“Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].” ~ Ephesians 4:27 (Amplified Bible)
Father in the name of Jesus, I come to You thankful and acknowledging Your greatness and ability. Lord, I come to You asking You to speak to me about this issue. Lord, reveal this “thing” in my life as I read this blog and may it be taken from me because of You and through You. Lord, may this be a healing agent in my soul, spirit and mind. Produce a work in me that no man could do so only You can get the credit. Holy Spirit show me what You want me to see, don’t let me skip it, get distracted or miss it and I thank You for doing this in Jesus name! AMEN!
Face to face to with time, Paul writes something that outlasts his own life. It’s a statement that warns the believer that the devil is serious about his job. Among the growing epidemics in the world, self-harm is one that is skyrocketing. Many people don’t recognize self-inflicted harm because it can be covered up with clothing or done secretly. Many teens and young adults are suffering from cutting and even burning themselves, filled with pain and no outlet, they resort to self-inflicted harm. Have you prayed for them today? While this is an epidemic in every area of life, every race, every religion and every other facet of life, we find that Jesus can and wants to deliver and free us from self-harm. However, when we allow the enemy to have an opportunity, we find that we too can cause self-inflicted harm. Spiritually, we can do this daily and not even recognize it, we can be face to face with a problem and whether we know it or not we begin to inflict harm on ourselves because we don’t know what to do naturally. We can sometimes call someone and we are inflicting harm on ourselves. Just as in the natural, so we are in the spiritual.
When we hurt and don’t know how to let God take our pain away, we inflict harm on ourselves. We might not know immediately, but sleeping with every guy that shows attention to us is self-inflicted harm. We might not know immediately, but refusing to forgive your husband for something he did thirty years ago is self-inflicted harm. All of this is taking place in our lives, if you examine your life; something you are doing is causing self-inflicted wounds. Have you thought about that? Have you spotted it? Have you ever noticed what happens when you think of that thing over and over and over again? Have you realized that the source of your unforgiveness is your inability to stop thinking of why they did it, who they did it with, how they did it to you and how you were “always right” and were treated “unjustly” as if you were the only person who made every decision that benefited the relationship?
Paul gives us encouragement to not only not give opportunity to the devil, but live for God. The Epistle to the Ephesians is one filled with great delight to our spiritual growth. In the first chapters Paul begins to express who we are in Christ. He tells us that we are created to do good works. He tells us we are saved by grace through faith. He tells us that it’s important to seek God and serve the Lord. We find in the fourth chapter a twist, we see Paul after explaining the already done work of Christ and how much He loves us that we have a duty, we have a job to do. We have a purpose on this earth and we have to fulfill it by becoming conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and being obedient to His divine Word of Truth. We have to learn like Paul to do the will of God. We don’t always like being obedient, we don’t always like allowing God to work, but one thing is for certain, in order to grow spiritually, we have to do it. We have to learn how to trust God with the circumstances for obeying Him. You might say “well, if I obey God, I won’t have a mate right now,” yup, that’s true, but if you disobey, you’ll have a messed up marriage in a few years. What’s more important to you, self-gratification or Gods plan and purposes for your life?
It’s hard to accept, but so many times in our walk with Christ, we have given the devil ample opportunity in our lives. We have allowed the enemy to have free roam in our hearts, desires, lusts, and even in our ministries. We keep allowing the devil to send us thoughts about what a person did to us and how bad it was so we can’t forgive; self-inflicted wounds. We know God wants us to be single, but we keep begging and screaming at God to send us a mate; self-inflicted wounds. We keep hoping and praying that the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend will come back; self-inflicted wounds. We do it both naturally and spiritually. We compromise our convictions that we know God wants us to hold to in order to be popular, in order to fit in, in order to be with the crowd that we think is for us but is against us in actions and deeds. We compromise our faith when we stand in front of people and laugh at jokes that are against the nature of Christ in our life. We compromise our faith and standards when we allow non-believers to come into our lives in an intimate way, when we begin to start a relationship with a non-believer; we are in what the Bible calls an “unequally yoked relationship.” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Sometimes we go to God and try to slide in scriptural thoughts and insight into our lust and selfishness. We tend to get super holy and committed when we see something we want, but know we won’t be able to attain it without the help of God. We do these things, but obedience in the wrong motive is still disobedience. We go to God and say “ok, God, if You give me a husband, I will serve You and go to Bible Study on Youth night.” We go to God and say “Lord, if You are real and love me, You will let me get a new car and then I can pick up so and so for Church.” We claim to want to be obedient, but inwardly we are lusting for something and trying to use God to make our lusts a “holy desire.” We come to God with alternative motives, we have a reason behind every prayer and not every reason is one of love and sacrifice. If we are honest, most of our prayers are devoted to our will being done instead of God’s will (plans) being done. We give God ultimatums and say “if You don’t do this by so and so time, I’ll make up my own way; I’ll find my own husband, I’ll be the Lord of my life, I’ll do my will and not Yours.” What are we really doing? We are giving ourselves self-inflicted wounds. We are hurting ourselves when we walk in rebellion and disobedience to Gods commands and programs.
