A Haunted House
Nope, I'm not talking about ghosts. Disappointing, I know. This is an entirely different kind of haunting. One we endure by choice.
My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. Psalm 120:6
The past couple weeks, God's drawn me to that verse, over and over again. Generally that means He's trying to teach me something. Sadly, I'm usually too dense to get it in a reasonable time. Finally, after several days of reading it repeatedly, I got it. I have dwelt too long in a place that robs me of my peace.
Anger, bitterness...I've chosen to dwell with those things. Doing so, robbed me of my peace, my joy, and my communion with God. The question is, "Why have I made that choice?"
Have you ever dwelt in anger because, given the circumstances, you had the right to? Have you ever waded along in your sorrow because, well, you enjoyed the pity party? How about slogging along in bitterness because you refused to let go of a past hurt or disappointment? Sometimes it's fun to carry that grudge.
And fear—fear's the most dangerous one. Fear of being hurt keeps us from stepping out into the future because we might get hurt again. It cripples us or paralyzes us. Choosing to dwell there robs us of a lot more than our peace; it robs us of joy and contentment.
The "Why" is different for each of us. We must choose to escape, choose to turn to God and ask Him to help us move to a better place to live. How about if we worded that verse like this:
|chosen to escape the|
|My soul has |dwelt too long with one who hates peace.
Satan is the father of lies. He's a destroyer. He's a thief. When we choose to dwell in sorrow, bitterness, or fear, we've chosen to dwell in his lies. We've chosen to be robbed of the beauty of our relationship God. It's time we chose to escape!
Easier said than done, right? It's not as simple as getting up one morning and saying, "Ok, I'm leaving my sorrow or bitterness or fear behind." Satan's too powerful for that to work. You need the power of the Father. We forget that He, with all His power, dwells within us. The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4.
Every time my thoughts are captured by anger or bitterness, I need to close my eyes and say, "Jesus, You are more powerful than this lie. Replace these thoughts with new ones that bring me peace." I've been doing that the past few days and, at first, it was almost a continual prayer. It seems I'd no sooner whispered it than the thoughts were back again. I kept doing it and after a few days, it happened less and less. Peace and joy are slowly filling the space once inhabited by lies. An excitement about God's plan for tomorrow is replacing fear.
Next time Satan knocks on the door of your heart, ask Jesus to answer the door! Won't he be surprised?!?