Relationships Directly Affect Spiritual Life
Our life challenges are spiritual in origin. Paul told the believers in Ephesus that we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces that can’t be seen (Ephesians 6). Paul told the believers in Corinth that we have mighty spiritual weapons with which to fight these battles (2 Corinthians 10). Our spiritual weapons are the Word of God, the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus, and praise and worship. The foundation that these spiritual weapons operate on is love. When we step out of love into any realm of self-centered living, we immediately lose our spiritual power and authority over Satan and his emissaries. The believers in Ephesus had great spiritual truth. They were a well taught body of believers. They had some of God’s choicest servants ministering to them. Yet they were spiritually paralyzed because they had left the love realm and had become involved in strife. Listen to Paul’s heart impassioned call here in Ephesians 4:25-32 (Amplified) for this body of believers to step out of the flesh into the spirit: Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no such room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him] Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. The believers in the church in Ephesus had allowed the enemy to seep into their relationships and bring strife, envy, unforgiveness, malice, lying, gossip, and foul, offensive, anger filled words. Satan was unopposed. They had lost tremendous spiritual ground to demonic forces. This clearly applies to our day. Satan is unopposed in most church because the believers’ authority over him has been neutralized by these flesh manifestations. Where there is unforgiveness, envy, backbiting, strife, and gossip, the Holy Spirit is quenched and spiritual gains are lost. Don’t allow the enemy to use you to hinder spiritual effectiveness. Refuse to yield to strife and envy. Refuse to say anything behind the back of anyone that you wouldn’t say to them face to face. Refuse to sow discord or to speak negatively about anyone to others. Refuse the tendency to bear a grudge. Don’t allow your ears to participate in gossip. Believe the best of every person, period. If you’re not satisfied with some area of church life or ministry, go to your knees in heartfelt prayer, asking the Father to intervene and bring change. Go from that place of prayer with expectations that God is working. Speak words of encouragement and consolation, not of strife and discord. Honor your prayers with your words and actions. See the end from the beginning. Act to others as though you believe that God is working in them and in situation that you encounter. This is the love way. This is the path of spiritual freedom and power. Remember that demonic forces sow discord, envy and strife. Recognize Satan’s work and resist him, binding him with the name of Jesus and by your loving words and actions. We cannot separate our relationships and daily life from our walk with God. They are intertwined. How we deal with the relationships God places in our lives shows what kingdom rules us. The kingdom of darkness breeds discord, strife, and broken relationships ruled by walls of separation. The kingdom of God breeds love, peace, joy, right living, transparent relationships, and intimacy. Which kingdom rules you?