TRANSCRIPT: Good morning, Five Minute Families. It’s good to be back with you this morning. For those of you new to hearing us, we are Jim and Kim Nestle with Clear View Retreat. If you want to learn more about our ministry, please check us out at clearviewretreat.org. We are continuing our series - Key Truths for Families - using Ephesians chapter 6 as our guide. We encourage you to read this passage with your family and discuss these many points together.
Today, our focus verse is Ephesians 6:12 - “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
What do we see in the world today? Major headlines from around the globe are filled with strife and conflict with people battling against each other. Many times those conflicts are not on individual levels but caused by ideas, principles, and misinformation that distort our beliefs on who we are as people living in the world together.
Some days I feel like David, strong and ready to take on the giant Goliath. Most days, however, I act like his brothers and other Israelites who cower before a taunting and brutish giant, forgetting that God is much bigger than what we see as huge. Is David’s fight against Goliath or is his fight against the breakdown of God’s truth and love? God’s greater story is that we fight against the breakdown of faith in the face of fear and persecution. The principalities and powers questioned the power of God, and so do we.
It doesn’t take much for our beliefs to get off track and start heading in the wrong direction, especially when there is a plethora of influences that put the pressure against believing God’s truths and challenges our beliefs. These pressures sometimes come in the form of a giant, like Goliath, but more often, they are subtle and brought in by the world very slowly.
So, how can we encourage each other for the battles ahead?
1. First, we must look for God's greater story by talking with our families, and bringing God into more conversations. For example, choose an issue and begin to look at it from different perspectives. Ask questions, be graceful in your response, and make sure you highlight God’s perspective.
2. Second, we need to recognize the fight is not against the people around us, especially our families. Sure, people will frustrate us and cause hurts, but we must realize that the basis of those hurts are often grounded in distorted beliefs, worldly thinking and forces of darkness that pit us against each other. Resist the temptation to fight those we see right in front of our faces.
3. Next, we should encourage speaking the truth in love. Some of the principles we fight find their way into our identity, and it can be difficult to separate the false belief from how we see others and ourselves. God gives us the truth and proper perspective, but if our loved one is looking at the situation from a different perspective, he or she may feel threatened.
4. Five minute families, we must allow each one to grow and change. We cannot keep simply seeing the outside and thinking their thoughts and beliefs are the same. God brings about a heart transformation that sometimes takes more time for the outside appearance and behaviors to fully match.
5. And, finally, as we demonstrate how to battle not against each other but against the weapons of the enemy, we each need to recognize our own hang-ups. What are you holding onto that needs to be replaced with God's grace? Allow God to open your eyes and hearts to his leading.
This past Sunday, our church hosted the Lakeside Singers who sang a song titled “Almost.” The premise was that the saddest word in our language is not “goodbye” but “almost.” As in, I almost called and apologized. I almost sent a card to the judgmental and mean but now sick and hurting church member. I almost shared the banana bread I baked with my grumpy neighbor. We cannot live our lives in the ‘almost’ category. God gives us the strength to see where we are struggling, and five minute families, we are not struggling against people. We struggle with principalities, with fears, with divisions, with hurts and angers; we struggle AGAINST God. Take a deep breath, get beyond your ‘almost’ moment to a “I did it for the Lord!” attitude.
We look forward to continuing this conversation next week about Key Truths for Families with our discussion on the weapons of warfare - the whole armor of God! Be blessed!