It was a beautiful spring day. Praise music drifted from my car speakers, and I didn’t have a care on my mind…until I stepped from the vehicle. Standing with my hand on the gas hose, my thoughts took a wayward, and very unexpected turn. Out of nowhere, 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 this sudden surge of anger, committing myself, yet again, 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 begins 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, angry, and bitter thoughts, 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’s devising counter measures to keep us in bondage and isolation. The last thing Satan wants is unity, but he probably won’t attack us when we’re in the middle of prayer. No, he’ll wait until we’re caught up in life to bombard us because then, just maybe we’ll be surprised enough to give in.
Satan is a thief and destroyer. He wants to rob us of your joy, victory, and peace. He wants to destroy us and our family. (John 10:10) The minute we take a step toward healing and wholeness, Satan begins plotting ways to steal it from us.
But here’s the good news. If we are in Christ, Satan has absolutely no power or authority over us. Though he wants to destroy us, Christ, who defeated Satan on the cross, came to give us life.
Each day, we have a choice to grab one or the other. We grab onto 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.”
About the Author:
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it at Amazon in the link below as well as CBD.
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
About Beyond I Do:
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage … it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.