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. (Ephesians 6:12)
Last night my husband and I decided to surprise our two older children by bringing them to the movie theatre as a special little outing before school starts back up again. We saw the 3D movie “Smurfs 2”, so cute! A single line in this film started the wheels turning in my head at super speed:
“Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”
Immediately following this line, Ephesians 6:12 popped into my head. This little metaphor truly sums up this scripture, doesn’t it?
Has someone ever come up to you and randomly told you off?! How about through an email or social media?! Or worse yet, how about if you found out someone was slanderously talking about you behind your back? Personally, I wish all was ALWAYS right with this world. But, life just isn’t like that sometimes….especially in ministry. Sometimes it seems there is a revolving door on those that want to pick you apart or negatively criticize you.
My heart rate usually increases exponentially. My hands and feet get extra sweaty. My head begins to pound and an all-too-familiar sickness forms in the pit of my stomach.
This verse reminds me to look at conflict in a different way. To not battle with the person who would rather talk bad about me behind my back than encourage or uplift me. To hold my breath and just listen as that person randomly vents their anger aimed at me. To consider the fact that this human being is loved by God just as much as I am, and that this conflict is not against me or this individual; instead against the game that the enemy so badly wants us to play.
My sisters, don’t fall for it. Rise above the enemies attempts to throw you off the course that The Lord has set before you. Matthew 5:44 says: “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
It isn’t easy to love those who hurt you. Trust me, I know. Our fleshy pride would like nothing more than to tell that person just how you feel and serve them a big slice of justice. But if, in those moments of conflict, and more so during the temptation to be vengeful, you can wrap your head around the idea to ‘love the player; hate the game’ just think of the victory you will accomplish!
I DARE you to PRAY for those who persecute you.
Jesus we thank you for the truth your word gives us. We thank you that your grace is sufficient. We desire to extend your grace to those who have caused us hurt either in the past, in the present or to those who will cause us hurt in the coming days. Thank you for showing us that the battles we face are not against flesh and blood- but against the enemy’s attempt to strum up a fierce game of defeat. God help us to love the ‘players’, because you loved them first. We know that we are no greater than them and we want to love them like you do through any hurt we may feel. Jesus, I pray that instead of getting hung up on emotions, you will stir up in us a rage against the battles the enemy wishes on us and attempts to begin. Equip us and train us to fight victoriously against ‘the game’ showing love to one another in the process, praying for one another through conflict, victoriously conquering the battle in your precious name. Thank you Jesus, Amen!