There is an old saying that Google can’t decide where its origins are from. “Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer”. But can you tell if the voices that speak into your life and influence you and your actions are from good or evil sources?
This image was part of my Inktober exploration last year. As I prepare for this year’s adventure of drawing a drawing a day in October, some of last year’s artworks continue to prompt me to write about them further. Each day for the month of October you have a new drawing prompt. The prompt for this artwork was “poison”. It got me thinking about who and what we listen to and how this can influence our actions and the outcomes in our lives and the lives of others. As I have reflected on this over the last 11 month, I am more convinced than ever that the poisoning is more subtle and more sinister than I realised. The enemy sits very close and the battle between the principalities is fiercer than all of us combined can imagine!
In 2006 I sat in the central garden area of the then Church of Christ Theology College before class. It was here that I heard God say “this is my daughter with whom I am pleased”. It has been the only time I’ve heard God audibly and to this day the suddenness and the experience still causes me to clearly remember the words. I know it was God. This voice is very different to the promptings that come to mind, prompting thoughts about people, about choices, about situations, about matters of the heart. I would like to say I have unlocked the achievement of completely recognising the voice of the father of lies, that I can tick that off my list because I have it all together, but that is not the case. I am soberly aware of the lies and tricks of the enemy that have influenced past decisions of choices I have made, the talk I have talked and the walk I have walked. I have learned a lot about him and myself, but I also know I am a work in progress. Being aware and on guard is the key to getting ahead of his constant prompting and twisting of truth and spreader of lies.
What sort of condition are your influences in? I suppose a question equally important: What is the condition of your output, because your input determines your output. Change can’t begin without acknowledging the father of lies that sits so close and knows how to pull your strings. Is it time to grab a pair of Jesus shaped scissors?
Being someone who has experienced the lashes from the wagging tongues of those who needed to get a hobby, and/or needed to do some serious heart work, this artwork hits me to my core of how my past actions and words have hurt myself and others. I feel like every time I write a new blog, I am apologising for something else I could have been better at. That’s the beauty of the Mercy God shows us. He loves us so much he doesn’t leave us the way he finds us and continues to work on us.
The voice of the enemy can sound like a friend. These are promptings that lead us to make poor decisions, that influence our thoughts of negativity towards ourselves and others and that lead to actual words we speak over ourselves and over the lives of others. These words that we entertain and eventually believe are more powerful than you realise. The promptings that we choose to listen to and guide our choices that we can only look back in hindsight and realise were destructive, also come at a cost. Lost friendships, divorce, broken trusts, broken families, broken churches and broken hearts. The sly, cunning promptings that make us think we are hearing from God, except the choices we are asked to make lead us away from family, from people we trust, from the church and from God. They lead us to hurt others and to hurt ourselves. We find ourselves so disconnected that the only one still there continues to feed into the brokenness and we see this as the only comfort we have or deserve. And worse than this, as we hit bottom, is the belief that we have broken any chance of God loving us. That we have completely blown it with God.
I was reminded a couple of months ago, by a quote from Lisa Bevere. “If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this. You my beautiful friend, are not that powerful.” Therefore armour yourself with the word of God. His voice is clear of how he sees you and others, but you have to put on the armour for it to do its best work. This is not the end of your story. Your story is just beginning.
Ephesians 6:10-1 (NIV)
The Armour of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.