The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)
I’ve been thinking about how the thief comes after my family. He rails against our peace and joy and love. He hates when my kids rest in Christ. He despises for us to live securely in the Shepherd’s hands.
What a battle he wages against us! Insecurity, depression, fear, selfishness, conflict–how these (and more) strategies break down our defenses.
Last night one of my kids lost his temper. “It wasn’t her TURN!” He yelled as he slammed down the video game controller.
The other one’s sin exposed itself too. “It WAS my turn. You played forEVER!”
“But I was almost DONE!”
You know how it goes … An explosion of selfishness sprung from their hearts. So ugly. And I see it in myself at times too. That wretched filth that looks more like the fruit of the enemy than of the fruit of the Spirit. Do you?
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 ESV)
To be honest, I don’t think about this concept very much, but maybe I should. Maybe I need to be more vigilant against our fierce enemy who hungers to ruin my family. I see evidence of his work all around.
What can I do?
So glad the battle belongs to the Lord. His weapons are love, patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, grace …
Our Family’s New Strategy
I’m attempting to wield the Lord’s weapons by enacting a nightly process.
- First, I go over some verses about loving and respecting each other, always being careful to not use the Word as a negative tool for guilt or shame–but reinforcing the biblical context of grace and unfailing love. (Some good ones are: Eph. 4:31-32, Phil. 2:3, 1 Cor. 13:5-6. Can you think of more?)
- Then, I ask what areas triggered them today, meaning, did anything upset you, cause you to feel anxious, angry, or sad.
- As they share their situation, we talk about how the Lord would want us to respond when something like that happens. For example, if someone was triggered by being yelled at, I would say, “I’m sorry that happened. What would be a good way to handle that next time?” And they would answer with ideas like, walking away, praying, deep breathing, asking them not to yell, getting help, etc. Then I say something like, “Can we all try to respect each other by not yelling?”
- I always end with an affirmation. “This is hard, isn’t it? We’re not going to do this perfectly, but when we blow it, we can give each other grace, right? Because God gives us grace.” And then we pray together, maybe sing a hymn.
We’ve only started doing this, but I’m seeing good results so far. This strategy fights against the enemy in several ways:
- Most importantly, re-affirming Scripture is the very weapon Jesus used.
- Venting their daily struggles in a safe way squashes bitterness.
- Committing to respect each other by trying to avoid their triggers puts thinking of others in the forefront of our minds.
- Having to rely on our Great Defender and not ourselves is truly our only hope.
How are you doing in this war? Are you feeling strong? Discouraged? Tired? Weak? He’s with you, even in the darkest battle.
Remember, He loves you like there’s no tomorrow.
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