by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
The enemy of your soul is not a person, but supernatural and spiritual. He knows your weak points. That’s his job. It’s how this liar and destroyer knows where and how to attack. Each person has weak points, which include your lesser and often unrealistic expectations. This cruel enemy will exacerbate these vulnerable spots with the goal of taking you out.
Envy is one of his joy-sucking tools. A content-in-all-things stealer. Envy is a sneak attack with an objective to kill. To destroy. Succumbing to the thought-attack of envy causes you to inadvertently partner with hell instead of heaven. You cannot love the ones you envy. You may even resent instead.
Jesus never compared the path Father laid before Him to that of any other person. He did not look aside and envy the path others had. Jesus was honest with Father about the pain He foresaw in God’s will for Him. There was discussion between Jesus and Father about this. Not because Jesus hoped Father would give Him someone else’s better-seeming path, but where Jesus inquired if Father might be willing to alter what was planned for Him.
Jesus was of one heart and mind unto one purpose with Father. He only wanted Father’s will. He was united with Father to do the work, no matter the cost. In lock-step with Father, Jesus longed for the way to be provided so we could choose to turn to Him, bow and follow.
It is a comfort to know Father’s will for Jesus was not easy. This part of the revelation of the true nature of the current temporary life consoles. The difficulties Jesus faced are also confirmation to pick up your cross in your own difficulties and follow.
Yet, yet, yet, the Christmas story also shows you are not destined to mope through your days or even be so depressed that your current life is stolen from you. This is not your destiny no matter how hard the current road! You are to bring His life to others and not necessarily by preaching. (In fact, mostly not by preaching.) By His loving presence at work through you because you are at rest in Him and looking at Him, surrendered and submitted to His will. Like Jesus. Thus, never by your power or your good ideas. But by His. This is most effective balm for you and for them at the same time.
There is a difference between being honest with the experience of real inner pain and wallowing in self-pity. A contrast between being pushed down by grief where the tears must out, and allowing thoughts of feeling sorry for yourself to cripple and distort love into jealousy.
Remember, envy is lurking, looking to devour. Not just to eat up your potential for greater God-connection and contentment now in the midst, but to make impotent the emptied vessel for the love of God you are destined to be. For His flow through you to others.
Are you looking at the path before you or are you gazing wantonly at someone else’s? Consider please, that you can’t even see theirs clearly. Your view is restricted to only your own God-given path. And this still mostly dimly. You know your path has potholes and obstacles. So does theirs. But you would have to be there in their shoes taking their steps to really become aware of these.
Every person has it hard in some way. Each and every person. It doesn’t matter what you think or perceive. You are not in the thick of their lives. You do not know their interior places or where the enemy is pushing or has pushed on them. For you to truly know this fully for any other person is impossible.
The example is Jesus. No other. Therefore, be content in all things. Bless and do not curse. Love the other one as Christ loves you. Oh, and once again—you can’t do this by your power. It requires His.
And what if? What if the gift of relationship with God for others would indeed be birthed an outcome of your suffering? Not suffering you orchestrated. But suffering which was—which might also be unjust. What if? What if that was the way the Lord planned to work through the evil which now is, to bring abundant, lasting good? What if? Would you acquiesce? You might be like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. You might. You might ask if the cup could pass If there was another way. But if there wasn’t? If God seemed silent, how would you face this? Let’s say its unavoidable as the cross was. What is your attitude going to be?
If you are looking at the lives of others to see how it is for them, you are not looking at Christ. If instead, as you suffer. If you unite your sufferings to those of Jesus and say so be it (which is an aspect of the meaning of “amen”) the experience changes. The understanding that in a small way (because only Jesus saves the world), what you undergo is being used by God to set others free. For the joy set before Him—the joy—Jesus endured the cross. Not for the happy moment, but the joy. In the midst of the suffering. Simultaneous to it. Joy to the world. The Lord has come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart, prepare Him room. and heaven and nature sing.
Lord, so often my eyes just on myself and the concerns which try to weigh down and cripple. Please forgive me this narrower view. Lord, for those who are around me—for those I know and for those I do not—please bless them and keep them. Make Your face to shine upon them in the way You know each one needs. Cause each one to sense Your presence and Your care. Help them in the way each one needs most and imbue them with the grand, magnificent sense of Your extraordinary, enveloping peace. For their soul-healing and Your great, great glory.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
5 Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].
6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]…
11 Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.
12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Philippians 4:4-8, 11-13
SONG Recommended: YET FROM THE MANGER BED –So You Sent Your Son album
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