When you were a kid, did you ever have one of those moments where you did something that got you in trouble? And then you heard your dad or mom say, “What were you thinking? You’re smarter than that!” I had them growing up and I had one of those days two weeks ago. A gal in the lane next to me was on her cell phone, weaving around like she was drunk, driving dangerously slow, and paying little attention to traffic. She was just a head of me to the right. As I was pulling along side of her car, she suddenly began a quick lane change without looking and came an inch from slamming into me. I saw it coming and pulled way over to avoid her. Had there been a car in the oncoming lane to my left, I would have been squashed between two cars. The Lord protected me but I was angry. I leaned on my horn, yelling at her to get off her cell phone and pay attention to what she was doing. I also gave her a look that could kill! As I thought about it later, I had regret. My behavior was wrong despite what she did. I thought, “What was I thinking? God protected me. Maybe she was from my church. Not much of a witness Tim!” I apologized to the Lord. I should have done better!
The devil and life deliver the opportunity to get into the flesh when it comes to dealing with people. You do get in trouble with people from time to time right? When you do, you don’t want to hear that voice in your head that says, “What were you thinking? Why did you react like that? You’re smarter than that!” Whether it’s someone close to you or a stranger, the devil would like to get you to set your godly character aside and say or do something that reminds you of how you used to act prior to making Jesus your Savior and Lord. He likes to get in the middle of relationships and get us to “flesh out.”
We all hate it when we say or do things we regret. But what we don’t think about is that Satan actively works to get people riled up so they will “flesh out” and say or do regrettable things. This is one of his devices! That is why the Apostle Paul reminds us to not be ignorant of the fact that he tries to ruin relationships. “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6:12 (NLT)
And this is why the Apostle Paul said we can’t be ignorant of and why forgiveness and mercy is so necessary. 2 Cor. 2:10-11 (NLT) says, “…And when I forgive him (for whatever is to be forgiven), I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes.” If you understand that this is very real and something Satan uses to undermine your character, then you’ll NOT let him outsmart you!
One time I got a message from someone I worked with. This person was very mad because something that happened in my department had affected him negatively. He had a right to be upset. It was a mistake that I could see would cause him problems. If I had acted defensively, I could have responded wrongly and we could have been at each other. Instead I responded in the way the Lord showed me long ago. Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” Even though one of my employees made the mistake, and it was just that, a mistake—an oversight, it was still my responsibility to make sure it didn’t happen.
I immediately and sincerely apologized for the oversight. I explained the error, assured him it was not intentional and that if I could have undone the mistake I would do so. I also reminded this person how much I valued our relationship. His response was in godly character and also soft and forgiving. The devil had no entrance because we both know his schemes and managed it God’s way!
The devil does what the devil does—tries to create relational schisms. We should work toward helping him achieve a losing record. You can’t always control another person, but with God’s help, you can get it right most of the time yourself. Be reminded by the precious wisdom of Proverbs 26:20, “Without wood a fire goes out…” Be humble, gentle, willing to apologize and/or forgive, and you will be smart the way the Lord and your parents wanted you to be! And you won’t have to later hear that voice that says, “What were you thinking? You’re smarter than that!”
2 Cor. 2: 11 (NLT) “… Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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