Battleground

When you look at someone and view them as the enemy, that’s dangerous ground to walk on. Trust me. It leads to jealousy, bitterness, hurt, and broken relationships. Not the best path to walk down.

Whenever I catch my mind drifting to that sort of thinking, I am quickly reminded of the verse Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I’m thankful for these “truth slaps” that I often get from my years and years of reading Scripture. Even though I’ve read it’s contents a million times, I still have a hard time living out what it says I should do in my daily life. But I don’t give up there and simply refuse to no longer read the truth I so desperately need. Those millions of times I’ve read this Scripture is the very same reason why I can catch myself living contradictory to what it says.

My challenge to you is a challenge to myself: don’t view others as the enemy. They’re not the enemy, but a battleground. A vessel containing an intense war on the inside. Two forces are fighting for their hearts each and every day. When you look at someone and refuse to give into the lie that they are the enemy, your perspective changes. Your heart changes.

You no longer ask yourself, how can I fight against them, but rather, how can I fight for them?

Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. | Mendolin

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Fruits of the Spirit: A forgotten post worth publishing

January 2011:

If there’s one thing I love about family living far away, it’s the road trips that I get to have with Tomy. Other than that, let’s be honest… family living far away really stinks. BUT, without those long 9 hour car rides we take out to Colorado for the holidays and vacations, we wouldn’t normally be only 2 feet away for such a long time. Naturally, we have some of the best conversations during those road trips, and I really feel like we hash out our problems, dream big dreams, and recommit ourselves to one another through open and honest conversation.

A few weeks ago when Tomy and I were headed out to Colorado to see his family for Christmas part 2, we started to engage in honest conversation about our marriage– where we are, where we’d like to be, and what kind of couple we want to become. Through this conversation, we became aware of our extreme cognitive dissonance. Our true reality indeed looked different from our perceived reality. It was right then and there that we made a decision to realign our actions towards becoming the Godly couple we intended to become when we said, “I Do.” It’s only been a few months and we already need to make some changes; Great.

For the next 2 hours of the trip, we discussed ways in which we could improve our relationship with Christ as well with each other, and we decided to take on a long-term goal for this next year. Our goal was to take the Fruits of the Spirit (you know, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control) and focus on practicing a different one each month… starting with self-control. Personally, I will tell you that starting with that one was a little selfish because I was really looking for a kick-start to eating better, but the other reason was that we wanted to end our year building towards the ultimate goal- to LOVE God and one another more perfectly.

If you’ve been around Tomy and me for a conversation about God and life, you will quickly hear us talk about love. It’s not because we want to be stuck in a romantic comedy where we end up kissing in a public location as a camera spins around us 360 degrees before panning away towards the sunlight as the credits roll. Rather, it’s because we see- even more so now that we’re married- that love is the one thing that gives us life, brings us closer to God, draws us to one another, and ultimately is the one thing that matters. That one thing that gives us life and purpose is the one thing that is hardest to do. Why? I know Paul wrestled with this question in Romans. Good thing the answer lies in Christ and His power to help us if we just learn to lean on Him and let Him have control of our lives.

 

Now, fast-forward to June. Tomy and I have been focusing on a different Fruit each month. Despite the major changes we’ve gone through in the past 6 months…. or even in the first year of our marriage, we’ve stuck to this journey. This month we are on one of the most terrifying one to work on in a marriage: Patience. Usually people tell you to never pray for God to give you  patience because that usually means you’ll be thrown in a situation where you’ll have to use it. So far we’re good and haven’t had a major crisis moment. After this challenge is done, who knows if we will start it all over or move to  a different focus. For now, we will wake up every morning and see those 9 Fruits of the Spirit written boldly on our bathroom mirror and discuss ways in which we can practice them that day.

I’m approaching our 1st anniversary with a smile on my face. Not because we’re perfect, but because we are trying to be the extraordinary couple God wants us to be if we just let Him teach us how.

We’re not done learning and I know we’re not alone.