We have all been given a great gift – a treasure beyond measure, a pearl of great price. Some aspect or aspects of God’s nature have been gifted to us, as we are made in His image by His hand. Satan sees this gift, and despises it – not because he is invested in or interested in us, but because he hates God. So Satan sets out to squeeze it, to bind it, and to cover it up. He cannot destroy if because it is the gift of God. But if we agree with his deceptions, he can convince us to hide our true nature in a cave of self-protection that becomes a prison for our hearts. He can bind our hearts up in lies, so that the “weeds” in our hearts choke out our true nature, preventing it from pouring out into the world.
Against Satan’s intentional and cunning strategy, we have a very powerful weapon: the truth of Christ. Rather than constructing a wall of self-protection of our own design that we build around our hearts, which only hardens our hearts and cuts us off from our own feelings and our true selves, Jesus’ truth is a shield that protects us from the very thing that causes us harm - the lies of the enemy. The more truth we know, the stronger our shield of protection. Jesus’ truth also is effective at pulling out weeds. When the weeds are thinned out, more and more of our true selves can shine and grow in the sun of His love. As our true natures begin to flow freely from our hearts, we become more and more fulfilled, have more to give from our hearts, and know more fully our true value and worth, which according to Christ is worthy of dying to save.
Ask Jesus for truth, every moment of every day, no matter what the situation or circumstance. It is a prayer worth praying without ceasing.
A major temptation of the enemy has to do with taking responsibility for the feelings, beliefs, and actions of others. In this tactic, we are hit from both sides. Satan loves to set us up to blame others for our feelings and choices, as in, “he/she made me feel ________” or “I did it because they did _________” or “if they would just _______, then I would be ok.” From the other end of the spectrum, the enemy also loves it when we accept responsibility for others, agreeing that what they are feeling is our fault, and by extension we responsible for how others act because of how we “made them” feel. We then try to “fix” things for others instead of allowing them to accept their own responsibility. The enemy leaves us feeling, “if we would just _______, then the other person would feel better or would be happy.” In doing so, we enable others to remain victims, and interrupt their possibility of growth and change.
The truth is, we are not responsible for how others feel or what they choose. God has given us authority over one thing and one thing only: ourselves. And He is clear that over ourselves, we have been given full authority, because of the freedom provided by the cross of Christ and His resurrection. As Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19). Satan tries to usurp our personal autonomy and limit our choices, but we do not have to agree to give up our authority to him. I encourage you to stop taking responsibility for others, and to reclaim your authority and take responsibility for yourself and your choices. Your feelings are yours; your behavior is yours; your choices are yours.