How can we stop our self-inflicting wounds?
1) Learn to accept the “no’s” of God – So many times when we are devastated by God not moving on our favor we tend to get angry at God. We lash out at God for not doing our will and we don’t realize that type of behavior is a reason why He says “no.” Sometimes the “no’s” of God are designed to show us our own pride, self-will and rebellious spirit and it wouldn’t be seen apart from knowing that God will intentionally not move and answer our long awaited prayer. Whenever we begin to hear a “no” from God or just visibly see all the doors closed, “nope, that’s not the one for you,” “nope, that’s not the career opportunity I want you to have,” we can say, do and think things like “well, I’ll just do it my way, I’ll just disobey You, I’ll reject the teaching that I know to be right.” We get very rebellious when God openly says “no!” When these feelings arise we can be sure that it’s a spirit of pride and pride is what God is opposed to. (James 4:6) God doesn’t want us to be prideful and sometimes the only way God can deal with that pride is to purposefully shut a door tightly so it can’t be opened again.
Many times we find it hard to accept Gods “no” because we don’t really think He is all we need. We claim that He is, we can stand up in Church and testify about it, but when God doesn’t move we pout, we get upset, we want to rebel, we want to be stubborn and try again. It’s time for us to grow up spiritually and accept the fact that God said “no” in every way possible; the loan was cancelled, the car didn’t come through, the boyfriend wasn’t the one, the application was denied, how many times does God have to show you that it isn’t His will at the moment? Why are we so stubborn? We have to grow out of this. This is a key factor in spiritual death; we hurt ourselves by trying to open doors that God shut. It’s hard to do, but we have to learn to accept the “no’s” of God. Rest on the fact that a “no” from God is 1000 times better than receiving a “yes” from a man or woman or a “yes” from a false god called pride when it steps in and says “do it your way.”
2) Pray – Without prayer when we realize these issues, nothing will change. It doesn’t matter how many sermons we hear, how many times we played basketball with the Church leader or how many times we quoted a verse, without prayer it won’t work. Prayer is designed in such a way where without it, we fall spiritually, and we can’t live without prayer. When we lack prayer in our life, we will always inflict harm on ourselves. When we lack prayer we make bad choices, we start bad ministries, we start doing things and never accomplish them, we hinder ourselves because of our lack of devotion to the one thing that sustains us as Christians; prayer. Prayer is the only thing that will give us the capability to say “ok, this is a problem in my life, Lord, lets deal with it.”
Prayer is the only thing that gives us the capability to say “ok, she hurt me, but with Christ all things are possible and I can forgive because of the Holy Spirit of God.” Prayer is the only thing that will sustain us in times of what seem to be spiritual drought, when you see no fruit being produced in your life. When you’ve prayed and the issue is still there, when you prayed and you still haven’t won someone to Christ, when you’ve prayed and the family member and your cousin isn’t saved yet; only prayer will sustain you when things don’t go your way at the moment. God works through prayer and without it not only can God not work, our flesh begins to be Lord over our life. We begin to do things that please the flesh, the world and the devil instead of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We can’t allow ourselves to drift into a prayerlessness life; we have to accept that without prayer, we can’t do what God wants us to do. Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve complained about it?
3) Obedience – Without being obedient to Gods Word, there is no blessing of God on our lives. There’s no way God can move in our hearts and lives with a disobedient spirit; it’s impossible! God can’t do what He wants to do in your life if all you do is what you want to do. We often say “I want the will of God to be done,” but inwardly we are saying “not really” and outwardly, in our actions we show the world that we don’t want that. What’s your obedience level today? What have you ran from? What are you hiding in your heart from your husband? What have you done that you know isn’t right, but you just insist on doing it anyways? When we walk in disobedience to the Word of God, we open doors for the devil and when the devils gets in, he doesn’t come in softly, he’s coming to tear you apart.
When the devil gets a door open in your life he is attacking your marriage, if not through your spouse, through you hurting and abusing your spouse whether physically or verbally, your health, because you are so stressed out and freaking out about everything, he attacks your finances, because your lust is out of control, he attacks your vision, because he places things, issues and problems in your life in order to block out Christ. Don’t be fooled, disobedience is not a good thing; it doesn’t have the blessing of the Lord on it. It’s a bad thing, it hinders us. It’s nothing more than a self-inflicted wound.
