God’s want us to be pro-active, to operate from the will by willing to do the right thing. The devil encourages us to be reactive or reactionary. He will work to create any barrier that will hinder our relationship with God or our neighbor. It helps if we understand his schemes. He wants us to dwell upon what others have done to us. He is especially pleased when we hold on to an offence. We call this holding a grudge. Satan is very pleased with this form of operation because it locks us into the past and keeps us from the abundant life. He will encourage thoughts that foster anxiety and fear; especially in connection to our relationships. He will do what ever it takes to divide us. Anytime you see division in a church, the devil is somewhere in the picture.
Fear is a human emotion. It is impossible for us to live without experiencing some fear. There is a healthy fear and that is the fear of God but the devil wants us to become slaves of fear. He wants to master us through fear. The devil promotes insecurity and you will see why as you read further. The devil wants us to be fear driven: the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, fear of death, etc. Any fear other than the fear of God will suit his purpose. The end result of the insecure life is no life at all. When we are driven by insecurity, we become extremely self-centered and self-absorbed. It becomes pratically impossible for us to have deep and lasting relationships because our fear has made us users. We become extremely needy and like a leach, we victimize all our contacts. Eventually, they work to get free of us because we are sucking the life out of them.
So our insecurity causes us to be self-centered and our self-centerednes hurts our relationships. Even our relationship with God is affected because we lack the ability to focus on Him. We cannot stop thinking about ourselves long enough to get absorded in Him and who He is. Think of your life as a group of concentric circles. I will not list them all but in one circle you have your WILL, in another your EMOTIONS, and in another your IMAGINATION. The devil will be perfectly content if you live out of your imagination. Nothing wrong with imagination: God created it but it has been flawed by the fall and we cannot rely on it for direction.
The problem is: we imagine things that are not real and there is a reality that we cannot imagine. I talked with a beautiful young girl today. She has imagined that a certain adult does not like her. I will not go into the details that prompted her to think such thoughts but she has convinced herself that he doesn’t like her [she is the student, he is the teacher]. I just spoke with him last week and I have every confidence that he is very fond of the child. She imagined that he doesn’t like her but in reality he likes her very much. Several years ago, I knew a woman who would not attend Sunday worship without a new dress. She had imagined that everyone was paying attention to her attire. In reality, no one was observing her that close. I wore the same suit 16 weeks in a row to convince her that nobody pays that much attention to what you have on unless you don’t have on enough. I never convinced her. She never changed her thinking. She was living out of her imagination.
The devil is pleased when we live out of our imagination. We can not experience the abundant life without being honest with ourselves and others. Satan works over time to tarnish the image of our heavenly Father. People have wierd images of the Father in their head but thank goodness Jesus came and cleared those false imaginations up. We know now that the Father is loving and gentle. He is not like our earthy fathers, He is like Jesus.