The enemy wants to divide us.  Are you familiar with his schemes?  Do you know when to armor up against division or are you still deceived that people are the problem?  Move into a Kingdom mindset regarding your relationships.  Put on the armor against the devil’s devices and shift Kingdom relational outcomes…

Going up the mountain on my bike, the pads are unnecessary.  The speed is slow.  Any fall will yield minimal damage versus the unwanted discomfort of the pads.  

Preparing to descend the mountain, it’s time to armor up!  The physical price to pay from a fall requires it.  The stakes are high, and the likelihood is real.  Someone once said, “there are only two kinds of mountain bike riders – those that have been down and those that are going down.”

The same is true in relationships – for those we are close with, or for those seen only in passing.  People engagement requires the right kind of armor at the right time.  But most of us armor up at the wrong time and for the wrong reason.

The natural tendency is to see people as the problem.  Just as our power source is God, people are fueled by love.  We all need it.  You can’t look for love without being hurt.  So as it goes, each of us experience hurt.  The repercussion of hurt is to armor up in relationships – not letting people too close, guarding our hearts, and seeing others as potential threats.  Thus, people become the source of our problems.  

In reality, other people are seldom our problem.  It’s the stories we tell ourselves that get us into trouble.  The enemy takes advantage by putting voices in our heads.  We’ve all heard them.  You don’t know why, but the word “idiot” comes to mind just by looking at someone.  You might get a sense of betrayal.  You might wonder if someone’s motives are right.  “Why did they say that?”  “Why did they do that?”  Before long, you’ve got a story mapped out in your head.  Without verification of truth, your negative reactions to the story come into play.  A relational cluster unfolds.  

The word devil means “to divide.”  Did it ever cross your mind that the enemy is playing both sides of the relational game?  He wants both people involved to distrust and destroy the opportunity for Christ’s love to be displayed through us.  

In Session 2 of TMP we explore Relational Fitness of the Personal Realm.  Relational fitness requires strategic behaviors of God’s Kingdom.  We must clearly see the enemy’s role in relationships.  We must NOT armor our hearts; but rather armor up against the constant borage of the enemy’s voice.  

Here’s how:  be on guard for any negative thought as you interact with others.  If a negative script begins to build, flip it.  Move into grace by creating a new script – the one Jesus uses.  Examples: “That person might be hurting right now.”  “They might be experiencing something I can’t see.”  “A childhood hurt unseen to me might be triggering that response.”  In Jesus’ most significant moment of hurt He says, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  These words of Jesus show how He’s thinking.  Jesus’ imagination is filled with a Kingdom narrative that is not distracted by negative actions.  He is distracted by grace.  In doing so, He keeps His eye on the prize – the people!  

Who is the joy set before you?  Is it not everyone we encounter?  In the Kingdom, people are all there is.  Your fight is not against flesh and blood.  It’s time to armor up against the true enemy and his words over others.  Get in the mental gymnasium this week and armor up in the right way.  Every encounter with others is an opportunity to demonstrate your Christlikeness!  

We are in your corner,

Rob Dayton

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