Him?
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Make sure to sign up for my free quarterly emailing. As a thank you gift, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson Bible study based on 1 Timothy (download link sent separately, in a welcome email). They also receive great content (short stories, devotionals, recipes, and more) sent directly to their inbox each quarter. You can sign up HERE. And make sure to connect with me on my personal blog JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, on Facebook, and to follow me on Instagram!