I’m not sure how familiar everyone reading this is with to our Furlough scheme here in the UK. For those of you who aren’t, it was the government support scheme for employers whose business had to cease due to the coronavirus; it entitled them to claim up to 80% of the wages for their staff, on the grounds that they didn’t undertake any other paid employment. The scheme has almost come to an end for most industries and businesses are up and running again and everyone is heading back to work.
It will be hard getting people motivated when they’re only getting 20% more pay this month for being in work than they got paid for staying home last month.
I’m going to cut to my point pretty quickly here. When praying last week, I got this thought that could have been the Holy Spirit or it could have been my very active imagination, but the thought was this.
A lot of us…. INCLUDING ME have sent the devil off on furlough. Heck, if you had been in my house yesterday you would have said I’d sent the devil home on furlough with double pay, with my wretched form.
I touched on it last week, giving the devil credit for making us do stupid stuff. The number of times I’ve heard people say the devil made me do it… it was an attack , oh this is spiritual.
Yes indeed, if you’re a Child of God everything is spiritual, but that is not an excuse for bad behaviour or lack of self control. Now don’t get me wrong, I get it, we are all imperfect humans and we all fall short at times, a lot of the time. But we are busy saying the devil made me do it while he’s at home with his jammies on, feet up with a hot whiskey in hand, laughing because he didn’t have to do a thing.
I used to be pretty confident that the devil had me like a puppet on a string, one little tug and she was off. Quick temper, potty mouth, rage, stomping and shouting. That was just Terri, she’s a bit psycho, temperamental, approach with caution, volatile.
My explanation – stress, injustice, hurt, offended, betrayed, misunderstood ….
Then I became a Christian, and well you know flipping someone for pulling out on you at the lights was no longer acceptable. Mostly because our church was so big and town so small, there was a really good chance it was going to be someone from church! And then, I’d mouth off at someone in the queue in Tesco, or start a heated discussion with someone and it be over heard and I’d leave blaming the devil for riling me up and making me cause a scene.
Damn stinking rotten devil made me do it again.
This is one of many examples I could use of how I point the finger at the devil; all the while he is home sipping on some gin, minding his own business.
There is worry, unforgiveness, offence, putting myself in a position that will lead to sin, choosing to watch stuff on TV or online that would draw my eyes away from Jesus. Not being intentional with prayer and time in the word will lead to sin.
The Bible does tell us:
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 NLT
I know for me, while I’m busy giving the devil credit, it kind of feels like I’m giving him control of me, or coming into agreement with the ungodly spirit.
Here’s the the thing though, while we are busy beating ourselves up for our misdemeanour, God is busy trying to get our attention, to say hey my grace will cover that, and here is a gift
of MY SPIRIT, that gives you SELF CONTROL. My child, ask for it you will get it, and together, with this gift we will transform your character and it will get easier to walk away, to say no, to remain calm in conflict.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and SELF CONTROL There is no law against these things!”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
All you need to do is ask God for an increase in any area you feel you lack, and he will give you more of what you need, because God is in the business of transformation. He is a kind and generous God and he likes to give us more.
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
Matthew 7:11 NLT
Not that I’m saying you should invite the devil to challenge, but let’s stop doing his job for him. Because the Holy Spirit has equipped us with everything we need, let’s start using the tools we have.