An indignant supervisor approaches one of her employees, upset over the errors found in a report that took two more days than the anticipated time frame. Menacingly she approaches and points her finger in the face of the employee and says, “You just keep digging a hole for yourself – deeper and deeper! I’m trying to help you, but you just won’t rest until you find yourself…” WHAP! BOOM! are the sounds that interrupt her verbal tirade.
Many enter the office space to find the seemingly shocked employee standing over her unconscious supervisor. “What did you do to her?! How did this happen?!” The people ask. She answers with the same question, as she whispers, “What did I do to her? How did this happen?”
There are times when we find ourselves in similar situations in life. Maybe not quite as extreme, but sometimes even more so. In the midst of this abusive situation, the question lingers, “How did this happen?” As we reflect on the answer, that very well could have happened in Anywhere, U.S.A., I pray that we might positively react, and even be proactive in helping others toward deliverance in related areas of their own lives.
God inspired His servant James to write, “Man sins, because of the lust of His own heart. And after lust conceives itself, it brings forth sin, and sin brings forth death.” James 1:14,15 NKJV God, in all his awesome wisdom, expresses to us through the counsel of His Word, that “practice makes perfect.” In other words people commit acts that are against the will of God, because of the evil lusts, the desires that are against the will of God, the meditated upon, or mentally practiced thoughts in one’s own heart - or mind, if you will.
As a result of the continual meditation (practice) on that desired act, it matures or is perfected to the point that we give birth to it through our actions. The practice of the inward sinful desire gives birth to the outward act of sin. Now don’t get it twisted, the thought of sin took place, before the act of sin, but it was sin from its inception. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, that “every man who looks upon a woman with ‘lustful intent’ has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt. 5:28 NKJV
Now you may wonder what this has to do with the abusive behavior of the parties we spoke of as I started. I’m so glad you asked. Prior to this catastrophic event, there were actions by all parties involved that led up to this point, but we will focus on just the one today. As you might imagine, the supervisor was regularly cynical of and condescending to her employee, and I can recall hearing “Vicki” grumble on a regular basis, “One of these days I’m just gonna smack your face off!” or “I just wanna smack her!” I would say to her, “Take the high road Vicki! Don’t even think about it.”
As Vicki turned to me that day, she said, “You know me, I would never do a thing like this! I can’t believe this happened! I shared with Vicki that I had witnessed her practicing for the Main Event, for months. Every time I heard her communicate in a grumble or whisper, or as she banged on her desk, she was committing the act of “smacking her face off,” and thereby practicing in the arena of her mind.
Abuse, as well as any other activity – sinful or otherwise, begins in the mind. God wants you to be delivered from the oppression of sin as well as the effect of death that results, because He loves you so much. That‘s why God sent His son Jesus the Christ! Through Christ we witness the power over sin and death, and through Christ’s death and resurrection we are empowered to live victorious lives. And while we are so ready often times to give someone a piece of our mind, we should never do so until we have engaged God’s peace of mind. In the book of Phiippians and the 4th chapter, verses 6-9, God tells us that when we change the culture of our thoughts to that which is pure, just, noble, lovely and worthy of good report, which is everything about our loving Savior, that the very God of peace will be with us. It is in that place that we can commune with the loving God who will give us peace to guard our hearts and minds.
I want to leave you with three steps that can help you to appropriate the grace of God toward victory over destructive behavior today. God communicates to us through the counsel given to Paul in the third chapter of the book of Colossians that when our position changed through Jesus Christ, it necessitated a change of our focus – our thought lives, which postured us to partner with God in the change of our purpose.
1. Change your position. If you have not accepted Christ as personal Lord and Savior, you’re on the losing side, resting in a losing position. You are a victim not a victor. I’m speaking to the abused as well as the abuser. The abused has to change their position to occupy the safe place in the presence of the Lord, and the abuser as well for the same reason! “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
2. Change your focus. When we are saved, we are raised with Christ from death to life and are to “set our minds on things above and not on the things of this earth.” Colossians 3:1 Changing your focus toward the will of God allows you to use Kingdom resources and principles to manage the issues of life toward success.
3. Change your purpose. As you change your focus your prime directive changes. Your purpose changes from being self-centered to God-centered. Your reason for living is no longer self-ish, or to serve yourself, but you realize that you were created to worship God and to make the praise of God glorious! Of course this change of purpose was initiated by God when you were saved, as your very nature began the transformation from sinful toward holy, as Christ is holy. In effect, your every action and growing desire is to prove how good and acceptable and perfect is the will of God. So you live to love and glorify God, you love and edify God’s people.
Essentially my brothers and sisters it’s time for us to lay hold of the abundant life that God has made available to us and it begins with a change of mind. May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Psalm 19:14 Amen.
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