4) Healing – One thing we must learn to do is accept Gods healing in our lives. Sometimes God will allow us to bump our head so many times in order for us to finally see it as a problem and not a solution. When we recognize these self-inflicted wounds we have to confess them as sin to God. That’s what they are, sins, we have to acknowledge them. We have to come to God and be honest, we have to tell God how we feel about things and when we do that, we open the door for the healing hands of God to not just soothe our sores, but cure our heart, cure our spirit, cure our soul and renew our spiritual health. God wants to bring healing and satisfaction to your soul, but it’s our choice to let Him. Sometimes we pray for that, but we keep going back to someone that isn’t good for us. Lord, help us! All we have to do is tell God the truth and then He can move in our hearts and bring that freedom from the captivity of the enemy, the captivity of pride, the captivity of a broken heart; God can do it, allow Him to work in you! So many times people, especially men, go to the Doctor and when the Doctor asks what’s wrong they say “nothing.”
That’s what we do with God, we act like nothing is wrong, we pray and say “Lord, bless so and so, help so and so” and in reality we are hurting deeply, but we never tell God (the Doctor and Healer) that we are hurting in this area. It’s only when our hearts are open, when we are naked before Almighty God in our feelings, emotions and conduct that He can heal, recover and deliver. There’s no such thing as healing before confession and there’s never deliverance without humility. What’s your choice today? Will you allow God to take that thing out of your way, out of your heart, our of your life. TD Jakes said one time that he was smoking cigarettes as a backslider and that one day someone said to him that it was a very small thing that can hinder him from going where God wanted to take him. Is that your testimony? Have you allowed such a small thing to hinder where you are in Christ, where you should be in the Word of God, where you should be in influencing and impacting your family and generation for Christ’s sake? These small self-inflicted wounds can be taken from us by Almighty God, but we have to pray, obey, acknowledge, while humble ourselves by accepting the “no’s” of God; confessing all to God, knowing only He can do it.
No matter what we face in life, we have to learn how to spot those areas that we keep “touching the oven on,” usually they are small areas, but they cause big problems. Every time we sin, we affect tons of people. The Church is filled with people who are hurting and thus hurt others. What happens when someone walks past someone and doesn’t speak anymore? That other person is hurt and if not treated properly, they will allow the enemy to say “go ahead, don’t speak to her and remember so and so, don’t call her, don’t pray for him anymore, he did you wrong.” The enemy has a field day when we re-open wounds that God is trying to heal and set free. Let’s face it, we are faced with these issues daily, we are tempted to call the ex, we are tempted to cheat on the taxes, we are tempted to clock in at a different time, we are tempted to have sex before marriage, we are tempted with these things and they are nothing more than self-inflicted wounds. It’s hard to accept, but the faster we recognize it, the quicker we are free to work in a new-found way for Gods glory and Kingdom. My own personal self-inflicted wound was revealed to me tonight, about thirty minutes or less ago. I was praying and saying “Lord, what about a wife?” After a little while I realized God already said “no” and I have to accept what God allows, I haven’t fully accepted the fact that a “no” from God doesn’t change overnight. I’m supposed to be single, by the purpose and will of God. Do I have a chance to disobey God and find my own mate? Absolutely, am I stupid enough to think I have the capability to spot a lifetime partner? Fortunately, God has blessed me with wisdom to see that that’s impossible with the flesh and rebellion. I have to accept the fact that even when I pray for that, it’s opening a wound that God is trying to close up and heal. How many times does it take? I don’t know, but one thing is for certain, I am sick and tired of having self-inflicted wounds. What about you?
Father in Jesus name, I come to You thankful. I am thankful that You are capable of speaking to me about something that I needed to hear. Lord, I come to You now confessing I have a problem. Lord, I keep doing this, I want this thing in my life but it hinders me from receiving the fullness of God in my heart, life, ministry and family. Lord, I confess it as sin, I confess it as a problem and I confess that it can be dealt with through the Cross of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of the Living God. Holy Ghost, arise within me and cancel out what the devil is using against me. Lord, close the doors right now please. Lord, show me how to overcome, make me an overcomer, let me be free so I can have the key to someone’s chains and unlock them as well. Holy Spirit, be real in my life, show me who You are, show me how You speak to me personally. Lord, use me for Your glory and Kingdom. Let this thing go so I can serve in a new found capacity. Holy Spirit heal what is messed up and take away any unforgiveness or bitterness deeply hidden in my heart but seen in my motives by You. Lord, I confront my own sin, now I ask You to remove it by Your grace and power. I thank You that You are able and only You can free us from pride and these things. Lord, I commit my soul to You. Keep me in Jesus name I pray that I may help others. AMEN!