I was reminded recently that the basic work of Satan and his demonic followers is simple--destroy relationships--first with God, and then with other people.This goes back all the way to the Garden, in which Satan succeeded in bringing destruction on a vertical level as well as a horizontal level.It is important to not lose sight of Satan's basic strategy in the midst of discussing a thousand other issues regarding the paranormal.
Because God is TRINITY--three distinct Persons in one God--relationships are intrinsic and foundational to reality. Put simply, since relationships are so important to God (Great Commandment), then they will be important to Satan as well. Why? Because the Evil One hates that which God loves...it is as simple and profound as that.
It is easy to overlook the context of one of the most oft quoted verses re Satan. "Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, ha been for your sake in the presence of Christ, SO THAT WE WOULD NOT BE OUTWITTED BY SATAN; FOR WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF HIS DESIGNS." (2 Corinthians 2:10-11..bold added) The emboldened part of this text is quoted often, but do we realize that the context is mending relationships? Scholars differ over what issue he is referring to, but it boils down to not letting Satan outwit them due to a broken relationship/s within the Bride of Jesus.They needed to be forgiving.....Hence,we need to be on guard against the devil sowing seeds of discord/unforgiveness in the Church. Paul knew that friction amongst believers was a favorite scheme of Satan...we need to know that as well, and guard against it.
The only place in the bible where it explicitly refers to "not giving the devil a foothold "topos" " is in reference to relationships. Specifically, In Ephesians 4:26-27 we are told to not let the sun go down on our anger, "so we don't give any opportunity to the devil." That does not necessarily mean agreeing on everything, but it DOES mean agreeing to love each other. One wise person said to me, "Don't get into deep discussions after 10 pm." It seems to me that "giving the devil a foothold" basically means allowing for stronger demonic influence in that relationship.Not a happy thought. And sadly, going to bed angry amongst spouses often becomes a habit. A vicious cycle is begun. But this warning applies across the relational board--going to bed angry at another believer will easily lead to bitterness.
There is an astonishing passage in Matthew 5 regarding how important reconciliation is."So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother,and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24) I said it was astonishing because this text states that reconciliation takes precedence over worship!
Jesus is using Old Testament imagery (altar/gift), but the principle remains--in a sense, doing what you can to try to bring reconciliation is more important than worship...at least it takes precedence. Put another way, before we worship the Lord.(individually or corporately) we should search our hearts to see if there is anybody we have wronged, and need to apologize to.
People with sensitive consciences need to be careful here because a certain level of friction will always be present. But there is a difference between wronging a person and living in disagreement.
It is so easy on Facebook to circumvent this process by blocking people right in the middle of dealing with a misunderstanding.There is a time and place for blocking folks who prove to be hateful, but we should use that as a last resort. Being a private person, I am "preaching" this primarily to myself.
Let us not lose sight of the priority of relationships in spiritual warfare...both with God and other people.All these other issues are secondary.
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