We are doing a relationship series at church. It seems so fitting for me confirming after a season of intense focus and healing in relationships. Each sermon simple confirms the work and design God did in the past, is doing in me, and in His Body!! It is the hardest thing that I have had to reconcile and most freeing. Freedom only come through Christ, freedom only exists in love, freedom leads to healing. The opposite of freedom is bondage…the state of being a slave. The most crippling bondage is relational because that is the basis of our existence here on earth…to be in relationship with the Almighty Creator Himself. That.Is.Why.We.Exist. So the most opposing thing against God’s design of freedom and wholeness in relationship with Him is bondage in ALL other relationships. Apart from total union with God, we are in bondage, slaves.
One of the most beautiful sites is a bride in all her beauty with her eyes fixed on the groom she chooses to bind herself to. The difference between slave and bride is a choice. Eve chose the bitter bite that would separate her from Love itself in hopes to be glorified in herself. When you part from love…you empty out…and spend the rest of your days trying to fill the void Love leaves…you do ANYTHING to ease the discomfort of empty starvation…ANYTHING. Apart from love, you are always trying to fill…as soon as you fill, you are emptied out leaving a craving to be full.
This state of relationships apart from love is a competitive effort to fill ones void. You only give if it feeds you something. You give to get. You can not stop feeding or you will die….SO you are SURVIVING…You can NOT give without getting because you will die. So you will do whatever means possible to get…that brings us to manipulation. The opposite of Love that fill is an emptiness that craves. What does a starving soul do to get what it needs…it manipulates. It can not love because it has not love. Thus it’s manipulation is clothed in “love”, it is a wolf devouring in sheep’s skin.
Doesn’t all this talk about slaves and devouring seems a bit extreme?!? Well I am speaking of the spiritual and it is THAT bad. Yet if we are not accustomed to seeing the spiritual we are often swayed into believing the ‘appearance’ of the physical. It appears to be normal. It feels right. It has always been that way. It meets a need. It is your husband, mother, son, best friend, boss, cousin, pastor or ________. We desensitize with denial and don’t bother to explore below the surface of the physical into depth of the emotional or spiritual. We just keep going on trying feed ourselves within the physical to meet the starvation of the spiritual….Okay then, what does this manipulating wolf look like? I know it well both because I was cloaked with sheep’s skin and I was also hunted to be devoured.
(I will use points Don McClune used in his sermon because it is fresh on my mind and consistent with my experience. IT may not be defining entirely but will paint a picture non-the-less.)
Manipulative People Use these schemes to Feed:
Guilt: “I will wither up and die if you do NOT DO THIS” “You are the ONLY one to meet this need, it will not be met if you don’t meet it!” “you don’t love me if you don’t give me what I want” “God wants you to do this”
Victim: “I can not help this state and you need to help me” “I can not live without you” (they “play” the victim to manipulate but in all reality they ARE a victim!! You are just NOT their savior!!)
Threat: “If you do this, than I will do that!” “This will happen if you don’t do what I want!”
Blame: “its not my fault” ” its your fault, its their fault, its because I am sick, moneyless, weak, blind, jobless, friendless…..”
Manipulation is FEAR driven…fear of failure, fear of losing, fear of being alone, fear of starving, fear of dying. It is necessary for survival…but surviving is NOT living it is just delaying death.
There is no freedom in manipulation, you are a slave with many strings attached. When you are manipulative you are a slave to your craving. IF you try to leave, it ropes you back in, because you are bound to it. The only way to stop manipulating is to be full. The only way to stop being manipulated is to be full. The only way to be full is to be loved. The only way to be loved is to stop feeding yourself and be fed by LOVE itself and truly LIVE.
How does this happen being filled with love…being free from slavery…stopping the wolf’s feasting?? Just as Eve chose the apple in the beginning to feed her craving to be significant and was cut off from Significance, we can choose Love. If there is NO choice, it is NOT love. We can ONLY choose love. This is not just a one time choice, we are STARVING…we need to be filled. We in this fallen world are constant being emptied. It is a choice every craving, every time you feel an emptiness, you have a choice how to fill…one choice increases the craving and one fulfills it.
The bride on her wedding day chooses her husband. That is not the the ONLY choice, it is the first one of many day in day out, moment by moment choosing. The choices she makes shapes the relationship…the more she chooses to fill the void herself, for herself she shapes bondage, her husband becomes her slave. The more she chooses Love, she shapes a free relationship and each thing her husband gives is not devoured into nothing but savored filling. We are the bride. We have a choice. We enslave or love? Will we be enslaved or will we be LOVED??? First choose Christ, your groom, and let His love free you…fill you…bind you to Himself…INSTEAD…of feeding yourself. It is a process this redemption in relationships and it starts with being LOVED. Your earthly relationships will only be bondage until you are freed from your spiritual ONE. Once you are free and being filled all your other relationships will begin a redemptive process OR be cut off.
Start choosing to be LOVED today. Stop the craving…be freed. It starts with exposing the bondage…light exposes lies, even the lies we are telling ourselves. Then start choosing Love instead of Lies.
Confess. Repent.Turn Toward Love.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:15-23, ESV)
P.S. I have a lot of scripture running through my head address-less…It is time I spent time with my Bible!! So I may stop back later with references!!