There are two things I have been thinking about lately. The first is this, I heard a speaker a few years ago and her words deeply impacted my life. She was talking about eagles, as she had spent much time studying them. She was saying that an eagle won't let anything near its nest. A snake, however; can sneak up to the nest and then out of nowhere pops its head up. I can still see her using her hand to demonstrate this idea. She said that eagle instantly takes off the head of that snake. It knows better than to let the snake hang around for a while, that would be deadly.
She used this as analogy for our lives. When we allow anger, bitterness, grudges, hard feelings and unforgiveness to stay in our hearts, we are in essence allowing Satan (like the snake) to pop his head into our nest. We are giving him a foothold in our lives and allowing him to have victory in our lives. She used this in reference to our relationship with our spouse. She said harboring any of those things in our hearts toward our spouse was giving Satan victory in our lives and we need to chop the head off the snake as soon as it rears its ugly head by humbling ourselves, apologizing where we need to and working things out with the other person.
I will never forget what she talked about that day as it changed my life. The Lord began teaching me to humble myself, to forgive, to say I am sorry. Arguments between Todd and I have been resolved much quicker because no matter how mad at him I may be (justified or unjustified) I remember her words and it makes me more mad to think I would give Satan any victory in my life! I then usually swallow my pride and go apologize and begin to resolve the conflict.
The second thought I have had is also related to a speaker I just recently heard. He was speaking to a group of pastors. He told them to be ready and know that when real ministry is happening, when the Lord is at work and people are being reached, it is not if trials will come but WHEN. Satan will throw all sorts of attacks to discourage and stop the Lord's people from serving. He encouraged them, when those hard times come it is not time to give up but to put your head down and plow forward even harder.
What do these two things have to do with each other you may ask? A great deal I believe. They have a great deal to do with the church today. In our ministry we work with many different churches and hear their stories all the time. I have several family members in church ministry and we hear some of their stories. We are also involved in a church ourselves. The one common denominator in all these churches is that none of them are perfect and all of them face persecution when the Lord is working through them and people are being reached.
So often in churches today people carry around grudges, unforgiveness, hard feelings, and anger. The reality is, we are so often giving Satan a foothold not only in our personal lives but in our churches. We are allowing him to have victory because we are all unwilling to swallow some pride be the first to apologize and then begin the road to reconciliation. It should make us so mad to think we are allowing Satan to have victory in our lives and our churches!!!
We should also stop and look at the big picture. If we would, we would see that God is at work and people are being reached through the ministries of the church! Satan wants nothing more than to stop that and one of the primary ways he can do that is by causing discension in the church. Now is not the time to become discouraged and give up in our churches, now is the time to put our heads down and push forward even stronger doing the work of the Lord.
However, we can not push forward until we are willing to chop off the head of that snake! It is time in our churches to say we are no longer going to allow Satan to have victory. So lets put our heads down, move forward, and protect our nests!
"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." Galations 6:9-10