Friday, July 5, 2013

Contingencies

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
                                                                                          
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."  (John 10:10)

                                                                   
                There’s no doubt about it – every man faces an unseen oppressor.  There are forces in motion that desire the failure of our marriages and the forfeiture of our deepest held convictions. Despite our best attempts, pretending this adversary doesn’t exist has no bearing on his power in your life.
                So much of my pondering lately focuses on the never-ending battle that wages beneath the veneer of the physical. In fact, I could write volumes about how this spiritual battle relates to my marriage’s journey, but I proceed cautiously, understanding that many people are uncomfortable with so-called “super-spiritual” talk.
 It seems that our society wants to divorce Christianity from its inherently spiritual foundation.  One cannot claim to believe the Christian Bible without embracing the fact that an entire spiritual realm exists, influencing and swaying our world in countless ways. It is the undercurrent that swirls beneath the events we observe in the physical world every day, and yet so many believers want to neuter the faith of its spiritual nature, turning it into a vacuous and outdated self-help program.   You cannot deny the spiritual realm without invalidating the Bible on a large scale.
                With that being said, I believe it’s vital for us to consider supernatural influence when discussing issues of infidelity in marriage. Ephesians 6:10-12 shows us the true gravity of this battle; we do not simply fight against worldly forces, but we also engage a hidden opponent that has been dissolving marriages since the beginning of time itself. To put it explicitly… behind every mistress, wayward glance or flirtatious advance, demonic forces are pulling the strings like ancient puppeteers.
                Think about that. The same aggressor, Satan, that has been fracturing relationships since the Garden of Eden, is doing the best he can to drive a wedge between you and your spouse.  This is a high-stakes scenario, and it deserves more attention than we ever dare to afford it.
                I remember, in my prior life of na├»ve ignorance, thinking of evil and temptation as an abstract annoyance that wants to do nothing greater than simply irritate us.  It wants us to miss Sunday school, forget our bedtime prayer, and smoke cigarettes, I thought. Now, I soberly acknowledge something very different.  As the verse above states, the enemy’s primary goal is death and destruction  
                Without a doubt, I know that our foe’s desire was for my marriage to be dissolved, and for our individual lives to be hopelessly unraveled.  If his assaults did not accomplish this, perhaps the devil would settle for wounding us beyond healing.  If we overcame this advance, he would at least like to keep us silent about our victory.
                We won’t even give him that much. I won’t shut up; I won’t be quiet about the victory that Hannah and I have embraced through Christ over the disaster of my affair.  The enemy can list off all of his contingencies, and I will give him the alternative that he wants the least.  I will illuminate our story as a means to advance the gospel, and he will regret the day he ever tried to split us apart. At the end of my life, Satan will look upon this attack as a mistake, knowing that I surrendered it to God for His good purposes. I believe that.
                The thief has a will, and his primary goal is everlasting misery; anything else is a mere concession.  Today, as you read this, reflect upon the many times where you barely made it out alive from the razor-sharp claws of temptation, and ask yourself what you can do to wave a banner of victory over your circumstances.  The devil wants to shut you up, if nothing else… give him what he least desires.

2 comments:

  1. Ray, you have your faith and I envy you that. At this point, I don't know what I believe asides from there is a higher power and that it is good to be kind. I'm not sure what to cling to besides my marriage. Is there something you can think to suggest to those of us who have no religion to claim?

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    1. That's a good question, and honestly, one of the most daunting that I've faced in my own thoughts about this blog. Since faith has been such an integral part of our healing, it can be difficult to prescribe solutions to someone who doesn't share the same beliefs. Furthermore, a lot of religions act as the moral and structural bedrock of marriage, so there is a great degree of difference between how a Christian marriage functions as opposed to, say, an Islamic marriage.

      With that being said, I think there are some universal tips that could come in handy regardless of your beliefs. In fact, recently Hannah and I wrote a guest blog post about "How my marriage survived an affair", and all of the four elements are non-exclusive to Christianity. I would recommend taking a look at the post and seeing if these concepts line up with your situation!

      http://staymarriedblog.com/how-my-marriage-survived-an-affair/

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