Breaking Free from the Devil’s Blackmail, By Fred Adetiba
Our background, experiences, challenges are all part of our individual processes in life. These processes are very much connected to God’s purpose for our lives. We go through what we go through because of where God wants to take us to and what He wants us to accomplish for Him in life. Our process is part of our training, to equip us for the assignment He has for us.
This is a sequel to my last piece titled, “Don’t Let the devil Blackmail God to You”, where I promised this follow up on how to break free from the devil’s blackmail. The devil tells you God is partial because life appears better for someone else, or because you have certain issues you have prayed about and it appears God is not responding. I have even realised that some of our pastors also contribute to this when they preach grace to their congregations. One experience I had was with a colleague who was telling me about his Sunday message a couple of months ago. He said his pastor used an illustration of a prostitute who just repented and got married to a pastor a few weeks into joining a local church, where other believers who have been in the same local church have remained unmarried for many years.
This illustration, although used to explain the manifestation of the grace of God, also presupposes that God is partial. The sisters who have been in church and serving God for many years without suitors would be thinking God does not love them, or that they must be doing something wrong. This also creates room for the devil to blackmail God to such people; unknown to them that God loves them immeasurably and unconditionally.
The Truth Sets Us Free
The main solution to this problem is knowing and believing the truth as contained in the word of God. The Bible says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). Knowing the truth would help resolve the issue of our identity in Christ, and help us ward off the lies and fiery darts of the enemy. The devil always seeks to assault our minds with negative thoughts about God and ourselves in total disregard of who the Bible says we are in God.
By assaulting our minds, the devil gives us a false sense of identity. It is at this point that our experiences, our background, and environment begin to define us instead of the word of God. This is part of the battle we have to fight everyday, as the world seeks to define us wrongly. We must realise that we are who God says we are irrespective of our experiences and the world around us. It is when we focus on our experiences and the world around us that we get sucked into that reality. Our true identity is in the word of God. We must go back to find ourselves and most importantly understand God’s thought and plans for us.
Focus on God and Not Your Problems
Focusing on God rather than on the problems does not mean we are denying reality by burying our heads in the sand like the ostrich. We acknowledge the existence of the problems, but because we cannot solve the problems ourselves, we look to God and not to the problems for solution or direction.
Focusing on the problems paralyses us in most instances, and we lose our joy and peace in the process. Focusing on God instead is an indication that we are surrendering all to Him, because we have no strength in ourselves to resolve the problems. As we do that, we find strength to successfully navigate through the challenges. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus Christ says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
There is nothing we are going through that many others have not passed through or are not currently going through in varying degrees. While we might be thinking of how terrible our situation is, there are people out there who are going through worse.
Jesus Christ is asking that we barter our problems for His, because His yoke is light and easy. This is definitely a smart thing to do. It means if you make God’s business your business, He will make your business His business. I would rather go about God’s business and watch Him handle mine.
Cultivate the Habit of Gratitude
The Bible says that there is no temptation that is over taken us that is not common to man. But God who has allowed it will also make a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). There is nothing we are going through that many others have not passed through or are not currently going through in varying degrees. While we might be thinking of how terrible our situation is, there are people out there who are going through worse. While you are thinking you have only two shoes while your friends have ten, you might want to think about those without feet to wear shoes. You could be there complaining about your low paying job, while there are thousands of more qualified graduates out there without a job.
We have to be grateful for what we have. Trust me it could be worse. One assurance that we have as believers is that God will not give us more than we can bear, as long as we remain in Him.
Understand and Embrace Your Process
The second of part of that scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God who has allowed the difficult times will also make a way of escape for us. You might want to ask, Why does God allow us experience difficult times as His children? He does so to build us and increase our capacity to deal with life. God is essentially a process God. He takes everything through a process. The entire creation was through a process. Much of what we see as instant miracles from our perspective is actually the end point of a process that started much earlier.
Our background, experiences, challenges are all part of our individual processes in life. These processes are very much connected to God’s purpose for our lives. We go through what we go through because of where God wants to take us to and what He wants us to accomplish for Him in life. Our process is part of our training, to equip us for the assignment He has for us. That is why if you look at every situation from God’s perspective, you would discover invaluable lessons in the course of your challenges that you would not have been able to learn otherwise. God is strategic, purposeful and very deliberate in everything He does. He is not aimless or frivolous.
If we understand this about God and ourselves, we would appreciate that there is no basis for us to compare ourselves with others. It is this comparison that breeds needless competition, disappointments, envy, jealousy and heartbreaks. We are all different and unique. He created us that way. That is why He loves us uniquely. Moreover, that person you are comparing yourself with, you have no idea what he or has been through. Everybody who has a destiny in God has a story to tell, because God takes every one of us through a process.
Apart from knowing and believing the truth of the word of God, which sets us free from the lies and deceits of the devil, it is equally important that we guide our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). We are encouraged to do so because that is where the enemy targets in order to complicate our lives, in an already complicated world. Don’t let him. God loves you like crazy. You can take that to the bank.
Frederick Adetiba, a HR Practitioner, Researcher and good governance advocate, is Head of HR/Administration/Finance at Premium Times. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and @fredor4c on twitter.